Friday, April 8, 2011
Papal Profile: Pope St Pius X
Taking the name of Pius X, purposely associating himself with the firm principles of Pius IX, he would go on to prove that it is often the most reluctant candidates who make the best pontiffs. Throughout his pontificate, from start to finish, he reigned as a 'country priest', with honesty, fairness and strict obedience to the doctrines and traditions of the Church. Although he demanded the highest obedience to the Petrine Throne, he was himself a humble man for example, abolishing the custom of applauding the Pope in St Peter's saying that it was not, "fair to applaud the servant in the home of the Master". He, the third "Prisoner of the Vatican" also made it clear that he would not back down in claiming the rights of the Catholic Church in both the spiritual and temporal spheres. He opposed the formation of "Christian Democrat" parties and called liberal Catholics, "wolves in sheep's clothing". He was quick to condemn the breaks between Church and state wherever they occurred, though he did urge Italian Catholics to make use of their vote to help avoid an electoral victory for the socialists. He condemned the rising trend of 'Modernism' and stressed the perfection of Sacred Scripture. When it came to the Bible, St Pius X did not go for a great deal of "interpretation". For him, what it said was what it meant.
When World War I began in 1914 the Pope was devastated. When asked to bless the troops about to march off to war he replied that he would "only bless peace". His great sorrow over this catastrophe hastened his death on August 20, 1914 after reigning for 11 years and 16 days. He was canonized by Pope Pius XII on May 29, 1954.