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Pope St. Pius X

In 13 History on 2011/10/13 at 7:16 AM

Guiseppe Sarto, was born  in Venice, the son of a postman. His mother lived to see him become a cardinal.

He attended the seminary of Padua, where he finished his classical, philosophical, and theological studies with distinction and was ordained in 1858.  For nine years he listed as assistant in a parish but in reality functioned  as it’s pastor. He was always active: he rebuilt the church and added a hospital which he personally maintained for the poor; it was a time of cholera.

He sought to perfect his knowledge of theology by assiduously studying St Thomas Aquinas and canon law during the day.  He established an adult night school, where he preached to his students.  His major concern was that young adults be properly instructed in the Faith.

In 1884, he was named bishop of the difficult See of Mantua.  His main concern was the formation of the clergy at the seminary and there he taught dogmatic and  moral theology for several years.  He wished the doctrine and method of St. Thomas to be followed and gave copies of the “Summa Theologica” to his poorer students.

In 1893, Leo XIII created him a cardinal.  Sarto discerned and energetically opposed the dangers of certain doctrines and the conduct of certain Christian-Democrats.

In 1903, he was elected pope with a 92 % majority. In his first Encyclical he set out his program: “To restore all things in Christ”.  (Eph.1:10.) His first efforts were the promotion of piety among the faithful;  he advised all to receive Holy Communion frequently and recommended early reception of First Communion.

Pius X wished to found at Rome a center for the study of theology and Scripture. With the assistance of the whole Catholic world, the Biblical Institute was founded under the direction of the Jesuits.

In 1904, he created a special congregation of cardinals for the revision of the Code of Canon Law.  He had the Eucharistic Congress of 1905 held at Rome and enhanced the solemnity of subsequent Eucharistic congresses by sending cardinal legates to participate.

His major concern was above all things the purity of the faith. Pius X pointed out the dangers of certain new theological methods. These were based on Agnosticism and divested the doctrine of the faith of its teachings of objective, absolute, and immutable truth. Those methods were associated with subversive criticism of the Holy Scripture and of the origins of Christianity.  So in 1907, he published the Decree commonly called  the Syllabus of Pius X, in which sixty-five propositions are condemned for the protection of Holy Scripture, their inspiration, and the doctrine of Jesus and of the Apostles. Others relate to dogma, the sacraments, and the primacy of the Bishop of Rome.

That same year, he wrote his famous encyclical which expounds and condemns the system of Modernism. It points out the danger of Modernism in relation to philosophy, apologetics, exegesis, history, liturgy, and discipline, and shows the contradiction between that innovation and the ancient faith. He established rules by which to combat efficiently the evils.  Had those rules  been followed, many of the problems that beset the Church today could have been avoided.

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