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Chapter 39

Pius 10
4 August 1903 — 10 August 1914


In June, 1951, Pope Pius XII beatified Pope Pius X and on May 29, 1954 he canonized him. He was the first pope to be canonized since the deadly wound was inflicted. Pius V sat on the Papal Throne for only six years, 1566—1572. Pope Clement X beatified him upon the centenary of his death in 1672 and Pope Clement XI canonized him in 1712. Thirty-one popes served in the Vatican between 1572 when Pius V died and 1903 when Pius X was elected. None had been canonized and only one, Innocent XI (1676—1689) had been beatified. Thus canonization of popes became a rarity. Perhaps this was a recognition of the scarcity of saintliness amongst those chosen to be the Supreme Pontiff.

But Pius V was no saint despite that recognition by the Roman Catholic Church. He was a Dominican. It must not be overlooked that the Dominicans were the perpetrators of the Inquisition. We turn once more to Joseph S. Brusher, a Jesuit apologist for the Papacy, in order to discover the qualities present in Pius V to qualify him for sainthood. "He served his order in several high offices and the Church as an inquisitor." (Popes Through the Ages, p. 450) "A former grand inquisitor, Pius dealt harshly with heretics." (Ibid.) "Queen Elizabeth [I of England] he excommunicated in 1570." (Ibid.) He carried out "the reforms of [the Council of] Trent." (Ibid.) "He published the catechism of the Council of Trent, and an improved edition of the missal and breviary." (Ibid.)

The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1963 edition, Vol. 17, page 217), in placing him under the Counter-Reformation Papacy and one who led the vigorous fight against Protestantism, records that Pius V was a "former inquisitor of great severity." With such a curriculum vitae, let us judge whether he fitted the heavenly criteria of sainthood. He spent much of his Papacy coordinating a crusade against the Ottoman Empire which had seized Cyprus from Venetian control. When his fleet was successful in 1571 he attributed the success to the intervention of Mary and in this mistaken thought instituted the Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

That such men were canonized certainly calls into question the process of canonization and devalues its recipients. This decline should be kept in mind when the beatification of Pius XII by John Paul II in 2000 is considered.

Cardinal Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, despite having been told by Leo XIII that he would be the next pope, was elected only because of yet another interference by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Cardinal Moriano Rampolla del Tindaro, the Vatican Secretary of State, received the required two-thirds plus one vote. But the Archbishop of Krakow (later the See of John Paul II), Cardinal Jan Puzyna "exercised the veto power enjoyed at that moment by his imperial Master, Franz Joseph of Austria." (Malachi Martin, The Keys of This Blood, Simon and Schuster, 1990, p. 536) The emperor had learned that Cardinal Rampolla was a secret member of the Masonic Lodge.

The Vatican, curiously, in view of the present Polish pope, went to some lengths to conceal the fact that Pius X’s father was Polish. The Austrian Empire felt that after "the Congress of Vienna nothing as good as a Pope could come out of Poland." (Ibid.) Pius X’s father’s surname was Krawiec. When he fled to Italy he altered it to Sarto. Both surnames in their respective languages mean tailor. So it was an appropriate alteration.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of Pius X’s reign was the setting in motion of the systematization of canon law which was not completed until 1917, three years after his death. However, this reorganization did not in any way lead to a reduction of centralized control from the Vatican, rather it established it on a firmer basis. The young Eugenio Pacelli, later Pius XII, following in his family tradition of Vatican lawyers, played a significant role in this reorganization.

Pius X firmly rejected the French modernist ideas which seethed in the Paris Institut Catholique. Their views swept through both France and Italy. They made an attempt to accommodate modern trends and democracy with Roman Catholic teaching. This Pius would not abide. He instituted a form of secret mind police to counter the wave of modernism. Incredibly Cardinal Pietro Gasparri, of the Lateran Treaty fame, wrote quite negatively of Pius’ course in dealing with the issue of modernism.

Chadwick in his History of the Popes, p. 55, quoted Gasparri as expressing his opinion that Pius X—

approved, blessed, and encouraged a secret espionage association outside and above the hierarchy, which spied on members of the hierarchy itself, even on their eminences the cardinals; in short, he approved, blessed and encouraged a sort of Freemasonry in the Church, something unheard of in ecclesiastical history.

Cardinal Gasparri had written this opinion in his submission on the proposed canonization of Pius X. It clearly did not serve to dissuade those promoting Pius’ cause.

John Cornwell quotes Daly, Transendence and Immanence, as recording that so intense was Pius’ opposition to modernism that he claimed that it constituted—

not a heresy but the compendium and poison of all heresies. (Oxford 1980, p. 51)

And in a real sense Pius had valid ground for his concerns, for the modernists of France claimed that "The Christ shown by history is much inferior to the Christ who is the object of Faith." In his decree Lamentabeli (Lamentable) Pius included this view in the sixty-five modernist pronouncements he condemned. The decree was issued July 3, 1907.

But Pius, in his attempt to silence the modernists, not only instituted a system of secret agents among his own clergy and ecclesiastical professors, but centralized church administration. So severe was this move that Cornwell reports that the famous quotation by the eighteenth century Roman Catholic Saint, Alfonso de Liguori—"The Pope’s will: God’s will"—found a new currency in the first decade of the twentieth century. This central control continues, having been loosened only during the short Pontificate of Pope John XXIII.

On September 1, 1910, Pius issued a directive demanding that all ordinands and priests in positions of teaching and administration swear an oath denouncing modernism. This oath, a little modified, is still a current obligation. But it does not pass without opposition. In 1997 the Roman Catholic priest, Paul Collins, in his book Papal Power published in London stated,

There was no possibility of any form of dissent, even interior. The conscience of the person taking the oath was forced to accept not only what Rome proposed, but even the sense in which Rome interpreted it. Not only was this contrary to the traditional Catholic understanding of the role of conscience, but it was a form of thought control that was unrivaled even under fascist and communist regimes.

These are tough words, plainly spoken, but they do illustrate the Roman Catholic hierarchy’s desire to control our conscience.

Yet when Pius XII canonized his predecessor in 1954, he lavishly described Pius X as a "glowing flame of charity and shining splendour of sanctity." (H. Dal-Gal, Pius X, Dublin, 1953, p. 234) That surely was a case of marked hyperbole.

The canon law which Pietro Gasparri and Eugenio Pacelli, at the behest of Pius X, set about to codify, had been set out in chronological order rather than in topical groups. But Pius went beyond this reorganization to strengthen central control of the Papacy. For instance Canon 218 states that the pope is—

the supreme and most complete jurisdiction throughout the church both in matters of faith and morals and in those that affect discipline and church government throughout the world. (Codex Juris Canonici, Rome 1917)

Canon 1323 states,

All truths must be believed fide divina et Catholica, which are contained in the written word of God or in tradition and which the Church proposes for acceptance as revealed by God, either by solemn definition or through the ordinary and universal teaching. (Ibid.)

Pius had set the stage for his grandiose view of papal power, not only in matters spiritual but also political, when shortly after assuming the Papal role he stated on November 9, 1903,

We shall offend many people by saying We must of necessity concern ourselves with politics. But whoever judges the question fairly must recognize that the Sovereign Pontiff, invested by God with the Supreme Magistracy, has not the right to separate political matters from the domain of faith and morals. (Cited by Peter de Rosa, Vicars of Christ, p. 195)

Clearly the Papacy was demanding once more the right of absolute arbitration over that which is believed and practiced in both the spiritual and political realms. Such a philosophy was required and must be generally accepted if the deadly wound was to be completely healed. Pius X in his eleven-year pontificate contributed no little effort to that healing.

Pius had taken the apostle Paul’s motto as his own—"to restore all things in Christ." That he did play his part in restoring Papal spiritual and political authority cannot be doubted. But the fact that under his pontificate Pius X ensured that "neo Thomism [the theology of Thomas Aquinas] would acquire an orthodoxy tantamount to dogma" (John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope, p. 22), was a portent of a move in the last days towards the mentality of the Inquisition, for Aquinas’ theology dominated the thinking of the Dominicans who zealously and cruelly implemented that fearful, Christless policy.

Pius left a legacy of centralism which continues to serve Rome well today.


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