Pope Saint Pius X, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, died on this day one hundred years ago, less than three weeks after the outbreak of what became known as World War I. It broke Papa Sarto's heart to see the nations of formerly Catholic Europe going to war with each other for no good reason other than state militarism and nationalism Gifted with a prophetic spirit, it is perhaps no exaggeration that Pope Saint Pius X saw clearly what future events would hold for the the world and for the Church Militant on earth. Yet it is that this last true pope to have been a pastor without any training in the Vatican diplomatic corps is helping us more from Heaven than he did here on the face of this earth as Father Sarto, Bishop Sarto, Cardinal Sarto and, of course, as the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ on earth.
As the time available to complete this brief article is very short, what I would like to do in anticipation of the article that I republish each year on the feast of the last true pope to be canonized--following the canonization of Pope Saint Pius V by Pope Clement XI on May 22, 1712, by two hundred forty-two years, seven days, what I want to do on the occasion of the centenary of this revered pontiff's death is to note how well-prepared he was as pastor to assume the Chair of Saint Peter on the Feast of Saint Dominic, August 4, 1903, to whom he was so very devoted.
It was just three years after his being appointed as the Bishop of Mantua, Italy, on November 10, 1884, by his predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, that the future Pope Saint Pius X identified Modernism in its nascent forms as a threat to the very intergrity of the Catholic Faith:
The first pastoral visitation called for comprehensive solutions and new orientations. This was the subject of a diocesan synod. It was announced on February 16, 1887, in a pastoral letter. The bishop wrote that the aim of the synod would be to "draw up, after mature and deliberate reflection, a resume of diocesan statutes and establish suitable rules to meet new situations, new evils and new challenges--rules which earlier synod could not have imagined." It has been observed that this pastoral letter is also "a veritable declaration of holy war against errors of a nascent modernism," even if the word Modernism was not yet used. In fact, Msgr. Sarto was here opposing those who, "setting themselves up as masters, assert that the Church must always adapt herself to the demands of the times, and that it has become impossible to keep the primitive integrity of her laws." The Bishop of Mantua denounced this "modern Christianity which has forgotten the ancient folly of the Cross [and where] the dogmas of the faith must be adapted to the requirements of the new philosophy...." Here we see that the anti-Modernist battle waged by Pius X arises from a very ancient concern for the faith. (Yves Chiron, Saint Pius X: Restorer of the Church. Translated by Graham Harrison. Angelus Press, 2002, p. 67.)
Yes, it was in early-1887, over twenty and one-half years before he wrote Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907, that the Bishop Giuseppe Sarto saw the effects of a nascent modernism among the clergy and the people of the Diocese of Mantua. Bishop Sarto made no compromise of any kind with error. He denounced it firmly as the Bishop of Mantua and as the Cardinal Archbishop and Patriarch of Venice before succeeding Pope Leo XIII as the Supreme Pastor and Sovereign Pontiff on August 4, 1903, the Feast of Saint Dominic de Guzman.
Giuseppe Cardinal Sarto was no less firm when he became the Patriarch of Venice in 1893. He expressed himself concerning the dangers of men such as Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and Jorge Mario Bergoglio/Francis even before he could take canonical possession of his patriarchal see in 1894 as a result of a dispute with civil authorities:
Three days later, on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, Cardinal Sarto addressed his first pastoral letter to the clergy of Venice; the letter was also addressed to the clergy of Mantua as a kind of pastoral last testament. Since he had many weeks to prepare it, it was not an occasional writing but a long exhortation, as well as a warning against Catholic liberalism which seemed, to the Patriarch of Venice, to be spreading more and more at the heart of the Church. In it, the new Patriarch of Venice called priests to be united in fidelity to the Holy See: "...the Bishop alone is the guardian and interpreter of the Sovereign Pontiff's commands, and the priests must be intimately united to the Bishop..." This unity is more indispensable than ever, because, in our days, the Church "practically at every moment has to fight to defend her liberty, her dignity and her rights." The Church's enemies are "the baneful sects" and "rotten materialism," but they would not have so much success if "certain people, under the cover of the glorious name of Catholic, did not come to their aid." These "liberal Catholics" (cattolici-liberali) "dream of a kind of peace, or rather, a conciliation between light and darkness": they stigmatize "all Catholics who think differently from them as 'the clerical party,'" and they say that "in all things that concern the State, the civil authority ought to have the pre-eminence over the authority of the Church" and "under the pretext of liberty they permit the license of irreligion and insult." These liberal Catholics, wrote Cardinal Sarto again, "always preach charity and prudence, as if it were charitable to let the wolf devour the lam, and as if it were a virtue to cultivate this prudence of the flesh, which God has condemned, as it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will thwart (1 Cor 1:19)." Liberal Catholics are "wolves in sheep's clothing; it is more important than anything else that murky designs should be exposed to the light and denounced." (Yves Chiron, Saint Pius X: Restorer of the Church. Translated by Graham Harrison. Angelus Press, 2002, pp. 87-88.)
Who said in 1982 that the text of Gaudium et Spes represented what he thought was the Catholic Church's "official reconciliation" with the principles of that "new era" inaugurated in 1789 with the French Revolution?
Let us be content to say here that the text serves as a countersyllabus and, as such, represents on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789. (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, p. 382.)
What happened in 1789? Wasn't there some kind of anti-Theistic revolution in France, the elder daughter of the Church? What did Pope Leo XIII write about such reconciling with the principles of the revolution just a year before he promoted the Bishop of Mantua, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, to be the Patriarch of Venice?
Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial, the Church of God and the state without God. (Pope Leo XIII, Custodi Di Quella Fede, December 8, 1892.)
Pope Saint Pius X understood that it is our solemn duty before God to denounce error and expose the murky designs of Modernism without any equivocation or hesitation whatsoever. From placing us "outside of the Church," as some of those lost in the fog of a self-serving denial that they use sanctimoniously to condemn us and our firm, unequivocal defense of the truth and our refusal to have any association with spiritual robber barons who are the very embodiment of everything condemned by Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto before and after he became Pope Pius X, our denunciation of the errors of conciliarism, each of which have been condemned by our true popes, must continue until the day we die if we die before God restores His Holy Church as a result of the Triumph of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Blessed Virgin Mary.
It was as Supreme Pontiff that Pope Saint Pius X condemned the very Modernist methodology, labeled today as the "hermeneutic of continuity," that the now-retired and suddenly very reclusive Ratzinger/Benedict used to attack nearly every aspect of the Holy Faith and to reduce to the level of a mere "allegory" the account of Adam and Eve's Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden:
Hence it is quite impossible [the Modernists assert] to maintain that they [dogmatic statements] absolutely contain the truth: for, in so far as they are symbols, they are the images of truth, and so must be adapted to the religious sense in its relation to man; and as instruments, they are the vehicles of truth, and must therefore in their turn be adapted to man in his relation to the religious sense. But the object of the religious sense, as something contained in the absolute, possesses an infinite variety of aspects, of which now one, now another, may present itself. In like manner he who believes can avail himself of varying conditions. Consequently, the formulas which we call dogma must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. Here we have an immense structure of sophisms which ruin and wreck all religion.
It is thus, Venerable Brethren, that for the Modernists, whether as authors or propagandists, there is to be nothing stable, nothing immutable in the Church. Nor, indeed, are they without forerunners in their doctrines, for it was of these that Our predecessor Pius IX wrote: 'These enemies of divine revelation extol human progress to the skies, and with rash and sacrilegious daring would have it introduced into the Catholic religion as if this religion were not the work of God but of man, or some kind of philosophical discovery susceptible of perfection by human efforts.' On the subject of revelation and dogma in particular, the doctrine of the Modernists offers nothing new. We find it condemned in the Syllabus of Pius IX, where it is enunciated in these terms: ''Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress, corresponding with the progress of human reason'; and condemned still more solemnly in the Vatican Council: ''The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligences to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence also that sense of the sacred dogmas is to be perpetually retained which our Holy Mother the Church has once declared, nor is this sense ever to be abandoned on plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of the truth.' Nor is the development of our knowledge, even concerning the faith, barred by this pronouncement; on the contrary, it is supported and maintained. For the same Council continues: 'Let intelligence and science and wisdom, therefore, increase and progress abundantly and vigorously in individuals, and in the mass, in the believer and in the whole Church, throughout the ages and the centuries -- but only in its own kind, that is, according to the same dogma, the same sense, the same acceptation.' (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, of course, although he has paid lip service to his predecessor's philosophically absurd and dogmatically condemned "hermeneutic of continuity" that is nothing other than Modernism's evolution of dogma by another slogan, has no use for dogmatic condemnations of the past. What matters is the "encounter" one is supposed to have with Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ without regard for the "rules" and thus of a "law-and-order" Christianity that he considers to be so very Pharisaical (see Compare and Contrast).
As Yves Chriron pointed out in his biography of Pope Saint Pius X, our last true pope to be canonized understod full well that he had to meet error and heresy head-on without being "Mr. Nice Guy." Here is annount of what he said in 1896 as the Cardinal Patriarch of the Archdiocese of Venice:
In August 1896 in Padua, the second Congress of the Catholic Union for Social Studies took place. We have already seen that this organization had been created seven years before by Professor Giuseppe Toniolo, in the presence of the Bishop of Mantua [Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto]. This time, eight bishops were present and several directors of the Opera del Congressi took part. All the eminent representatives of the Italian Catholic Movement were present (Medolago Pagnuzzi, Alessi and others). Cardinal Sarto's address attracted considerable notice. Faced with "ardent enemies" (unbelief and revolution) "...menacing and trying to destroy the social fabric," the Patriarch of Venice invited the participants to make Jesus Christ the foundation of the their work: "the only peace treaty is the Gospel." He warned them against what is now called the "welfare state," the state which provides everything and provides all socialization: "substituting public almsgiving for private almsgiving involves the complete destruction of Christianity and it is a terrible attack on the principle of ownership. Christianity cannot exist without charity, and the difference between charity and justice is that justice may have recourse to laws and even to force, depending on the circumstances, whereas charity can only be imposed by the tribunal of God and of conscience." If public assistance and the redistribution of wealth are institutionalized, "poverty becomes a function, a way of life, a public trade..." (Yves Chiron, Saint Pius X: Restorer of the Church. Translated by Graham Harrison. Angelus Press, 2002, p. 100)
This firm statement of Catholic truth anticipated his encyclical letter against the revolutionary principles of The Sillon in France, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910, and was in no small measure the fruit of his systematic study of teaching about the Social Reign of Christ the King that had been provided by the late Louis Edouard "Cardinal" Pie, who was the Bishop of Poitiers, France from from May 23, 1849, to the time of his death on May 18, 1880:
"[St.] Pius X, giving audience in the French seminary, declared to have 'often read and re-read' the works of Cardinal Pie . . . . This veneration of [St.] Pius X for the great Bishop of Poitiers is demonstrated for us by this account found in Canon [Paul] Vigue's 'Select Pages of Cardinal Pie': "A priest from Poitiers has recalled that one day he had the honor of having been introduced into the cabinet of the Supreme Pontiff, [St.] Pius X, in the company of a religious who as also from Poitiers. 'Oh! the diocese of Poitiers," the Holy Father exclaimed, raising his hands, when he heard the name Poitiers mentioned. "I have almost the entire works of your Cardinal,' the saintly Pontiff continued, 'and, for years, there has hardly been a day that I have not read some of its pages.' (Selected Writings of Selected Writings of Cardinal Pie of Poitiers, Catholic Action Resource Center, Orlando, Florida, October, 2007, testimonial pages.)
It was Cardinal Pie who "spoke truth to power" when he told Louis-Napoleon, the self-styled Emperor Napleon III, the following:
The time has not come for Jesus Christ to reign? Well, then the time has not come for governments to last. (Cardinal Pie, meeting with Emperor Napoleon III)
Pope Saint Pius X was completely committed to the immutable doctrine of the Social Reign of Christ the King. As he had noted to a priest of the Diocese of Poitiers, hardly a day had gone by that he had not studied the writing of the couragous Cardinal Pie.
A contemporary Catholic apologoist, Giuseppe Gentile, wrote the following about Pope Saint Pius X's battles with the Modernists as he sat on the Throne of Saint Peter:
"Catholicism will never be able to turn into the negation of itself, as [Modernists George] Tyrrel and [Alfred] Loisy wished. This truth, so distasteful to the Modernists, resounds throughout the Encyclical [Pascendi Dominci Gregis] of September 8, 1907, from beginning to end. It is a magisterial summary and magnificent critique of the philosophical, theological, apologetical, historical, critical and social demands; he can be said to have judged it from a higher point of view. As for Loisy's ripostes, they make a pitiful showing in the face of the philosophy expressed in the Encyclical..... The Modernists must learn that a Pope's encyclical cannot be judged according to the criteria of that rationalism, which, down the centuries, has always ended up in heresy. To make such a judgment would be as logical as approving a king's achievement insofar as it contributed to the proclamation of a republic." (As found in Yves Chiron, Saint Pius X: Restorer of the Church. Translated by Graham Harrison. Angelus Press, 2002, p. 211.)
The graces we receive in the true Sacrament of Confirmation will help us to pray and work ceaselessly for our own salvation as Catholics and to help us to be used as instruments, consecrated to our Divine Commander, Christ the King, through His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, to restore all things in Him, taking to heart the words of Pope Saint Pius X in his first encyclical letter, E Supremi, October 4, 1903:
But, Venerable Brethren, we shall never, however much we exert ourselves, succeed in calling men back to the majesty and empire of God, except by means of Jesus Christ. "No one," the Apostle admonishes us, "can lay other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ." (I. Cor., iii., II.) It is Christ alone "whom the Father sanctified and sent into this world" (Is. x., 36), "the splendor of the Father and the image of His substance" (Hebr. i., 3), true God and true man: without whom nobody can know God with the knowledge for salvation, "neither doth anyone know the Father but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him." (Matth. xi., 27.) Hence it follows that to restore all things in Christ and to lead men back to submission to God is one and the same aim. To this, then, it behoves Us to devote Our care -- to lead back mankind under the dominion of Christ; this done, We shall have brought it back to God. When We say to God We do not mean to that inert being heedless of all things human which the dream of materialists has imagined, but to the true and living God, one in nature, triple in person, Creator of the world, most wise Ordainer of all things, Lawgiver most just, who punishes the wicked and has reward in store for virtue.
Now the way to reach Christ is not hard to find: it is the Church. Rightly does Chrysostom inculcate: "The Church is thy hope, the Church is thy salvation, the Church is thy refuge." ("Hom. de capto Euthropio," n. 6.) It was for this that Christ founded it, gaining it at the price of His blood, and made it the depositary of His doctrine and His laws, bestowing upon it at the same time an inexhaustible treasury of graces for the sanctification and salvation of men.
You see, then, Venerable Brethren, the duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon you of bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society, now estranged from the wisdom of Christ; the Church will then subject it to Christ, and Christ to God. If We, through the goodness of God Himself, bring this task to a happy issue, We shall be rejoiced to see evil giving place to good, and hear, for our gladness, " a loud voice from heaven saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ." (Apoc. xii., 10.) But if our desire to obtain this is to be fulfilled, we must use every means and exert all our energy to bring about the utter disappearance of the enormous and detestable wickedness, so characteristic of our time -- the substitution of man for God; this done, it remains to restore to their ancient place of honor the most holy laws and counsels of the gospel; to proclaim aloud the truths taught by the Church, and her teachings on the sanctity of marriage, on the education and discipline of youth, on the possession and use of property, the duties that men owe to those who rule the State; and lastly to restore equilibrium between the different classes of society according to Christian precept and custom. This is what We, in submitting Ourselves to the manifestations of the Divine will, purpose to aim at during Our Pontificate, and We will use all our industry to attain it. It is for you, Venerable Brethren, to second Our efforts by your holiness, knowledge and experience and above all by your zeal for the glory of God, with no other aim than that Christ may be formed in all. (Pope Saint Pius X, E Supremi, October 4, 1903.)
Let the words of the then Patriarch of Venice disturb the consciences of those who are unwilling to admit that Joseph Ratzinger expelled himself from the Catholic Church long ago by his private belief in and public endorsement of one condemned proposition after another just as surely as the likes of the late Edward Moore Kennedy and the very much alive Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., et al., expelled themselves from the bosom of Holy Mother Church by their support of the chemical and surgical assassination of the innocent preborn (see What's Good For Teddy Is Good For Benny), those who dare to tell others to "have nothing to do" with Catholics who understand Ratzinger/Benedict to be an enemy of Christ the King and of thus of the souls for whom He shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross, those who believe that they can remain silent in the face of grave evils endorsed by the man they consider to be "the pope:"
Liberal Catholics are "wolves in sheep's clothing; it is more important than anything else that murky designs should be exposed to the light and denounced." (Yves Chiron, Saint Pius X: Restorer of the Church. Translated by Graham Harrison. Angelus Press, 2002, p. 88.)
Pope Saint Pius X had no use for false ecumenism or even the niceities of diplomacy, being ready and willing to snub a former President of the United States of America, the thirty-third degree Freemason named Theodore Roosevelt, when he had come to Rome to address Methodists, whose "legitimacy" in the Eternal City he, Pope Saint Pius X, could not coutenance in any way:
Ever conscious of the Church’s exclusive mission to the world, the Pope refused to receive Theodore Roosevelt after the former American president had lectured to a Methodist congregation in Rome. (See St Pius X: the son of a village postman who urged modernists to beaten with fists.)
Finally Pope Saint Pius X provided a stinging reproof to anyone in the so-called "resist while recognize movement" that it is not possible to "love" a true and legitimate Successor of Saint Peter without obeying him without any kind of qualification whatsoever:
Distracted with so many occupations, it is easy to forget the things that lead to perfection in priestly life; it is easy [for the priest] to delude himself and to believe that, by busying himself with the salvation of the souls of others, he consequently works for his own sanctification. Alas, let not this delusion lead you to error, because nemo dat quod nemo habet [no one gives what he does not have]; and, in order to sanctify others, it is necessary not to neglect any of the ways proposed for the sanctification of our own selves….
The Pope is the guardian of dogma and of morals; he is the custodian of the principles that make families sound, nations great, souls holy; he is the counsellor of princes and of peoples; he is the head under whom no one feels tyrannized because he represents God Himself; he is the supreme father who unites in himself all that may exist that is loving, tender, divine.
It seems incredible, and is even painful, that there be priests to whom this recommendation must be made, but we are regrettably in our age in this hard, unhappy, situation of having to tell priests: love the Pope!
And how must the Pope be loved? Non verbo neque lingua, sed opere et veritate. [Not in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth - 1 Jn iii, 18] When one loves a person, one tries to adhere in everything to his thoughts, to fulfill his will, to perform his wishes. And if Our Lord Jesus Christ said of Himself, “si quis diligit me, sermonem meum servabit,” [if any one love me, he will keep my word - Jn xiv, 23] therefore, in order to demonstrate our love for the Pope, it is necessary to obey him.
Therefore, when we love the Pope, there are no discussions regarding what he orders or demands, or up to what point obedience must go, and in what things he is to be obeyed; when we love the Pope, we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough, almost as if he were forced to repeat to the ear of each one the will clearly expressed so many times not only in person, but with letters and other public documents; we do not place his orders in doubt, adding the facile pretext of those unwilling to obey – that it is not the Pope who commands, but those who surround him; we do not limit the field in which he might and must exercise his authority; we do not set above the authority of the Pope that of other persons, however learned, who dissent from the Pope, who, even though learned, are not holy, because whoever is holy cannot dissent from the Pope.
This is the cry of a heart filled with pain, that with deep sadness I express, not for your sake, dear brothers, but to deplore, with you, the conduct of so many priests, who not only allow themselves to debate and criticize the wishes of the Pope, but are not embarrassed to reach shameless and blatant disobedience, with so much scandal for the good and with so great damage to souls. (Pope Saint Pius X, Allocution Vi ringrazio to priests on the 50th anniversary of the Apostolic Union, November 18, 1912, as found at: RORATE CÆLI: “Love the Pope!” – no ifs, and no buts: For Bishops, priests, and faithful, Saint Pius X explains what loving the Pope really entails.)
Mindful of the fact that our own sins have worsened the state of the Church Militant on earth and of the world-at-large, let us be content to continue to beg Pope Saint Pius X for his heavenly assistance during this time of apostasy and betrayal that he foresaw and that he forearmed us against by providing an unstinting body of writing and of personal witness against any and all compromise and, worse yet, any and all silence about those who are enemies of the Faith and have by that fact expelled themselves from the bosom of Holy Mother Church without any formal declaration having been made to that effect.
We must remember that Our Lord was hated by the august King Herod the Great when news of His Nativity reached Herod. We must remember that Our Lord had to be taken by his dear foster-father, Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church and the Protector of the Faithful, and His Most Blessed Mother to live in exile in Egypt. We must remember that Our Lord lived most of His life hidden from the world performing the arduous work of a carpenter, working with the very wood of trees that were created through Him, the very wood of trees upon which He would redeem us, thus re-creating us unto children of God by adoption.
These truths, which are part of the Deposit of Faith, are important to remember at all times because the crosses of the present moment, no matter their source, are fashioned to us from the very hand of God Himself to be the means of our participating in Our Lord's Easter victory over the power of sin and eternal death. It matters not what anyone thinks of us for refusing to accept the conciliarists as representatives of the Catholic Church or for refusing to associate with those who believe act in a de facto manner as the authority of the Church while looking the other way at grave abuses of the moral order and indemnifying wrong-doers time and time again. All that matters is that we carry our cross as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, looking for no other consolation than that which is given to the souls of the elect upon the Particular Judgment and that is ratified for all to see at General Judgment of the Living and the Dead as we pray as many Rosaries each day as our state-in-life permits:
Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25: 21.)
We need the heavenly help of Pope Saint Pius X in this, our hour of need, a time in which the the lords of conciliarism enable the lords of Modernity in their warfare against the Social Reign of Christ the King to the detriment of the sanctification and the salvation of the souls for whom Our King shed every single drop of His Most Precious Blood during His Passion and Death on the wood of Holy Cross on Good Friday to redeem and to the detriment of social order and true world peace, one founded in Our Lady's Fatima Peace Plan.
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for us.
Remember, the hard copy of Conversion in Reverse: How the Ethos of Americanism Converted Catholics (Volume 1) is now available for purchase.