Saint Pius X, our most recently sainted Pope, gets a bad rap.
First, there is the Society of Saint Pius X which by it’s very association with the name “Saint Pius X” gives some people the hebejebes. The oddities of some in the SSPX (Bb Williamson!) can inadvertently be associated with that legacy of Saint Pius X. This is unfortunate and not necessary.
Secondly, Saint Pius X has been tarred as an intolerant persecutor of academic freedom and inquiry. It is true that Pope Saint Pius X condemned modernism (which His Holiness called the sum of all heresies). Nevertheless, he was right to do so, and his canonization testifies to his great holiness and proper intention in seeking to destroy this heresy which seeks to undermine Christ, His Sacraments, and His Church.
If people today condemn the Church’s most recent papal saint, perhaps that speaks more about our age than it does about the man.
Saint Pius X was the 257th pope of the Catholic Church, reigning gloriously from 1903 to 1914. He is the first pope since Pope Pius V to be canonized – a 400 year gap. He is the only pope in the last century with extensive parochial experience – a very good sign. Saint Pius X struggled against modernism and promoted traditional Catholic liturgy and theology. He reformed the Code of Canon Law, which collected the laws of the Church into one volume for the first time in Church history for the sake of simplicity. He promoted frequent reception of Holy Communion and lowered the age for reception of First Communion. He is often referred to as the Eucharistic Pope. His papal motto is from Saint Paul: “To restore all things in Christ.”
Saint Pius X had a love for holy poverty, despite being a Pope. Growing up, he lived in a home with dirt floors. He would say: “I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor.”
Once, when being applauded by the faithful as he entered Saint Peter’s Basilica, he stopped them and said:
“It is not fitting to applaud the servant in the house of his Master.” Such was his humility.
His personal life was immaculate and his love for the Immaculate Virgin Mary was intimate and filial.
I could go on and on. Please take time to learn more about this great pope and saint. And if you hear him mischaracterized as a grumpy and intolerant Pope, please defend his reputation and legacy.
Saint Pius X, pray for us.
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