Encyclopedia Britannica – Pius X

Pope Saint Pius X, 1895Article

[Giuseppe Sarto] (1835-1914), Pope, died 20 August 1914. Although the pontificate of Pius X. lasted only 11 years (4 August 1903 – 20 August 1914), it has been said that his work for the Church, reconstructive and reformative, surpassed that of any of his predecessors since the days of Sixtus V, who died in 1590. In the defence of the Faith, his condemnation of the 65 propositions of Modernism in 1907 will rank in Catholic theology as a parallel to the condemnation of the 68 propositions of Molinism by Innocent XI. in 1637 or the 101 propositions of Jansenism condemned by Clement XI in 1713. The activity of the pontificate may be judged by the fact that its output of papal Bulls and greater official papal documents (counting only those published) exceeded 3,322. These bear upon undertakings and reforms of the first importance – the codification of canon law; the protection of the liberty of the Conclave by the abolition of the Exclusiva; the simplification and security of the conditions of marriage by the Ne Temere legislation; the restoration of the Rota as the supreme Court of Appeal; the regulation of the triennial or quinquennial visits of bishops to Rome; the legislation as to Church music; and the decree as to First Communion, and the encouragement of international eucharistic congresses; the reform of the Roman breviary; the founding of the biblical institute for the work of Scriptural research; the regulation of studies in the seminaries; the creation of the commission for the great work of editing the true text of the Vulgate; the reconstruction of the official machinery of the Roman Curia; the transfer of the English-speaking countries from the propaganda or missionary rĂ©gime to the normal government of the Church. To these may be added in the domain of discipline the unflinching vindication by Pius X of the Church’s right to depose delinquent bishops, carried out even at the cost of rupture of diplomatic relations with France; an apostolic visitation rigorously carried out through the dioceses of Italy, resulting in four bishops being caused to resign on account of neglect or inefficiency; a further regulation by which no one can be proposed for a bishopric unless his promotion receives the visa of the Holy Office, which means that his past life has been free from ecclesiastical censure or reproach.

The well-known personal characteristics of Pius X were his piety, charity, deep humility, simplicity, pastoral zeal, combined with great charm of manner to all who approached him. For war he had nothing but horror and it was the shock of the outbreak of the World War that hastened his death. It is said that one of his last acts was to refuse the request of the Austrian Emperor to bless his soldiers, saying, “I do not bless war: I bless peace.”

MLA Citation

  • “Pius X”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1911. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 November 2016. Web. 18 January 2019. <>