Saints, Theology, Traditionalism

Pope Saint Pius X, Pray For Us!

Pope Saint Pius X Renew All Thing in Christ

Today we celebrate the feast day of the great warrior saint who stood boldly against the heresy of modernism, Pope Saint Pius X.

Pope Saint Pius X initiated his pontificate with the encyclical letter, E Supremi Apostalatus (On the Restoration of All Things in Christ). In this encyclical Pius X describes the ideological environment of his era,

“We were terrified beyond all else by the disastrous state of human society today. For who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is – apostasy from God, than which in truth nothing is more allied with ruin, according to the word of the Prophet: ‘For behold they that go far from Thee shall perish’ (Ps. 72:27). We saw therefore that, in virtue of the ministry of the pontificate, which was to be entrusted to Us, We must hasten to find a remedy for this great evil, considering as addressed to Us that Divine command: ‘Lo, I have set thee this day over the nations and over kingdoms, to root up, and to pull down, and to waste, and to destroy, and to build, and to plant’ (Jer. 1:10). But, cognizant of Our weakness, We recoiled in terror from a task as urgent as it is arduous.”[1]

It is worth noting that this description of the dire times surrounding the Church was written in 1903. One can only wonder how Pope Saint Pius X would describe the horrendous state of affairs the Church finds herself in today.

However, in order to combat the situation of his time, and we might apply this mission statement to our own, Pope Saint Pius X provides a lucid description of what would motivate his pontificate,

“Since, however, is has been pleasing to the Divine Will to raise Our lowliness to such sublimity of power, We take courage in Him who strengthens Us; and setting Ourselves to work, relying on the power of God, We proclaim that We have no other program in the Supreme Pontificate but that ‘of restoring all things in Christ’ (Eph. 1:10), so that ‘Christ may be all and in all’ (Col. 3:11). Some will certainly be found who, measuring Divine things by human standards will seek to discover secret aims of Ours, distorting them to an earthly scope and to partisan designs. To eliminate all vain delusions for such, We say to them with emphasis that We do not wish to be, and with the Divine assistance never shall be aught before human society but the Minister of God, of whose authority We are the depository. The interests of God shall be Our interest, and for these We are resolved to spend all Our strength and Our very life. Hence, should anyone ask Us for a symbol as the expression of Our will, We will give this and not other: ‘To renew all things in Christ.’”

In undertaking this this glorious task, We are greatly quickened by the certainty that We shall have all of you, Venerable Brethren, as generous co-operators. Did We doubt it We should have to regard you, unjustly, as either unconscious or heedless of that sacrilegious war which is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God. For in truth, ‘The nations have raged and the peoples imagined vain things’ (Ps. 2:1) against their Creator, so frequent is the cry of the enemies of God: ‘Depart from us’ (Job. 21:14). And as might be expected we find extinguished among the majority of men all respect for the Eternal God, and no regard paid in the manifestations of public and private life to the Supreme Will – nay, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and the knowledge of God.”[2]

After reading this call to arms, is this not the mission of the Church Militant? Did not Pope Saint Pius X simply proclaim the reason for the Church’s existence, which is to renew all things in Christ?

Indeed, for after this call to arms this great saint and leader of Christ’s army on earth identifies with similar clarity the heresy which actualizes aforementioned apostasy in staggering numbers,

“It may, perhaps, seem to some, Venerable Brethren, that We have dealt at too great length on this exposition of the doctrines of the Modernists. But it was necessary that We should do so, both in order to meet their customary charge that We do not understand their ideas, and to show that their system does not consist in scattered and unconnected theories, but, as it were, in a closely connected whole, so that it is not possible to admit one without admitting all. For this reason, too, We have had to give to this exposition a somewhat didactic form, and not to shrink from employing certain unwonted terms which the modernists have brought into use. And now with Our eyes fixed upon the whole system, no one will be surprised that We should define it to be the synthesis of all heresies. Undoubtedly, were anyone to attempt the task of collecting together all the errors that have been broached against the faith and to concentrate into one the sap and substance of them all, he could not succeed in doing so better than the Modernists have done. Nay, they have gone further that this, for, as We have already intimated, their system means the destruction not of the Catholic religion alone, but of all religion. Hence the rationalists are not wanting in their applause, and the most frank and sincere among them congratulate themselves on having found in the Modernists the most valuable of all.”[3]

The precision of Pascendi is relevant for our current era given the amount of confusion modernism brings into the ranks of the Mystical Body of Christ.

There is much more that can be said about Pope Saint Pius X, but for now, let us pray that God might raise up a series of Popes with the apostolic pedigree of Pius X.

Pope Saint Pius X, Pray For Us!

 

– Lucas G. Westman


[1] E Supremi Apostalatus (On the Restoration of All Things in Christ), Paragraph 3.

[2] E Supremi Apostalatus (On the Restoration of All Things in Christ). Paragraph 4

[3] Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On Modernism), Paragraph 39

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