Author

Pius X cover

photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Pius X

Catholic Pope and saint

1835   -   1914

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country of citizenship: Kingdom of Italy
languages spoken, written or signed: Italian, Latin
occupation: Catholic priest, Catholic deacon
award received: Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre
position held: pope, patriarch of Venice, cardinal, Catholic bishop, canon, chancellor, parson, vicar, diocesan bishop

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Pope Pius X (Italian: Pio X; born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto; 2 June 1835 – 20 August 1914) was head of the Catholic Church as Pope from August 1903 to his death in 1914. Pius X is known for vigorously opposing modernist interpretations of Catholic doctrine, promoting liturgical reforms and scholastic philosophy and theology. He initiated the preparation of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the first comprehensive and systemic work of its kind. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church and is the namesake of the Society of Saint Pius X. Pius X was devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Our Lady of Confidence; while his papal encyclical Ad diem illum took on a sense of renewal that was reflected in the motto of his pontificate. He advanced the Liturgical Movement by formulating the principle of participatio actuosa (active participation) of the faithful in his motu proprio, Tra le sollecitudini (1903), he encouraged the frequent reception of Holy Communion, and he lowered the age for First Communion, which became a lasting innovation of his papacy. Like his predecessors, he promoted Thomism as the principal philosophical method to be taught in Catholic institutions. As pope, he vehemently opposed various nineteenth-century philosophies, which he viewed as an intrusion of secular errors incompatible with Catholic dogma, especially modernism, which he critiqued as the synthesis of every heresy. He also undertook a reform of the Roman Curia with the Apostolic Constitution Sapienti consilio in 1908. Pius X was known for his firm demeanour and sense of personal poverty, reflected by his membership of the Third Order of Saint Francis. He regularly gave sermons from the pulpit, a rare practice at the time. After the 1908 Messina earthquake he filled the Apostolic Palace with refugees, long before the Italian government acted. He rejected any kind of favours for his family; his close relatives chose to remain in poverty, living near Rome.After his death, a strong cult of devotion followed his reputation for piety and holiness. He was beatified in 1951 and was canonized on 29 May 1954. The traditionalist Catholic priestly Society of Saint Pius X is named in his honour, while a statue bearing his name stands within St. Peter's Basilica; and his birth town was renamed Riese Pio X after his death.
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