Pius X

1835-1914. Pope from 1903. Born Giuseppi Melchiorre Sarto, he became bishop of Mantua in 1884 and patriarch of Venice in 1893. He devoted his pontificate to the continuing spiritual purification of the Catholic Church. His struggle against Catholic modernism in the writings of Loisy,* Houtin, and others, led to its condemnation in the encyclical Pieni l'animo (1906), in a sixty-five point summary of its errors (1907), and finally in the requirement that clergy takes an oath against modernism (1910). He followed Leo XIII in recommending Thomism as the Catholic philosophy (1910) and founded the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (1909). He showed some favor to Bernigni's League of St. Pius V, which professed Integralism, but condemned, graciously, Charles Maurras and Action Française* (1926). To strengthen the faith of ordinary believers, threatened as he saw them by modernism, he promoted renewal in worship and personal devotion: he provided for enhancement of the church's music, including a revival of Gregorian chant (1904), a revision of the Breviary prayers (1911), new devotion to Mary (1904), more frequent Mass for the faithful (1905), an earlier First Communion for children, and better religious instruction (1905). He began the codification of canon law completed under Benedict XV.

The Catholic struggle with the secularist French Third Republic reached a new stage with the break in diplomatic relations (1904), and the French Law of Separation (1905), unilaterally terminating the Concordat of 1801*; among other things, the state confiscated further church properties and transformed its semi-favorable legal stance toward the church into active legal antagonism, Pius condemned the action in the encyclicals Vehementer Nos and Gravissimo officii munere (1906). He maintained, but softened, the papal non possemus policy against the Italian overthrow of papal temporal power, allowing limited Catholic participation in local elections (1905). Pieni l'animo (1906) also showed his favored model for politics: Catholic Action,* social action by nonclergy under effective hierarchical control, rather than independent Catholic movements advocated by the new Christian democracy. He was canonized in 1954.

C. Ledré, Pie X (1952); P. Fernessole, Pie X: Essai historique (2 vols., 1952-53); V.A. Yzermans (ed.), All things in Christ (1954, his papal documents in ET); G. Dal-Gal, Pius X: The life story of the Beatus (1954).