Pope St. Pius X
August 21 [New] September 3 [Trad.]
The second of ten children of a cobbler and postman, Giuseppe Melchior Sarto was born on June 2 at Riese near Trevino, Italy, was educated in the same place, and entered the seminary at Padua in 1850. He was ordained there in 1858, engaged in pastoral work at Tombolo and Salzano during the next seventeen years, and was diocesan chancellor at Treviso, 1875-84. He was appointed bishop of Mantua in 1884 and in the next nine years successfully revived that rundown diocese. He was named cardinal and patriarch of Venice but did not occupy his see for eighteen months until 1894 because of tae claim of the Italian Government that it had the right to nominate the patriarch of Venice. He was elected Pope to succeed Pope Leo XIII, when Austria vetoed the nomination of front-running Cardinal Rampolla, on August 4, 1903. He began a codification of canon law, set up a commission to revise the Vulgate, reorganized the papal court and ordered a revision of the psalter and the breviary. He urged frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children, told Italian Catholics to become more actively involved in politics, and in 1905 broke off diplomatic relations with France when the antireligious government of that country unilaterally denounced the Concordat of 1801, demanded control of ecclesiastical affairs, and confiscated Church property when Pius refused its demands. Throughout his pontificate, he was concerned with the heresy of modernism, which he denounced in his encyclicals Lamentabilis sane exitu (1907) and Pascendi dominici gregis (1907), and he demanded an oath against modernism by every priest. In 1910, he condemned the "Sillon," a French social movement that was attempting to spread an adapted concept of the French Revolution, and Action Française, which was advocating an intransigent nationalism. He died in Rome on August 20, and was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954, the first Pope to be so honored since the canomzoation of Pope Pius V in 1712. August 21.
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