St. Pius X, Pope

Friends in Christ, today is the feast of Pope St. Pius X.
Born Joseph Sarto in Venice, he was the second of ten children in a poor family. He was educated at the village school, then ordained a priest, then bishop, then Cardinal of Venice. He was elected Pope in 1903. 
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From his simple upbringings, he was a bit uncomfortable with all the pomp of Rome in those days. He said to a friend: “Look at how they have dressed me up,” “It is a penance.”
At his installation as Pope, his mother kissed his papal ring. Then she held out her hand, with her wedding ring, and said, “Son, you kiss my ring, because without it, you would not have yours.’
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Pius X is perhaps best known for having lowered the age for 1st Communion. But he did other things too; he promoted the use of sacred music in Church, principally, Gregorian Chant. He encouraged the daily reading of the Holy Scriptures, called for reform of the clergy and seminaries, and he had terrible struggles with the anti-religious government of France.
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In many ways, he was a prophet. He identified the seeds of what he called ‘the heresy of Modernism.’ He wrote two important encyclicals on this subject, explaining the errors which were infecting the world:
1. The idea that religion is just a product of human feelings and imagination, instead of true revelation from God.
2. The idea that miracles in the bible are myths, or that Jesus was just a good man, not God.
3. The idea that all religions are really the same.
4. The idea that doctrines of the Church can be changed as needed by society.
5. The idea that the teachings of the Church are not good for the well-being of society.
6. The idea that marriage can be dissolved by the will of man.
7. The idea that science is superior to religion in all things.
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These were errors that were just starting then. He saw that the root, is the rejection of the supernatural, the unwillingness to accept that God acts in the world, and that he is real. These ideas are found everywhere today. We might call it Liberalism. But 100 years ago, Pius X saw it all coming.
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Pope Pius X had one last dream: to prevent World War I. It was his sadness, that he was unable to prevent it. He died brokenhearted, a few weeks after the war began.
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The historian Ludwig Pastor said of Pius X: ‘He was one of those few people whose personality is irresistible. Everyone was moved by his angelic kindness. In his presence, there was a deep conviction of being face to face with a saint”

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