Fr. Scott A. Haynes
A MEDITATION ON POPE ST. PIUS X
Shortly before his death, Pope Leo XIII told Cardinal Guiseppe Sarto that he would be the next pope and that he would do much for the Church. Leo XIII was right on both counts. Pope St. Pius X was not to enjoy peace in his pontificate. Both in the Church and in the world, he had to contend with great conflicts.
The French Republic, at that time the most influential nation in the world, was waging bitter war on the Church. The French government suppressed religious orders, attacked Catholic education, separated Church and State, and confiscated Church property. The political and social life of France, its anti-clericalism, the confrontation between Revolution and Counter-Revolution were followed and imitated by almost the whole world. Years before, the Prince of Metternich, a famous Austrian minister, expressed this well in a very picturesque way, saying,
“When France has a cold, all Europe sneezes.”