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To Restore All Things in Christ

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.”

Not only was the Church being persecuted from without but also from within. Some priests, infected with bad philosophical ideas and theological heresies, were striving to make modernism prevail within the Church. Modernism, which Pius X called the “heresy of all heresies,” is dangerous because it attempts to adapt our Catholic faith to the changing whims and fads of the day. This should sound familiar to us. If modernism was a small tumor in the Catholic Church in 1907 when Pius X condemned it, what has it grown to be today?

It is good for us to consider what Pope Pius X’s condemnation of Modernism represented. A conspiracy had been established inside the Church, like a conspiracy inside a country, in order to usurp the supreme power. It intended to submit the Church to a series of reforms in order to adapt her to the errors of the French Revolution.

It wanted to establish democracy throughout the Church. It demanded the Church to support and collaborate with the political leftist parties. Modernism spread religious indifferentism so that no one would have certainty about the one true Faith. For Modernism the personal interior faith inside of each person was sufficient. To correct these errors, on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, September 8, 1907, Pope St. Pius X condemned Modernism as the "synthesis of all heresies" in his encyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis. This is the first great characteristic of his pontificate, which would be enough to immortalize him. Imagine if he had failed to do so. Today, any reaction against the Culture of Death would be impossible.


St. Pius X was not only a good Pope; he was a saint and a counter revolutionary. In a certain way he was also a prophet. He made a last appeal for the people of his day to persevere in their Catholic faith and to prevent the scourge of world war that was threatening them. If the world would not listen to his appeal, then World War I would come as a chastisement. Cardinal Merry del Val reported in his memoirs that St. Pius X predicted WW I as the end of an era.

Examining his life and pontificate, we must admit that there is a link between St. Pius X and Fátima. Since his pontificate was not well accepted, the war came, and this was a principal cause for the rise of Communism in Russia, and afterward, the dissemination of its errors all over the world. One thing is linked to the other.

But the fact of his election to the Office of the Papacy illustrates something of a mystery that exists in the life of the Church. When the hour of Divine Providence arrives, even in the darkest, more incomprehensible, and almost hopeless situation, the Holy Spirit acts in the Church and it moves the hearts of men in the most unexpected and inconceivable ways.

Our Lord sleeps in the bark of the Church, like He slept in the boat with the Apostles. Our Lord was sleeping as the storm reached its apex. The Apostles became fearful and awakened Him. But then He ordered the storm to stop, and there was a great calm. How many times in the History of the Church has Our Lord seemed to be sleeping! Perhaps if we would pray more for Him to awaken, things would be different.


Pope St. Pius took as his motto St. Paul's expression: "to restore all things in Christ." He made every effort to live up to it. If we are to participate in this restoration of God's grace in Christ, we must permit Christ to reign over our hearts and our homes, our private and public lives, and in every aspect of the life of the Church and in every corner of this darkened world. Where do we begin this restoration? We begin with the Sacred Liturgy, where we faithfully and lovingly give the right and proper worship, which is due to God alone, because it is the Mass that matters above all.
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