Pius X.

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Pius X.
Signature of Pius X.

Pius X. ( Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto ; born June 2, 1835 in Riese , Lombardy-Venetia , † August 20, 1914 in Rome ) was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1903 to 1914 . He was founded in 1954 by Pope Pius XII. canonized . Pius X is often referred to as a “conservative reform pope” because, according to his motto Instaurare omnia in Christo (“Renew everything in Christ”), he endeavored to reform and renew within the church, to help the Catholic Church fight against the influences of modernity to strengthen.


Giuseppe Sarto as cardinal and patriarch of Venice

Pius X was born as Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto in Riese, which at that time belonged to the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia and was ecclesiastically under the bishop of Treviso . His father Johann Battista Sarto was a magistrate and a small farmer, his mother Margherita née Sanson a farmer. After two years of elementary school in Riese, he was sent to high school in Castelfranco Veneto . In 1850 he entered the seminary in Padua , and received in 1858 by Giovanni Antonio Farina , bishop of Treviso, the ordination . Sarto worked as chaplain in Tombolo (Veneto) , from 1867 he was pastor in Salzano . In 1875 he was appointed Episcopal Vicar General and Canon in Treviso by the Bishop of Treviso , on November 10, 1884, Bishop of Mantua , and on June 15, 1893, Archbishop and Patriarch of Venice . Three days earlier he was from Pope Leo XIII. was created as a cardinal priest with the titular church of San Bernardo alle Terme . This makes Sarto one of the few popes who began their career as a country pastor. Together with Pius IX. and Francis is Pius X. one of three popes since 1769 who did not acquire a doctorate in their training.


Coat of arms of Pius X.

After a four-day conclave , Cardinal Sarto became Leo XIII's successor on August 4, 1903 in the seventh ballot with 50 votes. chosen. At the beginning of the conclave, the Cardinal Secretary of State Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro was considered the most promising candidate. In fact, Cardinal Rampolla received the most votes in the first three ballots, but not a sufficient majority. After the second ballot, Emperor Franz Joseph I made use of his exclusive right and had the Bishop of Krakow, Cardinal Jan Puzyna de Kosielsko declare a veto by Austria against a possible election of Rampolla. Whether this was actually the reason for the later election of Cardinal Sarto cannot be verified. In the Apostolic Constitution Commissum nobis of January 20, 1904, he forbade any cardinal, under penalty of excommunication, from delivering an exclusive to the conclave. After his election he took the name Pius ("the pious"). The coronation took place on August 9, 1903 in St. Peter's Basilica by Cardinal Protodeacon Luigi Macchi .

Pius X shortly after his coronation, photograph by Giuseppe Felici (August 14, 1903)

Pius X began his pontificate with the motu proprio Tra le sollecitudini to elevate church music . In it he stipulated, among other things, that only boys who had not been neutered should be used for the casting of soprano and alto voices , and thus practically forbade the employment of castrati in church choirs and thus also in the Sistine Choir . This final ban deprived the castration practice of promoting a singing career the last basis. On the other hand, the Pope was a thorn in the side of the pope at the time when melodies from the opera house and concert hall were transferred to the sacred space. So he decreed the return to the true sources of church music in his eyes, to Palestrina and Gregorian chant .

In addition, Pius X reformed the Roman Curia , devoted himself to catechesis and the care of the seminaries and introduced new legislation. He condemned modernism several times , including in the 1907 decree Lamentabili of the Holy Office and in the encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis . The anti-modernist oath introduced by Pius X in 1910 was replaced in 1967 by a creed .

Pius X was a great promoter of Catholic Action . In his encyclical Il fermo proposito of June 11, 1905, addressed to the Italian bishops, on the establishment and promotion of Catholic Action, and in the apostolic letter Notre charge apostolique of August 25, 1910 against the French Le Sillon movement by Marc Sangnier , which the ideals Wishing to unite the French Revolution with those of Catholicism, he laid down the principles and goals.

The signing of the Concordat with Serbia on the eve of the First World War

On the one hand, Pius X went down in history as an indomitable anti-modern Pope, on the other hand he carried out far-reaching internal church reforms of lasting value, especially with regard to the Eucharist , for whose celebration he formulated the participatio actuosa ("living participation") of the people as a principle . This principle as well as the term were later taken up by the Second Vatican Council (1963) . Characteristic of the pontificate of Pius X were among other things his recommendation of the daily reception of communion and the lowering of the minimum age of children for admission to first communion to seven years in the decree Quam singulari of August 8, 1910. - With its Apostolic Constitution Divino afflatu of November 1, 1911 he also undertook a fundamental reform of the Roman breviary .

As part of his reforms in relation to the Eucharist , Pius X introduced early communion . Until the 20th century, confirmation was given as the completion of baptism around the age of 7. Baptism - Confirmation - Communion were in one order. First the sacraments of initiation, then full participation in the ecclesial community. In the 19th century there was a growing interest in postponing Confirmation in favor of a more well-founded catechesis of faith. Pius X gave in to this request, but in 1910 put First Communion before Confirmation. The resulting problems for a meaningful theology of Confirmation are still unsolved today.

Pius X initiated the revision of canon law . This was established in 1582 by the Corpus Iuris Canonici and supplemented with many additional provisions over the centuries. The new version of canon law served not least to further strengthen the papal claim to power. The work, now called Codex Iuris Canonici (CIC), was completed after his death in 1917.

During his pontificate there were several disputes with European states, which led to diplomatic relations with Spain and France being broken off and the Concordat with France of 1801 being lifted in 1905 , the latter because the predominantly Catholic country was the first in the world (and still valid today). Separation of church and state ( laicité ) had introduced. The Mariavites Feliksa Kozłowska and Jan Maria Michał Kowalski was on April 5, in 1906, Pope Pius X excommunicated .

In 1908 Pius X excommunicated Alfred Loisy . This, previously banned from teaching, was a representative of the historical-critical method that the Pope pursued with all his might. Pius X published a decree against the "errors of time", the Little Syllabus . In this way the Pope tried to determine what Catholics could read and think. Unpopular scientists and clerics were fought down with the methods of spying, denunciation and permanent repression. Pius X. changed this from Pius IX in 1874. in the Bull Non expedit decreed the prohibition to take part in democratic elections ( Il fermo proposito of June 11, 1905): the local bishops should now decide whether the participation of Catholics in a certain election would expressly benefit the highest good of society.

Laying out the body in St. Peter's Basilica (August 21-22, 1914)

In contrast to his successor, Pius X did not pursue a strictly neutral stance towards the beginning of the First World War . He valued Emperor Franz Joseph I and "always placed the greatest emphasis on maintaining the best relations with Austria". At the same time the German Empire was approached. While Pius X. had concluded a concordat with Serbia on June 24, 1914 through his Cardinal Secretary of State Rafael Merry del Val , a month later a telegram from the Bavarian envoy reported to the Holy See on July 26, 1914: “The Pope approves sharp action against Austria Serbia". And the Austrian envoy also confirmed to his foreign minister on July 27th that Cardinal Secretary of State Merry del Val hoped the monarchy would “go to extremes”.

Pius X died of a heart attack in Rome on August 20, 1914 . His funerary inscription calls him “gentle and humble in heart” with reference to Jesus Christ . Contrary to tradition, his body was not embalmed at his request.


Reliquary in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome

Pius X was founded by Pope Pius XII. Beatified in 1951 - and canonized in 1954 . Since then, his relics have been in a glass reliquary in St. Peter's Basilica, the head is covered with a metal cover. Since the canonization of Pius V in the 18th century, this was again the first holy Pope. He is the patron saint of Esperantists , sundial makers, catechists and the Papal Work of the Holy Childhood . His feast day is August 21st, in the extraordinary form of the Roman rite on September 3rd.

The birthplace of Pius X., Riese, was renamed Riese Pio X. in his honor after his canonization . In 1985 the municipality of Riese Pio X. and the province of Treviso established a foundation, the Fondazione Giuseppe Sarto , which is concerned with researching and documenting his life and work.

Beatifications and canonizations made by Pius X.

On May 27, 1906, Pope Pius X beatified the 16 martyrs of Compiègne . He also beatified the following people: Stephan Pongrácz (1905), Valentin Faustino Berrio-Ochoa (1906), Clarus von Vienne (1907), Zdislava Berka (1907), Johannes Bosco (1907), Jan van Ruysbroek (1908), Maria Magdalena Postel (1908), Andreas Nam-Thung (1909), Agatha Lin (1909), Agnes De (1909), Jeanne d'Arc (1909) and Johannes Eudes (1909). The following were canonized: Alexander Sauli (1904), Gerhard Majella (1904), Klemens Maria Hofbauer (1909) and José Oriol (1909).


Pius X is said to have worked miracles during his lifetime. The Belgian consul Karl Lubois , whose body was covered with boils , is said to have been spontaneously healed through the intercessory prayer of the Pope. After his death, believers believe that many miracles occurred, which are documented in the acts of beatification and canonization.



The feast day of St. Pius X on August 21st is one of five special holidays of the Knightly Order of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem .

In the parish church in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler , consecrated to Pius X, there is a collection of 117 relics of the saint. These include private letters, pectoralia , his razor, a piece of sheet on which his body was laid out, pieces of wood from his bedstead, handkerchiefs with embroidered coat of arms, large wooden candlesticks from the Pope's private prayer niche and a lock of hair.

Giacomo Radini Tedeschi (1857–1914) was Bishop of Bergamo from 1905 until his death in 1914 . His secretary Giuseppe Angelo Roncalli, who later became Pope John XXIII. , reported:

“When the bishop donated money to strikers, he was denounced by the curia. Pius X simply wrote to the bishop instead of reprimanding him: 'We cannot disapprove of the measures you have found wise, since you were fully familiar with the local conditions, the people in question and the circumstances.' In general, Pius X, in contrast to other church monarchs, avoided interfering in the official business of the bishops. "

Roncalli adored Pius X and emulated him all his life.

In 1952 the Italian film Vom Landpfarrer zum Pope was released , in which the last weeks of his pontificate are described.

See also


Web links

Commons : Pius X.  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Pius X.  - Quotes

Individual evidence

  1. The expression goes back to the Belgian church historian Roger Aubert (1914–2009) (cf. Claus Arnold: Kleine Geschichte des Modernismus . Freiburg 2007, p. 108)
  2. René Schlott: The last veto under: one day , contemporary stories on SpiegelOnline .
  3. www.vatican.va: Tra le sollecitudini. Paragraph V: The Singers , 13 .
  4. a b c Volker Reinhardt: Pontifex. The history of the Popes . CH Beck, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-406-70381-2 , p. 814ff.
  5. Otto Weiß: Modernism in Germany , Regensburg 1995.
  6. Benedikt Kranemann: Liturgy of the Sacraments . Correspondence course theology, advanced course, lesson 21, 2016
  7. Schott: August 21, on the day of commemoration for St. Pius X.
  8. ^ Pius X in the Ecumenical Lexicon of Saints
  9. AW-Wiki.de: Catholic parish church “St. Pius “Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler / St. Pius Collection .
  10. spiegel.de June 12, 1963: Departure (obituary for Johannes XXIII.)
predecessor government office successor
Domenico Agostini Patriarch of Venice
Aristide Cavallari
Leo XIII. Pius X COA.svg Pope
Benedict XV
Luigi Piavi OFM Croix de l Ordre du Saint-Sepulcre.svg Grand Master of the Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem
Pope Benedict XV