Feast of St Pius X
Born near Venice in 1835, Joseph Sarto was elected pope in 1903 and took the name Pius X. Pius came to the papacy at a time of great disturbance in the church particularly with the rise of Modernism, a doctrine which was so heretical that the pope said it contained within it all the heresies that had ever been formulated in the church before.
In defence of the faith against modernism, Pope Pius wrote several letters and encyclicals and brought in the famous ‘Oath against Modernism,’ which all priests had to take, up to the time of the second Vatican council.
Pius was also a promoter of frequent confession, attendance at Mass and he lowered the age of first communion from about eleven to seven. While we may see these as minor changes it is widely held that the increase in the frequency of Mass attendance and reception of communion had a great effect on people.
As a pastor Pius tried to bring the church back to its roots and ‘restore all things in Christ.’ This was the great motto of his life. In his personal devotion Pius was a great believer in Our Lady of Confidence.
He died in August 1914, just after the outbreak of the First World War.