In a time of total turmoil in the Catholic Church all over the world, we traditional Catholics remind the Church that our faith is built on immutable truths founded on:
2) The Deposit of Faith left by Jesus to the Apostles.
3) Ancient liturgical traditions that have been passed on from one generation to another.
4) All Ecumenical Councils, (not just Vatican II).
5) The writings of the Doctors of the Church and saints.
6) All the pope’s encyclicals.
Pope St. Pius X or Giuseppe Sarto is one of those great defenders of the purity of faith that we traditionalist especially look to. We do so because he was the one to point out, and tried to eradicate, the terrible heresy of Modernism from the Catholic Church hierarchy.
The Pope’s motto was to “Restore or Re-establish all things in Christ”, “instaurare omnia in Christo”. Ephesians 1:10. And this is precisely what we traditional Catholics are trying to do today, reform, restore, renew and resist modernism and change to doctrine.
Pope Pius X had been a spiritual director and rector of a seminary, so he knew how important the proper formation of priest is. As pope, he called to the attention of the bishops the “spirit of independence” in younger clergy that he called a “menace” to ecclesiastical discipline. To counteract this he strongly stated that all their studies be based on St. Thomas Aquinas.
“the principles of philosophy laid down by St. Thomas Aquinas are to be religiously and inviolably observed, because they are the means of acquiring such a knowledge of creation as is most congruent with the Faith (Contra Gentiles, II, 2, 3); of refuting all the errors of all the ages, and of enabling man to distinguish clearly what things are to be attributed to God and to God alone (ibid., iii; and Sum. Theol., 1, xii, 4: and liv, 1).”
“The reason is that the capital theses in the philosophy of St. Thomas are not to be placed in the category of opinions capable of being debated one way or another, but are to be considered as the foundations upon which the whole science of natural and divine things is based; if such principles are once removed or in any way impaired, it must necessarily follow that students of the sacred sciences will ultimately fail to perceive so much as the meaning of the words in which the dogmas of divine revelation are proposed by the magistracy of the Church.”
“St. Thomas perfected and augmented still further by the almost angelic quality of his intellect all this superb patrimony of wisdom which he inherited from his predecessors and applied it to prepare, illustrate and protect sacred doctrine in the minds of men (In Librum Boethii de Trinitate, quaest, ii, 3).”
“That We should act without delay in this matter is made imperative especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; but, what is to be most dreaded and deplored, in her very bosom, and are the more mischievous the less they keep in the open. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, and, what is much more sad, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, animated by a false zeal for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, put themselves forward as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the Person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary mall.”
He saw the Holy Eucharist as the center of our faith. He encouraged all Catholics to frequently receive Holy Communion and allowed children to receive as soon as they were of the age of discretion.
“The devotion to the Eucharist is the most noble because it has God as its object; it is the most profitable for salvation, because it gives us the Author of Grace: it is the sweetest, because the Lord is Sweetness Itself.”
Because of the heresies being spread, he dedicated much of his effort to catechetical instruction, not only for children, but also for adults, giving detailed rules, especially in relation to suitable schools for the religious instruction of students of the public schools and universities.
Above all things, (as also concerns us traditional Catholics), St.Pope Pius X was extremely concerned about maintaining the purity of the Catholic faith. He pointed to the dangers of certain new theological methods based upon Agnosticism and Immanentism, that then divest the doctrine of the faith of its teachings of objective, absolute, and immutable truth. These methods also had “subversive criticism of Holy Scripture and the origins of Christianity”.
His encyclical “Pascendi”, in which he expounds and condemns the system of Modernism, is what we traditional Catholics are mostly concerned with. It points out the danger of Modernism “in relation to philosophy, apologetics, exegesis, history, liturgy, and discipline, and shows the contradiction between that innovation and the ancient faith; and, finally, it establishes rules by which to combat efficiently the pernicious doctrines in question.” Catholic Encyclopedia 1913.
So he established a Committee of Vigilance with ecclesiastical sanctions against all clergy teaching modernism. He also censored books that propagated modernism. All clergy had to take an oath, binding themselves to reject modernism. You can see the Oath Against Modernism here.
He recognized that the study of the Bible was both, the most important and the most dangerous study in theology. So he formed the Biblical Institute, under the direction of the Jesuits (when they were still trustworthy).
He was born poor and died poor. So he also had great care for the poor. He also looked for solutions to the social problems of his time. Many Catholic associations of his times were leaning towards Socialism and promoting a spirit of insubordination to ecclesiastical authority. So he banned them and formed new ones that made it possible for a balanced Catholic social action that prospered. But he always stated that there was no stable social order that was not based on the authority of Christ the King and Him governing over governments.
Let each one of us traditional Catholics take time to pray and study what this great saint wrote. Let us also share this information with others. I never really understood Modernism, the root of the crisis in the Church today, until another traditionalist pointed it out to me and had me read the encyclical “Pascendi“. Print it up, pass it out. We are not crazy, the church today is. St. Pope Pius X is a saint and great teacher. May we work and die for the “re-establishment of all (that is pure Catholicism) in Christ”.
It is said that our dear St. Pope Pius X died of a broken heart when all his beloved seminarians, from all over the world, had to leave Rome and go to fight each other in the beginning of World War I. St. Pope Pius X, pray for us.
The original author of this blog and passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.