Museo San Pio X - Salzano -
Home > Museo San Pio X in English > Life of St. Pius X > The canon process - The glorification and the luck of St. Pius X in the contemporary world

Life of St. Pius X

Index - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

Translation by Nausica Bonaldo


Nine years after his death, on 14th February 1923, 28 cardinals asked the Pope to canonise Pio X and charged father Benedetto Pierami of the Vallombrosani Brothers, abbot of St. Prassede, to be the applicant of it.

He organised the diocesan ordinary informative process, celebrated between 1923 and 1931, in the diocese of Treviso (1923-26), Mantova (1924-30) and Rome (1923-1931) taking down the 205-witness evidences. This boundless work ended on 8th July 1931.

Pierami died suddenly on 12th August 1934: on the following 18th October father Alberto Parenti, who belonged to the same congregation, was charged to finish that work. At the end of his studies about the ordinary process, he delivered the “Positio super causae introductione” on 12th February 1943, which was then published.

Between 1943 and 1946 the apostolic process were celebrated in the four dioceses and 49 witnesses were listened to.

Three years later, in 1949, the “Positio super virtutibus” was published.

Pio XII wished the celebration of three important events during the year 1950: the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Holy Year and Giuseppe Sarto’s beatification. But the behaviour of the Pope during the period of the fight against the Modernism changed the opinion of the people: a extraordinary process was instructed from 15th December 1949, celebrated for the “Animadversines” of the promoter of the faith Salvatore Natucci. Then the “Nova positio super virtutibus” (1950) was published with a document additional “Summarium”.

When all these difficulties were overcome on 11th February 1951 the two miracles required for the beatification were recognised and on the following 4th March the decree of the “Tuto”, that legally established the possibility to proceed, was published.

On 3rd June the beatification was celebrated. Pope Pio XII used impressive words and was aware of the historical complexity of the action of the Pope from Riese, his predecessor: Pio X, “with his eagle-like gaze shrewder and more reliable than the other short-sighted reasoners’ view” [...], “illuminated by the clarity of the eternal truth, guided by a delicate, clear and strict conscience” is “a man, a Pope, a Saint of such a loftiness” who “will seldom find the historian who will be able to outline his figure and the various aspects of his personality”[36].

Eight months later, on 17th February 1952. His tomb was put under the altar of the Presentation in St. Pietro.

The glorification and the luck of St. Pius X in the contemporary world

After the beatification on 17th January 1954 the two miracles, that were useful for the canonisation, were recognised.

On 29th May 1954 Pio XII celebrated the ceremony of the canonisation: there were 800.000 people.

Pio X is the only pope who has been sanctified since XVII century: everyone thought that the phrase “The history will made him an important Pope; the Church will made him an important Saint” of the “Il Giornale d’Italia” was coming true[37].

The ten years of the luck of St. Pio X began: the worship of St. Pio X entered numerous churches throughout Italy and a lot of churches were built in honour of the new Saint.

After ten years this luck began his decline, because adverse facts regarding Pio X, above all about the relations with the modern world, emerged during the Vatican Council II.

After the Council he was praised by the traditionalist Christians, who became schismatic following Father Marcel Lefebvre (1905-1991) and his “Fraternité Saint Pie X” from Econe.

The progressive or conciliar Christians, who considered him as intransigent, absolutist, traditionalist, reactionary and centralizer, denigrated him.

In the whole Christendom the believers have suspicion and indifference as regards Pio X, even if there are also recognitions, also from Benedetto Croce, and his worship is still widespread. He is remembered as the Pope of the Eucharist and the Catechism, the missionaries thank him to the impulse to the Missions, he is the head of the seminaries, he is the patron saint of some dioceses, he is the patron saint of the emigrant from Treviso and the catholic Esperantists[38], he is honoured in 85 Italian parishes, 65 German parishes, 15 Belgian parishes, 18 Canadian parishes, 2 Austrian parishes.

Some historians judge him negatively: among them, in 1934, Schmidlin dedicated a whole negative chapter about the anti-modernist activity of the “Sodalitium Pianum” of Father Umberto Benigni (1862-1934), making negative opinions against Pio X, who would have encouraged those activities[39]. Even the 1937 opinion of father Luigi Sturzo is negative, even if it regards the politic thought of the Pope, who thought that Pio X “had a nearly parish idea of the politic life”[40]. Rudolf Lill gave a mainly negative estimation and put in evidence the reactionary anti-modernism and the exaggerate interpretation of the authority of the Pope[41]. Other gave a partially positive opinion: Roger Aubert declared that “Pio X, who seemed, according to the people, little modern and so conservator, was one of the most reformed Pope in the history, the most important reformer of the inner life of the Church after the Council in Trento”[42]. Giacomo Martina gave a doubtful opinion, because “the researches made for the beatification process [...] put in evidence the deep sense of responsibility of the Pope and his fervour for the defence of the faith, [...] but they didn’t wipe the doubts out and didn’t convince all the historians”[43]. The opinion of Silvio Tramontin is quite positive: on one hand he put in evidence the religious dimension of the pontificate and the defence of the Christian cultural heritage, on the other he asserted that this defence forced the Pope “to slow down and to restrict instead of encouraging the activity of the Christian people”[44]. Carlo Snider, a lawyer of the St. Congregation for the Suits of the Saints, judged the limits of the process for the canonisation of Pio X and put in evidence the historical and methodological limits; but he described the period when the Pope worked[45]. The opinions of Joseph Lortz and Giampaolo Romanato were positive and well balanced. The first saw the work of the Pope as the one of a “soul shepherd”: a Pope who managed in co-ordinating the conflicting stimuluses coming from the “tension between the pity and the right”[46]. The second thought that “you need to raise a lot of sails to reach the real Pio X” and recognised the importance of a pastoral work, that still exists in the Church: his pastoral line “survived and showed a variety of applications that hasn’t vanished yet” and “his pontificate [...] dates back the origin of the contemporary Church. A lot of characteristics of the twentieth-century Christianity –the strong legal organisation, the solid intellectual structure, the revaluation of the laity- come from the reforms of Pio X, from his initiatives, his insights, from his ecclesiastical view”[47].

He showed a particular ecclesiastical sensibility with a great coherence in thought and action; during his ecclesiastical life he made every effort to accept the reality of his time, with a reformist ability and a pragmatic faith, defending the “Depositum Fidei”.

There are also desecrating sentences and heavy opinions. Among them two will be reported: the first one is anonymous: “Born in the Austrian Veneto, he could only introduce into the Church the Lombardia and Veneto’s customs, with all the oppressive and centralizer attitudes”. The charge of Father Louis Marie Olivier Duchesne (1843-1922) is ironic and lighter, even if it’s always negative: he declared that the Pope changed St. Pierre’s fragile boat into St. Pierre’s gondola, owing to his provincial view of the Church and his culture, coming from the Veneto.

In the XX century three Popes, who have been the patriarchs in Venice, changed St. Pierre’s boat into St. Pierre’s gondola: besides Sarto, there are also Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (1881-1963), Pope Giovanni XXIII, and Albino Luciani (1912-1978), Pope Giovanni Paolo I.

People have to be amazed of the choice of Sarto, who was considered a provincial and not experienced man, as a Pope: he acted as the shepherd of the Church with such energy, power, self-confidence and the will of reforming it.

So, in order to prepare the Christian message for the third Millennium, the Providence chose three times the Venice lagoon of Sarto, Roncalli and Luciani to the stormy sea of Tiberiade.

[36] OCCELLI P. L., “Blessed Pio X. The Pope who died poor”, Ed. Paoline, 2nd edition, Bari, 1951, page 285; 5th edition, pages 347-348.

[37] The last was Pio V (Paolo Ghislieri, Bosco-Alessandria-, 17th January 1504- Rome, 1st May 1572), the Pope of Lepanto, who lived during the Counter-Reformation; he was beatified 100 years after his death, on 1st May 1672, and canonised on 22nd May 1712, patron saint of the Congregation of the Inquisition, today the Congregation of the Faith Doctrine.

Some information comes from the “Giornale d’Italia” of the 22nd August 1914. Sidney Sonnino and other exponents of the liberal and anticlerical Right founded it in Rome on 15th November 1901. It is famous for its cultural topics, printed on the “third page”, created by Andrea Bergamini (1871-1862), the editor from 1901 to 1923, and first published on 9th December 1901.

[38] “His beatification (3rd June 1951) was welcomed with joy from the participants of the 23rd Congress of the IKUE in Monaco of Baviera and Pio X was proclaimed the patron saint of the Christian Esperantists”. The IKUE, that is the Internacia Katolika Unuièo Esperantista, is the world organisation of the Christian Esperantists: it was founded in 1910 and it has been co-operating with the UEA, Universala Esperanto-Asocio, since 1951. It was officially recognised by the Church and its purposes are: the evangelisation, the unity of the Church, the human understanding, the ecumenism, the fraternity and the peace. The official division, “Espero Katolika” (Christian Hope), was founded in 1903 and has a poem to Pope Pio X, written by Father Alessandro Dombrowski (1860-1938). See also SARANDREA C., “The discernment of the Popes about the charisma of the esperantist Christian people from St. Pio X”, that is the relation read at the 10th UECI (Italian Christian Esperantists Union) Congress, which took place in Paderno del Grappa (Treviso) from 6th to 10th September 1996. In the relation very interesting facts can be read. On 2nd June 1906, “during the audience the Pope was enthusiast for the new language” (page 2). “Pope Pio X accepted the esperantist movement: from 1906 to 1914 he blessed every year the “Espero Katolika”, the Christian esperantists” (page 3). “On 4th April 1909, the friar Isidoro Clé” had an audience with Pope Pio X: “In this audience St. Pio X said: “The Esperanto will have a great future”” (pages 3-4). During other occasions he blessed and gave the indulgence. Some other information can be found in SARANDREA C., “Kvazaù historio” in “Espero Katolika”, 12 (1983), pages 192-203 and KORYTKOWSKI J., “Internacia lingvo en Eklezio kaj mondo”, IKUE-Centre, Rome, 1976, pages 131-132.

[39] SCHMIDLIN J., “Papstgeschichte der neuesten Zeit Pius X and Benedikt XV”, III volume, Kosel und Pustet, M?nchen, 1934, pages 1-170, and 162-169. F. Antonelli, the general reporter, told that Schmidlin was “a historian a little partial” [ANTONELLI F.], “Sacra Rituum Congregatio Sectio Historica n.77 Romana Beatificationis et Canonizationis Servi Dei Pii Papae X Disquisitio circa quasdam obiectiones modum agendi Servi Dei respicientes in Modernismi debellatione una cum Summario Additionali Officio compilato”, Typis Polyglottis vaticanis, 1950, page XXIII.

[40] STURZO L., “Church and State, sociological-historical study”, volume II, Bologna, 1978, page 153.

[41] LILL R., “Ecumenical history of the Church”, Queriniana, Brescia, 1981, volume II, page 221.

[42] AUBERT R., in “History of the Church”, edited by H. Jedin, volume IX, Jaca Book, Milan, 1979, pages 457-630; in “New history of the Church”, volume V/1, Marietti, Torino, 1977, pages 21-265.

[43] MARTINA G., “The Church during the totalitarianism period”, Morcelliana, Brescia, 19845 . pages 78-79.

[44] TRAMONTIN S., “A century of the History of the Church, from Leone XIII to the Vatican Council II”, Studium, Rome, 1980, volume I, pages 51-104.

[45] SNIDER C., “The episcopate of the Cardinal Andrea C. Ferrari, the period of Pio X”, volume II, Neri Pozza, 1982, pages 131-208.

[46] LORTZ J., “History of the Church: history of the ideas”, volume II, Ed. Paoline, Alba (Cuneo), 1973, pages 490-491.

[47] ROMANATO G., “Giuseppe Sarto and the Christian movement”, in AA. VV., “The Venetian origin of St. Pio X. Essays and researches” edited by Silvio Tramontin, Morcelliana, Brescia, 1987, page 142-144. ROMANATO G., “Pio X: the life of the Pope Sarto”, Rusconi, Milan, 1992, pages 6-8. The 40- authors’ precious co-ordination must be remembered: it led to the publication of AA. VV. “Pio X, a Pope and his period”, Ed. Paoline, Cinisello Balsamo, 1987, page 326.

Index - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

Last update: 21.06.2009

I commenti e i messaggi sono di proprietà dei rispettivi autori, il resto © 2000-2009 dell'Associazione Culturale "Tempo e Memoria".
Questo sito è stato creato da Ermanno Baschiera in collaborazione con queste persone.