Friday, August 21, 2009
Pope Saint Pius X,
Joesph Sarto was born in 1835, the second of ten children born to a poor family in the village of Riese, near Venice. His mother, Margherita Sanson, was a seamstress. His father, Giovanni Sarto, who was a cobbler by trade, as well as the caretaker of the city hall and the town's postmaster, passed away when Joseph was 16. Joseph entered the seminary at the age of 15 and was ordained at the age of 23. He became the bishop of Mantua, cardinal patriarch of Venice, and Pope in 1903. As Pope, he took as the motto of his reign "to renew all things in Christ." Purity of Doctrine Pope Saint Pius X was fearless in exposing error and he was selfless in sowing the seed of truth, of beauty, and of goodness in the field of the Church. “We had confidence in our God, to speak unto you the Gospel of God in much carefulness” (1 Th 2:2). He was an intrepid defender of the purity of Christian doctrine. He exposed and condemned the heresy of Modernism with energy and clarity. Gregorian Chant We remember Pope Saint Pius X especially for his famous Motu Proprio of November 22, 1903 on the reform of Sacred Music and the restoration of the Church’s plainchant. Like Pope Benedict XVI today, Pope Pius X was a musician; he was above all concerned that the faithful of the Catholic Church might pray in beauty. He recognized in Gregorian Chant the native idiom of the Roman liturgy. Gregorian chant shines with an evangelical poverty. It is chaste in its expression. It is entirely obedient to the Word of God that it clothes, carries, and delivers. Worthy of the Temple Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have reiterated his insistence on the primacy of Gregorian Chant and the value of the traditional Roman polyphony in the liturgy of the Church. On November 22, 2003, the anniversary of Pius X’s Motu Proprio, Pope John Paul II said, “With regard to compositions of liturgical music, I make my own the general rule that St Pius X formulated in these words: ‘The more closely a composition for church approaches in its movement, inspiration and savour the Gregorian melodic form, the more sacred and liturgical it becomes; and the more out of harmony it is with that supreme model, the less worthy it is of the temple.’” On June 24, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI spoke in similar terms: “An authentic renewal of sacred music can only happen in the wake of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony.” The Holiness of Priests Pope Pius X was also zealous for the holiness of the clergy. Writing to priests in 1908, he said, “Your sanctification has, indeed, first place in our thoughts and in our cares; therefore, with our eyes raised to heaven, we frequently pray for the whole clergy, repeating the words of Christ, our Lord: Holy Father . . . sanctify them (Jn 17:11, 17). Intercession for priests was integral to Pius X’s program for the restoration of all things in Christ. Children It was Saint Pius X who opened Holy Communion to little children. He invited the Catholic faithful to frequent, even daily Holy Communion. Pius X came to be known as the “Pope of the Eucharist,” a title that he now shares with Pope John Paul II, the author of Ecclesia de Eucharistia and of Mane Nobiscum, Domine. Two Popes of the Eucharist Divine Providence marked both the beginning and the end of the last century with Popes utterly devoted to the Most Holy Eucharist. Pray for us, Saint Pius X, that rejecting all that opposes the splendour of the truth, we may enter with pure hearts into the liturgy of the Church, and so "offer a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, to the praise and glory of His name, and to the benefit of all His Holy Church (Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum). Pope Pius X died on August 20, 1914 at Vatican City from natural causes aggravated by worries over the beginning of World War I and was buried under the altar of the Chapel of the Presentation, Saint Peter's basilica. Quotes "Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven." "I was born poor, I have lived poor, I wish to die poor." Prayer Father, to defend the Catholic Faith and to make all things new in Christ, you filled Saint Pius X with heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage. May his example and teaching lead us to the reward of eternal life.