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Vatican marks centennial of Pius X's death with 'day of study' on saintly Pope

2014-06-10

Months after World War I started, Pius X lost his own battle. Nearly 100 years later, the Vatican will mark this anniversary with a 'day of study' on the Italian Pope. 

He's mostly remembered as a conservative Pope that condemned modernist interpretations of Church doctrine. But paradoxically, Pius X paved the way for a more modern papacy.

PROF. ALEJANDRO MARIO DIEGUEZ
Vatican Secret Archives
"There was great confusion and a great overlap of competences. So he wanted to simplify, and, above all, guarantee truthful answers in a speedy manner.”

FR. BERNARD ARDURA
President, Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences 
"Everybody knows that St. Pius X made mortal enemies with this reform. And these are things that form part of common experience.”

But his election as Pope in August 3, 1903 was the result of a technicality. Up until that time, the monarchs from Spain, France and Austria-Hungary, could veto specific candidates.

During the 1903 conclave, Sicilian Cardinal Mariano Rampolla was on track for the papacy. But after the Austro-Hungarian emperor used his veto, Card. Giuseppe Sarto, then Patriarch of Venice, surged, despite his objections.

PROF. ALEJANDRO MARIO DIEGUEZ
Vatican Secret Archives
"He had gathered a few votes, and even petitions, but he had obviously refused. Unfortunately for him, he saw how in the end the number of votes for him grew bit by bit.”

The year after his election, Pius X outlawed the clause that gave lay powers influence over the conclave, leaving behind the format used today. 

In pastoral matters, he opted for simplicity and approachability, outlawing the practice of Popes eating alone, and leaving aside strict Vatican etiquette.

FR. BERNARD ARDURA
President, Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences 
"He moved to the apartment on the third loggia. That's where we're used to seeing the Pope for the Angelus. So he was the first Pope to leave the Pontifical Apartments.”

That move signaled a slight change in attitude between the Vatican and Italy, after the fall of the Papal States. Today, the old apartment is used to welcome visitors, including official state visits. 

The Vatican's day of study will take take place June 12, at the Pius X Hall. Participants will analyze the Pope's influence in modern Catholicism. The day will end with the presentation of a book summarizing the Pope's work. 


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