Pope Pius X (1903–1914) was an Italian named Giuseppe Sarto, born near Treviso on 1835, and successor of Leo XIII and predecessor of Benedict XV. Ordained in 1858, he became bishop of Mantua (1884), a cardinal (1893), and patriarch of Venice (1893). Soon after his accession to the Holy See he found himself in major conflict with the French government over the latter’s regulation of church affairs. The government finally decreed (1905) the separation of church and state and sequestered church property. Pius was more conciliatory toward the Italian government, relaxing the church’s strictures on participation by Roman Catholics in political life. In the decree Lamentabili (1907) and the encyclical Pascendi (1907), Pius condemned religious modernism, and disciplinary measures were taken to stamp out what he called the “synthesis of all heresies.” The pope set up a commission to recodify the canon law; he encouraged the use of plainsong; he set up the new Roman breviary as the norm for the whole church; he made the Roman congregations more efficient; he set up a commission to translate the Bible anew; and he regularized the position of the hierarchies in many countries. Known for his interest in the poor, he was widely venerated during his lifetime. He was canonized (1954) by Pius XII and his Feast Day is September 3rd.
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