Pope Pius X (1903–1914)

Owen Chadwick

in A History of the Popes 1830-1914

Published in print April 1998 | ISBN: 9780198269229
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600456 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

Pope Pius X (1903–1914)

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The election of Giuseppe Sarto, archbishop of Venice, as Pius X in 1903 was a surprise in that he had little political or diplomatic experience and knew nothing of the workings of the Curia. He did not understand modern thought in science and religious scholarship, and his papacy was marked by a conservatism condemning the modern world and appealing to a loyalty involving the practice of the whole faith of the traditional Church. Pius X's papacy saw the codification of canon law and encouragement of frequent communion, but his reforms of the Curia did not go very far. In France the Dreyfus case and the separation of Church and State caused vehement, sometimes violent, conflict between Catholics and anti‐clericals. The division, which would take years to overcome, was caused by the papacy's earlier condemnation of democracy and socialism, the belief of the French Right that Catholicism was its political strength, the prejudices of some left‐wing politicians, and the centralization of authority which made it impossible for French bishops to ignore the pope's decisions. In Italy the old fight between the pope and the Italian government was now obsolete. It continued on the level of words, but by 1913 Catholics were participating wholeheartedly in Italian politics.

Keywords: cardinals; Curia; Dreyfus case; France, separation of Church and State; Italy, politics; modernism; Pius X

Chapter.  32280 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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