St. Pius X

Patron Saint of the Society

In the early 70’s, the cradle years of our Society, the name of St. Pius V was on all lips since throughout the world, the faithful were building or converting barns to turn into bastions of traditions to celebrate the so-called Mass of St. Pius V. His name became prevalent as it became soon very clear that “the whole struggle between Econe and Rome hanged on the Mass of All Time.”

However, the founder of the new institute clearly mentioned St. Pius X in his statutes and couched his reasons on paper. In them, he explains that the purpose of the Society’s activities is: “All the works necessary for the formation of priests and whatever pertains to it.” The seminaries must take care that the training “attain its chief goal: the priest’s holiness, together with sufficient knowledge.” This is why the Society was placed under the patronage of St. Pius X: the primordial concern of this holy pope was the integrity of the priesthood and the sanctity that flowed from it.[1]

The question was seldom broached by our superior on this matter, unless perhaps some older priests would have gotten confidences which he did not think useful to repeat later on. He certainly often referred to the present crisis in the Church as being a neo-modernist heresy and developed the teachings of St. Pius X in Pascendi which cast a seemingly lethal blow to Modernism at the time. It was natural that the last canonized pope, who fought strenuously against the recurrent modernist heresy, would find a deep echo in the archbishop’s soul, especially as he was canonized by no less than Pius XII.

Even arch-Communists had to recognize his grandeur, not so much as an individual but as pope. Jean Jaures of the Communist newspaper L’Humanite had this to say of him:

His political agenda was very simple: to restore all the values of the Faith with apostolic firmness. He could fulfill this agenda with authority, given the simplicity of his soul and the sincerity of his virtues, which are unquestionable. Whichever way one looks at him, one must agree that he was a great pope.”

This was an apostolic pope who could conjure the most deadly heresy the Church has ever endured.

This aspect, perhaps above all others, explains the choice of Giuseppe Sarto as the patron saint for the Archbishop Lefebvre’s priest society.

A brief word on the death of St. Pius X, his burial, exhumation and final resting place.

On this day of August 20th in 1914, Pope St. Pius X passed away having suffered a heart attack. Or perhaps more appropriately expressed (and in the words of several biographers) of a “broken heart”, for having attempted in vain to prevent World War I.

Fully vested in red pontifical Mass vestments, his body was publicly laid in state on August 21st in St. Peter’s Basilica. Then on August 22nd, the funeral procession solemnly transferred his body to the Sistine Chapel where it was put into a simple wooden coffin, itself placed atop a large catafalque surrounded with candles. After the Requiem Mass, the bodily remains of St. Pius X were taken back to St. Peter’s Basilica and placed in a simple tomb situated within the Chapel of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

On May 19, 1944 St. Pius X’s body was exhumed for inspection as part of the beatification inquest, during which his body was found to be miraculously incorrupt.

On February 17, 1952, Pius X was beatified by Pope Pius XII and the declared blessed’s body was eventually placed within a bronze and glass sarcophagus under the altar of the Presentation Chapel (where he had been previously entombed). Nearly three years later, Pius XII canonized St. Pius X, the first pope declared a saint since 1712, when Pope Clement XI declared Pius V a saint.


Pictures of Pope St. Pius X related to his funeral, exhumation, canonization and final resting place – pics-4684

Pope St. Pius X’s “Oath against Modernism”

Extracted from the motu proprio, Sacrorum Antistitum; September 1, 1910

To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.

I [name] firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.

And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:19), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that therefore, His existence can also be demonstrated.

Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.

Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when He lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.

Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same explanation. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another, different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.

Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, Our Creator and Lord.

Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas.

I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion.

I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful.

Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm.

Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historical-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic Tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.

Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact?one to be put on par with the ordinary facts of history?the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages, a school begun by Christ and His apostles.

I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God, and these holy Gospels of God which I touch with my hand.