Early Life and Education.
Giuseppe Sarto was born within the city of Riese, then part of the Austrian Empire. He was the second of ten children between Giovanni Sarto, a postal worker, and Margarita Sanson. Despite scraping by when his father was only a mailman, Giuseppe’s parents pushed him to education; this pursuit began with a daily walk of nearly 4 miles to go to school.
Giuseppe developed an interest in Latin, studying under Riese’s priest, then moved on to the gymnasium of Castelfranco Veneto. By 1850, he received a tonsure from the Bishop of Treviso and a full scholarship from Treviso’s diocese. Giuseppe applied these funds toward finishing his education of the classics, philosophy and theology at the Seminary of Padua.
Career with the Church.
- Sarto joined the priesthood on September 18th, 1858, starting as chaplain of Tombolo. He used this time to continually study, balancing his analyses of the works of Thomas Aquinas and canon law with his duties as an ailing pastor priest.
- In 1867, he was promoted to archpriest of Salzano. He used his new position to improve the conditions of its church and to add to the hospital. Funding for these projects came from his own blood, sweat, tears and humility; this earned him a great deal of favor from the common people while working to help the sick during a large scale plague of cholera afflicting much of northern Italy during the 1870s.
- His works as archpriest elevated him to the positions of canon of the cathedral, chancellor of Treviso’s diocese, spiritual director of Treviso’s seminary, rector of Trevisor’s seminary and examiner of the clergy. Sarto used his chancellorship to allow public school students to receive instruction in Christ.
- 1878 would see the Bishopric of Treviso vacated due to Bishop Zinelli’s death. This caused the canons of each chapter, including Sarto, to inherit the duties of the position, acting similarly to a corporation, and elect Zinelli’s successor. One year later, Sarto would become Treviso’s bishop. He would serve God in this capacity until June of 1880.
- By 1880, Sarto became a teacher of dogma and morality in Treviso’s seminary.
- November 10th, 1884 saw Pope Leo XIII appoint him to bishop of Mantua.
- June 19th, 1891 saw him elevated to Assistant at the Pontifical Throne. Because Sarto did not hold a doctorate, he required Leo XIII’s intervention to be consecrated.
- Leo XIII made him cardinal on June 12th, 1893, declaring Sarto the Cardinal-Priest of San Bernardo alle Terme. On June 15th, he was named Patriarch of Venice; problems arose with this appointment as the Italian government believed it had domain to choose Venice’s patriarch after the precedent established by Austria’s Emperor Francis Joseph I. Soured relations between the Roman Curia and Italy’s government after the Papal States’ annexation only added to the issues. It would not be until 1894 that Sarto would be allowed to assume his role as Venice’s patriach.
- During his time as Cardinal-Patriach, Sarto did his best to minimize political skirmishes, focusing on social work and augmenting bans. Despite this general policy, his first pastoral letter to the people of Venice carried a message that nothing should supersede what the pope decides.
Career As The Church.
- Owing to his formative economic status, he was known to tear down and cut back on things considered extravagant.
- He abolished Pope Urban VIII’s notion that the pope ate in solitude, often supping with friends.
- His papacy was one of neo-Thomist doctrine, blasting away at modernist and relativist approaches to God.
Quick Facts About Pope Pius X.
- His birth date is June 2, 1835.
- He was given the full name of Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto.
- He died within Rome’s Apostolic Palace on August 20th, 1914.
- Pius X’s health never truly recovered after suffering a heart attack in 1913. The following year saw him succumb to illness during the Assumption of Mary. News of World War I only expedited his decline in health and the chronic illness he’d developed finally claimed his life in the summer of 1914.
- He became pope on August 4th, 1910
- His papacy concluded on August 20th, the same day as his life.
- His papal successor was Benedict XV.
Six Interesting Facts About Pope Pius X.
- His papal motto was “Restore all things in Christ.”
- His death coincided with the death of Jesuit leader Franz Wernz and the date that Germany invaded Brussels in World War I.
- One issue he regularly struggled with up through his time as bishop was instructing children about religion when they lacked the opportunities to attend Catholic schools.
- He is the second-most recent pope to lack a doctorate, right behind Pope Francis.
- He showed up to his papal coronation with only a gilt metal cross as a sign of his faith. When his entourage showed grievous concern, he confessed that, growing up poor, it was the only one he had owned.
- When asked why he did not elevate his three sisters to papal countesses, he responded that being the pope’s sisters was the best he could do.