First I would like to highlight the striking clarity and uncompromising straight-forwardness of Pius X. This is nowhere more evidenced than in Pius' famous 1904 with Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, who came to the pontiff seeking support for the Jewish movement in Palestine. When if he would support Jewish independence in a restored Israel, Pope Pius X responded:Can you imagine if any prelate spoke in such clear language today? He'd be hounded out of office and banished to a monastery to do penance for what he'd done.
"We cannot give approval to this movement. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem—but we could never sanction it. The soil of Jerusalem, if it was not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church I cannot tell you anything different. The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people"
Herzl, recounting the interview in his diary, noted:At the outset, to be sure, I tried to be conciliatory. I recited my little piece about extraterritorialization, res sacrae extra commercium [holy places removed from business]. It didn't make much of an impression. Gerusalemme, he said, must not get into the hands of the Jews.
"And its present status, Holy Father?"
"I know, it is not pleasant to see the Turks in possession of our Holy Places. We simply have to put up with that. But to support the Jews in the acquisition of the Holy Places, that we cannot do."
I said that our point of departure had been solely the distress of the Jews and that we desired to avoid the religious issues."Yes, but we, and I as the head of the Church, cannot do this. There are two possibilities. Either the Jews will cling to their faith and continue to await the Messiah who, for us, has already appeared. In that case they will be denying the divinity of Jesus and we cannot help them. Or else they will go there without any religion, and then we can be even less favorable to them. The Jewish religion was the foundation of our own; but it was superseded by the teachings of Christ, and we cannot concede it any further validity. The Jews, who ought to have been the first to acknowledge Jesus Christ, have not done so to this day."
A lot of people argue that Pius didn't defeat Modernism but only drove it underground. The complete collapse of the Church in the 1970s is presented as proof that the Church wasn't as healthy as she appeared. That's a possibility, but one could easily use the collapse to argue the opposite: the damage wouldn't have been nearly as bad if the Modernists hadn't been presented with a golden opportunity at Vatican II.
Attentive or nerdy readers will have quickly figured out that my blog's title is a pun based on Pius X's list of condemned Modernist propositions, Lamentabili Sane. It makes for a sobering read. Modernists pretty much have had free reign over Scripture studies for forty years. If you've ever heard your priest deliver a homily about how the real miracle of the loaves and fishes was that Jesus inspired everyone to share their picnic lunches (I hear that one every year) then you can be sure your priest was formed by Modernists.
Take proposition 31: "The doctrine concerning Christ taught by Paul, John, and the Councils of Nicea, Ephesus and Chalcedon is not that which Jesus taught but that which the Christian conscience conceived concerning Jesus." I hear this one a lot from godless heathens and those who received a Jesuit education (but I repeat myself.) For the Modernist, the Catholic faith is not a deposit of divinely revealed dogmas that must be believed, but our efforts to rationalize our subjective experiences. It is indeed the synthesis of all heresies, one that has been corroding the Church for over a century. In the distant future, the Modernist crisis will be listed among the greatest crises of the Church, after the Protestant Revolt and the Arian heresy.
St. Pius X, pray for us.