Pope Pius X Dies of War Anguish:
August 20, 1914
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“The Holy Father has died of a broken heart.”
So said an Italian prelate about the death of Pope Pius X on August 20, 1914. Elected pope following the death of Leo XIII in 1903, Pius X had worked tirelessly to “restore all things in Christ.” He wanted to see the Church purified of anything that hindered her in her task of carrying the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the troubled men of the 20th century. He died watching Christendom cast off this Gospel and embrace the ancient curse of war with its bitterness and hate.
Known for his warm charity toward all, Pius X was sorrowed to behold the nations of Europe entering a war that he knew would be long, bitter, and bloody. He told his nuncios at the various European capitals to do all they could to dissuade the powers from going to war. When Emperor Franz Josef’s ambassador in Rome asked him to bless the Austro-Hungarian armies, the pope replied sternly, “I bless peace, not war.” Continue reading