The history of the Holy See offers us in these years [1814 to 1963] one pope who has been canonised (Pius X), two beatified (Pius IX and John XXIII), and another (Pius XII) who would certainly have been beatified or canonised but for the ideological bias of the following period. The Middle Ages and the Tridentine period offer no such succession of exemplary Vicars of Christ. Yet personal sanctity is not identical with the gifts that make a great ruler of the Church, and in that respect this time provides two exceptional figures. Leo XIII and Pius XI deserve to be considered not only the ablest popes of the period but two of the greatest popes in the Church's history, notable for the distinction of their teaching and in particular for the development of Catholic social theory. Their pontificates may be taken as the example of how the Church ought to be governed in the modern world and has not been governed for the past fifty years: with authority, with statesmanship, with a grasp of the needs of contemporary society, and with a firm attachment to the principles of Catholic tradition.
Sunday, November 08, 2015
The popes between 1814 and 1963
H.J.A. Sire, Phoenix from the Ashes: The Making, Unmaking, and Restoration of Catholic Tradition(2015), writes, on p. 146: