A tale of two popes

A century ago, under the reign of Pius X, it was called the “segretariola.” Pope Giuseppe Sarto had come to a very negative judgment about the curia at the time, but even after he had reorganized it he was very careful to protect the little personal secretariat with which he had surrounded himself immediately after his election in 1903.

With the current pope, the son of Piedmontese emigrants, the Venetian Pius X has many traits in common. He was also born to a poor family, and continued to dedicate himself even as pope to the help of the poor. He was dearly loved by people of humble conditions. He led a simple and austere life. He had a good-natured disposition, not devoid of irony. He had a profound spiritual life and was later proclaimed a saint. He had a tremendous capacity for work, which he extended into the nighttime hours. He did a great many things on his own, keeping the curia in the dark about them.

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Editor’s note: Does anyone remember the mess that resulted from President Jimmy Carter’s reliance on hand-picked, trusted – but poorly connected and often clueless – Washington outsiders? Vatican politics has been known to be even more demanding – even brutal. What might a pope learn from the bad experiences of a Georgia peanut farmer/politician? Time will tell!