From The Spectator, 22 August 1914:
Pope Pius X. died at twenty minutes past one on Thursday morning. In a moment of lucidity, just before his death, his Holiness is reported to have said: “Now I begin to think the end is approaching. The Almighty in His in- exhaustible goodness wishes to spare me the horrors which Europe is undergoing.” It is stated that since the outbreak of the war the Pope showed very deep feeling, and again and again repeated “Poor children !”—alluding to the soldiers killed in action.
The Pope was a man of great personal charm of character as well as of great goodness of heart, but no one but a flatterer could suggest that he had the intellectual qualities requisite for his great office. His theological ideas were those of an old-fashioned country vicar, and when he was called upon to deal with the Modernist movement he was, of course, quite incapable of handling it wisely. It is greatly to be hoped that the Conclave when it meets will choose a successor to Pope Pius X. who will be able to cope with modern conditions.
More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.