Pope Pius XI

pope of the Catholic Church from 1922 to 1939
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Pope Pius XI (Italian: Pio XI), born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti (Italian: [amˈbrɔ:dʒo daˈmja:no aˈkille ˈratti]; 31 May 185710 February 1939), was head of the Catholic Church from 6 February 1922 to his death in 1939. He was the first sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929. He assumed as his papal motto "Pax Christi in Regno Christi," translated "The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ."

Pope Pius XI

Pius XI issued numerous encyclicals, including Quadragesimo anno on the 40th anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's groundbreaking social encyclical Rerum novarum, highlighting the capitalistic greed of international finance, the dangers of socialism/communism, and social justice issues, and Quas primas, establishing the feast of Christ the King in response to anti-clericalism.


  • Communism teaches and seeks two objectives: Unrelenting class warfare and absolute extermination of private ownership. Not secretly or by hidden methods does it do this, but publicly, openly, and by employing every and all means, even the most violent. To achieve these objectives there is nothing which it does not dare, nothing for which it has respect or reverence; and when it has come to power, it is incredible and portentlike in its cruelty and inhumanity. The horrible slaughter and destruction through which it has laid waste vast regions of eastern Europe and Asia are the evidence; how much an enemy and how openly hostile it is to Holy Church and to God Himself is, alas, too well proved by facts and fully known to all. Although We, therefore, deem it superfluous to warn upright and faithful children of the Church regarding the impious and iniquitous character of Communism, yet We cannot without deep sorrow contemplate the heedlessness of those who apparently make light of these impending dangers, and with sluggish inertia allow the widespread propagation of doctrine which seeks by violence and slaughter to destroy society altogether. All the more gravely to be condemned is the folly of those who neglect to remove or change the conditions that inflame the minds of peoples, and pave the way for the overthrow and destruction of society.
  • Venerable Brethren and Beloved Sons, having surveyed the present economic system, We have found it laboring under the gravest of evils. We have also summoned Communism and Socialism again to judgment and have found all their forms, even the most modified, to wander far from the precepts of the Gospel.

Quotes about Pope Pius XI

  • Pope Pius XI was a man of tremendous force of character. When annoyed, he had a trick of pulling his skull cap over his ear, a gesture which it was prudent to regard as a storm signal. This only happened to me twice, once when I was instructed to make unwelcome proposals for the treatment of missionaries in Africa, and once when he told me in pungent terms what he thought of Hitler's persecution of the Jews. But he could be charming too. When I took my wife to see him, I told him that it happened to be the fourth anniversary of our wedding. He had in his room a long oak refectory table on which were laid out Epiphany presents which he had received from all parts of the world. He padded round the table like an old antiquary examining his wares and picked out two objects for the children. "And here," he said, "is something very suitable for Mama: a picture of St. Peter's maid-of-all-work. Very suitable," he added prophetically, "for one day you also may be a maid-of-all-work."
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