The Holy Spirit guides the ultimate outcome of all papal conclaves.
Many of us exulted with inexpressible joy at the speedy conclusion of the Conclave of 2005.
The Conclave of 1903 was likewise an occasion to glorify the Provident Hand of God.
The “Sage of Baltimore,” H.L. Mencken, anticipated that Conclave in this way:
…We had another Methodist in the office, a reporter named Stockbridge, but he was so pleasant a fellow that no one held it against him…When, in July 1903, Pope Leo XIII died, and the cardinals began hustling to Rome to elect his successor, an office wag put the following notice on the city-room bulletin-board:
The Right Rev. Jason Stockbridge, D.D.,
Bishop of Sodom and Gomorrah in partibus infidelium
Subject to Democratic primaries
The good Lord, however, chose differently. Pope St. Pius X was elected.
Pope St. Pius X defined and refuted the heresy of which H. L. Mencken was certainly guilty, the heresy of Modernism. The Pope explained the problem in his encyclical Pascendi.
Not long ago, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of Pascendi. It seemed like a good occasion to contrast the truth of the Holy Faith with the dictatorship of relativism. I gave the following homily: