The enthusiasts for Modernism havenowbeen undermined by the exposure of their dogmatic assumptions by postmodernity. Pius may not have got the balance right, in hunting down Modernists; but from an orthodox viewpoint, he was not as wrong as they claimed. He was a revolutionary about means, a conservative as to ends; and his remoulding of the papacy determined its character for half a century.

Of the seven popes of this period, four - Pius VII, Pius IX, Leo XIII and St Pius X - have claims to greatness. Their choices alienated many Catholics, but they also ushered a growing and thriving church into a new age.

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