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Reflecting on the Year of St Joseph

St Joseph and the Papacy

Among the many fortuities of recent ecclesiastical history, an intriguing phenomenon has been the prominence of the name ‘Joseph’ among those men who would become the Pope. St. Pius X (Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto), St. John XXIII (Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli), St. John Paul II (Karol Józef Wojtyla), and Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) are but a few examples of recent pontiffs to have had a connection to Joseph from birth—yet, St. Joseph’s relationship to the papacy in recent centuries has extended far beyond the baptismal names of its incumbents. Beginning with Bl. Pope Pius IX who, in his decree, Quemadmodum Deus (1870), declared St. Joseph ‘Patron of the Universal Church’, the pontiffs we have seen since have each sought to further devotion to the saint among the faithful by their teachings, exhortations and reforms.

 

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