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Pope Pius IX

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  • Pope Pius IX

    Pope Pius IX (Latin: Pius IX ; 13 May 1792 7 February 1878), born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti,[lower-alpha 1] reigned from 16 June 1846 to hisdeath in 1878. He was the longest-reigning elected popein the history of the Catholic Church over 31 years.During his ponticate, he convened the First VaticanCouncil (186970), which decreed papal infallibility, butthe council was cut short due to the loss of the PapalStates.Pius IX dened the dogma of the Immaculate Concep-tion of the Blessed Virgin Mary, meaning that Mary wasconceived without original sin. Pius IX also conferred thetitle Our Mother of Perpetual Help on a famous Byzan-tine icon from Crete entrusted to the Redemptorists.He was also the last pope to rule as the Sovereign of thePapal States, which fell completely to the Italian army in1870 and were incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy.After this, he was referred to chiey by himself as the"Prisoner of the Vatican".After his death in 1878, his canonization process wasopened on 11 February 1907 by Pope Pius X and it drewconsiderable controversy over the years. It was closed onseveral occasions during the ponticates of Pope Bene-dict XV and Pope Pius XI. On 7 December 1954, PopePius XII re-opened the cause and Pope John Paul II pro-claimed him Venerable on 6 July 1985. Together withPope John XXIII he was beatied on 3 September 2000after the recognition of a miracle and was assigned theliturgical feast day of February 7 which is the date of hisdeath.

    1 Overview

    Europe, including the Italian peninsula, was in the midstof considerable political ferment when the bishop ofSpoleto, Cardinal Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, waselected pope. He took the name Pius, after his generouspatron and the long-suering prisoner of Napoleon Bona-parte, Pius VII. He had been elected by the faction ofcardinals sympathetic to the political liberalization cours-ing across Europe, and his initial governance of the Pa-pal States gives evidence of his own liberal sympathies:Under his direction various sorts of political prisoners inthe Papal States were released and the city of Rome wasgranted a constitutional framework under guidance of hisfriend, philosopher-prince Antonio Rosmini-Serbati. Aseries of terrorist acts sponsored by Italian liberals and

    Pope Pius IX

    nationalists, which included the assassination of his Min-ister of the Interior, Pellegrino Rossi, among others, andwhich forced him briey to ee Rome in 1848 led tohis growing skepticism towards the liberal, nationalistagenda. Through the 1850s and 1860s, Italian nation-alists made military gains against the Papal States, whichculminated in the seizure of the city of Rome in 1870.Thereafter, Pius IX refused to accept the Law of Guaran-tees from the Italian government, which would have madethe Holy See dependent on legislation that the Italian par-liament could modify at any time. His Church policiestowards other countries, such as Russia, Germany andFrance, were not always successful, due in part, to chang-ing secular institutions and internal developments withinthese countries. However, concordats were concludedwith numerous states such as Austria-Hungary, Portugal,Spain, Canada, Tuscany, Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras,El Salvador and Haiti.Many contemporary Church historians[4] and journalistsquestion his approaches.[5] His appeal for public world-wide support of the Holy See after he became The pris-oner of the Vatican resulted in the revival and spreadto the whole Catholic Church of Peters Pence, which isused today to enable the Pope to respond to those who



    are suering as a result of war, oppression, natural disas-ter, and disease.[6] In his Syllabus of Errors, still highlycontroversial,[7] Pius IX condemned the heresies of sec-ular society, especially modernism.He was a Marian pope, who in his encyclical Ubi primumdescribed Mary as a Mediatrix of salvation. In 1854,he promulgated the dogma of the Immaculate Concep-tion, articulating a long-held Catholic belief that Mary,the Mother of God, was conceived without original sin.In 1862, he convened 300 bishops to the Vatican for thecanonization of Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan. His mostimportant legacy is the First Vatican Council, which con-vened in 1869. This Council discussedmany issues, espe-cially the dogma of papal infallibility, which Pius was ea-ger to have ocially dened by the council; but the coun-cil was interrupted as Italian nationalist troops threatenedRome. The council is considered to have contributed toa centralization of the Church in the Vatican.[8]

    Pius IX, who suered from epilepsy,[9] was beatied byPope John Paul II on 3 September 2000. His Feast Dayis 7 February.[10]

    2 Early life and ministry

    An 1819 picture showing Mastai-Ferretti at his rst Holy Mass

    Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti was the ninth child bornin Senigallia into the noble family of Girolamo dei conti

    Ferretti, and was baptized on the same day of his birthwith the name of Giovanni Maria Giambattista PietroPellegrino Isidoro. He was educated at the Piarist Col-lege in Volterra and in Rome. As a theology student inhis hometown Sinigaglia, in 1814 he met Pope Pius VII,who had returned from French captivity. In 1815, he en-tered the Papal Noble Guard but was soon dismissed af-ter an epileptic seizure.[5] He threw himself at the feet ofPius VII, who elevated him and supported his continuedtheological studies.The pope originally insisted that another priest shouldassist Mastai during Holy Mass, a stipulation that waslater rescinded, after the seizure attacks became lessfrequent.[11] Mastai was ordained priest in April 1819.He initially worked as the rector of the Tata Giovanni In-stitute in Rome. Shortly before his death, Pius VII senthim as Auditor to Chile and Peru in 1823 and 1825 toassist the Apostolic Nuncio, Monsignore Giovanni MuziandMonsignore BradleyKane, in the rstmission to post-revolutionary South America.[12] Themission had the ob-jective to map out the role of the Catholic Church in thenewly independent South American republics. He wasthus the rst pope ever to have been in America. Whenhe returned to Rome, the successor of Pius VII, Pope LeoXII appointed him head of the hospital of San Michelein Rome (18251827) and canon of Santa Maria in ViaLata.Pope Leo XII appointed Father Mastai-FerrettiArchbishop of Spoleto, his own hometown, in 1827 atthe age of 35.[11] In 1831, the abortive revolution thathad begun in Parma and Modena spread to Spoleto;the Archbishop obtained a general pardon after it wassuppressed, gaining him a reputation for being liberal.During an earthquake, he made a reputation as anecient organizer of relief and great charity.[11] Thefollowing year he was moved to the more prestigiousdiocese of Imola, was made a cardinal in pectore in 1839,and in 1840 was publicly announced as Cardinal-Priestof Santi Marcellino e Pietro. As in Spoleto, his episcopalpriorities were the formation of priests through improvededucation and charities. He became known for visitingprisoners in jail, and for programs for street children.[13]According to historians, Cardinal Mastai-Ferretti wasconsidered a liberal during his episcopate in Spoleto andImola because he supported administrative changes inthe Papal States and sympathized with the nationalistmovement in Italy.

    3 Papal electionMain article: Papal conclave, 1846The conclave of 1846, following the death of Pope Gre-gory XVI (183146), took place in an unsettled politi-cal climate within Italy. Because of this, many foreignCardinals decided not to attend the conclave. At its start,only 46 out of 62 cardinals were present.

  • 3An 1846 picture of Pope Pius IX soon after his election to thepapacy.

    Moreover, the conclave of 1846 was steeped in a factionaldivision between conservatives and liberals. The con-servatives supported Luigi Lambruschini, Gregory XVI'sCardinal Secretary of State. Liberals supported two can-didates: Pasquale Tommaso Gizzi and the then 54-year-old Mastai-Ferretti.[14] A fourth papabile was CardinalLudovico Micara the Dean of the College of Cardinalswho was favored by the residents of Rome itself but henever gained support among the cardinals.[15]

    During the rst ballot, Mastai-Ferretti received 15 votes,the rest going to Cardinal Lambruschini and CardinalGizzi. Lambruschini received a majority of the votesin the early ballots, but failed to achieve the requiredtwo-thirds majority. Cardinal Gizzi was favored by theFrench government but failed to get further support fromthe cardinals and the conclave ended up ultimately asa contest between Cardinals Lambruschini and Mastai-Ferretti.[15] In the meantime, Cardinal Tommaso Ber-netti reportedly received information that Karl Kajetanvon Gaisruck the Austrian Archbishop of Milan was onhis way to the conclave to veto the election of Mastai-Ferretti. According to historian Valrie Pirie, CardinalBernetti realized that if Lambruschini was to be stoppedand Mastai-Ferretti was to be elected he had to con-vince the cardinals within a few hours or accept the elec-tion of Lambruschini.[15] Bernetti then on his own ini-tiative personally convinced the majority of the electorsto switch their support to Mastai-Ferretti.[15] CardinalMastai-Ferretti himself however made no eort to cam-paign for the papacy, made no promises and maintainedaloofness throughout the process.[15]

    Faced with deadlock and persuaded by Bernetti to keepLambruschini from being elected pope, liberals and mod-erates decided to cast their votes for Mastai-Ferretti in

    a move that contradicted the general mood throughoutEurope. By the second day of the conclave, on 16June 1846, during an evening ballot, Mastai-Ferretti waselected pope. He was a glamorous candidate, ardent,emotional with a gift for friendship and a track-record ofgenerosity even towards anti-Clericals and Carbonari. Hewas a patriot, known to be critical of Gregory XVI "[14]Because it was night, no formal announcement was given,just the signal of white smoke. Many Catholics had as-sumed that Gizzi had been elected successor of St. Peter.In fact, celebrations began to take place in his hometown,and his personal sta, following a long-standing tradition,burned his cardinalitial vestments.On the following morning, the senior Cardinal-Deacon,Tommaso Riario Sforza, announced the election ofMastai-Ferretti before a crowd of faithful Catholics.WhenMastai-Ferretti appeared on the balcony, the moodbecame joyous. Mastai-Ferretti chose the name of PiusIX in honor of Pope Pius VII (180023), who had encour-aged his vocation to the priesthood despite his childhoodepilepsy.However, Mastai-Ferretti, now Pope Pius IX, had lit-tle diplomatic and no curial experience at all, which didcause some controversy. The government of the Em-pire of Austria as represented by Prince Metternich inits foreign aairs objected to even the possible electionof Mastai-Ferretti. Thus, Cardinal Gaisruck, Archbishopof Milan, was sent to present the Austrian ocial vetoagainst Mastai-Ferretti. However, Gaisruck arrived toolate; the new Pope was already elected.[16] Pius IX wascrowned on 21 June 1846.

    4 Papacy

    The election of the liberal Pius IX created much enthusi-asm in Europe and elsewhere. Although he was not un-known and had done nothing on an administrative levelbefore his election, and although there were no utterancesfrom him, he increased in fame and popularity.

    For the next twenty months after the election,Pius IX was the most popular man on the Ital-ian peninsula, where the exclamation Longlife to Pius IX!" was often heard.[17]

    English Protestants celebrated him as a friend of light anda reformer of Europe towards freedom and progress.[18]He was elected without political inuences from outsideand in the best years of his life. Hewas pious, progressive,intellectual, decent, friendly, and open to everybody.[19]

  • 4 4 PAPACY

    Cardinal Secretary of State Antonelli

    4.1 Governing the Church4.1.1 Centralization

    The end of the Papal States was not the only importantevent in the long ponticate of Pius. His leadership ofthe Church contributed to an ever-increasing centraliza-tion and consolidation of power in Rome and the papacy.While his political views and policies were hotly debated,his personal life style was above any criticism; he was con-sidered a model of simplicity and poverty in his every dayaairs.[20] More than his predecessors, Pius used the pa-pal pulpit to address the bishops of the world. The FirstVatican Council, which he convened to consolidate papalauthority further, was considered a milestone not only inhis ponticate but also for Church history.[8]

    4.1.2 Church rights

    The Church policies of Pius IX were dominated with adefence of the rights of the Church and the free exerciseof religion for Catholics in countries like Russia and theOttoman Empire. He also fought against what he per-ceived to be anti-Catholic philosophies in countries likeItaly, Germany and France. Many of the Popes subjectswanted to be Italian instead. The soldiers who guardedthe Pope from Italians (between 1849 and 1870) were

    largely French and Austrian. The Pope considered mov-ing to Germany (see below).After the French loss in the Franco-Prussian War of18701871, the Papal States lost its protector and wereabsorbed by Italy. Germany actively persecuted theChurch for a decade after the war.[21]

    Pope Pius IX, Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome, Italy.

    4.1.3 Jubilees

    Pius IX celebrated several jubilees including the 300thanniversary of the Council of Trent. Pius celebrated the1,800th anniversary of the martyrdom of the Apostle Pe-ter and Apostle Paul on 29 June 1867 with 512 bishops,20,000 priests and 140,000 lay persons in Rome.[22] Alarge gathering was organized in 1871 to commemoratethe 25th anniversary of his papacy. The Italian govern-ment in 1870 outlawed many popular pilgrimages. Thefaithful of Bologna organized a nationwide spiritual pil-grimage to the pope and the tombs of the apostles in1873.[23] In 1875, Pius declared a Holy Year that wascelebrated throughout the Catholic world. On the 50thanniversary of his episcopal consecration, people fromall parts of the world came to see the old ponti from 30

  • 5.1 Reforms in the Papal States 5

    April 1877 to 15 June 1877. He was a bit shy, but he val-ued initiative within the Church and created several newtitles, rewards and orders to elevate those who in his viewdeserved merit.[24]

    4.1.4 Consistories

    Main article: Cardinals created by Pius IX

    Pius IX created a total of 122 new Cardinals the limit ofthe College of Cardinals was 70 of which 64 were aliveat his death. Noteworthy elevations included VincenzoPecci, his eventual successor Leo XIII; Nicholas Wise-man of Westminster; Henry Edward Manning; and JohnMcCloskey, the rst American ever to be elevated intothe College of Cardinals.[25]

    5 Sovereign of the Papal StatesMain article: Papal States under Pope Pius IXPius IX was not only pope, but until 1870, also the

    An 1870 German drawing shows Pius IX as Papst und Knig,Pope and King'

    Sovereign Rul...

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