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Pius IX

Pius IX

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Published by Simon Apablaza
An overview to the polemical pontificate of Pope Pius IX, his answers to the risorgimento and how he was considered dull by some but great by many.
An overview to the polemical pontificate of Pope Pius IX, his answers to the risorgimento and how he was considered dull by some but great by many.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Simon Apablaza on Jan 08, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/04/2013

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Simón Apablaza
PP
IUSIUS
IXIX
Pius IX was “
one of the most remarkable men tooccupy the chair of Peter”
1
.
-Bokenkotter What did Bokenkotter mean by that statement? Pius IXs pontificate wasdefinitely one of the most polemical ones. There were people against his pontificate andall he signified, and people completely devoted to him. In fact, during his papacy on theone hand, the Church lost all its temporal powers, but on the other, it gained an immensemoral authority. Not only that, but the first Vatican council, called by him, declared theDogma of papal infallibility.To overview the papacy of Pius IX, we will divide this work into three headings:the first is the Pope’s attitude to the Risorgimento, that is, the movement for theunification of Italy. The second is his attitude towards liberals generally, and lastly his promotion of ultramontanism.
2
P
OPE
S
A
TTITUDE
T
OWARDS
ISORGIMENTO
 
The problems that Pius IX was to face, were growing during the Papacy of Gregory XVI. In his Papacy, a confederation of countries (Autocratic Austria, liberalFrance, Czarist Russia, bureaucratic Prussia and ‘amphibious England’) met in Rome. Onthe eve of 21
st
of May, 1831, they issued a memorial that was to inaugurate a new era of  better government. They all were to share the wardship of the Church.
3
The memorandumoutlined reforms in almost everything and provided for popular election and a predominant lay participation in the Papal government. Pope Gregory agreed to introducereforms, but refused to abandon his rights of sovereignty.
4
In 1846 Pius IX became Pope. He started the Papacy resolved to make everyconcession to material progress, popular liberties, and participation of the laity in the
1
Thomas Bokenkotter,
 A Concise History of the Catholic Church,
(New York: Image Books, 1979), 330.
2
Alec Vidler,
The Church in an Age of Revolution, 1789 to the Present Day
(London: Penguin Books,1990) 147.
3
One can be quite certain that the intentions of such Catholic, Protestant, and Greek alliances could not bealtruistic, nor could they be united on religious purposes.
4
Raymond Corrigan,
The Church and the Nineteenth Century
(Milwaukee: The Bruce PublishingCompany, 1948), 50-1.
1
 
Simón Apablazagovernment. However, every time he made a move, he had to be so careful not to crossthe line between progress and change, or between the healthy and the perilous.
5
Two years after Pius IX became Pope, his parliament declared war on Austria,trying to ally with the
 Risorgimento,
(the Italian movement of liberation and unificationof Italy). The Pope however could not declare war against Catholic Austria. The decision became unpopular and rage swept the streets of Rome, with riots and demonstrations; thePope’s prime minister was murdered and revolution erupted. The Pope managed to flee toGaeta, and the revolutionaries set up a republic in Rome and declared the temporal power of the Pope ended.
6
 The Pope appealed for help to the Catholic powers, but only Francesent a small army on April 29, 1849. They drove the troops of Garibaldi out of Rome andthe political government in Rome was restored on July 14; the Pope then came back fromhis exile.
7
 Consequently, the question about the position of Pius IX with regard to the
 Risorgimento
runs into the larger question of the Pope’s position against liberalism ingeneral, that is, to all the ideas that came to Europe from the French revolution.
A
TTITUDE
T
OWARDS
L
IBERALISM
 
After the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Church grew in strength and vitality, aswell as in number and missions. The religious orders were strengthened, Pius VII restoredthe Society of Jesus and they helped to reorganize the Church in Europe and in themission fields and the intellectuals turned away form the scepticism and rationalism of the Eighteen Century enlightenment.The word liberalism has many shades in its meaning. In the nineteen-century, basically denominated all those people that were in favour of constitutional and
5
Bokenkotter thinks that the grants of the Pope Pius IX, were produced only because he was yielding to the political pressures of the moment. See Thomas Bokenkotter,
 A Concise History of the Catholic Church
,314.
6
With this, all the dreams cherished by many nationalists that hoped for a federated Italy headed by thePope, were utterly shattered. It is hard however, to even think that the Pope could collaborate with theextremist Italian liberals like Mazzini and Garibaldi, because their religion positions were irreconcilable.see Kenneth Latourette,
Christianity in a Revolutionary Age, ( New York: The Paternoster Press, 1970)
267- 268.
7
Donald Attwater,
 A Dictionary of the Popes
(London: Burns and Oates, 1939), 303-4.
2
 
Simón Apablazarepresentative governments, religious toleration, separation of Church and state, and inliberty all around, press, associations, education, etc.
8
 It is an old cliché to say that before 1848 Pius IX was liberal and after he becameauthoritative. Pius IX was a man dealing with a difficult time, a time of lies, deceit, andrevolution. We can make a distinction between reforms and revolution: reforms are made
within
a system they want to improve, Revolution instead, is made
outside
a system andaims to destroy it. Revolution takes on a mask of reforms because if it shows it truenihilistic, ideological, and destructive essence, it would lose its consensus. Pius IX livedthis time of reforms and revolution in the Papal States.
9
Christianity and Liberalism were seen to be in opposition and Christians andliberals took opposite sides. They became more and more hostile towards one another andthe battle between clericalism and anti-clericalism added to this.Pius IX’s
pontificate was not at all easy and he suffered in fulfilling his mission toserve to the Gospel.
Alec Vidler, a modern historian, criticised Pius IX saying that “
he failed to read the signs of times”,
and that
“a wise Pope would have set himself prudentlyto educate the Church into an understanding of its new historical environment…
.
Hewas much loved, but also hated and slandered.
He was said to be guilty not only of beingauthoritative, but also of laying down the foundations for a monolithic and centralizingconcept of the Church and society, especially with the
 syllabus
.
Sylabus of errors
On the tenth anniversary of the encyclical of the Immaculate Conception, Pius IXissued an encyclical called
Cuanta Cura,
accompanied by the document
Syllabuserrorum
. This was one of the most controversial documents ever written. It covers a widerange of topics, condemning the errors of the time in eighty points. Pantheism,naturalism, and absolute rationalism and moderate rationalism, were denounced.Indifferentism and latitudinarism followed. It rebuked socialism, communism, secret
8
Alec Vidler,
The Church in an Age of Revolution,
148.
9
Carlo Liberati, “Did Pius IX Change radically After 1848?” in
 L’osservatore Romano, Weekly Edition in English,
n. 38 (19 sept, 2001), 9-10.
10
Alec Vidler,
The Church in an Age of Revolution,
150.
3

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