Wednesday, February 7, 2018

140 years ago: Good riddance to Pope Pius IX

On February 7, 1878, Pope Pius IX died at the age of 85. Pius IX, born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, sat on the papal throne for 31 years and 9 months from June 16, 1846 until his death, longer than any other elected pope (so far). He was also the sovereign ruler of the Papal States; he was regarded as a secular ruler of the Papal States, although the Roman Catholic Church and its members were given more rights than others. Pope Pius IX liberalized conditions in the Papal States to some extent, such as opening the Jewish Ghetto, but his later actions, including the reinstitution of the Jewish Ghetto, were more reactionary.

Pope Pius IX published a record 38 encyclicals and defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in 1854, but was probably best known for convening the First Vatican Council in 1869. Vatican I came to a premature end in 1870 after Italian troops captured Rome and the Papal States, but not before the doctrine of papal infallibility was promulgated.

The government of the Kingdom of Italy, which had incorporated the Papal States, passed the Law of Guarantees, which would have made the Holy See dependent on legislation subject to modification by the Italian parliament. Pope Pius IX protested by refusing to set foot outside the Vatican for the remainder of his life. He was succeeded as Pope by Leo XIII.

See also my post 60 years ago: Pope Pius XII promulgates the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven (December 8, 2010)

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