A History of the Popes, 1830-1914

A History of the Popes, 1830-1914

A History of the Popes, 1830-1914

A History of the Popes, 1830-1914

Synopsis

Could a Pope ever consent to be the subject of a political power? Chadwick presents an analysis of the causes and consequences of the end of the historic Papal State, and the psychological pressures upon old Rome as it came under attack from the Italian Risorgimento; and not only from Italy, but from liberal movements in Germany, France, Spain, and Portugal, as well as Tsarist Russia as it oppressed its Polish subjects. If a united Italy was to be achieved, the State would have to disappear. These pressures caused Popes to resist "the world" rather than to try to influence it, to make the Vatican more of a sanctuary behind high walls, and to preach the more otherworldly aspects of Catholic faith. At the same time they met new moral demands: the rights of the laborer in industry, divorce, and toleration--which they could confront because the Revolution had destroyed the powers of the Catholic kings over their churches. Thus, Chadwick points out, Catholic authority could be far more centralized in Rome.

Excerpt

The most famous pope of the Middle Ages to assert papal power against emperors and kings was Pope Gregory VII, Hildebrand. Ever since the high Middle Ages popes were conscious that in Gregory VII they made an emperor to kneel in the snow at Canossa, that in Innocent III they acted as the international authority of Europe, that in Boniface VIII they asserted the ultimate secular power of the pope as well as his ultimate spiritual authority. They were also aware that these tremendous claims were not often recognized and sometimes were repudiated with contempt or with force. Gregory VII died in exile, Boniface sickened and died after being kidnapped and rescued. In the Counter-Reformation, when Spanish and afterwards French power became strong in Italy, they grew hesitant of using such names lest they remind Europe of the contrast between the past glories of the Holy See and the weakness of its present occupant. No one had chosen the name Boniface since 1389, when the see was divided by the Great Schism. Gregory XIII was a famous name of the Counter- Reformation and shortly afterwards there were two more Gregorys; one ruled for less than a year, the other for two years, yet they were important. Towards the end of the seventeenth century and early in the eighteenth century there were three weighty popes who took the name Innocent. But in the eighteenth century they preferred to take gentler-sounding names, such as Clement (four of those), Pius, or Benedict. The coronation of Pius VI in 1775 started the age of the Piuses--during the next 183 years there were only fifty-four years in which the pope was not named Pius. And when they were not called Pius they avoided high-and-mighty sounding names--with one exception.

For books cited in footnotes, place of publication is London unless otherwise stated.

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