Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Il Clero a Perugia Durante L'episcopato Di Gioacchino Pecci (1846-1878). Tra Stato Pontificio E Stato Unitario

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Il Clero a Perugia Durante L'episcopato Di Gioacchino Pecci (1846-1878). Tra Stato Pontificio E Stato Unitario

Article excerpt

ll clero a Perugia durante 1episcopato di Gioaccbino Pecci (1846-1878). Tra Stato Rmtiflcio Stato Unitario. By Maria Lupi. [Italia Sacra: Studi e documenti di storia ecclesiastica, Vol. 57.] (Rome: Herder Editrice c Libreria1998. Pp. xx, 582. Lire 160,000 paperback.)

This clearly written and richly detailed book concentrates on the condition of the clergy in a single diocese during the crucial years of Italian unification. Gioacchino Pecci was named bishop of Perugia in 1846, the first year of the pontificate of Pius IX, and held that position until Pius died in 1878. The leading reason why he was elected the next Pope, Uo XIII, was his success in concentrating the energy of his clergy on spiritual essentials, together with his leadership in the struggle with the newly proclaimed Kingdom of Italy to defend the Church and serve its people.

When Pecci assumed the reins in Perugia, there had been substantial movement away from the traditional model of the ancien r6gime toward one of greater pastoral care in the thirty years since the Restoration.

During the Restoration period, reduced numbers of clergy were hard-pressed to fill all of the positions and benefices available. The crippling of the religious communities hurt the many small oratories and confraternities which had served as centers of prayer and social ministry. Worship was concentrated in the parishes once again, with greater demands on the pastors for preaching, religious education, administration of sacraments, and direct contact between priests and people. Pecci's ideal -new" cleric was above all a man of prayer and blameless life, a good guide and example to all.

Beginning with the Revolution of 1848, Pecci worked to streamline and consolidate his authority for the coming struggle. He had only a short time before the Kingdom of Piedmont occupied and annexed his diocese and the rest of Umbria in 1860, then seized Rome itself in 1870, and abolished the Papal States forever.

He made Substantial progress toward recapturing moral hegemony among clergy and faithful. He encouraged the steady education of better-motivated clerics, and supported their increasing level of pastoral care and personal commitment. But he also used his greater centralized authority to reward and promote those who best followed his newer ideal. …

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