Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

64
Papal Protest on the Proclamation of the Italian Kingdom April 15, 1861'

Italian unification, achieved in the patriotic war against Austria from! 1859 to 1860, was the product of resurgent nationalism, Piedmontese leadership, and French military assistance. Joining the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies with northern Italy required first military invasion, then annexation, of most of the Papal States, leaving only Rome and the area immediately surrounding it to the pope. Cavour's overtures to the Curia ( October 1860 to February 1861) arguing for a settlement that would give Rome to Italy while leaving papal religious authority undisturbed were fruitless, and when the Italian kingdom was proclaimed March 17, 1861, Cardinal Antonelli (papal secretary of state) protested in this diplomatic circular. The encyclical Jamdudum Cernimus, dated March 18, defining the church's relationship to progress, liberalism, and modem civilization, also denounced spoliation of the Holy See.

A Catholic king, forgetful of every religious principle, despising every right, trampling upon every law, after having, little by little, despoiled the august head of the Catholic Church of the greatest and most flourishing portion of his legitimate possessions, has now taken to himself the title of King of Italy; with which title he has sought to seal the sacrilegious usurpations already consummated, and which his government has already manifested its intention of completing to the detriment of the patrimony of the Apostolic See. Although the Holy Father has solemnly protested. . . . as he saw successive attacks made upon his sovereignty, he, nevertheless, is under the obligation of putting forth a fresh protest against the assumption of a title tending to legitimize the iniquity of so many facts.

It would here be superfluous to recall the holiness of the possession of the patrimony of the Church and the right the Supreme Pontiff has to it-an incontestable right, recognized at all times and by all governments. Therefore . . . the Holy Father will never be able to recognize the title of "King of Italy," arrogated to himself by the king of Sardinia, because it is injurious to justice and to the sacred property of the Church. On the contrary, he makes the most ample and formal protest against such an usurpation.

Source: The Annual Register, or a View of the History and Politics of the Year 1861 ( London, 1862), pp. [187]-[188]. Italian text in Civiltà cattolica, 4th ser., Vol. X ( 1861), p. 497.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

E. E. Y. Hales, Pio Nono. A Study in European Politics and Religion in the Nineteenth Century ( New York, 1954), pp. 171-227.

F. Nielsen, The History of the Papacy in the Nineteenth Century ( London, 1906), II, 200- 238.

J. Schmidlin, Papstgeschichte der neuesten Zeit ( Munich, 1933- 1936), II, 66-80.

References for Document 63.

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