Wednesday, March 20, 2013

On Popes in the 19th century

This post is a little delayed, because I wanted to write it after the Italian unification, but I couldn´t do it before. It´s about the relations between the States and the Popes during the 19th century.In previous units we studied that some monarchs signed concordats with the Holy See to solve the relations of their States with the Catholic Church.

-  Napoleon Bonaparte signed a concordat with Pope Pius VII in 1801. This meant the end of the disputes between the Catholic Church and the State born after the French Revolution. The Concordat recognized that Catholicism was the religion of the great majority of the French, but consecrated religious freedom in France. In addition, the French State would pay the salaries of the clergy and they would have to swear allegiance to the State. This concordat was suppressed in 1905, when the French Third Republic established the definitive separation of the State and the Church (what the French call laïcité). 

Le sacre de Napoleon (Pope Pius on the right)

- The Ecclesiastical confiscation of Mendizábal (1835-1837), one of the most important reforms of the Liberal Revolution in Spain, during Mª Cristina of Bourbon´s Regency, meant the nationalization and sale at auction of the properties of the Church. Pope Gregory XVI decided to excommunicate the members of the government, the Spanish royal family and also all those who bought the properties sold at auction. 

When the moderates came to power, they tried to make peace with the Catholic Church. During the Moderate Decade (1844-1845) they passed a law to return to the Church all the confiscated properties which hadn´t been sold (Ley de Donación de Culto y Clero). Finally, in 1851 the Spanish State signed a Concordat with Pius IX, which stated that Catholicism was the only religion allowed, the right of the Church to have properties (which couldn´t be confiscated in the future) and control education and the obligation of  the State to pay the salaries of the clergy and provide an income to churches and seminaries. Besides, Isabella II was recognized Queen of Spain. This Concordat was in force until 1931, when the government of the Second Republic  rejected it. Dictator General Franco restored the Concordat in 1941 and signed a new one with the Holy See in 1953. 

- Pius IX was also the Pope who confronted the new born Italian monarchy. The Italian troops defeated the Papal troops at the Battle of Castelfidardo in 1860 and occupied all the Papal States except Latium (including Rome). This territory was protected by Napoleon III´s troops until 1870, when they were retired to fight in the French- Prussian War. When this happened King Victor Emmanuel II took the opoportunity and seized Rome in September and converted it into the capital city of Italy. Pope Pius IX refused to accept this and declared himself the "Prisoner of the Vatican". All the Italian royal family was excommunicated (including Amadeus of Savoy, who was king of Spain from 1871 to 1873) and the problem between the Holy See and Italy wasn´t solved until 1929, with the signature of the Lateran Pacts, which created the Vatican City State. 


Pius IX

Pius IX was also known by other facts: he called the first Vatican Council, which decreed papal infalibility (this means that the Pope is always right). He also defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (Mary was conceived without the original sin) and issued the Syllabus Errorum, a list of the errors or mistakes of modern times. The list included 80 propositions condemning all the ideas or thoughts considered to be against the Catholic dogma: freedom of thought, rationalism, science, the separation between the Church and the State, communism, socialism or modern liberalism. Here you have the summary of the complete list:

- Leo XIII was the last Pope of the 19th century. He also considered himself as a prisoner in the Vatican and  his relationships with the Italian monarchy were bad. He recommended the Italian Catholics not to vote in the elections or collaborate with the government. His major contribution to history were the conclusions of his encyclical Rerum Novarum.The Pope wrote it due to his worry about the increasing number of workers who were joining unions and being attracted by Marxism or Anarchism. Although Leo XIII  recognized the workers' rights, he also affirmed the right to private property and tried to reconcile capital and labour. This encyclical is considered to be the beginning of the social doctrine of the Church, the future Catholic unions and Christian democratic .parties.



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