A Liberal Pope, 1846–1848

Owen Chadwick

in A History of the Popes 1830-1914

Published in print April 1998 | ISBN: 9780198269229
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600456 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

A Liberal Pope, 1846–1848

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The election of Pius IX in 1846 aroused great enthusiasm among liberals and nationalists in Italy, and the evidence indicates that for the first two years of his papacy, until the Roman Revolution of 1848, Pius's liberalism was genuine. But his refusal to join the war against Austria in 1848 highlighted the contradiction between his role as an Italian political leader and his office as an international spiritual leader who had to retain the support of conservative Catholics throughout Europe, including Austria. When revolution broke out in Rome and a republic was declared, the pope had to flee to Neapolitan territory, and he was only restored to the papal states by French and Austrian arms. The experience changed Pius's outlook to that of a resolute conservatism as he lost any belief that papal authority could be reconciled with constitutional government. Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli emerged as the dominant figure in papal government.

Keywords: Italian nationalism; Pius IX; Revolutions of 1848; Roman Republic

Chapter.  14976 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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