The Need for a Council

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

The Need for a Council

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In the 1860s the pope's position in Rome depended on the presence of the French garrison there and, although Napoleon III wished to withdraw, he could not do so unless the Piedmontese promised not to take over the city. His vulnerability contributed to Pius IX's language as head of the Church becoming ever more extreme. His opposition to the modern world was expressed in the Syllabus of Errors, which had the effect of making him an obscurantist in the eyes of Europe, but also strengthened ultramontanism in defence of the pope and his throne. The Vatican Council of 1870 gathered together for the first time bishops from all over the world, and on the issue of papal infallibility an ultramontane majority overcame a liberal minority. The majority of Catholic bishops thus came to support a reinforcement of papal authority and an uncompromising and dogmatic stance against the authority of councils, political liberalism, and the other Christian denominations.

Keywords: Church councils; papal infallibility; Pius IX; Vatican Council

Chapter.  24008 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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