The Prisoner of the Vatican

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 Prisoner of the Vatican

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The taking of Rome by the Italian army in 1870 made the pope ’the prisoner of the Vatican’ a situation Pius IX preferred to live with rather than flee, and the new Italian authorities were careful to leave him free to per perform his spiritual duties as head of the Church. The Law of Guarantees of 1871 regulated relations between the pope and the Italian state, but conflict continued due to the attitudes of both Pius IX and Italian radicals. The pope battled with the state over the appointment of bishops, made intransigent speeches, and rejected attempts at reconciliation. The forced acceptance of the Council's decrees on infallibility, the conflict with Italy, and Pius IX's rejection of ’the modern world’ all had the effect of both uniting most Catholics behind the pope and increasing the Church's isolation from liberal and Protestant Europe. This was shown in the controversy in Austria over a new Concordat, the Kulturkampf in Germany, and anti‐Catholic hostility in Britain. The funerals of Pius IX and king Victor Emmanuel in 1878 were seen as symbolic not only of the internal battles of Italian politics but also of the old Europe and the new.

Keywords: Austria; Great Britain; Italian unification; Kulturkamp; papal infallibility; Pius IX; Rome; Victor Emmanuel II

Chapter.  25672 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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