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Pope Pius IX


Pope Pius IX, reigned 16 June 1846 – 7 February 1878

the length of whose reign as the Successor of Peter was exceeded only by that of Apostle Saint Peter himself

and the final temporal ruler of the Papal States

The sovereign lands over which the Popes were absolute monarchs, with interruptions, from the Donation of Pepin in the year 754 and the Codification of his son Charlemagne in 781

through the Capture of Rome by the forces of Italian unification, the Risorgimento, on XX Settembre – 20 September 1870


bronze statute of Saint Peter Arnolfo di Cambio in Saint Peters Basilica

possibly by Arnolfo di Cambio (c. 1240 – 1300/1310)

Saint Peters Chair in Saint Peters Basilica surmounted by medalion of Pope Pius IX

Medalion of Pius IX


    Basilica Sancti Petri    




  detail from Promulgation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Francesco Podesti  
  ... detail from Promulgation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Francesco Podesti
(angel with the definition) in the Vatican Room of the Immaculate Conception.




Dominus Deus   Omnia




  Unificazione Italiana – Italian Unification  
  circa 1815 to 1871  


Giuseppe Mazzini bronze bust in Central Park in New York City  









At base of monument to Vincenzo Gioberti, possible blasphemous depiction of the Lord and some figure, representing liberty?

  Vincenzo Gioberti priest philosopher
Giuseppe Mazzini (22 June 1805 – 10 March 1872)
Bronze bust in Central Park in New York City
  Complete with Freemasonic imagery   Vincenzo Gioberti priest philosopher
Statue in Torino (Turin)




  Donazione di Roma  The Donation of Constantine  
  Donazione di Roma – The Donation of Constantine  
La Donazione di Costantino, conosciuta anche come la Donazione di Roma (dall'imperatore Costantino), affresco nella Sala di Costantino entro le Stanze di Raffaello del Palazzo Vaticano, il 1520-1524 dagli assistenti di Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, molto probabilmente Giovan Francesco Penni o Giulio Romano. –
The Donation of Constantine, also known as the Donation of Rome (by Emperor Constantine), fresco in the Hall of Constantine within the Raphael Rooms of the Vatican Palace, 1520-1524 by assistants of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, probably Gianfrancesco Penni or Giulio Romano.



Pope Pius IX, by far the longest serving elected pope, reigned for 31 years and 236 days from 16 June 1846 until his death on 7 February 1878, his papacy being more momentous by far than this longevity circumstance suggests. On 29 June 1868 he convoked the First Vatican Council (the 20th Ecumenical Council in the Catholic tradition, even if not fully "Ecumenical"), which opened on 8 December 1869 and adjourned on 20 October 1870. On 18 July of 1870 that council, convoked and lead by Pope Pius IX, pronounced and declared in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Pastor Aeternusas, the dogma of the Infallibility of Popes, including of course Pius IX himself, when they speak ex cathedra to define doctrine concerning faith or morals.

As an interesting footnote, can any conclusions regarding how his papacy was viewed by his successors be drawn from the fact that, of the 10 popes who have followed Pius IX, 3 have chosen Pius as their ponifical names — Pius X (Giuseppe Sarto) 4 VIII 1903 - 20 VIII 1914; Pius XI (Achille Ratti) 6 II 1922 - 10 II 1939; and Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) 2.III.1939 - 9.X.1958 — all three having been elevated within 61 years of the death of Pius IX?

For those readers unfamiliar with the immediately surrounding circumstances of the Roman Pope, the following very brief outline is offered. In short, the circumstances could hardly have been worse. Some would argue that one can not understand the pronouncements of Vatican I without understanding these conditions. It was during Pope Pius IX's reign that the popes finally lost sovereignty and control over the Papal States, which the popes had ruled in varying degrees of completeness as temporal princes since the Donation of Pepin in 751/754-56, when the Frankish King Pepin the Short, father of Charlemagne, donated to the Church vast territories in central Italy which had just been won through war from the Lombards, who themselves had only recently acquired them from the conquered Exarchate of Ravenna, the main seat of Eastern Roman Emperor's government in Italy. Perhaps one can guess how much the Eastern Orthodox to this day appreciate this notion of the Donation of Pepin. On 25 December 800 Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne "Emperor of the Romans". Looking forward 1100 years to Pope Pius IX's reign, Europe had been in revolutionary turmoil on and off for more than half a century since the French Revolution. The forces of Italian nationalism encompassed his entire reign. Having lost sovereignty over most of the Papal States a decade earlier, after the Franco-Prussian War began on 19 July 1870, Napoleon III withdrew the French garrison from Rome which had been protecting Pius IX, and the Italian people wanted King Victor Emmanuel II to take Rome. Pius IX having refused an offer to allow the forces of the Italian Army to enter Rome peacefully, Italy declared war on the Papal States on 10 September 1870! Rome was captured on 20 September 1870 and later annexed to Italy. For 58 years from then until the creation on 11 February 1929 of the sovereign State of Vatican City by the Lateran Treaty and Concordat (signed for King Victor Emmanuel III by Prime Minster Benito Mussolini), the popes, beginning with Pius IX who was to reign for 7 more years, were "prisoners" in the Vatican. But getting back to the main point:

  • Papal Infallibility is declared on 18 July 1870;
  • Franco-Prussian War begins on 19 July 1870;
  • Italy declares war on the Papal States — Italy declares war on the Pope! — on 10 September 1870;
  • On 20 September 1870 Pope Pius IX ceases to be a temporal King, he is the last Bishop of Rome to rule territories, which had been part of what the popes had been doing since 751 and actually for centuries before that**: raising taxes, enforcing justice, going to war against other Christian states, commanding Christians to kill other Christians. The reader can decide for her/himself whether this loss of sovereignty over territory by the Churchmen claiming spiritual leadership over the Christian world was in fact a loss or a deliverance from a circumstance which never should have existed in the first place. An anomaly lasting 1119 years? In September of 1870 Pope Pius IX had ordered his tiny forces to fight the Italian Army. Rome was to be taken by force and not from consent.

(**From the final fall of the (Western) Roman Empire, whenever that was. On 4 September 476 when a Germanic chieftain, Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus, the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire? Or from 17 January 395 when the last emperor to rule both the Eastern Roman Empire and the Western Roman Empire, Theodosius I, died? Or from the death of the last Eastern Roman Emperor who tried to re-conquer the Western Roman Empire and re-unite the Christian empire, Justinian the Great, on 14 November 565? Actually, the Church in Rome began rapidly to acquire territory after the time that the Christian Church ceased to be illegal in 313 under Emperor Saint Constantine the Great (reigned 306-337), and perhaps the distinction between huge private landowner and sovereign became blurred at times over the centuries.)





  medallions of popes in Notre Dame de Paris   Pius IX's medallion in Notre Dame de Paris among those of the college of Popes  
  In Notre Dame de Paris      



Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome, built 135-139




  detail from The Discussion of the Immaculate Conception by Francesco Podesti (with Pius IX in a cardinal's red hat) in the Vatican Room of the Immaculate Conception  
  ... detail from The Discussion of the Immaculate Conception by Francesco Podesti (with Pius IX in a cardinal's red hat) in the Vatican Room of the Immaculate Conception.  




uec_fr_lourdes_bienheureux_pie_ix   mosaic of Pope Pius IX in Lourdes
In the Underground Basilica   ...in Lourdes, France


  mosaic of Immaculate Conception with prelates in Lourdes