Papacy - A Historical Perspective
254. Born in Belluno. Elected February 6,
1831 - died June 1st 1846.
He counted on the powers of the
Holy Alliance (Austria, Prussia and Russia) to govern the Pontifical
He modified the full age from 25 to 21 years.
He founded the Egyptian and Etruscan Museum.
He was a good church governor and he was open-minded enough to
abolish the public lists of citizens who had not respected the Easter
duty and give more living space to the Jews living in the Ghetto.
He ordered the rectification of the Aniene, the straightening of
the mouth of the Tiber and the restructuring of the port of
He completed and consecrated (1834) the Roman cemetery of Verano,
which contains many monuments.
He is buried in the Basilica of St. Peter. His pontificate lasted
about 15 years and 4 months.
Pius IX :
255. Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, born
in Seniga1lia. Elected June 21, 1846 - died February 2, 1878.
He celebrated the 21st Jubilee
Year (1875) without opening the Holy doors and he established the
infallibility of the Pope when speaking ex cattedra.
On September 20th 1870, Rome
became the capital of the Kingdom of
The feast of the Immaculate
Conception (on December 8th) has its origins in the Byzantine rite
the VIII century. Sixtus VI approved it definitively with the Bull
"Prae excelsa" on March 1st 1476; Pius IX proclaimed it an obligatory
He called an Ecumenical Council,
the 1st Vatican Council.
The Pope never forgot his pastoral
On January 9th 1878, when he was
informed about the fact that Vittorio Emanuele was on the point of
death, he lifted the interdict and gave him his blessing; when the king
died, he simply commented: "poor man, not only did he want to take my
states here on earth, but he also wants to take my place in heaven!".
Soon afterwards, Pius IX died on
February 7th 1878. He died at the age of 86 after 31 years of
pontificate, the longest recorded so far.
He is buried in San Lorenzo al
Verano. Pius IX was the last Pope-king: the temporal power of the
Church had lasted for 1115 years, since the election of Pope Stephen
XIII : 1878-1903 A.D.
256. Gioacchino Pecci, born in Carpineto.
Elected March 3, 1878 - died
July 20, 1903.
He published the encyclical
"Rerum Novarum" concerning labour and social policy.
He was the first Pope to be filmed. He celebrated the 22nd Jubilee
Year and St. Peter's was lit for the first time using electricity.
He allowed the scholars to have access to the Vatican Archives.
He enriched the Vatican library with the Visconti library and the
Leo XIII introduced telephones and radiators in the Vatican but
never accepted the use of a car.
Leo XIII regulated the use of the "zucchetto"; a smaIl circular
skull-cap to be worn by Popes, cardinals, bishops and prelates.
It is made of silk cloth, only the Pope's is made of velvet; it is
violet for bishops; red for cardinals, white for the Pope and black for
all other prelates.
The zucchetto is also called "Soli Deo" since it must be taken off
only during the bow to the Holy Sacrament.
He died at the age of 93. His body was transferred to San Giovanni
in Laterano. His pontificate lasted 25 years and 5 months.
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