1815-1830 History of Italy 1849-1860

Papal State and Papacy, 1830-1849

In 1831 Gregory XVI. (-1846, civilian name Bartolomeo Alberto Capellari) succeeded Pius VIII. as pope. In 1846, he was again followed by Pius IX. (-1878, Giovanni Maria Count Mastai-Ferretti).
Early in 1831, revolutions erupted in Bologna and in Umbria; an attempt to establish a republican administration in Rome failed (Feb. 12th 1831). An Italian National Congress was held in Bologna (Feb. 26th 1831). Pope Gregory XVI. called in Austrian troops, which occupied Bologna on March 21st; an appeal by the Congress to King Louis Philippe of France to offer his protection remained unanswered. The representatives of the powers in Rome held conferences and on May 31st handed in a memorandum, which advised on political amnesty and a number of administrative reforms. However, only marginal steps were undertaken. Unrest continued; while papal troops defeated the rebels, the Sanfedisti committed atrocities which made it obvious that the papal administration had lost control of the situation; the Austrians were called in again; they occupied Bologna on Jan. 28th 1832, and were to stay for seven years. A French expedition occupied Ancona and also stayed for 7 years.
The administration continued in her uncompromising policy towards liberalism; while the Sanfedisti were given the status of a legitimate, official militia, a ruling required liberals, if accused, always to be given maximum sentence. Rules of canon law, such as the ban on consuming meat on Fridays, were enforced by courts. On the other hand, some of the demands for reforms, made in 1831, were answered; so, positions in the state administration were opened to laymen (in 1856, of 6978 government officials, 6854 were laymen).
The papal administration created a climate of political suppression excessive even in the Era of Metternich. As the Austrian and French occupation had to be financed by the Papal State, this proved a financial burden. The administration was unwilling to introduce modern technology, such as railways. Pope Gregory XVI. founded the Etruscan, Christian and Egyptian Musea in the Vaticano. In 1836 and 1837 the Papal State was struck by the Cholera, which caused a famine and lead to renewed unrest.
The Papal secretary of state, Benedetti (1828-1836) had to resign due to Austrian pressure; in 1838 both the Austrians and French withdrew their troops. In Sept. 1838, a short-lived rebellion took place at Rimini, which has been described by Massimo D'Azeglio (on recent events in the Romagna), a publication criticizing the administration of the Papal State.
With the election of Giovanni Maria Count Mastai-Ferretti, who took the name of Pius IX. (1846-1878), a new era seemed to begin. A new censorship law, less strict than the previous one, was passed, a Ministerial Council created, the formation of citizens' militias approved, a State Council created (April 19th 1847); a general amnesty for political convicts considered. Metternich, however, was unwilling to accept the liberal tendencies and strengthened the Austrian garrison in Ferrara, only to turn Pope Pius IX., who protested the Austrian measure, to a national hero in the public eye. Yet Pius IX. rejected Mazzini's call to take the lead in a national revolutionary movement.
On January 2nd, the Pope was given the 34 Demands of the People, a catalogue of liberal reform demands. Revolutions sprang up in Sicily and Naples; the King of Sardinia granted a liberal constitution. On February 8th 1848 the mob of Rome demanded lay ministers and the armament of the people. On March 10th a cabinet including 6 lay ministers (out of 9) was formed, on March 14th a fundamental statute for the secular administration of the papal state (constitution) adopted. Pius IX., in early April, empowered General Durando to negotiate an Italian Confederation with King Charles Albert of Sardinia; Durando, interpreting this as a mandate to enter into war with Austria at the side of Savoy-Piemont-Sardinia, took Papal State troops into Austrian territory on April 21st. On April 29th Pope Pius IX. publicly distanced himself from Durando's act and condemned the war against Austria. Almost his entire cabinet resigned. On July 25th the Sardinian troops suffered a decisive defeat at Custozza. In September, Pius IX. appointed Pellegrino Rossi secretary of state; he was assassinated on Nov. 15th. On November 24th the pope fled Rome. Elections for a Constituent Assembly were held in December; the pope threatened those who voted with excommunication. A new cabinet was formed; on Feb. 9th the Roman Republic was proclaimed. On April 25th 1849 a French expedition landed in Civitavecchia. Garibaldi succeeded in holding them in check for some time; Austrian troops meanwhile entered the Papal State from the north, Spanish and Neapolitan troops from the south. Then, resistance collapsed; on July 14th papal rule was declared reinstated. Pope Pius IX. returned to Rome only on April 12th 1850.

Foreign Policy. In 1839 Pope Gregory XVI. outlawed the Slave Trade. Numerous bishoprics were established in countries outside of Europe (Algiers 1838, in countries of Asia and the Pacific, where especially Lazarist missionaries were active). In 1845 Czar Nicholas I. visited Rome.

Articles Durando, Giovanni, Massimo Taparelli d'Azeglio, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Roman Republic, Giuseppe Mazzini, Papal States, Papal States : Exiles and Political Prisoners from Encyclopedia of the 1848 Revolutions
Biography of Gregory XVI., from Catholic Encyclopedia 1010 edition
Biography of Pius IX., from Catholic Encyclopedia 1911 edition
Biography of Pellegrino Rossi, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1912 edition
Morte di Leo XII ed Elezione di Pio VIII, Il Proclama di Bologna, I tentativi Insurrezzionali a Roma, Luigi Filippo e il Principe di Metternich, I Fugiaschi di Ancona, Le Repressioni Pontificie, 1834-1845, from Cronologia, in Italian
Biography of Massimo d'Azeglio, from Il Risorgimento Italiano, in Italian
The Siege of Rome 1849, from Clash of Empires
Article Kirchenstaat 1797-1848 (Papal State 1797-1848), from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888-1889, in German
Article Kirchenstaat 1848-1859 (Papal State 1848-1859), from Meyers Konversationslexikon 1888-1889, in German
DOCUMENTS Encycical of Gregory XVI : Mirari Vos (1832), from Daily Catholic; Singulari Nos (1834), from Papal Library; Inter Praecipuas (1844), from EWTN
Encyclical of Pius IX : Qui Pluribus, 1846, from Catholic Forum
Images featuring Garibaldi's defense of the Roman Republic, from Anthony P. Campanella Collection, Univ. of South Carolina
REFERENCE Book Reviews : Papal State, from History Book Reviews

Franz Xaver Seppelt, Georg Schwaiger, Geschichte der Päpste (History of the Popes), München : Kösel 1964, 572 pp., in German [G]
Ang. Jos. Nürnberger, Papsttum und Kirchenstaat 1800-1870 (Papacy and Papal State 1800-1870), 3 Vol.s, Mainz 1897-1900, in German [G]

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First posted on August 31st 2002, last revised on March 27th 2006

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