Thursday, February 7, 2013

Blessed Pius IX and England

Today is the feast of Blessed Pope Pius IX (Pio Nono), the second longest reigning Pope in the history of the Catholic Church--St. Peter is the longest. He came to the Papacy at a crucial time in the 19th century and contributed a great deal to the transformation of the Papacy--bowing to the loss of the Papal States in the wake of Italian nationalism--into a more spiritual and moral guide for the world. His long reign is controversial, of course, as he began in a more "liberal" spirit and ended in a most "conservative" position regarding the interaction between the Church and the modern spirit of democracy, etc. He battled the Kulterkampf of Bismarck's Germany and established many dioceses and archdioceses in the United States of America.

During his reign, he proclaimed the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1854 and the First Vatican Council proclaimed the Doctrine of Papal Infallibility in 1870. In 1850, Pope Pius IX issued the Papal Bull "Universalis Ecclesiae" on September 29, restoring the English Catholic hierarchy, much to the displeasure of Queen Victoria and her government. This was a real test of the toleration of Catholics just established in 1829 with Catholic Emancipation, and the English government failed the test.

More on Blessed Pope Pius IX here.

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