Papacy

   Since Italy became a unified nation in 1861, there have been 11 popes. All but two (the current incumbent, Benedict XVI, and his predecessor, John Paul II) have been Italian. The moral teachings and political opinions of these men have exercised an enormous influence on Italian politics and society.
   Pius IX (pope, 1846–1878). Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti was born in Senigallia (the Marches) in 1792. Initially regarded as a liberal, he was forced to flee from Rome during the 1848 revolution. Restored to his throne by French troops in 1849, he became a rigid conservative. Chiefly remembered for pronouncing the doctrine of papal infallibility in 1869, he rejected all attempts by the Italian state to reach a compromise on the role of the Church within Italy after the occupation of Rome.
   Leo VIII (pope, 1878–1903). Vincenzo Gioacchino dei conti Pecci was born near Rome in 1810. More genuinely liberal than his predecessor, he nevertheless refused to acknowledge the authority of the Italian state over Rome and defined himself as the “prisoner in the Vatican.” He barred Catholics from participating in Italian political life. His main doctrinal innovation was the encyclical Rerum Novarum, which criticized free market economics as well as socialism. Pius X (pope, 1903–1914). Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born in the province of Treviso (Venetia) in 1835. In terms of his influence on Italian life, he is chiefly important for giving his tacit consent to the so-called Gentiloni pact, by which the Church indicated a list of conditions that liberal candidates should respect in order to be assured of Catholics’votes. He was sanctified in 1954. Benedict XV (pope, 1914–1922). Giacomo Della Chiesa was born in Genoa (Liguria) in 1854. He is most famous for his condemnation of World War I as a “useless slaughter” in 1917. Within Italy he promoted the formation of the Partito Popolare Italiano/Italian Popular Party (PPI) in 1919. Pius XI (pope, 1922–1939). Ambrogio Damiano Achilli Ratti was born near Milanin 1857. As pope, his primary duty was maintaining the Church’s independence from the Fascist regime. The Lateran pacts, signed in February 1929, succeeded in this objective, though liberal Catholics believed that they made the Church an accomplice of Benito Mussolini’s repressive rule. Violently anticommunist, Pius XI backed the Fascist side during the Spanish Civil War (1936– 1939).
   Pius XII (pope, 1939–1958). Eugenio Pacelli was born in Rome in 1876. He strove to keep Italy out of World War II and preached a negotiated end to the conflict at every opportunity. Widely criticized for not having condemned Hitler’s persecution of the Jews with sufficient vigor, Pius undertook an anticommunist crusade after 1945, interfering directly in Italian domestic politics by threatening to excommunicate communist voters and by mobilizing the clergy in support of the Democrazia Cristiana/Christian Democracy Party (DC). John XXIII (pope, 1958–1963). Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born in Bergamo (Lombardy) in 1881. As pope, he initiated a period of liberalization for the Church. He prompted the liturgical and doctrinal renewal of the Second Vatican Council between 1961 and 1965, giving it the specific task of “enabling the Church to contribute more usefully to solving the problems of modern life.” Domestically, he sought to disengage the Vatican from Italian politics. His popularity soared after he visited Italian prisons and showed a humility at one with his humble origins. Politically, he followed a policy of detente toward the communist bloc.
   Paul VI (pope, 1963–1978). Giovanni Battista Montini was born in Brescia (Lombardy) in 1897. Paul was the first pope to make pastoral visits overseas, visiting Israel in 1964 and several other countries in the following years. Within Italy, he refrained from turning issues such as divorce and abortion into a crusade, while affirming the Church’s objections to liberalization in these matters. John Paul I (pope, 1978). Albino Luciani was born in the province of Belluno in 1912. A much-loved figure who spurned traditional pomp and ceremony during his investiture, John Paul was expected to renew the policies of Pope John XXIII. His sudden death in September 1978, after just 34 days as pope, put an end to these hopes. John Paul II (pope, 1978–2005). Karol Wojtyla was born in Wadowice (Poland) in 1920. He was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutchman Hadrian VI (1521–1523). He played a significant role in supporting Poland’s Solidarnosc, which accelerated the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact system and even of Soviet communism. Despite his theological conservatism, John Paul won rueful respect from progressives in Italy for his opposition to the Gulf War and for his strictures against the materialism of modern life. He was the target of an unsuccessful assassination attempt in May 1981. His death in April 2005 was greeted by popular mourning in Italy. Benedict XVI (pope, 2005– ). Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born in Marktl-am-Inn (Germany) in 1927. A theological conservative, Ratzinger beat several strong Italian candidates during the conclave of cardinals. In September 2006, he made controversial remarks about Islam that led to an uproar in the Arab world.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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  • Papacy —     Papacy     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Papacy     This term is employed in an ecclesiastical and in an historical signification. In the former of these uses it denotes the ecclesiastical system in which the pope as successor of St. Peter and… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Papacy — Pa pa*cy, n. [LL. papatia, fr. L. papa a father, bishop. See {Pope}.] 1. The office and dignity of the pope, or pontiff, of Rome; papal jurisdiction. [1913 Webster] 2. The popes, collectively; the succession of popes. [1913 Webster] 3. The Roman… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • papacy — (n.) late 14c., from M.L. papatia papal office, from L.L. papa pope (see POPE (Cf. pope)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • papacy — ► NOUN (pl. papacies) ▪ the pope s office or tenure. ORIGIN from Latin papa pope …   English terms dictionary

  • papacy — [pā′pə sē] n. pl. papacies [ME papacie < ML(Ec) papatia < LL(Ec) papa, bishop, POPE] 1. a) the rank of pope; papal office b) the term of office of one or more popes c) the whole succession of popes 2. [also …   English World dictionary

  • papacy — /pay peuh see/, n., pl. papacies. Rom. Cath. Ch. 1. the office, dignity, or jurisdiction of the pope. 2. the system of ecclesiastical government in which the pope is recognized as the supreme head. 3. the period during which a certain pope is in… …   Universalium

  • papacy — [[t]pe͟ɪpəsi[/t]] also Papacy N SING: usu the N The papacy is the position, power, and authority of the Pope, including the period of time that a particular person holds this position. Throughout his papacy, John Paul has called for a second… …   English dictionary

  • papacy — UK [ˈpeɪpəsɪ] / US noun Word forms papacy : singular papacy plural papacies 1) the papacy the position or power of the pope 2) [countable] the period during which a particular person is the Pope …   English dictionary

  • papacy — noun a) The office of the pope. The papacy represents the head of the Catholic Church. b) The period of a particular popes reign. The papacy of John Paul II ended in 2005, after the popes long battle with illness ended. See Also …   Wiktionary

  • papacy — pa|pa|cy [ˈpeıpəsi] n 1.) the papacy the position and authority of the Pope 2.) [U] the time during which a Pope is in power …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • papacy — pa|pa|cy [ peıpəsi ] noun 1. ) the papacy the position or power of the POPE 2. ) count the period during which a particular person is the Pope …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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