Death of Longest Reigning Pope, Pius IX

Death of Longest Reigning Pope, Pius IX

Pope Pius IX
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Pope Pius IX dies. The longest reigning pope ever, Pius IX ruled during a time of growing nationalism and political upheaval throughout Europe. One consequence of these forces was the creation of the Roman Republic in 1849 with Rome as its capital, thus eliminating the temporal papal estates except for the Vatican and it's immediate surroundings. This returned the papacy to a solely religious / spiritual office as it was at the beginning.

In 1869 Pope Pius IX summoned the First Vatican Council which would condemn various forms of materialism and atheism. The most famous — or infamous — result of this Council was the declaration of Papal Infallibility.

This was a victory for conservatives who had long promoted ultramontanism as an antidote for the ills of modernity and liberalism, but not all Catholics accepted Pius' new status.

Austria renounced its concordat with the Vatican and a number of diocese broke away completely to form the Old Catholic Church. In Germany it unleashed the church-state dispute known as the Kulturkampf ("battle of cultures"): anti-church liberals join with Catholic liberals and conservative chancellor Otto von Bismark in an assault on the power of the Catholic Church in matters like education and marriage.

One other church dogma which came out of Pius' reign as pope was the Immaculate Conception of Mary, something he defined on his own authority in 1854. It provided significant support to the Marian movement in the church and formed a basis for Marian devotion throughout the 20th century.

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