Pius VI Elected Pope

Pius VI Elected Pope

Pope Pius VI
Source: Wikipedia

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Pius VI is elected pope at a time when secular power is growing across Europe. The traditional power and authority of religious institutions are being nullified and Pope Pius VI is not only unable to stop this, but his policies may make the situation worse.

One problem for Pope Pius VI is the development of Febronianism which attacks the central ideas behind papal supremacy: all bishops are equal and popes claim more powers and privileges than is justified by early church traditions.

Secular leaders find this philosophy appealing because it promises to undermine the independence of Catholic churches within their borders. Some will call for the nationalization of the Catholic churches and more tolerance of differences among Christian denominations.

Another serious issue which Pope Pius VI will have to face was the French Revolution. Early on he accepts the developments in France, but when Catholic priests are forced to swear loyalty to the state instead of the church, Pius will condemn both the French government and the Rights of Man document. It probably doesn't help that he is burned in effigy by Parisians at the Palais Royal.

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