Birth of Pope Pius IX, Longest Reigning Pope Ever

Birth of Pope Pius IX, Longest Reigning Pope Ever

Pope Pius IX
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Pope Pius IX is born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti in the Papal States. The longest reigning pope ever, he will rule as pope at a time of growing nationalism and political upheaval throughout Europe.

One consequence of these forces will be the creation of the Roman Republic in 1849 with Rome as its capital. This eliminates temporal papal estates, except for the Vatican and its immediate surroundings, which he is born in today. The papacy is thus returned to a solely religious/spiritual office as it was at the beginning.

In 1869 Pope Pius IX will summon the First Vatican Council to condemn materialism and atheism. The most famous — or infamous — product of the First Vatican Council will be the declaration of Papal Infallibility. It's a victory for the conservative supporters of ultramontanism which they argue is necessary to counter the ills of modernity and liberalism.

Not all Catholics will accept this new doctrine. Austria, for example, will renounce its concordat with the Vatican. Many Catholic dioceses will break away completely from the Roman Catholic church and create the Old Catholic Church.

In Germany the adoption of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility leads to a church-state dispute known as the Kulturkampf ("battle of cultures"): anti-church liberals ally with Catholic liberals and conservative chancellor Otto von Bismark to launch an assault on the Catholic Church's power over education and marriage.

Another church dogma which comes out of the reign of Pope Pius IX is the Immaculate Conception of Mary, something he defines entirely on his own authority in 1854. This new doctrine provides significant support to the Marian movement in the church and forms a basis for Marian devotion throughout the 20th century.

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