Permanent Gallery

Pope Pius IX


Pope Pius IX (May 13, 1792 – February 7, 1878) was the second longest-reigning Pope in Church history, serving from June 16, 1846 until his death, a period of nearly 32 years. During his pontificate, he convened the First Vatican Council in 1869, which decreed papal infallibility. The Pope defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, meaning she was conceived without original sin and lived a life completely free of sin. Politically, the pontificate was faced with revolutionary movements throughout Europe. Initially Pius was very liberal, freeing all political prisoners and granting Rome a constitutional framework. He turned conservative after assassinations, terrorist acts and the 1848 revolution in Italy. He had to flee Rome in 1848 and lost the Papal States permanently to Italy. He refused to accept a Law of Guarantees, which would have made the Vatican dependent on Italian financiers. In his controversial Syllabus of Errors, Pius IX condemned the heresies of secular society, especially modernism. Pius IX is considered the first modern pope because the papacy grew in importance after the 1870 fall of the Papal States. Pius IX was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000.

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