The Roman Question (Italian: Questione romana; Latin: Quaestio Romana) was a dispute regarding the temporal power of the popes as rulers of a civil territory in the context of the Italian Risorgimento. It ended with the Lateran Pacts between King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Pope Pius XI in 1929.
On 9 February 1849, the Roman Republic took over the government of the Papal States. In the following July, an intervention by French troops restored Pope Pius IX to power, making the Roman Question a hotly debated one even in the internal politics of France.
In July 1859, after France and Austria made an agreement that ended the short Second Italian War of Independence, an article headed "The Roman Question" in the Westminster Review expressed the opinion that the Papal States should be deprived of the Adriatic provinces and be restricted to the territory around Rome. This became a reality in the following year, when most of the Papal States were annexed by what became the Kingdom of Italy.
On February 18, 1861, the deputies of the first Italian Parliament assembled in Turin. On March 17, 1861, the Parliament proclaimed Victor Emmanuel II King of Italy, and on March 27, 1861, Rome was declared Capital of the Kingdom of Italy. However, the Italian Government could not take its seat in Rome because a French garrison (which had overthrown the Roman Republic), maintained there by Napoleon III of France, commanded by general Christophe Léon Louis Juchault de Lamoricière, was defending Pope Pius IX. Following the signing of the September Convention, the seat of government was moved from Turin to Florence in 1865.
The Pope remained totally opposed to the designs on Rome of Italian nationalism. Beginning in December 1869, the First Vatican Council was held in the city. Some historians have argued that its proclamation of the doctrine of papal infallibility in July 1870 had political as well as theological causes.
In July 1870, the Franco-Prussian War began. In early August, Napoleon III recalled his garrison from Rome and could no longer protect what remained of the Papal States. Widespread public demonstrations demanded that the Italian government take Rome. The Italian government took no direct action until the collapse of Napoleon at the battle of Sedan. King Victor Emmanuel II then sent Count Gustavo Ponza di San Martino to Pius IX with a personal letter offering a proposal that would have allowed the peaceful entry of the Italian Army into Rome, under the guise of protecting the pope.
According to Raffaele De Cesare:
The Pope's reception of San Martino [10 September 1870] was unfriendly. Pius IX allowed violent outbursts to escape him. Throwing the King's letter upon the table he exclaimed, "Fine loyalty! You are all a set of vipers, of whited sepulchres, and wanting in faith." He was perhaps alluding to other letters received from the King. After, growing calmer, he exclaimed: "I am no prophet, nor son of a prophet, but I tell you, you will never enter Rome!" San Martino was so mortified that he left the next day.
The Italian army, commanded by General Raffaele Cadorna, crossed the frontier on 11 September and advanced slowly toward Rome, hoping that an unopposed entry could be negotiated. The Italian army reached the Aurelian Walls on 19 September and placed Rome under a state of siege. Pius IX decided that the surrender of the city would be granted only after his troops had put up a token resistance, enough to make it plain that the takeover was not freely accepted. On 20 September, after a cannonade of three hours had breached the Aurelian Walls at Porta Pia, the Bersaglieri entered Rome (see capture of Rome). Forty-nine Italian soldiers and 19 Papal Zouaves died. Rome and the region of Lazio were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy after a plebiscite.
Again, according to Raffaele De Cesare:
The Roman question was the stone tied to Napoleon's feet—that dragged him into the abyss. He never forgot, even in August 1870, a month before Sedan, that he was a sovereign of a Catholic country, that he had been made emperor, and was supported by the votes of the conservatives and the influence of the clergy; and that it was his supreme duty not to abandon the pontiff.... For twenty years Napoleon III had been the true sovereign of Rome, where he had many friends and relations.... Without him the temporal power would never have been reconstituted, nor, being reconstituted, would have endured."
Pope Pius IX and succeeding popes Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, and Pius XI took great care not to recognize the legitimacy of the Italian government following the capture of Rome. Several options were considered, including giving the city a status similar to that of Moscow at the time (which, despite being the capital of Russia, was not the seat of government), but there was widespread agreement that Rome must be the capital to ensure the survival of the new state. However, Victor Emmanuel II of Italy refused to take residence in the Quirinal Palace, and foreign powers were likewise uneasy with the move. The British ambassador noted the apparent contradiction of a secular government sharing the city with a religious government, while the French foreign minister wrote:
If [Italy] would consent to view Florence as the seat of government, it would solve the Papal question. It would show great sense, and the political credit it would thereby garner, as well as the honor, would offer a considerable advantage...Rome, under royal rule—an integral part of the Italian nation, but remaining Holy or, better yet, the Dominant center of the domain of the faith—would lose none of its prestige and would redound to Italy's credit. And conciliation would then come about naturally, because the pope would become accustomed to seeing himself as living in his own home, not having a king around.
However, the government refused such suggestions and the king eventually took up residence in the Quirinal Palace. Regarded by Roman citizens as the ultimate sign of authority in the city, the Quirinal had been built and used by previous popes. When asked for the keys, Pius IX reportedly said, "Whom do these thieves think they are kidding asking for the keys to open the door? Let them knock it down if they, like Bonaparte's soldiers, when they wanted to seize Pius VI, came through the window, but even they did not have the effrontery to ask for the keys". A locksmith was later hired.
Italy's Law of Guarantees, passed by the senate and chamber of the Italian parliament on 13 May 1871, accorded the Pope certain honors and privileges similar to those enjoyed by the King of Italy, including the right to send and receive ambassadors who would have full diplomatic immunity, just as if he still had temporal power as ruler of a state. The law was intended to attempt to avoid further antagonizing the pope following unification and was roundly criticized by anti-clerical politicians of all alignments, but particularly on the left. At the same time, it subjected the papacy to a law that the Italian parliament could modify or abrogate at any time.
Pope Pius IX and his successors refused to recognize the right of the Italian king to reign over what had formerly been the Papal States, or the right of the Italian government to decide his prerogatives and make laws for him. Asserting that the Holy See needed to maintain clearly manifested independence from any political power in its exercise of spiritual jurisdiction, and that the Pope should not appear to be merely a "chaplain of the King of Italy", Pius IX rejected the Law of Papal Guarantees with its offer of an annual financial payment to the Pope.
Despite the Italian state's repeated assurances of the Pope's absolute liberty of movement within Italy and abroad, the popes refused to set foot outside the walls of the Vatican and thereby put themselves under the protection of the Italian forces of law and order, an implicit recognition of the changed situation. Consequently, the description "prisoners of the Vatican" was applied to them, until the Lateran Treaty of 1929 settled the Roman Question by establishing Vatican City as an independent state.
During this time, Italian nobility who owed their titles to the Holy See rather than the Kingdom of Italy became known as the Black Nobility as they were considered to be in mourning.
Several times during his pontificate, Pius IX considered leaving Rome a second time. He had fled Rome in disguise in November 1848, following the assassination of his Minister of Finance, Count Pellegrino Rossi. One occurrence was in 1862, when Giuseppe Garibaldi was in Sicily gathering volunteers for a campaign to take Rome under the slogan Roma o Morte (Rome or Death). On 26 July 1862, before Garibaldi and his volunteers were stopped at Aspromonte,
Pius IX confided his fears to Lord Odo Russell, the British Minister in Rome, and asked whether he would be granted political asylum in England after the Italian troops had marched in. Odo Russell assured him that he would be granted asylum if the need arose, but said that he was sure that the Pope's fears were unfounded.
As a matter of fact, he has already asked whether we could grant him asylum. I have no objection to it—Cologne or Fulda. It would be passing strange, but after all not so inexplicable, and it would be very useful to us to be recognised by Catholics as what we really are, that is to say, the sole power now existing that is capable of protecting the head of their Church. [...] But the King [later to become Wilhelm I, German Emperor] will not consent. He is terribly afraid. He thinks all Prussia would be perverted and he himself would be obliged to become a Catholic. I told him, however, that if the Pope begged for asylum he could not refuse it. He would have to grant it as ruler of ten million Catholic subjects who would desire to see the head of their Church protected.
Rumours have already been circulated on various occasions to the effect that the Pope intends to leave Rome. According to the latest of these the Council, which was adjourned in the summer, will be reopened at another place, some persons mentioning Malta and others Trient. [...] Doubtless the main object of this gathering will be to elicit from the assembled fathers a strong declaration in favour of the necessity of the Temporal Power. Obviously a secondary object of this Parliament of Bishops, convoked away from Rome, would be to demonstrate to Europe that the Vatican does not enjoy the necessary liberty, although the Act of Guarantee proves that the Italian Government, in its desire for reconciliation and its readiness to meet the wishes of the Curia, has actually done everything that lies in its power.
The Lateran Treaty resolved the Roman Question in 1929; the Holy See acknowledged Italian sovereignty over the former Papal States and Italy recognized papal sovereignty over Vatican City. The Holy See limited its request for indemnity for the loss of the Papal States and of ecclesiastical property confiscated by the Italian State to much less than would have been due to it under the Law of Guarantees.
Historical dramas such as Fabiola and Quo Vadis have been interpreted as comparing the treatment of the popes by the newly formed Kingdom of Italy to the persecution of early Christians in the Roman Empire.
The Latin brocard aut simul stabunt aut simul cadent (or simul simul for short), meaning they will either stand together, or fall together, is used in law to express those cases in which the end of a certain situation automatically brings upon the end of another one, and vice versa.
The first use of this expression in the mass media, which made it known to the non-specialists, was in occasion of one of the first crises between fascist Italy and the Vatican concerning the Concordat. Pope Pius XI is believed to have pronounced the sentence to express the fact that challenging the Concordat would have swept away the whole Lateran treaty, reopening the Roman question.Capture of Rome
The Capture of Rome (Italian: Presa di Roma), on 20 September 1870 was the final event of the long process of Italian unification known as the Risorgimento, marking both the final defeat of the Papal States under Pope Pius IX and the unification of the Italian peninsula under King Victor Emmanuel II of the House of Savoy.
The capture of Rome ended the approximate 1,116-year reign (AD 754 to 1870) of the Papal States under the Holy See and is today widely memorialized throughout Italy with the Via XX Settembre street name in virtually every town of any size.Crescentii
The Crescentii clan (in modern Italian Crescenzi) — if they were an extended family — essentially ruled Rome and controlled the Papacy from 965 until the nearly simultaneous deaths of their puppet pope Sergius IV and the patricius of the clan in 1012.History of the papacy
The history of the papacy, the office held by the pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church, according to Catholic doctrine, spans from the time of Peter to the present day.
During the Early Church, the bishops of Rome enjoyed no temporal power until the time of Constantine. After the Fall of the Western Roman Empire (the "Middle Ages", about 476), the papacy was influenced by the temporal rulers of the surrounding Italian Peninsula; these periods are known as the Ostrogothic Papacy, Byzantine Papacy, and Frankish Papacy. Over time, the papacy consolidated its territorial claims to a portion of the peninsula known as the Papal States. Thereafter, the role of neighboring sovereigns was replaced by powerful Roman families during the saeculum obscurum, the Crescentii era, and the Tusculan Papacy.
From 1048 to 1257, the papacy experienced increasing conflict with the leaders and churches of the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire (Eastern Roman Empire). The latter culminated in the East–West Schism, dividing the Western Church and Eastern Church. From 1257–1377, the pope, though the bishop of Rome, resided in Viterbo, Orvieto, and Perugia, and then Avignon. The return of the popes to Rome after the Avignon Papacy was followed by the Western Schism: the division of the western church between two and, for a time, three competing papal claimants.
The Renaissance Papacy is known for its artistic and architectural patronage, forays into European power politics, and theological challenges to papal authority. After the start of the Protestant Reformation, the Reformation Papacy and Baroque Papacy led the Catholic Church through the Counter-Reformation. The popes during the Age of Revolution witnessed the largest expropriation of wealth in the church's history, during the French Revolution and those that followed throughout Europe. The Roman Question, arising from Italian unification, resulted in the loss of the Papal States and the creation of Vatican City.Italian unification
Italian unification (Italian: Unità d'Italia [uniˈta ddiˈtaːlja]), also known as the Risorgimento ([risordʒiˈmento], meaning "the Resurgence"), was the political and social movement that consolidated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century. The process began in 1815 with the Congress of Vienna and was completed in 1871 when Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy.The term, which also designates the cultural, political and social movement that promoted unification, recalls the romantic, nationalist and patriotic ideals of an Italian renaissance through the conquest of a unified political identity that, by sinking its ancient roots during the Roman period, "suffered an abrupt halt [or loss] of its political unity in 476 AD after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire". However, some of the terre irredente did not join the Kingdom of Italy until 1918 after Italy defeated Austria–Hungary in World War I. For this reason, sometimes the period is extended to include the late 19th-century and the First World War (1915–1918), until the 4 November 1918 Armistice of Villa Giusti, which is considered the completion of unification. This view is followed, for example, at the Central Museum of Risorgimento at the Vittoriano.Lateran Treaty
From the Italian unification and as Rome in 1871 became the capital of the new Kingdom of Italy, the Holy See lacked a territory, which it earlier had enjoyed ever since the early Middle Ages. This international-Catholic problem was finally solved through the 1929 Lateran Treaty.
The Lateran Treaty (Italian: Patti Lateranensi; Latin: Pacta Lateranensia) was one of the Lateran Pacts of 1929 or Lateran Accords, agreements made in 1929 between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See, settling the "Roman Question". They are named after the Lateran Palace, where they were signed on 11 February 1929. The Italian parliament ratified them on 7 June 1929. It recognized Vatican City as an independent state, with the Italian government, at the time led by Benito Mussolini as prime minister, agreeing to give the Roman Catholic Church financial compensation for the loss of the Papal States. In 1947, the Lateran Treaty was recognized in the Constitution of Italy as regulating the relations between the state and the Catholic Church.List of popes (graphical)
This is a graphical list of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church.
While the term pope (Latin: Papa, 'Father') is used in several churches to denote their high spiritual leaders, in English usage, this title generally refers to the supreme head of the Roman Catholic Church and of the Holy See. The title itself has been used officially by the head of the Church since the tenure of Pope Siricius.
There have been 266 popes, as listed by the Annuario Pontificio (Pontifical Yearbook) under the heading 'I Sommi Pontefici Romani' (The Supreme Pontiffs of Rome). Some sources quote a number of 267, with the inclusion of Stephen II, who died four days after his election but before his episcopal consecration. However, only 264 (or 265) men have occupied the chair of Saint Peter, as Benedict IX held the office thrice on separate occasions in the mid–11th century.
The pope bears the titles
Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the Servants of Godand is officially styled 'His Holiness'.
Since the Lateran Treaty of 1929, the pope's temporal title has been Sovereign of the Vatican City State.National Question
The National Question is a term used for a variety of issues related to nationalism. In history and politics, the subject is often related to the interplay of territorial, cultural and ethnic factors of peoples. In terms of political theories and movements, the socialist and communist ideologies intensely addressed the topic.Orvieto Papacy
Orvieto, Umbria, Italy, was the refuge of five popes during the 13th century: Urban IV (1261–1264), Gregory X (1271–1276), Martin IV (1281–1285), Nicholas IV (1288–1292) and Boniface VIII (1294–1303). During this time, the popes took up residence in the Papal Palace of Orvieto (also known as Palazzo Soliano), which was adjacent to the Orvieto Cathedral and expanded onto the bishop's residence. None of these popes died in Orvieto, and thus no papal elections took place in there, nor are there any papal tombs.
Political and strategic reasons motivated the frequent moves of the pope and Roman Curia during this period, and other destinations include Viterbo and Perugia. Urban IV and Martin IV resided in both Viterbo and Orvieto. During the period from the reign of Nicholas IV to Benedict XI (1303–1304), Orvieto hosted the pope more frequently than Rome.
Art historian Gary M. Radke notes that "the papal palaces in Viterbo and Orvieto are the most extensive thirteenth-century papal palaces to survive to our own day." He dates the frescoes in the palace to the 1290s, during the reign of Nicholas IV or Boniface VIII. They display naturalistic impulses in the Gothic style.Pope-elect Stephen
Pope-elect Stephen (d. 26 March 752) was a Roman priest elected pope in March 752 to succeed Zachary; he died of a stroke a few days later, before being consecrated a bishop. Therefore, he is not listed as a pope in the Annuario Pontificio.
In 745, Pope Zachary had made him a cardinal-priest, with the titulus of San Crisogono, the same titulus later held by Cardinal Frederick of Lorraine, who became Pope Stephen IX.Pope Boniface II
Pope Boniface II (Latin: Bonifatius II; d. 17 October 532) was the first Germanic pope. He reigned from 17 September 530 until his death in 532. He was born an Ostrogoth.Pope Conon
Pope Conon (d. 21 September 687) was Pope from 21 October 686 to his death in 687. He had been put forward as a compromise candidate, there being a conflict between the two factions resident in Rome— the military and the clerical. On his death, Conon was buried in the Patriarchal Basilica of St. Peter. He consecrated the Irish missionary Kilian a bishop and commissioned him to preach in Franconia.Pope Leo V
Pope Leo V (d. February 904) was Pope from July 903 to his death in 904. He was pope during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum. He was thrown into prison in September 903 by the Antipope Christopher, and was probably killed at the start of the pontificate of Pope Sergius III. If his deposition is not considered valid (as in the modern Vatican list), then his papacy may be considered to have ended with his death in 904.Pope Leo VI
Pope Leo VI (880 – 12 February 929) was Pope for just over seven months, from June 928 to his death in February 929. His pontificate occurred during the period known as the Saeculum obscurum.Pope Pelagius II
Pope Pelagius II (d. 7 February 590) was Pope from 26 November 579 to his death in 590.Pope Romanus
Pope Romanus (died November 897) was Pope from August to November 897.Popes during the Age of Revolution
The modern history of the papacy is shaped by the two largest dispossessions of papal property in its history, stemming from the French and its spread to Europe, including Italy.Prisoner in the Vatican
A prisoner in the Vatican or prisoner of the Vatican (Italian: Prigioniero del Vaticano; Latin: Captivus Vaticani) is how Pope Pius IX was described following the capture of Rome by the armed forces of the Kingdom of Italy on 20 September 1870. Part of the process of Italian unification, the city's capture ended the millennial temporal rule of the popes over central Italy and allowed Rome to be designated the capital of the new nation. The appellation is also applied to Pius's successors through Pope Pius XI.
As nationalism swept the Italian Peninsula in the 19th century, efforts to unify Italy were blocked in part by the Papal States, which ran through the middle of the peninsula and included the ancient capital of Rome. The Papal States were able to fend off efforts to conquer them largely through the pope's influence over the leaders of stronger European powers such as France and Austria. When Rome was eventually taken, the Italian government reportedly intended to let the pope keep the part of Rome west of the Tiber called the Leonine City as a small remaining Papal State, but Pius IX refused. One week after entering Rome, the Italian troops had taken the entire city save for the Apostolic Palace; the inhabitants of the city then voted to join Italy.For the next 59 years, the popes refused to leave the Vatican in order to avoid any appearance of accepting the authority wielded by the Italian government over Rome as a whole. During this period, popes also refused to appear at Saint Peter's Square or at the balcony of the Vatican Basilica facing it, as the square in front of the basilica was occupied by Italian troops. During this period, popes granted the Urbi et Orbi blessings from a balcony facing a courtyard, or from inside the basilica, and papal coronations were instead held at the Sistine Chapel. The period ended in 1929, when the Lateran Treaty created the modern state of Vatican City.Vatican during the Savoyard era (1870–1929)
Vatican during the Savoyard Era 1870-1929 describes the relation of the Vatican to Italy, after 1870, which marked the end of the Papal State and 1929, when the papacy regained autonomy in the Lateran Treaty, a period dominated by the Roman Question.
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
|History of the papacy|