Pope Gregory XVI

[Pope Gregory XVI]Also known as

  • Bartolomeo Alberto Capellari
  • Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari Colomba
  • Mauro Capellari

Profile

Son of Giovanni Battista and Giulia Cesa-Pagani, both minor nobles whose families had formerly been prominent in the service of the state. Camaldolese monk at San Michele di Murano in 1783, taking the name Mauro. Ordained in 1787. Studied and taught philosophy and theology. In 1799 he published Il trionfo della Santa Sede, a book upholding papal infallability and the right of the pope to temporal power. Abbot-vicar of San Gregoria monastery in 1800. Twice offered bishoprics, and twice refused them. Created cardinal on 21 March 1825 by Pope Leo XII. Prefect of the Congregation of Propaganda. Mediated and arranged agreements between Belgian Catholics and King William of Holland in 1827. Mediated and arranged agreements between Armenian Catholics and the Ottoman Empire in 1829. Elected 254th pope after a seven-week conclave.

[photo of Pope Gregory's papal tiara]Privately, and as pope, he was pious, kind, loyal, and a fierce conservative, both in politics and theology, and he devoted his papacy to supporting legitimate governments and the repression of rebellion. The day after his election, a revolt broke out in the Papal States, and Gregory was forced to call on Austria for help; the revolt was crushed within a month. European powers, alarmed at the uprising, called for extensive reform of the clerical government, and more responsibility for the laity. To appease the French, Gregory granted a general armistice to the rebels. The Austrians withdrew, the revolutionaries took to the streets the Austrians returned, and the French occupied Ancona, Italy. The problem of the Papal States attracted the concern of all European governments, and liberals everywhere saw the pope as the chief obstacle to political progress.

Movements formed to politically unify Italy; Rome was to be capital, and the pope‘s temporal power abolished; moderate reformers proposed that the pope retain his sovereignty in Rome and become the president of a constitutional state. Gregory would have none of this. He declared his total opposition to liberalism, his determination to preserve the traditional form of the temporal sovereignty, and his support of the legitimist monarchies, Catholic or non-Catholic, clerical or anti-clerical. His encyclical Mirari vos in August 1832 condemned all that the liberal Catholics stood for. He even opposed the revolt of Polish Catholics against the persecuting Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, and in June 1832 he ordered them to submit and obey their sovereign.

Though his politics had made him a target for scorn by historians, his interest in art, learning, and evangelism allowed him to make advances in his 15 years on the throne. He founded the Etruscan and Egyptian museums at the Vatican, and the Christian museum at the Lateran. He encouraged and supported, morally and financially, artists, writers, archeologists, and the restoration of ancient church structures. He funded the tunnelling of Monte Catillo to prevent the flooding of Tivoli, Italy by the river Anio, established steamboat transport at Ostia in Rome, instituted decimal coinage in the Roman States, founded a bureau of statistics at Rome, and reduced various taxes. He founded public baths, hospitals, and orphanages, and sent missionaries to Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia), India, China, Polynesia, and North America. He doubled the number of Vicars-Apostolic in England, and increased the number of bishops in the United States. Five saints were canonized, 33 beati declared, new religious orders were founded or supported, and devotion to Mary increased.

Born

  • 8 September 1765 at Belluno, Venitian Territories (in modern Italy) as Bartolomeo Alberto Capellari

Papal Ascension

Died

Additional Information

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    Elevated

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      MLA Citation

      • “Pope Gregory XVI“. Saints.SQPN.com. 30 May 2014. Web. 28 November 2014. <>