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Pope Pius IX
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Religious Figure
    (May 13, 1792-February 7, 1878)
    Birth name is Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti
    256th Pope of the Catholic Church (1846-1878)
    His election was wrought with problems, with most of the foreign cardinals not able to attend because of political instability in Italy.
    He made it against the law for a Christian to have Jewish parents.
    He ordered a Jewish boy to be taken away from his parents because he was baptized Christian during an illness.
    He blamed the Jews for the radicalism and chaos of Italy.
    He was elected as a liberal but slowly became very conservative.
    He constantly undermined forces that wanted the unification of Italy.
    During his reign the Catholic Church was losing most of its political power and rights in Europe.
    He was called 'Pio Nono' by his detractors.
    He refused to acknowledge the Italian state.
    He called himself 'a prisoner in the Vatican' after he was ousted from power in the Italian government.
    He condemned the freedom of the press and freedom of religion.
    He was very unpopular with most non-Catholics his entire reign.
    He felt he was infallible and dogmatically defined his papal infallibility.
    There is a campaign to have him canonized, but many Jewish leaders say a Saint Pius IX would weaken Jewish-Catholic relations.
    He was elected as a liberal after the previous Pope inspired much revolutionary activity in the Papal States.
    He suffered from epileptic attacks.
    He visited Chile, making him the first pope to visit South America.
    He gave amnesty for all political prisoners upon his election.
    His popularity plummeted when he refused to endorse war against Austria.
    His prime minister was stabbed to death and the situation got so bad that he had to leave Rome (1848).
    Even though he hated the idea, his reign is the beginning of the papacy being considered a spiritual authority rather than a political one.
    Not counting St. Peter, his is the longest papal reign in history.

Credit: Captain Howdy

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