Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti (1792 - 1878)

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Nicknames: "Pius IX", "Pio IX"
Birthplace: Senigallia, Ancona, Marche, Italy
Death: Died in Rome, Rome, Lazio, Italy
Managed by: Andrea Mosconi
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About Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti

Europe, including the Italian peninsula, was in the midst of considerable political ferment when the bishop of Spoleto, Cardinal Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, was elected pope. He took the name Pius, after his generous patron and the long-suffering prisoner of Napoleon Bonaparte, Pius VII. He had been elected by the faction of cardinals sympathetic to the political liberalization coursing across Europe, and his initial governance of the Papal States gives evidence of his own liberal sympathies: Under his direction various sorts of political prisoners in the Papal States were released and the city of Rome was granted a constitutional framework under guidance of his friend, philosopher-prince Antonio Rosmini-Serbati. A series of terrorist acts sponsored by Italian liberals and nationalists, which included the assassination of his Minister of the Interior, Pellegrino Rossi, among others, and which forced him briefly to flee Rome in 1848 led to his growing skepticism towards the liberal, nationalist agenda. Through the 1850s and 1860s, Italian nationalists made military gains against the Papal States, which culminated in the seizure of the city of Rome in 1870. Thereafter, Pius IX refused to accept the Law of Guarantees from the Italian government, which would have made the Holy See dependent on legislation that the Italian parliament could modify at any time. His Church policies towards other countries, such as Russia, Germany and France, were not always successful, due in part, to changing secular institutions and internal developments within these countries. However, concordats were concluded with numerous states such as Austria-Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Canada, Tuscany, Ecuador, Venezuela, Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti.

Many contemporary Church historians and journalists question his approaches. His appeal for public worldwide support of the Holy See after he became "The prisoner of the Vatican" resulted in the revival and spread to the whole Catholic Church of Peter's Pence, which is used today to enable the Pope "to respond to those who are suffering as a result of war, oppression, natural disaster, and disease". In his Syllabus of Errors, still highly controversial, Pius IX condemned the heresies of secular society, especially modernism.

He was a Marian pope, who in his encyclical Ubi Primum described Mary as a Mediatrix of salvation. In 1854, he promulgated the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, articulating a long-held Catholic belief that Mary, the Mother of God, was conceived without original sin. In 1862, he convened 300 bishops to the Vatican for the canonization of Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan. His most important legacy is the First Vatican Council, which convened in 1869. This Council discussed many issues, especially the dogma of papal infallibility, which Pius was eager to have officially defined by the council; but the council was interrupted as Italian nationalist troops threatened Rome. The council is considered to have contributed to a centralization of the Church in the Vatican.

Pius IX, who suffered from epilepsy, was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 3 September 2000. His Feast Day is 7 February.

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Giovanni Maria Mastai Ferretti's Timeline

1792
May 13, 1792
Senigallia, Ancona, Marche, Italy
1878
February 7, 1878
Age 85
Rome, Rome, Lazio, Italy