Build church unity, favor reconciliation, Pope tells pilgrims

April 23, 2024 at 12:34 p.m.
Pope Pius VII in the Sistine Chapel, by Jean-Auguste Domique Ingres. French painting, oil on canvas. When this painting was begun, Pius VII was Napoleon’s prisoner in Savona. Image from Canva.
Pope Pius VII in the Sistine Chapel, by Jean-Auguste Domique Ingres. French painting, oil on canvas. When this painting was begun, Pius VII was Napoleon’s prisoner in Savona. Image from Canva.

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY CNS – Pope Pius VII, a prisoner of Napoleon from 1809 to 1814, endured humiliation but successfully resisted all attempts to fracture the unity of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said.

When Napoleon was defeated and the Pope was able to return to Rome, "the community that emerged was materially poorer, but morally stronger, more cohesive and more credible," the Pope told pilgrims from the Italian dioceses of Cesena-Sarsina, Tivoli, Savona and Imola, who were marking the 200th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius VII.

Barnaba Chiaramonti, who would become a Benedictine monk and abbot before being elected Pope in 1800, was born in Cesena.

Pope Francis told the pilgrims, "His example spurs us to be, in our time, even at the cost of renunciations, builders of unity in the universal church, in the local church, in parishes and in families: to build communion, to favor reconciliation, to promote peace, faithful to truth in charity!"

Pope Pius VII came from well-off family, Pope Francis told the pilgrims, but he had told the cardinals who elected him that "it is not in splendor … but rather in contempt for riches, in humility, in modesty, in patience, in charity and finally in every priestly duty that the image of Our Creator is portrayed, and the authentic dimension of the church is preserved."

"What he said is beautiful," Pope Francis said.

After Napoleon's troops had invaded Italy, Pope Pius VII tried to negotiate with him and succeeded to some extent until Napoleon invaded the Papal States in 1809 and exiled the Pope to Savona and then to France.

"He was a very intelligent man, very pious and astute," Pope Francis said. "He knew how to face his imprisonment with cunning. At times he sent messages in his undergarments, and in this way, he managed to lead the church, through messages in his undergarments. And it is a good thing: he was a man who was intelligent, astute and who wanted to carry out the task of governing that the Lord had given him; this is good."

Pope Francis told the pilgrims to think about Pope Pius VII and try to imitate his "style of meekness and readiness to sacrifice."

"But this does not mean we are stupid, no, no, that is not meekness," the Pope said. "Meekness, but cnning as the Lord recommends. Simple as the dove but cunning as the snake."

The Church needs quality Catholic journalism now more than ever. Please consider supporting this work by signing up for a SUBSCRIPTION (click HERE) or making a DONATION to The Monitor (click HERE). Thank you for your support.

 


Related Stories

VATICAN CITY CNS – Pope Pius VII, a prisoner of Napoleon from 1809 to 1814, endured humiliation but successfully resisted all attempts to fracture the unity of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said.

When Napoleon was defeated and the Pope was able to return to Rome, "the community that emerged was materially poorer, but morally stronger, more cohesive and more credible," the Pope told pilgrims from the Italian dioceses of Cesena-Sarsina, Tivoli, Savona and Imola, who were marking the 200th anniversary of the death of Pope Pius VII.

Barnaba Chiaramonti, who would become a Benedictine monk and abbot before being elected Pope in 1800, was born in Cesena.

Pope Francis told the pilgrims, "His example spurs us to be, in our time, even at the cost of renunciations, builders of unity in the universal church, in the local church, in parishes and in families: to build communion, to favor reconciliation, to promote peace, faithful to truth in charity!"

Pope Pius VII came from well-off family, Pope Francis told the pilgrims, but he had told the cardinals who elected him that "it is not in splendor … but rather in contempt for riches, in humility, in modesty, in patience, in charity and finally in every priestly duty that the image of Our Creator is portrayed, and the authentic dimension of the church is preserved."

"What he said is beautiful," Pope Francis said.

After Napoleon's troops had invaded Italy, Pope Pius VII tried to negotiate with him and succeeded to some extent until Napoleon invaded the Papal States in 1809 and exiled the Pope to Savona and then to France.

"He was a very intelligent man, very pious and astute," Pope Francis said. "He knew how to face his imprisonment with cunning. At times he sent messages in his undergarments, and in this way, he managed to lead the church, through messages in his undergarments. And it is a good thing: he was a man who was intelligent, astute and who wanted to carry out the task of governing that the Lord had given him; this is good."

Pope Francis told the pilgrims to think about Pope Pius VII and try to imitate his "style of meekness and readiness to sacrifice."

"But this does not mean we are stupid, no, no, that is not meekness," the Pope said. "Meekness, but cnning as the Lord recommends. Simple as the dove but cunning as the snake."

The Church needs quality Catholic journalism now more than ever. Please consider supporting this work by signing up for a SUBSCRIPTION (click HERE) or making a DONATION to The Monitor (click HERE). Thank you for your support.

 

Have a news tip? Email [email protected] or Call/Text 360-922-3092

e-Edition


e-edition

Sign up


for our email newsletters

Weekly Top Stories

Sign up to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every Sunday

Daily Updates & Breaking News Alerts

Sign up to get our daily updates and breaking news alerts delivered to your inbox daily

Latest Stories


Bishops' spring meeting opens with focus on anti-poverty arm, Eucharistic revival, mental health
The first day of the U.S. Catholic bishops' public meetings...

Despite knee issues, St. Rose’s Huisman wins another MOC gold in shot put
As his high school throwing career winds down, it’s tempting to wonder how great Josh Huisman would be ...

10 things that make for a great Catholic dad
Being a Catholic dad is both a great privilege and a big responsibility.

Ecumenism and papal primacy: Vatican releases status report on dialogues
The reason why the 2024 edition of the Vatican yearbook has re-inserted...

Pope says synodality should be 'permanent way of acting in the church'
– Pope Francis said he hopes the spirit of openness and dialogue ...


The Evangelist, 40 North Main Ave., Albany, NY, 12203-1422 | PHONE: 518-453-6688| FAX: 518-453-8448
© 2024 Trenton Monitor, All Rights Reserved.