Did the Catholic Church Hinder Italian Unity

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  • Topic: Pope, Papal States, Rome
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  • Published : April 24, 2012
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How far do you agree that the Catholic Church significantly hindered Italian unity in the years to 1870? To a very far extent the Catholic Church did hinder Italian unity as the church was generally a reactionary body as it opposed to new ideas especially, Italian unification. Such as when Pope Pius IX asked the French army to defeat the Roman Republic in 1848. Also the Catholic Church made it forbidden in science to say the Earth travelled around the sun. However the Catholic Church does show little evidence of not hindering unification. Such as in 1846-7, Pope Pius IX appeared to be Liberal and freed 2000 political prisoners who were mostly revolutionaries. To some extent there is evidence that Pope Pius IX did not hinder the unification but actually showed evidence of liberalism. In 1846 with the election of a new pop, Pius IX was believed to have liberal sympathies. E.g. he freed 2000 political prisoners, mostly revolutionaries. He reformed education, the law and papal administration and he gave laymen a greater share in public affairs. He also ended press censorship, allowed Jews out of the ghetto, granted Rome a constitution to replace absolute papal rule and created the Consulta, an elected body to advise the Pope. His strong evidence of liberalism encouraged nationalist and liberals, such as Piedmont and Tuscany in 1848 both reduced censorship and gave more liberal constitutions. Also the pope had seemed to be anti-Austrian as in 1848 when the Pope forbade Austrian troops from entering the Papal states. The Catholic Church shows to a great extent of evidence of hindering unification. In 1848 revolutions, attitudes of Pope Pius IX had changed from liberal to reactionary. E.g. the 1848 Papal Allocution. This condemned Italian nationalists, rejected the Risorgimento and refused to use Papal troops to fight against Austria. This ended dreams of neo-Guelph’s such as Gioberti who had envisaged a Confederation of states with the Pope as leader. In 1849, the...
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