Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Pius, the name of many of the Popes, the first to bear it being the tenth Bishop of Rome, who flourished between 142-157 A.D. The second Pius was AEnea Silvio Piccolomini, born in 1495. He was secretary to several'bishops, and took the side of the council which deposed Eugenius IV., but afterwards supported him. He was successively Bishop of Trieste and Siena, and was made cardinal by Calixtus III., whom he succeeded as Pope. He tried to organise a crusade against the Turks, but failed, and the disappointment in this - one of his great projects - is said to have hastened his death. He wrote some valuable geographical and historical works. Pius IV. (Giovanni Angelo Medici), who died in 1565, was elevated to the Papal see in 1560, and was a sagacious and temperate ruler, who instituted various reform/; in the Church worship. It was during his reign that the famous Council of Trent was held. Pius V. (Michele Ghisleri) became pope in 1566. He made ruthless war on heretics and Protestants, and issued a bull against Queen Elizabeth, which had no effect. He assisted Charles IX. of France to put down the Huguenots, and during his tenancy of the holy see the Inquisition was at its worst. He died in 1572. In 1775 Giovanni Angelo Braschi was chosen Pope, being then nearly sixty years of age. He tried hard to re-establish the Papal authority, which had been weakened under some of his predecessors, on its old basis, and disputed with Joseph II. of Germany as to Papal jurisdiction over his court. The French Revolution broke the close connection which had existed between the Papacy and France: 130 bishops and 60,000 clergy refused to recognise the new French constitution, and Louis supported them. A Frenchman having been killed in Rome, Bonaparte and the Convention threatened war, and in 1796 the Pope was obliged to agree to terms which condemned him to pay a large tribute and to yield up the northern Italian provinces. Later, fresh troubles led to the capture of Rome by the French and to his imprisonment, from the hardships of which he died in 1799, aged eighty-one. Pius VII. (Barnabas Luigi Chiaramonti) was born in 1742, and was elected Pope in 1800, entering Rome after having made a concordat with France. He got back the Papal states in 1801, and was known for his mildness and wise moderation. He went to Paris with great pomp in 1804 and anointed Napoleon, and returned in 1805 without receiving, as he desired, any concession. He declined to acknowledge Joseph Bonaparte as king of Naples, which had been conquered, and in February, 1808, Rome was again retaken by the French. In spite of threatened excommunication, Napoleon united various Papal provinces to the kingdom of Italy.

Pius was arrested and forced to practically renounce his claims, and when he retracted he was again arrested, and was not allowed to enter Rome until after Napoleon's fall. Pius IX. (Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti) was born in 1792, and had intended to adopt a military career, but finally decided on entering the Church. In 1827 he became an archbishop, and in 1840 a cardinal. His election to the Papacy in 1846 promised well, as benevolence and goodness were strongly-marked characteristics of his. He reformed many abuses, and was prevented carrying out other improvements by the revolution of 1848. His minister. Count Rossi, was assassinated and even his own palace attacked, and he was forced to flee from Rome in disguise. A republic was formed at Rome in his absence, and this was replaced by French troops, who gained possession of the city in 1849 after a brief struggle, the Austrians meanwhile holding the northern provinces. In 1854 Pius promulgated the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and in 1869 opened the Vatican Council, which first affirmed Papal Infallibility as a tenet of the Catholic Church. The Sardinians, who had revolted, gradually overpowered the Roman states, and their king was appointed over them. The French, who had undertaken to defend Rome, were obliged to withdraw from it when the Franco-German War broke out, and Victor Emmanuel's troops entered the holy city. Pius retired into the Vatican, where he lived in seclusion till his death on February 7th, 1878. The removal of his remains to San Lorenzo was the occasion of many regrettable scenes of disorder. It was he who, in 1850, first divided England into Catholic dioceses.