Blogs > Cliopatria > Pius IX : 1848 :: Benedict XVI: 1960s

Apr 21, 2005 1:57 am

Pius IX : 1848 :: Benedict XVI: 1960s

Based on the last decade of following Cardinal Ratzinger, I was surprised to learn that he fell on the progressive side of the Church more than forty years ago. But it's easy enough to believe.

After all, Pope Pius IX, the actual longest reigning pontiff ever (John Paul II had five years to go for a tie), switched from reformism to reactionary conservatism in the face of the revolutions of 1848. (Pius IX is the one who declared the doctrine of papal infallibility in 1871 in the context of the First Vatican Council.) Back in 1848, like so many other moderate reformers of the day, Pius stood aghast as the revolutions shifted toward radicalism -- in his case, to the point of forcing him to go into exile from the Papal States.

So if the West European Ratzinger, like his mentors, went ultra-conservative as a result of the 1960s, that provides a very interesting historical analogy.

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