The friends of social progress were highly gratified by the decision of Pius IX to raze in Rome the walls and gates which shut up the Jews in the Ghetto.
Continuing Pius IX Flees Rome,
our selection from Pius the Ninth and the Revolution at Rome (in the North American Review, volume LXXIV, New Series) by Francis Bowen published in 1852. For works benefiting from the latest research see the “More information” section at the bottom of these pages. The selection is presented in eleven easy 5 minute installments.
Previously in Pius IX Flees Rome.
On the same day that the Jesuits were expelled, the Pope issued a noble proclamation, breathing the best spirit of religion. The following excerpt is a portion of it:
Pius Papa IX to the People of the States of Italy — Health and Apostolic Benediction:
The events which the last two months have witnessed, following and thronging one another in such rapid succession, are no work of man. Woe to him that does not discern the Lord’s voice in this blast that agitates, uproots, and rends the cedar and the oak. Woe to the pride of man if he shall refer, these marvelous changes to any human merit or any human fault; if instead of adoring the hidden designs of Providence, whether manifested in the paths of his justice or of his mercy, or of that Providence in whose hands are all the ends of the earth. And we, who are endowed with speech in order to interpret the dumb eloquence of the works of God — we cannot be mute amid the longings, the fears, and the hopes which agitate the minds of our children.
And first, it is our duty to make known to you that if our hearts had been moved at hearing how, in a part of Italy, the consolations of religion have preceded the perils of battle, and nobleness of mind has been displayed in works of charity, we nevertheless could not and cannot but greatly grieve over the injuries which, in other places, have been done to the ministers of that same religion — injuries, even if contrary to our duty we were silent concerning them, our silence could not hinder from impairing the efficacy of our benedictions.
Neither can we refrain from telling you that to use victory well is a greater and more difficult achievement than to be victorious. If the present day recalls to you any other period of your history, let the children profit by the errors of their forefathers. Remember that all stability and all prosperity has its main earthly ground in concord; that it is God alone who maketh of one mind them that dwell in a house; that he grants this reward only to the humble and the meek, to those who respect his laws, in the liberty of his church, in the order of society, in charity toward all mankind.”
* * * * *
Shortly afterward another measure, emanating entirely from the Pope, and opposed by the prejudices of the mob, showed that his humane and liberal disposition and enlightened understanding waited for no impulse from without, and for no hope of increased popularity, before doing justice to a long oppressed race. “The friends of social progress were highly gratified by the decision of Pius IX to raze in Rome the walls and gates which shut up the Jews in the Ghetto. He had already, at the commencement of his pontificate, softened some of the rigors with which they were afflicted, and had directed that they might spread beyond that ignominious precinct; nor, however great was the outcry about it among the mob, did he forego the idea of bettering the condition of the followers of the Mosaic law.” He was disposed to give them civil rights; and if he did not think of extending his concessions even to political privileges, yet he would give this as the main reason for it, that, in a constitutional country, everyone who enjoys them may rise to the highest stages of power; whereas a pope could not have any save Catholic ministers. In the mean time he raised them out of the abjectness of their isolation, although the Roman vulgar censured him for it bitterly, most of all because it took effect in Holy Week. When it was known in the city that the walls and fastenings of the Ghetto were to be pulled down at night, by order of the Cardinal Vicar, Ciceruacchio hastened with his companions, or subjects, to share in the work; and they shared in it so largely that it seemed as though the thing were effected more as their boon than by the will of the Pope. Pius IX was vexed at this; whether because noise had been made about what he wanted done quietly, or because it was brought about in such a manner that it might seem the popular party had had more to say to it than the authority of the head of religion.
Rome fully shared the enthusiasm which was awakened throughout Italy by the entrance of the Piedmontese troops into Lombardy, and by the announcement by Charles Albert that he had drawn the sword in the sacred cause of Italian independence. His proclamation, in the stilted phrase common to such state papers, declared that he relied upon “the assistance of that God who is visibly with us; of that God who has given Pius IX to Italy; of that God who, by such wondrous impulses, has placed her in a condition to act for herself.” And if she acted for herself, if her deeds had been commensurate with her glorious words, the Austrian would never again have trodden any portion of the peninsula with the step of a master. But the zeal of the Italians for independence seemed all to evaporate in high-sounding manifestoes, and in a few excesses of the populace in the great cities. The inactivity of the Italian sovereigns may be explained by their imputed treachery or lukewarmness in the cause.
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