Papal Allocution of April 29 1848
Allocution of Pius IX, delivered in a secret consistory
More than once have We, in this Our assembly, denounced the audacity of some persons who, Venerable Brothers, had not scrupled to
inflict wrong upon Us, and through Us upon this Holy See, by concluding falsely that We had departed, and not in one point alone, from
the ever sacred maxims of our Predecessors; nay, horrible to say from the very doctrine of the Church. Nor, in truth, at this day are
there wanting men who thus speak of Us, as though We had been the especial authors of the public commotions which have recemtly
occurred, not only in other parts of Europe, but likewise in Italy. And, particularly, we have learned, from the Austrian dominions
in Germany, that it is there bruited and disseminated among the people, that the Roman Pontiff has dispatched emissaries, and has by the
employment of other arts excited the populations of Italy to introduce strange alterations into the course of public affairs. We have
learned, furthermore, that some enemies of the Catholic religion have hence taken occasion to inflame the minds of the Germans, and to
separate themselves in the heat of resentment from the unity of this Holy See. We, indeed have not the smallest doubt that the people
of Catholic Germany, and the highly distinguished Bishops who govern it, vehemently abhor the wickedness of such men. Yet We apprehend
that it appertains to Us to repair, or prevent, the offence that might be taken by some precipitate and somewhat simple persons, as well
as to rebut the calumny which redounds not only to the contempt of our own person, but also of the supreme Apostolate which We exercise,
and of this Holy See...
...It is not unknown to you, Venerable Brethren, that ever since the later years of our Predecessor, Pius VII,. the chief Sovereigns
of Europe have sought to induce the Apostolic See to adopt, in the administration of civil affairs, such and such modes of proceeding,
as more conciliatory, and more conformable to the wishes of the laity, than those in use...
...Accordingly, when, by the inscutable decree of God, We were put in his place, We at the outset, not stimulated by encouragements
or advice, but prompted by our own singular affection towards the people placed under the temporal dominion of the Church, granted more
large indulgence to those who had departed from their duty of allegiance to the Pontifical Government; and we subsequently made speed to
adopt certain measures, which We had judged conducive in themselves to the prosperity of the people. And the whole of the acts which We
have thus performed at the very commencement of our Pontificate, are in thorough correspondence with those most anxious desires of
the European Sovereigns.
But after that, by the help of God, our plans had been brought into effect, not only our own people but those of neighbouring States
manifested an exulting joy, and applauded Us with public congratulations and testimonials of respect, in such a mode as made it our duty
to take care, even in this exalted City, to keep within due bounds popular outbursts, acclamations, and assemblages, that broke forth
with an excess of vehemence...
...But every one is well aware of those public commotions in the Italian states, to which We have already referred; as well as of the
other events which, out of Italy or within it, had, or have since happened. If then, any one will pretend, that what We did in good will
at the commencement of our reign has at all opened the way for these events, he can in no way ascribe this to our doing, since our acts have
been none other than such as, not We alone, but likewise the Sovereigns before mentioned, had judged to be seasonable for the well-being
of our temporal dominions...
...Besides which, the above-mentioned people of Germany could not be incensed with Us, if it had been absolutely impossible for Us
to restrain the ardour of those persons, within our temporal sway, who have thought fit to applaud the acts done against them in Upper
Italy, and who caught by the same ardour as others for the cause of their own Nation, have, together with the subjects of other Italian
States, exerted themselves on behalf of that cause.
For several other European Potentates, greatly excelling Us in the number of their troops, have been unable at this particular epoch
to resist the impetus of their people.
Moreover, in this condition of affairs, We have declined to allow the imposition of any other obligation on our soldiers, dispatched
to the confines of the Pontifical State, except that of maintaining its integrity and security.
But, seeing that some at present desire that We too, along with the other Princes
of Italy and their subjects, should engage in war against the Austrians, We have
thought it convenient to proclaim clearly and openly, in this our solemn
Assembly, that such a measure is altogether alien from our counsels, inasmuch as
We, albeit unworthy, are upon earth the vice-regent of Him that is the Author of
Peace and the Lover of Charity, and, conformably to the function of our supreme
Apostolate, We reach to and embrace all kindreds, peoples, and nations, with
equal solicitude of paternal affection. But if, notwithstanding, there are not
wanting among our subjects those who allow themselves to be carried away by the
example of the rest of the Italians, in what manner could We possibly curb their
And in this place We cannot refrain from repudiating, before the face of all
nations, the treacherous advice, published moreover in journals, and in various
works, of those who would have the Roman Pontiff to be the head and to preside
over the formation of some sort of novel Republic of the whole Italian people.
Rather, on this occasion, moved hereto by the love We bear them, We do urgently
warn and exhort the said Italian people to abstain with all diligence from the
like counsels, deceitful and ruinous to Italy herself, and to abide in close
attachment to their respective Sovereigns, of whose good will they have already
had experience, so as never to let themselves be torn away from the obedience
they owe them. For if they should do otherwise, they not only would fail in
their own duty, but would also run a risk of rending Italy herself, every day
more and more, with fresh discords and intestine factions. As to what concerns Us, We declare
again and again, that thevRoman Pontiff bestows all his thoughts, cares, and anxiety, towards
quickening the daily increase of the Kingdom of Christ, which is the Church: not towards the
enlargement of the boundaries of the temporal Sovereignty, which it has pleased Divine
Providence to confer on this Holy See, for its own dignity, and in order to secure the free exercise
of the Supreme Apostolate...