The 19th/c Papacy VS the Modern World

posted Jun 2, 2010, 1:53 AM by Professor Katz   [ updated Jun 3, 2010, 3:24 AM ]
It all began with Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846), in his encyclical* Mirari Vos (15 August 1832)  who denounced freedom of conscience, freedom of the press, and the separation of church and state. [He did, however, on 3 December 1839 condemn both the slave trade and slavery itself In Supremo Apostolatus.] 
Not to be outdone, Pope Pius IX (1846-1878) followed with his The Syllabus Of Errors (8 December 1864) which included 80 theses to be rejected, including socialism, communism, and the notion that the pope 'can, and ought to, reconcile himself, and come to terms with progress, liberalism and modern civilization.'
Pope Pius IX had already amazed the faithful with his Ineffabilis Deus (8 December 1854) which posited the immaculate conception of Mary.  In other words, her mother Anne was also a virgin.  This was an important issue, basing the dogma not in scripture, not in tradition, but on a consensus of bishops on the topic.
In 1870, at the First Vatican Council (1869-1870), papal infallibility was declared.  Since this is the Catholic Church's equivalent of the atomic bomb, it has only been used once, when Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) declared the Assumption of Mary in his Munificentissimus Deus.
As Pope Pius IX remarked in an angry exchange with the archbishop of Bologna at a session on 18 June 1870, 'La tradizione sono io' ['I am the tradition'].
* [What is an encyclical? you may ask: good question...]