Pius XI

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Pius XI,

1857–1939, pope (1922–39), an Italian named Achille Ratti, b. Desio, near Milan; successor of Benedict XVBenedict XV,
1854–1922, pope (1914–22), an Italian (b. Genoa) named Giacomo della Chiesa; successor of Pius X. He was made archbishop of Bologna in 1907 and cardinal in 1914, two months before his election as pope.
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Prepapal Career

Ratti's father was a silk manufacturer. He studied in Milan and at the Gregorian Univ., Rome, and was ordained in 1879. His excellence in philosophy brought him to the attention of Leo XIIILeo XIII,
1810–1903, pope (1878–1903), an Italian (b. Carpineto, E of Rome) named Gioacchino Pecci; successor of Pius IX. Ordained in 1837, he earned an excellent reputation as archbishop of Perugia (1846–77), and was created cardinal in 1853.
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. He taught in the Milan seminary, was appointed (1888) one of the college of doctors of the Ambrosian Library, Milan, and won a name for his studies in paleography. In 1907 he was made chief librarian. Called by Pius XPius X, Saint,
1835–1914, pope (1903–14), an Italian named Giuseppe Sarto, b. near Treviso; successor of Leo XIII and predecessor of Benedict XV. Ordained in 1858, he became bishop of Mantua (1884), a cardinal (1893), and patriarch of Venice (1893).
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 to Rome, he became vice prefect of the Vatican Library.

In 1918, Benedict XV entrusted him with the difficult legateship in Poland. There he put the church on good terms with the new government and helped, as much as possible, the Roman Catholics of Russia. In 1919 he was made nuncio to Poland. Two years later Benedict appointed him archbishop of Milan and created him cardinal. Cardinal Ratti was elected pope eight months later (Feb. 6, 1922).


Pius's pontificate was marked by great diplomatic activity and by many important papers, often in the form of encyclicals. In diplomatic affairs Pius was aided at first by Pietro Gasparri and after 1930 by Eugenio Pacelli (who succeeded him as Pius XIIPius XII,
1876–1958, pope (1939–58), an Italian named Eugenio Pacelli, b. Rome; successor of Pius XI. Ordained a priest in 1899, he entered the Vatican's secretariat of state.
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). Cardinal Gasparri's greatest success was the Lateran TreatyLateran Treaty,
concordat between the Holy See and the kingdom of Italy signed in 1929 in the Lateran Palace, Rome, by Cardinal Gasparri for Pius XI and by Benito Mussolini for Victor Emmanuel III. One of the important negotiators was Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope Pius XII.
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 (1929). Also in 1929, the Vatican supported the candidacy of Mussolini after he agreed to purge Freemasons, Jews, and other "anticlerical parties" from his ticket. Pius XI came to regret this decision when the full racial laws came into effect. Mussolini's Fascist government and the pope openly disagreed over the restriction of youth activities; this culminated in a strong papal letter (Non abbiamo bisogno, 1931), showing the impossibility of being at once a Fascist and a Catholic. Relations between Mussolini and the Holy See were cool thereafter.

It fell to Cardinal Pacelli to negotiate a concordat for all Germany (1933). The Hitler government never pretended to observe the treaty. In 1937, after interference of every sort by the Nazis in Catholic life, the pope denounced the government and the Nationalist Socialist theory in a powerful encyclical, Mit brennender Sorge. A few days later he issued a definitive analysis of Communism from the Roman Catholic point of view in On Atheistic Communism. Pius also denounced persecutions in Russia, Mexico, and Spain. With England, the Netherlands, and France (where he condemned the royalist Action française movement in 1925) the pope was on unprecedentedly cordial terms. He spoke out continually against nationalism, racism, and totalitarianism and their menace to human dignity; hence the new feast of Christ the King, established to recall the rights of religion in the state, and hence, too, Pius's denunciation of anti-Semitism.

The pope, highly critical of laissez-faire capitalism, urged social reform especially in his encyclical Quadragesimo anno (1931), which renewed the plea made 40 years earlier by Leo XIII. Pius appealed directly to the laity for greater participation in all things religious—this he called Catholic Action. In the church's missionary activity he laid great stress on the necessity of integrating Christianity with native cultures rather than trying to make them European. This is seen in the Pontifical Work of St. Peter the Apostle for the Native Clergy, which he set up in 1929. To protect Catholics of Eastern rites from Latin influence he augmented the powers of their congregation and established a commission to study their canon law. He also called on Western Catholics to exhibit greater understanding of the Orthodox and other ancient churches of the East, notably in the encyclical Rerum Orientalium (1928).

Pius took delight in new technological developments. He established a broadcasting station at the Vatican and advanced the modernization of the Vatican Library. He also reconstituted the Pontifical Academy of the Sciences (1936), with a large international membership.


Many of Pius's papers have been published. See biographies by P. Hughes (1938) and Z. Aradi (1958); D. I. Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini (2014).

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Pius XI

original name Achille Ratti. 1857--1939, Italian ecclesiastic; pope (1922--39). He signed the Lateran Treaty (1929), by which the Vatican City was recognized as an independent state. His encyclicals condemned Nazism and Communism
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Pius XI is the only 20th century Pope who has not been nominated for beatification.
Pius XI and Cardinal Pacelli devoted their energies to protecting the confessional status of the Catholic Church in education and guaranteeing the independence of organizations such as Catholic Youth.
Wolf is not totally despondent over the lack of sources; however, as the newly released documents do indeed shed important light on the diplomatic career of Pacelli, especially his tenure in Germany, and his almost daily interaction with Pope Pius XI after Pacelli became Cardinal Secretary of State in 1930.
However, the necessary approval failed to come from the Holy Office, which condemned the entire movement, and convinced Pius XI to suppress it.
Pope Pius XI approved the statement condemning antisemitism, but the Church did not change the Good Friday prayer until the 1960s.
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Words written in love, words written in Recognizing the power of the Word of God to transform lives, Pope Pius XI in 1931 instituted February as the Press Month hate have made marriages, ruined friendships, started wars.
The Church's highest authorities--most notably the two popes in power during the twelve years of the Third Reich, Pius XI (to 1939) and Pius XII--consistently condemned the idea that "race" was the key factor in human life.
Benedict recalled the story of More - made a saint by Pope Pius XI in 1935 - and inspected a plaque commemorating his execution.
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1929: Pope Pius XI became the first Pope to leave the Vatican since 1870.
But his predecessor, Pope Pius XI, had already done that, in the Encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge ("With Burning Concern").