Pope Gregory XVI

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Pope Gregory XVI (18 September 1765 – 1 June 1846), born Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari, named Mauro as a member of the religious order of the Camaldolese, was Pope of the Catholic Church from 1831 to 1846. Strongly conservative and traditionalist, he opposed democratic and modernising reforms in the Papal States and throughout Europe, seeing them as fronts for revolutionary leftism, and sought to strengthen the religious and political authority of the papacy (see Ultramontanism).


Early life

Cappellari was born at Belluno on 18 September 1765 to a noble family. At an early age he joined the order of the Camaldolese (part of the Benedictine monastic family) and entered the Monastery of San Michele di Murano, near Venice. As a Camaldolese monk, Cappellari rapidly gained distinction for his theological and linguistic skills. His first appearance before a wider public was in 1799, when he published against the Italian Jansenists a controversial work entitled II Trionfo della Santa Sede, which, besides passing through several editions in Italy, has been translated into several European languages. In 1800 he became a member of the Academy of the Catholic Religion, founded by Pope Pius VII (1800–23), to which he contributed a number of memoirs on theological and philosophical questions, and in 1805 was made abbot of San Gregorio on the Caelian Hill.

When Pius VII was carried off from Rome in 1809, Cappellari withdrew to Murano, near Venice, and in 1814, with some other members of his order, he moved again, this time to Padua; but soon after the restoration of the Pope in 1814 he was recalled to Rome, where he received successive appointments as vicar-general of the Camaldolese Order, councillor of the Inquisition, prefect of the Propaganda, and examiner of bishops. In March 1825 he was created Cardinal-Priest of San Callisto (in pectore) by Pope Leo XII (1823–29), and shortly afterwards was entrusted with an important mission to adjust a concordat regarding the interests of the Catholics of Wallonia in the predominantly Protestant United Kingdom of the Netherlands. He negotiated peace on behalf of Armenian Catholics with the Ottoman Empire. He discouraged Polish revolutionaries who undermined Tsar Nicholas I's efforts to support the Catholic royalist cause in France, by the necessity of diverting troops to Poland.

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