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Papal conclave, 1800
|Papal conclave, 1800|
The Papal conclave of 1800 followed the death of Pope Pius VI on 29 August 1799 and led to the selection of Giorgio Barnaba Luigi Chiaramonti, later Pius VII, as pope on 14 March 1800. Its legacy is in it taking place in Venice, the last conclave to take place outside Rome. This period was marked by uncertainty for the pope and the Roman Catholic Church following the invasion of the Papal States and abduction of Pius VI by France under the Directory.
Pope Pius VI
Pius VI's reign had been marked by tension between his authority and that of the European monarchs and other institutions; secular and ecclesiastical. This was largely due to his moderate liberal and reforming pretences. At the beginning of his service he promised to continue the work of his predecessor, Pope Clement IV, in whose 1773 publication Dominus ac redemptor , the dissolution of the Society of Jesus was announced. Other pro-Jesuit powers remained in his support thinking him secretly inclined to the Society and away from Clement. Austria proved a threat when Emperor Joseph II made internal reforms which conflicted with some of the power of the Papacy. Further, German archbishops had shown independence at the 1786 Congress of Ems , but were soon brought into line.
At the outbreak of the French Revolution Pius was compelled to see the old independent Gallican Church suppressed, the pontifical and ecclesiastical possessions in France confiscated and an effigy of himself burnt by the populace at the Palais Royal. The murder of the republican agent Hugo Basseville in the streets of Rome (January 1793) gave new ground of offence; the papal court was charged with complicity by the French Convention; and Pius threw in his lot with the league against France.
The State of the See
In 1796 Napoléon Bonaparte invaded Italy, defeated the papal troops and occupied Ancona and Loreto. He did not continue and conquer Rome, as the Directory ordered, being aware that this would not win favour among the French and Italian populations. Pius sued for peace, which was granted at Tolentino on 19 February 1797. The Treaty of Tolentino transferred Romagna to Bonaparte's newly formed Cispadane Republic (founded in December 1796 out of a merger between Reggio, Modena, Bologna and Ferrara) in a hope that the French would not further pursue the Papal lands. Several reforms were made in the French controlled regions, and much of its contents were taken for use.
Several factors led to the complete occupation of Rome by the French. Firstly, the Second War of the Coalition saw the entrance of the Russian army into northern Italy which pushed the French back. Secondly, on December 28 of that year, in a riot created by some Italian and French revolutionists, General Duphot of the French embassy was killed and a new pretext furnished for invasion. General Berthier marched to Rome, entered it unopposed on 13 February 1798, and, proclaiming a republic, demanded of the pope the renunciation of his temporal authority. Upon his refusal he was taken prisoner, and on February 20 was escorted from the Vatican to Siena, and thence to the Certosa near Florence. The French declaration of war against Tuscany led to his removal, though by this time incredibly ill, by way of Parma, Piacenza, Turin and Grenoble to the citadel of Valence, where he died six weeks later, on August 29, 1799.
With the loss of the Vatican and the pope's other temporal power, the cardinals were left in a rather unique state. They were forced to hold the conclave in Venice, making the conclave the last to-date to be held outside Rome. This followed an ordinance issued by Pius VII of 1798 in which was stated that the conclave, in such a situation, would be held in the city with the greatest number of Cardinals among the population. The Benedictine monastery of San Giorgio was the chosen location of the conclave within Venice. The city, along with other northern Italian land, was at the time held by Austria, whose emperor agreed to settle the costs of the conclave.
Despite beginning on 30 November 1799 they could not overcome a stalemate between three candidates until March 1800. Thirty-four Cardinals were present at the start, with the late arrival of Cardinal Franziskus Herzan von Harras who was also the imperial commissioner , and used the veto of Franz II twice. Ercole Consalvi was almost unanimously voted as secretary of the conclave, he would prove an influential figure in the election of the new pope. Carlo Bellisomi seemed the sure winner, with wide support from the Cardinals, but was unpopular among the Austrian Cardinals who preferred Mattei, as such Bellisomi was subject to the veto. The conclave added a third possible candidate in Cardinal Hyacinthe Sigismond Gerdil CRSP but was also vetoed by Austria. As the conclave was in the third month Cardinal Maury, a neutral, suggested Chiaramonti who, with the support of the powerful Conclave secretary, was elected.
Barnaba Luigi Count Chiaramonti was, at the time, the bishop of Imola in the Subalpine Republic . He had stayed in place after the assumption of his diocese by Bonaparte's army in 1797 and famously made a speech in which he stated that good Christians could make good democrats, a speech described as "Jacobinian " by Bonaparte himself. Though he could not save ecclesiastical reform and confiscation under the new rule, he did prevent the church being dissolved, unlike that in France.
Due to still being in Venice, the Papal coronation was hurried. Having no papal treasures on hand the noblewomen of the city manufactured the famous papier-mâché papal tiara. It was adorned with their own jewels. He was declared Pope Pius VII and crowned on 21 March in a cramped monastery church.
A new pope
The Battle of Marengo on 14 June 1800 saw the regaining of northern Italy by the French from the Austrians. Following this promotion, Bonaparte decided to recognise the new Pope and restored the Papal states to those borders set out at Tolentino.
The new Pope headed for Rome which he entered to the pleasure of the population on 3 July. Fearing further invasion he decreed the state should remain neutral between Napoléonic Italy in the north and Bourbonic Naples. In 1803 the reinstatement of the Papal states was made official by the Treaty of Luneville . Ercole Consalvi, the secretary of the Conclave, ascended to the College of Cardinals and became the Secretary of the Papal State on 11 August. France officially rerecognised Catholicism as its majority (not state) religion in the 15 July Concordat and the Church was granted practice with a Gallician constitution of the clergy. It further recognised the Papal states and that which it had confiscated and sold during the occupation of the area.
Napoléon pursued secularisation of smaller, independent lands and, through diplomatic pressure, the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. The relations between the Church and France declined following the Pope's refusal to divorce Jerome Bonaparte and Elizabeth Patterson in 1805. The newly-crowned emperor of France restarted his expansionist policies and assumed control over Ancona, Naples (following the Battle of Austerlitz, making his brother king), Pontecorvo and Benevent . The changes angered the pope, and following his refusal to accept them Napoléon, in February 1808, demanded he subsidise France's military conflict with the United Kingdom. The pope again refused leading to further confiscations of territory such as Urbino, Ancona and Macerata. Finally in 1809, on 17 May, the Papal states were totally annexed and Pius VII was taken to Fontainebleau.
The conclave of 1800 had several unique features and occurances which render it quite estranged from not only many of its predecessor conclaves, but also all those successive gatherings to date. Foremost, it is the last to be held outside Rome, in this case Venice. In fact, all conclaves since the Western Schism (1378) have been held in Rome with this as a sole exception.
As may be seen in the graph on the left, the conclave was conducted with the lowest number of cardinals present since 1534 at 34. Indeed, due to the political situation in which the church found itself at the time it had just 45 cardinals in total, the lowest number since the 31 of 1513.
The extent to which the successor was debated, and the contentiousness of certain nominations, may be seen in the fact that the Austrian Emperor presented the veto twice - an entirely unique occurance in the history of the conclave. Typically, a single veto would have been used by a particular kingdom to ensure a certain candidate did not succeed in any papal aspiration.
List of participants
- Gian Francesco Albani, da Urbino, bishop of Ostia and Velletri
- Henry Benedict Stuart, bishop of Frascati
- Leonardo Antonelli , bishop of Palestrina
- Luigi Valenti-Gonzaga , bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina
- Francesco Carafa di Trajetto
- Francesco Saverio de Zelada
- Guido Calcagnini , bishop of Osimo
- Bernardino Honorati , bishop of Senigallia
- Andrea Gioannetti , archbishop of Bologna
- Hyacinthe Sigismond Gerdil , CRSP
- Carlo Giuseppe Filippo di Martiniana , bishop of Vercelli
- Alessandro Mattei
- Franziskus Herzan von Harras
- Gianandrea Archetti
- Giuseppe Maria Doria-Pamphilj
- Gregorio Barnaba Chiaramonti, OSB, bishop of Imola (Elected Pope Pius VII)
- Carlo Bellisomi , bishop of Cesena
- Francisco Antonio de Lorenzana , archbishop of Toledo , Spain
- Ignazio Busca
- Stefano Borgia
- Giambattista Caprara
- Antonio Dugnani
- Ippolito Vicenti-Mareri
- Jean-Siffrein Maury
- Giambattista Bussi de Pretis , bishop of Jesi
- Francesco Maria Pignatelli
- Aurelio Roverella
- Giulio Maria della Somaglia
- Antonmaria Doria-Pamphilj
- Romualdo Braschi-Onesti
- Filippo Carandini
- Ludovico Flangini Giovanelli
- Fabrizio Dionigi Ruffo
- Giovanni Rinuccini
List of absentees
- Christoph Anton von Migazzi von Waal und Sonnenthurn , archbishop of Vienna, Austria
- Dominique de La Rochefoucald , archbishop of Rouen , France
- Johann Heinrich von Frankenberg , archbishop of Mechlin , Belgium
- Louis-René-Eduard de Rohan-Guéménée , archbishop of Strasbourg
- Giuseppe Maria Capece Zurlo Theat. , archbishop of Naples
- Vicenzo Ranuzzi , bishop of Ancona e Umana
- Muzio Gallo
- Carlo Livizzani Forni
- José Francisco de Mendoça , patriarch of Lisbon , Portugal
- Antonio de Sentmenat y Castella , patriarch of the Western Indies , Spain
- Louis-Joseph de Laval-Montmorency
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