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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Nothing anti catholic about evolution. Biblical literism is a Protestant area. I think the church will lead the way in genetics if Cardinal Formicia gets his way!

The Roman church did have luminaries like Cardinal Newman who saw no inconsistencies between "the accidental evolution of organic beings" and divine design. But it also had those like the editors of the Jesuit periodical La Civiltà Cattolica, who engaged in prolonged polemics against evolutionary theory, and somewhat blunted the 19th century Vatican's openness to it.

Through the 20th century, I'd agree that some Protestant denominations' dogged insistence on sola scriptura literalism has really done a number on their engagement with evolution (and sciences in general).
 
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The sheppard must look after his flock, even in the face of anti-vax superstition - or so it seems.
 

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The Catholic Church playing the maniacal game of building a nation? And accepting modern science?

Truly this is a cursed timeline
 

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It’s just occurred to me that this is probably the TL Pius XIII slipped into when he was in his coma. Yes, that’s it. All makes sense.
 
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slothinator

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The Vatican gleefully accepting modern science? Well I'll be damned. Or they will, I suppose.

Seeing those Mendel charts took me right back to my GCSEs.

Oh, you don't know the half of it. There will be quite a few discussions on this matter.

Astonishing that the Vatican Council is going this route. They will be badly out of joint when evolution becomes widely known if they've already conceded this much by their own arguments.

Quite literally, this books ruined quite a lot of all Abrahamic religion overnight.

Well, by this point On the Origin of Species is already out and The Descent of Man is coming out in a couple of years so the ideas are not really being anathematized at the moment.

Come now TBC, surely this is the last thing anyone should be surprised by. When the theory of evolution comes out most of the Cardinals will be relieved at the excuse to finally ditch all that 'god' stuff and become the secular Italian state they already de facto are.


Certainly the Vatican council can abandon the '10 Commandments' (very inconvenient), the 'Sermon on the Mount' should go to (As Sir H would say, it is doing irreparable damage to the defence budget) and most of Jesus' miracles surely fall under superstition. At which point one is left with the question does the modern Catholic Church really need Jesus at all? It would be a lot easier to go off and invade neighbouring states and massacre the innocent if they did just drop him, less feeling guilty when all the pictures stare at you for starters.

I was going to say it was surprising they'd got that far with all the rest of the world's catholics screaming about how the Papacy has been corrupted by it's temporal adventures in Italy and lust for conquest. Then I remembered that all the non-Italian Catholics are probably barred from entering, so most of the Cardinals aren't even aware of the issue (and wouldn't care if they did know.)

You have well encapsulated the opinions of several of the more reactionary cardinals who will make their voices heard for the next fifty-odd years.
In fairness, that's the reaction that many had (and still have) to Vatican II so there is precedent (or postcedent?).

"The Catholic Church has gone power mad and starting empire building nation states!"

Dead silence, and then the Spanish and French Cardinals start laughing uproariously and get back to running their respect governments.

And no one has heard or seen cardinals outside them and Italy so...yeah, the church is probably fine.

The Catholic Church has been power-mad before and not even the HRE could destroy it. I'm sure they'll be fine*

*If we ignore THE EVENT...

Nothing anti catholic about evolution. Biblical literism is a Protestant area. I think the church will lead the way in genetics if Cardinal Formicia gets his way!
The Roman church did have luminaries like Cardinal Newman who saw no inconsistencies between "the accidental evolution of organic beings" and divine design. But it also had those like the editors of the Jesuit periodical La Civiltà Cattolica, who engaged in prolonged polemics against evolutionary theory, and somewhat blunted the 19th century Vatican's openness to it.

Through the 20th century, I'd agree that some Protestant denominations' dogged insistence on sola scriptura literalism has really done a number on their engagement with evolution (and sciences in general).

Evolution is currently accepted under divine guidance so there is a way to join those ideas without too much trouble. Here, with Papal approval, there will be a lot more space for the opinions of the likes of Newman.

The sheppard must look after his flock, even in the face of anti-vax superstition - or so it seems.

The vine must be protected lest the grapes go sour

The Catholic Church playing the maniacal game of building a nation? And accepting modern science?

Truly this is a cursed timeline

Oh, you'll see cursed soon enough.

It’s just occurred to me that this is probably the TL Pius XIII slipped into when he was in his coma. Yes, that’s it. All makes sense.

I assume it's the timeline Pius XIII sees in his dream during the opening sequence, we've glimpsed that path now.
 
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Chapter XXII: The First Vatican Council

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Annibale Lisi

t4nie80l.jpg

Wednesday 6th of January 1869
Callixtus, bishop, servant of the servants of God, with the approval of the sacred assembly has inaugurated the first session of the Vatican Council. It has taken many months of planning and many long nights of intense discussion with the Pope but everything is finally in place. Bishops from around the civilized world have gathered in St. Peter's Basilica to drag the Church kicking and screaming into modernity. I am concerned about the vast accumulation of privilege in these halls and I fear that many of these prelates will stand against the introduction of fresh air to these musty old halls but I must remember that I have the full authority of the Pope on my side. Though he is of timid character, I have seen his dedication to the cause in his recent reforms and I know that he only needs a subtle push to let his true colors shine through.
The first few sessions of the council will not be particularly interesting since they will deal with the confirmation of matters that have been well established in the past nineteen ecumenical councils and I doubt that there will be any significant objections to the Nicene Creed. The hard part will come in a few months but for now, I must get to know every one of the bishops here assembled and find how we can convince them to see reason. Lord give me strength and inspire your servants to do your will.

Sunday 28th of March 1869
I feel drained today and only wish to take myself to bed, but I must venture on and record the culmination of this month's proceedings. Though the official declaration describes all of the resolutions in detail, it never shows the amount of work that goes into every single word. Despite or maybe because of this colossal effort, I am fully satisfied by the final version of the Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Faith.
I will now go through its different sections and jot down any comments I consider important to remember for the duration of the council or even later if some bishops decide to renege on their oaths.
The document begins by repeating the condemnation that the fathers of Trent placed upon the heresies that allow religious questions to be a matter for the judgment of each individual. I remember that quips were thrown around to the effect that since Christ himself designated us as the rock upon which his Church is built, it is fair to admit that we have greater authority than schismatics who consider mythomaniacs and tax-evading charlatans as prophets and theologians.
This levity was followed by a blanket condemnation of the doctrines of pantheism, materialism, and atheism. Here I felt that some of the attendees went a little overboard with their connections (a fact that will become obvious later on) and conflated these heresies with many of the developments of modernity such as the sciences and, though they dared not say so explicitly, the social reforms that Callixtus has promulgated so diligently. I could not let the discussion continue after such an attack and I spent a good while breaking down these accusations and repeating that we cannot abandon ideas that help us do the Lord's work simply because they might be also used by heretics, lest we also declare food and water to be anathema. My retorts knocked the opposing faction off their balance and the Pope echoed my thoughts before providing a gentle encouragement to continue on.
The rest of the week dealt with our declaration of belief in Almighty God in all of His glory, the truth of His supernatural revelation as contained in written books and unwritten traditions passed on by the apostles inspired by Christ or the Holy Spirit. We then ended on the divine gift of faith and the indication that the existence of the Church is a kind of great and perpetual motive of credibility and incontrovertible evidence of her own divine mission by virtue of her propagation, holiness, and goodness, catholic unity and unconquerable stability. At last, here, there was accord among the bishops and cardinals, I always appreciate those days when we can fully agree. I treat these periods as well deserved respites from my trials and an indication that, despite our differences, we all wish for the good of the Church.
As the new week started, we got down to the relationship between faith and reason, a discussion that claimed most of my peace of mind then and later on. An initial majority of the attendees wanted to set in stone that any findings by science that appear to contradict the divine word must be forbidden and kept away from faithful Christians. There I had to step in and wrestle with a coalition of Spaniards and Frenchmen who would not compromise on their idea that since faith is above reason and reason cannot contradict faith then the deviant teachings need to be considered heretical. I argued with them for days on end from dawn until dusk trying every angle I could think of until I finally managed to get my rivals to bend with the concession that reason on its own is never able to penetrate the divine mysteries because they can only be granted by faith. However due to reason's God-given nature, if the disciplines of science find something that appears in contradiction with ecclesiastical teaching, that is a sign that the interpretation of scripture or tradition must be discussed afresh to account for the new insight gained and thereby the older interpretation can be set aside. In fact, so far should the Church be from hindering the development of human arts and studies, that she must strive to assist and promote them in many ways. For she is neither ignorant nor contemptuous of the advantages which derive from this source for human life, rather she acknowledges that those things flow from God, the lord of sciences, and, if they are properly used, lead to God by the help of his grace. I remember many ancient men looking distressed and confused at the new proclamation but I knew I had the key prelates in my hand. When the voting came, Callixtus announced that my amendments had been approved in their entirety.
This Calvary of a month ended with the announcement of the anathemas and thankfully it resulted principally in a summary of the previous week's battles. It was proclaimed that he should be anathema who says that nothing exists besides matter, that God cannot be known with certainty by the light of human reason, that divine revelation cannot be made credible by external signs, that all miracles are impossible and that divine revelation contains no true mysteries. And finally, we come to this morning when the cold day did nothing to restrict my sweating at the thought that the chapters on faith and reason could be discussed once again. A terrible knot took up residence in my throat while Callixtus read the anathemas to be placed and while the votes were counted. But no great opposition came, every one of us exhausted by the past conflicts accepted that further discussion would be divisive and futile. Thus he is anathema who says that human studies should not guide and inform the interpretation of divine revelation and that it is not possible that the dogmas propounded by the Church might be amended by the advancement of knowledge.
The Lord tests all our faiths in these circumstances but I have emerged from this trial stronger and more determined than ever to save the Church. My work is not yet done but I feel that an important foundation has been set for this great reform. But now, it is with tired eyes and aching back that I happily welcome this night's respite.

Sunday 16th of May 1869
It is not often that one manages to define a dogma in their lifetime but that is what we have done this day. The First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ has been finalized and consigned to history but I am not as pleased as I once was.
This was the first time where I really had serious disagreements with Callixtus. I hoped to have the bishops officially enshrine papal infallibility once and for all but the Pope opposed me on this. He did not do so in public during the council but preferred to take me aside for a private meeting far from anyone that could hear. He told me that he did not believe that he was infallible even when speaking ex-cathedra nor especially in his personal life. He claimed that his election had been a fluke and that, if that could happen to him, how many more popes could be elected that have no business wielding their authority. I stood without thoughts and stared at him then, I did not speak until he called out my name and asked me what I thought. I offered some feeble sentences about how he is the right man for the position but I know now that I don't really believe that. All I had before me was an anxious man hoping for some guidance and I wanted to make him infallible. I proposed that we take a seat and talk about the situation person to person and Callixtus' face beamed the greatest relief that I have ever seen, like a diseased man who has discovered that he will not die of his ailment. We discussed the question for several hours and I understood the entirety of his feeling on the matter: it is important that the Pope's authority not be questioned while he lives but, as our declarations in the last month indicate, there will always be room for improvement on what one generation or Pope considers as dogma. I agreed that the principle was coherent with our previous declarations and suggested that it could be affirmed that a Pope's statements ex-cathedra are infallible during the Pope's lifetime but may be overturned by another successor of Peter if he is able to garner the support of enough bishops as in an ecumenical council. This still did not sit easily with Callixtus but I saw that he had been utterly drained and would not argue the question further.
And so the next day, I suggested to the assembly that the sitting Pope be considered infallible when speaking ex-cathedra but a successor may amend previous declarations after taking the counsel of the bishops manifesting the tradition of the churches. Here there was little opposition by the prelates, who I can tell are already tired of this long sojourn and mainly wish to return to their posts away from Rome. This meant that the proposal was fully accepted and the Constitution was ready by the end of the week with the clauses on the Primacy of Peter and the Pontiff, and the problematic issue of infallibility.
I said that I am not as satisfied as I once was and I fear this will continue for the last leg of the council. I thought I was crafting these changes together with the Pope and his silence was a form of assent to my changes but now I fear that I may have pushed him too far. He crumpled so thoroughly during our conversation that I feared he would break down at any moment and I cannot help but be weighed down by guilt for my actions, though I believe I am in the right. I must make sure to keep a closer eye on him from now on, for both the Church's sake and mine.

WJkzm7el.jpg

Monday 7th of June 1869
The council has finally been closed and allows me to take a deep breath and rest for the first time in half a year. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Heresy and Orthodoxy of Modernity was a comparably sedate affair which mainly involved one long conversation with Callixtus.
The issues on the table were colonialism, socialism, and the key issue of the unification of Italy. As last time Libero, or well...it doesn't matter, was in quite the sorry state but he was constantly diligent and helpful with the discussion. I remembered my previous experience and tried to allow for a pause each time we concluded an element but he insisted that we hammer everything out that very day.
We began with the theme of socialism as it is the one that we most agree on. Simply put, we accept the general principle that a state, and the Church by extension, should endeavor to provide their subjects with the means to ensure a good life for all. The only element of this philosophy that we abhor, however, are the errors that Marx made with regards to religion and collectivization. Religion is not so much the opiate of the masses but rather a restorative spring of water that serves to alleviate the suffering of those who need solace most and as such, Christ deserves a place at the center of civil life. As for property, we deem it unreasonable to not allow for a man to work hard and improve the lot of his family for, if God himself judges us based on our merits or failings, we should apply the same principle on Earth and allow earthly rewards for those who work hardest for them.
We then came to the issue of the colonies that the Great Powers have begun to set up to tame the uncivilized regions of the world. I must confess that I had not given the issue much thought before that day but it seems that Libero had spent many a sleepless night in thought about the practice and the Papal States' involvement in the same. He told me that bringing the light of Christianity and civilization to people so backward and unconscious of their sins should be considered as a moral imperative equivalent to that of saving the souls of the sinners who live among us every day. He shuddered at the thought of entire hordes of people who live their whole lives without the knowledge that they are damned and, at best, can hope to wallow in limbo until judgment day; a terrible loss that can only be rectified by the gift of God's light into their lives thus allowing them true control of their destinies. But the shadow of history caused Callixtus to fear that unscrupulous people might take advantage of the newly baptized innocents and curse them in this life though they may be saved in the next. He asked me to set into words some declaration to be included in the Council's documents that could be equivalent to "Sublimis Deus" for the savages that still exist in the world and anxiously await our arrival. I asked him whether it is his desire that the Church involve itself in these potential new colonies and he committed to a long pause. The Church yes, he said, but not the Papal States. Our realm is far too weak at the moment to fund such a project and there are urgent issues at home to be considered.
The issues surrounding home were those that started up more of an argument between us. I was keen on a formal declaration of the Pope's influence over Italy and a call for the Italian people to join together under the authority of a single religious and temporal leader. Callixtus disapproved of that idea. He regretted the necessity of the Papal States expanding beyond its traditional borders and saw Urban's expedition as the first step in a chain that may lead to the destruction of the Papacy or, worse, its corruption. Though unification seems inevitable at this point, he saw it rather as a constriction of communities that, in most cases, have been separate from each other for over a thousand years and have little in common beyond a basic language. I disagreed almost in anger with this fatalist view of the situation and pointed to the case of Germany where the Prussians are constructing a grand state with a multitude of different peoples who nonetheless hold a common identity. These Germans are now at the center of the European stage, feared and admired by the entire continent; a similar process could happen to Italy and the Papal States but with the guarantee of a force for justice always stable at the top. The Pope laughed when I said that. Had Alexander VI been a force for justice? Had Urban IX? Is Callixtus IV? If Italy is to be united then it should be only seen as a political affair borne out of defense, not a religious dogma that taints the faith by its use as a shallow tool of ambition. It must be acceptable for every Italian to defend their homes if they do not wish for new rulers as any sane man would do. I tried to oppose this point but, for the first time, I can remember, the Pope silenced me and said that his mind was made up. The official document now contains a nebulous clause stating that the Pope welcomes the right of all Italians to be governed by a just ruler whoever they may be. The "just" was my addition and nobody much thought about it. Who knows? A more ambitious Pope may come up with a suitable definition for justice.
And so ends the Vatican Council, a drawn-out affair that leaves me both more cynical and more hopeful. I no longer know what Callixtus' ambitions truly are both for Italy and for the Church and I fear that he is hiding something from me. I will have to pay even closer attention in the future.
 
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The Catholic Church has been power-mad before and not even the HRE could destroy it. I'm sure they'll be fine*

*If we ignore THE EVENT...

I did find it amusing. The frenfh and Spanish carisnals have for long stretches of their countries history ruled the kingdom, so can hardly complain about an Italian wishing to do the same.

Though I am surprised the comparison to the Borgia has not yet been made as a damnation on the whole affair.

The rest of the week dealt with our declaration of belief in Almighty God in all of His glory, the truth of His supernatural revelation as contained in written books and unwritten traditions passed on by the apostles inspired by Christ or the Holy Spirit.

Good to know they spent the first day saying Catholics rule, and the week after saying that indeed, Catholics should believe in God.

that God cannot be known with certainty by the light of human reason

This is quite true though. If only because the Christian God has such powers that mean no one else can ever prove that he has them all.

He told me that he did not believe that he was infallible even when speaking ex-cathedra nor especially in his personal life.

Some humanity and humility from a modern pope is quite welcome.

it seems that Libero had spent many a sleepless night in thought about the practice and the Papal States' involvement in the same. H

Ah...shit.

Are they going to do a Belgium and fund the unification of Italy off the back of a really nasty colony somewhere?
 

DensleyBlair

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Good to see some theological debate of a sort. Strikes a decent balance between giving some idea of being the actual 19th century Catholic Church, and being this crazed version we have on our hands.

I remember that quips were thrown around to the effect that since Christ himself designated us as the rock upon which his Church is built, it is fair to admit that we have greater authority than schismatics who consider mythomaniacs and tax-evading charlatans as prophets and theologians.

00E39DD1-81F6-48D9-8B25-E4013DF152C1.jpeg


Ah, Caravaggio. Bellissimo!

Religion is not so much the opiate of the masses but rather a restorative spring of water that serves to alleviate the suffering of those who need solace most and as such, Christ deserves a place at the center of civil life.

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

They’re never going to agree, of course, but it strikes me that Lisi and Marx are not exactly worlds apart.
 

El Pip

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we should apply the same principle on Earth and allow earthly rewards for those who work hardest for them.
That's the Vatican Bank buggered then, very little work done but piles of earthly rewards. I mean obviously the bank will be fine, Line One in the Dogmatic Constitution is doubtless "None of the below will apply to the Papal States if it would be inconvenient", but if they actually meant what they said then there would be trouble.

I asked him whether it is his desire that the Church involve itself in these potential new colonies and he committed to a long pause. The Church yes, he said, but not the Papal States.
No-one in Papal-occupied Greece complained about this. Because they would be shot if they did.

not a religious dogma that taints the faith by its use as a shallow tool of ambition
Has this man never been to a Papal Conclave or looked at the recent history of the Papal State? If they started kicking out people who used faith as a shallow tool of ambition there would be no-one left in the Vatican!

and the week after saying that indeed, Catholics should believe in God.
It is important to check these things. For instance the German Catholic church seems to keep on forgetting to actually check that before appointing people as Bishops.

They’re never going to agree, of course, but it strikes me that Lisi and Marx are not exactly worlds apart.
Well neither of them actually believe in God, so they will at least have that in common.
 

Chris Taylor

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While it is gratifying to see the Papal States advance socially, technologically and theologically, I cannot help but wonder how it will tackle expansion within Italy without triggering a head-on collision with a great power.

As a player you must have a plan for this, and we'll just have to wait and watch as it unfolds ;). It will be interesting to see how instigating such a conflagration gets framed in discussions by the Sacred College.
 

slothinator

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Good to know they spent the first day saying Catholics rule, and the week after saying that indeed, Catholics should believe in God.
It's important to get the basics out before more trivial things. And old Saint Nick punched Arius in the face over what kind of God you should believe in so it's a fair thing to repeat.

This is quite true though. If only because the Christian God has such powers that mean no one else can ever prove that he has them all.
Ineffable I suppose it is

Some humanity and humility from a modern pope is quite welcome.
You'll get some firsthand writing from Callixtus himself in a bit but he either has impostor syndrome up to 11 or is fully aware of his mediocrity (a blurry line that is)

Ah...shit.

Are they going to do a Belgium and fund the unification of Italy off the back of a really nasty colony somewhere?
I mean...that's the Peloponnese, isn't it? Although it's not so far as Leopoldine Belgium.

Good to see some theological debate of a sort. Strikes a decent balance between giving some idea of being the actual 19th century Catholic Church, and being this crazed version we have on our hands.
Never fear, this theological debate will grow into something monstrous as temporal power poisons the conversation as it often does.

Ah, Caravaggio. Bellissimo!
There is never a bad time for Caravaggio. Damn fascinating man as well.

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

They’re never going to agree, of course, but it strikes me that Lisi and Marx are not exactly worlds apart.
In my mind, Lisi would have gone full Marxist if he had been born in different conditions. As fate would have it, he was born with a sincere belief.

That's the Vatican Bank buggered then, very little work done but piles of earthly rewards. I mean obviously the bank will be fine, Line One in the Dogmatic Constitution is doubtless "None of the below will apply to the Papal States if it would be inconvenient", but if they actually meant what they said then there would be trouble.
Do not worry, a very dangerous loophole has been seeded and will come to fruition in a few popes.

No-one in Papal-occupied Greece complained about this. Because they would be shot if they did.
Fair enough... You'll get to hear more about the Greek theater before Callixtus is burnt out.

Has this man never been to a Papal Conclave or looked at the recent history of the Papal State? If they started kicking out people who used faith as a shallow tool of ambition there would be no-one left in the Vatican!
I suppose it's more of a matter of idealism, maybe a new pure Church can be achieved? (The answer is no, these are messy humans after all but hey, one can dream)

While it is gratifying to see the Papal States advance socially, technologically and theologically, I cannot help but wonder how it will tackle expansion within Italy without triggering a head-on collision with a great power.

As a player you must have a plan for this, and we'll just have to wait and watch as it unfolds ;). It will be interesting to see how instigating such a conflagration gets framed in discussions by the Sacred College.
It's a nice jump forward to see but it will come with its own problems in time. In any case, Papal citizens can enjoy the new world for at least a little while.
As you have rightly suggested, expansion in Italy will require a large collision with a Great Power. Callixtus has his personal justification for this and honestly, I don't think he really has much of an alternative.
As for the birth of Italy, you'll be surprised by how that comes about, I certainly was at the time.
 

DensleyBlair

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There is never a bad time for Caravaggio. Damn fascinating man as well.

Getting to see the Seven Mercies when I was in Naples a few years ago was a very big treat. And Derek Jarman’s film is a must watch if you’re into the man himself. Includes a good turn from one Sean Bean very early in his film career.
 
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Chapter XXIII: Like Leaves Upon Autumn Trees

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Patrizio Formica

Monday 25th of October 1869
The Pope warned me that this would happen and I tried my best to get ready but, now that it's here, I can't breathe. I don't know why Callixtus thinks that I should lead this operation, at most I can help with the logistics but at worst I will just deliver reports of terrible happenings. A small consolation is the fact that both Sicily and France have agreed to help us in the war so that will take some pressure off me and our soldiers. I was hoping that neither side would fall into a provocation but the Savoyards have miscalculated and gotten caught distributing bribes to prompt an annexation of Romagna as they did for Tuscany. Callixtus could do nothing else but respond to this but this does nothing to reduce my dread.
I have to collect my thoughts and go over the guidelines that I have been given. Take Tuscany then move on to Milan and hopefully, by then the French will have taken Torino and forced a peace. Hope is not something I would want to consign the lives of thousands to but I don't really have a choice in the matter. I need to provide orders to Generals Cattaneo and Pacoret to move on towards Florence and secure the area while de Liguori can wait on the Lombard border and hold back any possible counterattacks.
This reminds me, I have to circulate mobilization orders to all the reserves we have and get them to the fronts as soon as they are equipped. I don't know where is best to send them but all I can do is wait for more news about Savoyard actions.
Is it better if I move closer to the front to get better information or will I just risk getting caught off guard by rapid actions? For now, I should start to gather information here in Rome and, if things go well enough, I will move into Tuscany to receive information there.
I am dreading the upcoming months and I pray that the Piedmontese focus their attention on the Alps and leave a clear field for us in Central Italy.

NkLoay9l.jpg

Monday 8th of October 1869
Oh, God. I can't think straight and even if I could I cannot think of anything that would make things better. The Pope is going to kill me when news comes to him and there is nothing I can do. I managed to lose forty-thousand soldiers in a feeble attempt to take Grosseto and at this very moment, the enemy marches into Romagna with only goodwill left to shield Rome itself. I have stared at the battle report all day long in the hope that maybe I misread the casualty list but no, every time I see it there, four out of every five professional soldiers we had has been returned to the earth. I have to react to this somehow and I have to mitigate the blow for Callixtus if I don't want to be sent as a missionary to some godforsaken place in the middle of nowhere.
First I have to defend Rome, I will call Cattaneo's army back to Lazio but make sure to keep them far away from the eyes of the city. I also have to send more letters to the reserves and guarantee that the defeated army is brought back to an operable state in the hope of a counteroffensive or at the bare minimum a valiant defense.
Oh God, what have I done? How heavily will this crime weigh upon my soul when the time comes and I am called to give an account of myself? What worthy penance can I do? I cannot talk to the Pope about my soul now since I still have a job to do but when the war is done I will prostrate myself before him and beg for forgiveness both earthly and heavenly.
But I can't focus on that yet, I need to plan. I can start by sacking Cattaneo and give him his part of the blame in this fiasco and then I'll call up someone else. I think I remember that someone told me about a General Ferrari. He's supposed to be an adventurous new promotion but skilled in his own way. He'll do well enough. I must try my best to avoid the Papal States being split in half so I will dispatch Ferrari and his men to Perugia to keep an eye on things. But what if Rome is targeted? The army must be on high alert at all times and rush back to defend the city at a moment's notice. I have to remember to commit Admiral Zunica to blockade Genoa and avoid any attempt at a surprise naval invasion.
Each time I receive news I am torn between the hope of a French advance and the terror of a Piedmontese victory. I must pray that the former materialize soon or I can feel that I will lose my mind if not my soul.

Friday 31st of December 1869
I am still dizzy with excitement and exhausted with all the goings-on in the past couple of weeks. I got the news of our victory in the Ligurian Sea with my first letter in the morning. At first, I was floored by a monumental weight on my chest since I read the battle as a defeat: six ships lost on our side and five from the enemy did not seem like a good outcome and I don't think we could cope with a loss in the Tyrrhenian Sea at such a delicate point in the war. Thankfully, as I read the details of the message in a blind panic, I stumbled upon the sentence "The Sardinians retreated to the port of Livorno where they are currently blockaded". At this point, I breathed a sigh of relief long enough to buoy a hot air balloon. After a follow up with some aides, I am now lead to understand that our losses are mainly due to older sailing vessels in the Sicilian navy and a couple of leaking transports in our own while the Savoyards lost two modern ironclads besides their own transports.
This success pairs well with our defense of Florence against a small Piedmontese force last week and I might even try to break the remaining hostile army around Bologna with those same men to secure a good negotiating position for ourselves. I am both happy and ashamed to admit that France has played the lead role in capturing the goals of the war. Milan and Nice are in their hands and it's only a matter of time before Turin itself is forced to surrender. On our side, we've lost Perugia and Ancona and suffered the catastrophe in Grosseto which puts us in a hazardous position overall, I don't envy whoever will be in charge of our peace negotiations.
I'm not sure why a ceasefire has not yet been called, surely there is nothing more that can be gained by the French? I have detested this war every day it has gone on with the constant fear of some new horrible news and never a moment of internal peace. There is nothing I wish more than to once again return to my pleasant diversions and leave this insanity behind me.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Well, that didn’t go well. Even if France were able to bail you out quite easily, losing 40 out of 50 thousand in one go is catastrophic. Blessed are the peacemakers indeed.

I have to react to this somehow and I have to mitigate the blow for Callixtus if I don't want to be sent as a missionary to some godforsaken place in the middle of nowhere.

Let’s hope Callixtus doesn’t keep a globe in his office…
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Huh...Well, he was terrible.
 

El Pip

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Callixtus could do nothing else but respond to this but this does nothing to reduce my dread.
Turning the other cheek is for wusses and cowards. You wouldn't catch anyone in the Catholic Church doing that.
DYAEiOu.gif


Huh...Well, he was terrible.
You need to be more specific. That statement that could apply to absolutely everyone in the Papal States from the pope downwards.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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You need to be more specific. That statement that could apply to absolutely everyone in the Papal States from the pope downwards.

I've lowered standard enough by now that I'm just using the perspective of the Papal states themselves for this aar. In their view, he was terrible. Why the pope decided to find the only bleeding heart cardinal in Italy and put him in charge of an offensive army...and in such an important military operation as the unification of northern Italy...Santa Maria!

This pope may be viewed later on as the weak link in the chain that led to Italian statehood. Or the one who let it all go to shit and let France take over the peninsula.

Speaking of, how is France dealing with such a huge revival in Catholic holy wars and papal projects? Are the people/people in power generally supportive? Do they like helping the papal states? Do they want an Italian papal states as a neighbour? What do their church say? And what is the papal states doing to make sure France stays friendly?
 

Cromwell

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That was a mammoth Vatican Council update and one that I greatly enjoyed. The news from the war on the other hand seems very grim so far.
 

slothinator

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Oh wow, it's been a while since my last post! Sorry everyone but holidays and *waves hands around* everything have kept me from the chapter.

Well, that didn’t go well. Even if France were able to bail you out quite easily, losing 40 out of 50 thousand in one go is catastrophic. Blessed are the peacemakers indeed.



Let’s hope Callixtus doesn’t keep a globe in his office…

Yeah, the war was pretty damn humiliating but the peace will be better.

Globes you say? Now there's an idea... Just give me time to magnetize one particular area.

Huh...Well, he was terrible.

Yup, not very good.

Turning the other cheek is for wusses and cowards. You wouldn't catch anyone in the Catholic Church doing that.
DYAEiOu.gif



You need to be more specific. That statement that could apply to absolutely everyone in the Papal States from the pope downwards.

I feel like the Catholic Church ran out of other cheeks to turn in the 3rd century and have been making up for it ever since.

I've lowered standard enough by now that I'm just using the perspective of the Papal states themselves for this aar. In their view, he was terrible. Why the pope decided to find the only bleeding heart cardinal in Italy and put him in charge of an offensive army...and in such an important military operation as the unification of northern Italy...Santa Maria!

This pope may be viewed later on as the weak link in the chain that led to Italian statehood. Or the one who let it all go to shit and let France take over the peninsula.

Speaking of, how is France dealing with such a huge revival in Catholic holy wars and papal projects? Are the people/people in power generally supportive? Do they like helping the papal states? Do they want an Italian papal states as a neighbour? What do their church say? And what is the papal states doing to make sure France stays friendly?

Well, you'll find out why exactly more competent people weren't involved in *checks notes* two chapters.

As for the French, their reaction will be covered in today's chapter, and let's just say that the relationship is cooling decisively.

That was a mammoth Vatican Council update and one that I greatly enjoyed. The news from the war on the other hand seems very grim so far.

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed that, it took some reading to figure out what everyone was angry about.
 
Chapter XXIV: Pummeled Piedmont and Rising Reich

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Diomede Cangiano

Monday 25th of October 1869
I have waited five long years but it seems that Callixtus' plan has come to fruition and I need only hold things in place for a while longer. Even though I received a message about the new direction a few weeks ago, I am still worried and confused about the development. I never took the Pope for a warmonger but he has attacked more countries in the last decade than any pontiff I have ever seen. I have had an unpleasant pressure on my chest these last days while I wait for the formal declaration and I hoped that the sensation would leave me once the announcement came but the news is out and the weight has only intensified. I trust and respect Libero but I cannot seem to make peace with Callixtus' behavior. I have written personal letters to him in the hope that he might change his ways but I never receive significant replies and certainly no change in actions. He is charging the Papacy into the unknown with new ideas and laws but no firm anchoring anywhere and I fear where this will lead us. This new conflict will throw Italy in the direction of the Germans with a destructive desire for hegemony over our peers.
Speaking of which, the Prussians and their new Confederation have been a thorn in my side since the Sicilian treaty. Napoleon hungers to break up this entity before it becomes unstoppable and I've had to do my darndest to hold him back and deflect him to petty issues in Africa where he can exhaust his imperial ambition bit by bit. This has caused some small African tribes no end of misery but at least I have kept Europe from erupting into flames. I dearly hope that this clash with the Savoyards might keep him distracted at least long enough for my task to be completed. As for after, I am not sure if anyone will be called to keep the situation under control; it may be that a confrontation is inevitable and I have patched up things just enough to ensure our survival. For now, I have asked Napoleon to meet with me to refine the details on the acquisition of Savoy where I will do my best to draw out the process and crowd out all other thoughts for now.
I must get some rest and forget for a moment the months of trouble that await me. At least in sleep, I may rest easy.

YlGfkY4l.png

Sunday 2nd of January 1870
Dear God, those madmen have finally done it. Leopold von Hohenzollern is King of Spain and Europe is on fire. It seems that the Prussians have abandoned all subtlety and accepted a clash on all fronts. France and Russia have declared war on the North German Confederation and Spain which forced the Papal States to join Bonaparte in this senseless conflict. The people of Paris are full of confidence and patriotism for this cause but I have begun to fear for my safety and have made plans to escape back to Italy through Marseille if the enemy army comes into view.
Our fight with the Piedmontese is not going well and I fear that, with Napoleon occupied on three fronts, the tide might turn against us and who knows then what Vittorio Emanuele will demand then. All around there is chaos and there is so little I can do to help. I asked for an audience with the Emperor and it was refused with the promise that I will be seen once the enemy is crushed. I hope that this means a quick resolution but, if my previous experience can be relied upon, the denial is more a prophecy of German victory.
I pray constantly to God that he might protect his people from the onslaught and deliver me from evil as my sole power lies far outside the sphere of Great Powers. Oh Libero, why have you left me here with this task?

Thursday 17th of February 1870
The fight against Piedmont is over and we have snatched victory just as the Prussians have started to push into Lorraine. I hope that we shall never have to face these Germans that appear to have swatted Russia aside like an annoying fly and have now set their eyes on Paris.
I am grateful that my peace treaty was mostly finalized before the fighting began and there were only a few minor quibbles to be solved before setting the seals on the accord. Napoleon was not present for the discussions, rumors say that his sickness has worsened with the condition of the German war and he is not long for this world. He was represented by Émile Ollivier who seems to be preparing the Empire for a succession at an inauspicious moment. Piedmont as well was represented by a shadow: Emilio Visconti Venosta would have been a competent diplomat at any other time but the spirit of Cavour and his failed unification looms large on every action he has to take. However, with Turin surrounded by French troops and no armies to speak of, the Savoyard cause seems lost. Their only card on the table is our desire for a quick peace.
The first draft of the treaty was the one I had discussed with the Emperor a few months ago: Milan and Lombardy to the Papal States and Savoy to the French Empire. Visconti Venosta was prepared to accept these terms but Ollivier demanded that his country receive greater compensation for its leading role in combat, something that no-one could deny they had had unlike their demands in the Sicilian negotiations. He began by demanding Sardinia and the Aosta Valley in addition to the previous requests. I could certainly not allow an angry and wounded France to have a foothold on our side of the Alps, let alone a base a stone's throw from Rome. I did my best to calm the man both in the meeting and in private with the justification that Sardinia would be too troublesome to occupy under the current situation and that Aosta has nothing of value. Ollivier huffed and puffed at this suggestion threatening that the Papal States were on thin ice already for their lax contributions to the Prussian war and we should count ourselves lucky that the French Empire still accepts to take part in our squabble. The discussion was adjourned to the following day when Visconti Venosta provided a way out by offering up Nice as a sacrifice to the Gauls. A prosperous city with preexisting ties to France and some strategic importance satisfied (though not enough to endanger Italy) both mine and Ollivier's conditions. Nice's fate was sealed when an aide whispered in the French minister's ear that German armies had shattered Lorraine and were descending on Reims.

VG1A2ZMl.png

So after a blessedly short deliberation, I managed to end my residence in Paris. Callixtus has written to congratulate me on the positive result and invited me back to Rome. I could feel that, despite the wars he has caused, he spoke often and with grave words about the conflict and did not believe that the Prussians can be defeated. I write this en route to Marseille as I had planned and the trains are filled with soldiers on their way to the front to try and hold back the German tide. I pity these young men and I am grateful that Libero has shone through with his decision to withhold our youth from more carnage. However, I must admit that Ollivier's reproach still stings at my conscience whenever my thoughts wander, lives may be saved but is it an honorable thing?
I do not belong to this world anymore. Too much has happened in too little time and I can no longer make sense of it. I thank God for giving me the strength to do my duty but now I must finally rest.

Author’s note:
Cardinal Cangiano was the last relevant cardinal born in the 1700s and fully shows it by identifying with the ideals of a bygone age.
His performance as Archbishop of Florence was not particularly noteworthy and he managed to obtain a place in the curia under Innocent XIV as an unthreatening conservative balance to Cardinal Lisi. In this role, it is noted that either Cangiano was overestimated or the latter underestimated as there are no records of a vocal opposition from the Florentine cardinal to the sweeping reforms of the First Vatican Council.
Cangiano’s main contribution to Papal history is his diplomatic work in Paris where many speculate that Callixtus IV may have sent him in a sort of exile for political or private reasons. His negotiation of the two peaces has been viewed warmly by most historians which state that, while not extraordinary, he managed to make reasonable progress with the hand he was dealt, solidifying valuable steps on the road to Italian unification.
Finally, with regards to his potential election to the Petrine See, most are comfortable with the view that he would have been the wrong Pope for the time and might have caused the Papal States to be swallowed by the rising tide of Sardinia-Piedmont in its attempt to unite the Peninsula.
 
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