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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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We aren't going to get into the rigours of catholic doctrine in the age of industry and mad imperialism?

Boo
 
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We aren't going to get into the rigours of catholic doctrine in the age of industry and mad imperialism?

Boo
Sadly I fear you are correct. We are unlikely to see a discussion on the exact nature of the Immaculate Conception and if the Pope can just make things Dogma just because he said so. Which is reasonable enough these are not exactly classical AAR subjects, even if they were definitely big things for the actual historic Pope.

But surely we have to have at least a bit of dogmatic discussion on the Church's response to the many "-isms", not least Liberalism, Socialism and, crucially, Italian Nationalism. Given we are going to get someone even more reactionary than Pius IX / Ferretti (who was only liberal in relative terms) the upcoming First Vatican Council could be fun and we could get something even more regressive and aggressive than the Syllabus of Errors.
 

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Hmm. I do like the diplomat and his machavelian ways, but going on the warpath (in game terms) is probably a better idea...

I'm unsure who would have been better for rome and the church, but for the papal states, having a war pope on top and the sneaky spymaster running the diplomatic game might be the ideal combination. If they listen to each other.

That would be a good duo to keep at the head but ambition is a terrible thing, the next chapter will give a good idea of how far some will go for ambition

Sounds like quite a divisive conclave

It is a very divisive arena, very few of the future conclaves will be without combat.

My very own Cardinal Macci towers over the curia like a colossus and it's only right he should take the reigns and lead the papal state to growth and glory! God helps those who helps themselves and it's time for the papacy to help themselves to the rest of Italy!

Macchi knew very well what he needed to do to gain the power he needs for the future. Soon you will find out what plans he has and if he truly was the right choice.

Reactionaries against ultra-reactionaries. Good lord it’s a scant offering, but a whole host of colourful personalities nevertheless. Here’s to the new papacy.
A conclave is probably one of the place where you can see, plots, intrigue and cynism at their best. And you wrote this very well.
A reactionary pope is probably an oxymoron, especially when there are trouble times.

Thank you!
Reaction will guide the Church for a while longer but it is going to cast a very long shadow.

Wow that was well-written, the bitterness, desperate hope over reality, pleading with God (it reminded me of the 'Father Ted' scene where something awful has happened and one of the priests says "well we could try prayer") and passionate and mutual loathing of the candidates.

Looking forward to the white smoke...

Thanks a lot!
Prayer is usually a last resort in these cases when crushing your opponents requires a miracle.
There will be a quick Annuntio before the next chapter so you can get to meet the new Pope in his new name.

I always find Papal Conclaves fascinating. It is the contrast between the ambitious politicking and the sincere belief that the Holy Spirit is guiding the process. Cardinal Macchi should definitely be congratulated on his social efforts, in OTL he wasn't even considered Papabile in the '46 Conclave so to be leading is quite the achievement.

If Ferreti's candidacy is as doomed as the diaries suggest then there will be no Pius IX and he was quite an influential and controversial Pope. If we assume this AAR will not be focused overly on matters of theology and Catholic doctrine (which is where the really controversial decisions happened), then Pius IX is quite a low bar to clear in terms of temporal achievements for the Papal States - don't get annexed and you have surpassed him.

Yes, that's one of the fascinating parts of the papacy, the intermingling of politics and faith, public and private. Macchi did do an excellent job since in OTL Lambruschini was the second choice to Mastai Ferretti. I blame the change in votes mostly on Mastai Ferretti being kept out of Rome by some nasty plagues. Macchi caught my eye during the conclave of '31 as Metternich's possible tool against the tide of revolution. You'll get to see how well he is going to deal with a little known event called 1848.

Pius IX's mistake with Italy is disappointing all those liberals who hoped for a federation, more strongly unitary pontiffs might find a way to ride that wave

We aren't going to get into the rigours of catholic doctrine in the age of industry and mad imperialism?

Boo
Sadly I fear you are correct. We are unlikely to see a discussion on the exact nature of the Immaculate Conception and if the Pope can just make things Dogma just because he said so. Which is reasonable enough these are not exactly classical AAR subjects, even if they were definitely big things for the actual historic Pope.

But surely we have to have at least a bit of dogmatic discussion on the Church's response to the many "-isms", not least Liberalism, Socialism and, crucially, Italian Nationalism. Given we are going to get someone even more reactionary than Pius IX / Ferretti (who was only liberal in relative terms) the upcoming First Vatican Council could be fun and we could get something even more regressive and aggressive than the Syllabus of Errors.

Though theology won't be the main focus of the AAR, I am currently outlining the chapter on the First Vatican Council so there will be a nice overview of matters and it will be presided by an interesting Pope. Though certain amendments will have to be made later on
All the "-isms" that you mentioned will be central themes in later years. Socialism in particular will have to be discussed in depth.
 
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They have to have some catholic dogma commentary...since the aim of the game is papal states not only surviving but creating a unified italy either under it or as a huge part of it.

Secularism especially is going to be a big thing either way but socialism vs liberalism has to come in as well regarding christian charity. Scramble for africa is bound to have some condemnation, as is the amercian civil war.
 
Urban IX

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Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus Papam! Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum Vincenzum Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Macchi, qui sibi nomen imposuit Urbanum Nonum
 
Chapter VII: The Road to Athens is Paved with Good Intentions

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini
nEicd0Gl.jpg
Saturday 19th of June 1847

The Parthenon is a bombed-out husk with most of its glories either stolen or destroyed. Why does that sound familiar?

My exile begins fully today as I settle into this small Athenian house far from the eyes of King Otto.

I didn't expect Macchi to force me out of Rome entirely, I thought his victory would have satisfied him but I imagine that he feared my influence or, who knows, maybe a murder. But he has already stolen my earthly destiny so I see no reason why I would allow him to take my place in heaven.

And so I sit here, with rain beating down from a grey sky, as I attempt to think of how I can justify Macchi's expansionistic designs in a land that is neither Catholic nor Italian.

The old crone back in the square sold me a bottle of strong-smelling drink, tsipouro I think she called it.

At least I will have some company this night.



Saturday 7th of August 1847

This is not going well. What am I even doing here? Why won't that damned old man let me return home?

Of course, there is no real justification for his designs on the Peloponnese so I tried to create one. Through intermediaries, I paid several Greek ex-soldiers to dress up in uniform and harass the Italians and Catholics in the city. I thought this was a simple enough plan. Harassment gets out of hand, Pope saves the day, I go home.

But of course, something had to go wrong. One of these thugs got drunk and started to brag to anyone in the tavern that he was getting paid to beat up a few civilians. So now there is an investigation underway forcing me to cut ties with all of the middlemen I'd found so far and lay low for a while.

What can I do in this situation? I've already burnt one trick, I need to find more. Gambling usually helps. This city's vice of drink is has begun to corrupt me so I might as well find out which other vices are available.

Damn Macchi and the things he makes me go through. That mediocre little man with oversized ambitions will take me to my death.



Thursday 25th of November 1847

The sun finally shines on my exile. While at first my descent into the gambling dens was done out of self-pity, it appears that my rationalization for this sin has turned out to be correct. As is true in most places, even in this far off land rich bored men tend to search for ways to wave their wealth around in the hope of any kind of thrill. This was the case for Kitzos Tsavelas, the now-former Prime Minister of Greece. During a bout of toasting that took us early into the morning, we managed to create a certain rapport and spoke intensely for most of the evening. At several points I almost blurted out why I was sent here but, fortunately, I mostly complained about Macchi and he in turn complained about King Otto, this constructed a suitable base of resentment upon which to build our relationship. In the weeks after that, I stoked his anger towards Otto and convinced him that it would not do to resign in silence but that I could arrange for his departure to humiliate the King by exposing some unsavory secrets he might be harboring. Kitzos suggested a few different things but I thought that a mock military exercise for a war against Rome would be the best fit. I believe that the plan itself began as a play on Horace's quote about Greece's capture of Rome but unfortunately, that context was omitted when the plan reached the journalists.

So now the Greeks seem like bloodthirsty expansionists with no understanding of the modern world rather than Pope Mediocre. Speaking of which, I have received news that a series of rebellions have started throughout the continent with demands to spread the French Revolution everywhere. I do not know how such an obscenity came to pass but I can see that the crisis is being mishandled on all sides. In Austria, Emperor Ferdinand has chosen to abdicate for fear of the mob taking over. This is exactly what the rabble wants! When Louis XVI accepted a constitution the French didn't return to their homes and forget their sedition, they demanded more and more until a once-proud nation descended into an orgy of blasphemy and bloodshed.

Not only that but Italians, Germans, and other eastern peoples have started rebellions with the impudence to ask for independence. How do they not see that this is a clear path to the destruction of Europe? The Congress of Vienna established a new world order with the expressed aim of avoiding another Great War and, if we keep chipping away at this order, we will unleash horrors beyond imagining.

And what is Macchi doing? He throws proclamations into the void with nobody paying them any mind. If only he had been so effective in the conclave...



Wednesday 19th of January 1848

The end of my exile is in sight. I have set off a chain reaction that will lead to the violence I first looked for when I came to this place. Several of my agents are hard at work spreading rumors in the Catholic communities of the Peloponnese that the Orthodox priests want to forbid their worship. This in turn has led to vandalism and attacks against the native Greeks who look ready to retaliate and finally serve as a pretext for war. Unfortunately, one of my agents was caught spreading the initial rumor and tried to lend it credence by indicating me as the source of the information. This has caused some outrage in Greek political circles but events are in motion and I don't care anymore. The sooner I can retire to private life and forget everything the better.

What unnerves me are still the rebellions that have set fire to Europe. Once more, France has fallen to the liberals and they have expelled their already limited king. I have also read that a Bonaparte aims to become president of this new France and we all saw where that lead them last time. Despite these worrying developments, the Papal States remain in the French orbit and hold on to their foreign alliance. But I don't know why I should concern myself with these things anymore. I am a powerless old man and I cannot change the world as I once wished so I should learn to be content with my lot and fade away from the stage. I promised I would not indulge in spirits again but I feel I must make an exception today. Oblivion is the quickest way to forget one's shattered destiny.



Sunday 2nd of April 1848

And so, war is upon us. As expected, the back and forth of violence and suspicion has escalated in the murder of several dozen Italian merchants in Corinth, a fact which has garnered international attention. Macchi has thus proclaimed his outrage at such violence in a fiery encyclical and committed himself to protect the Catholics in Greece and punish the government that allowed such atrocities to happen.

Privately, I received a letter with congratulations on my work and the long-awaited permission to return to Italy. At last! I've had my bags ready for the past weeks, each spark of violence making me run to search for news of an international response and that day has finally arrived.

I understand that my actions were far from moral and that my joy at the death of others is a shameful thing but my exhaustion does not allow me to worry about such matters anymore. I do however suffer in the knowledge that I have brought bloodshed to this land and I find myself wondering how the old tsipouro crone and the kind beggar that sleeps outside my door will manage in the trying future. I suppose I will never find out.

I've kept an eye out for news of Macchi's health and it seems that he has still many years ahead of him. I realize that I will never be Pope but I always hold out a glimmer of hope that I know I must extinguish. I well understand that I must retire. The thought of returning home to Liguria for these next years came to me but I fear that I have been gone too long. I have alienated the friends I used to have there and I don't think I could bear to see my home under the Piedmontese thumb. Rome is the place for me. I will match the ruins quite nicely and I can attempt to close my ears to the roar of the changing world and try to hold on to the familiar past.

My ship leaves tomorrow, I shall not return.



Author’s note:

Cardinal Lambruschini disappears from the historical record after this last entry and his ultimate fate is unknown. His name does not figure in the list of electors at the next conclave so it is unlikely that he was in full possession of his faculties at the time.

Beginning his career as a secretary at the Congress of Vienna, he is mainly remembered for his diplomatic pursuits though they did not have an enduring impact. He remains primarily one of the great “what ifs” of the modern papacy. His staunch resistance to change and propensity for foreign connections paint a picture of the possibility of an older Papal States with little unitary ambition but wielding influence through the crowned heads of Europe.
 
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Good grief, the pope's first thought for expansion was to invade and annex Greece? He doesn't lack for ambition, I suppose, but this is putting the papal stares directly into the firing line between Vienna and Istanbul.

So France is liberal once more and Bonaparte beckons. Austria is wobbling and who knows who else is going down this time? Prime time for a pope to step up and try to reforge conservative or liberal Europe.
 

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I'm surprised the Papacy managed to fabricate on the Greeks at all with Lambruschini's bungling during his assignment.

Still all's well that ends well and Rome and Greece are united for the first time since antiquity, an odd first step but that's still something to make Europe sit up and take note of a vgorous new power in the Mediterranean.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Quite like to see a map of this new realm once europe settles down a little, unless as the cardinal fears this is the prelude to a great war.
 

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Well the Orthodox are clearly the true enemy.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Well the Orthodox are clearly the true enemy.

I wonder if a pope can convince/pressure it so that the papal states end up the protector of eastern christianity in the ottoman empire, not a great power? I don't know if that's possible but would help with prestige. And potentially allow for a quasi-Last Crusade for the Holy Land...

So aside from a unified Italy and, apparently, greece, what else is in the grand plan of the Papal States???
 

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But he has already stolen my earthly destiny so I see no reason why I would allow him to take my place in heaven.
That was some unfortunate foreshadowing.

I understand that my actions were far from moral and that my joy at the death of others is a shameful thing but my exhaustion does not allow me to worry about such matters anymore. I do however suffer in the knowledge that I have brought bloodshed to this land
Quite an amazing mix of presumably genuine faith and deeply immoral actions, to the level of mortal sins I would suggest. Even allowing for Lambruschini being a beaten husk of a man it is surprising how far he has fallen, not just on a practical level (he never seemed that much of a bungler earlier) but also morally and spiritually. For the sake of his immortal soul he had better hope his time in Rome includes repenting for his actions in Greece.

Also this incident doesn't reflect well on the new Pope. Leaving aside the ethical question of provoking an incident with Greece, on a practical level a broken and dispirited Lambruschini was not the Cardinal for the job and should have been replaced after he started bungling. Exiling rivals is all well and good, but you send them off to obscure and unimportant job (apostolic nuncio to the Coptic Orthodox church, that sort of thing). Not on something actually important.
 

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That was some unfortunate foreshadowing.


Quite an amazing mix of presumably genuine faith and deeply immoral actions, to the level of mortal sins I would suggest. Even allowing for Lambruschini being a beaten husk of a man it is surprising how far he has fallen, not just on a practical level (he never seemed that much of a bungler earlier) but also morally and spiritually. For the sake of his immortal soul he had better hope his time in Rome includes repenting for his actions in Greece.

Also this incident doesn't reflect well on the new Pope. Leaving aside the ethical question of provoking an incident with Greece, on a practical level a broken and dispirited Lambruschini was not the Cardinal for the job and should have been replaced after he started bungling. Exiling rivals is all well and good, but you send them off to obscure and unimportant job (apostolic nuncio to the Coptic Orthodox church, that sort of thing). Not on something actually important.

And not the most important thing the papal states has done for a long time. I'm very interested in their strategy of going to war to protect Catholicism, since they can use that to fight in the balkans and in Italy itself...but if they want to go grab some ottoman stuff like constaniople or the holy land, they need to be seen as saviours/protectors of orthodoxy as well...which this war sorta flattens before they've begun.

Bit short sighted, I think.
 

slothinator

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Good grief, the pope's first thought for expansion was to invade and annex Greece? He doesn't lack for ambition, I suppose, but this is putting the papal stares directly into the firing line between Vienna and Istanbul.

So France is liberal once more and Bonaparte beckons. Austria is wobbling and who knows who else is going down this time? Prime time for a pope to step up and try to reforge conservative or liberal Europe.

You will get to see how the war develops in a couple of chapters but there is definitely going to be a firing line present!

I'm surprised the Papacy managed to fabricate on the Greeks at all with Lambruschini's bungling during his assignment.

Still all's well that ends well and Rome and Greece are united for the first time since antiquity, an odd first step but that's still something to make Europe sit up and take note of a vgorous new power in the Mediterranean.

Lambruschini would have been a good choice at any other time but losing the papacy really did a number on him.

Europe could ignore calm old Gregory but Urban is certainly a sight to behold.

Quite like to see a map of this new realm once europe settles down a little, unless as the cardinal fears this is the prelude to a great war.

Don't worry, you'll get a nice map once the dust has settled. I'm planning on having a map comparison for the start and end of each papacy, unfortunately Gregory's papacy was not apt for this comparison.

Well the Orthodox are clearly the true enemy.
I wonder if a pope can convince/pressure it so that the papal states end up the protector of eastern christianity in the ottoman empire, not a great power? I don't know if that's possible but would help with prestige. And potentially allow for a quasi-Last Crusade for the Holy Land...

So aside from a unified Italy and, apparently, greece, what else is in the grand plan of the Papal States???

Those Orthodox had it coming for eight hundred years! Now we'll see who is the one that's excommunicated!

That plan would be ambitious indeed. The Ottomans will play a part in our story but not yet. As for the holy land...we shall see "si Deus velit".

A compelling portrait of a thoroughly beaten man. How many more will be claimed by Macchi’s scheming?

That was some unfortunate foreshadowing.


Quite an amazing mix of presumably genuine faith and deeply immoral actions, to the level of mortal sins I would suggest. Even allowing for Lambruschini being a beaten husk of a man it is surprising how far he has fallen, not just on a practical level (he never seemed that much of a bungler earlier) but also morally and spiritually. For the sake of his immortal soul he had better hope his time in Rome includes repenting for his actions in Greece.

Also this incident doesn't reflect well on the new Pope. Leaving aside the ethical question of provoking an incident with Greece, on a practical level a broken and dispirited Lambruschini was not the Cardinal for the job and should have been replaced after he started bungling. Exiling rivals is all well and good, but you send them off to obscure and unimportant job (apostolic nuncio to the Coptic Orthodox church, that sort of thing). Not on something actually important.

Lambruschini's confessor is going to have a field day with this kind of sins. It makes sense that Constantine wanted to be baptized and absolved late in his reign, power and politics do terrible things.

You will be able to see what Macchi was thinking in the next chapter! Then you'll be able to decide whose side you'll land on; needless to say, they have differing opinions.

And not the most important thing the papal states has done for a long time. I'm very interested in their strategy of going to war to protect Catholicism, since they can use that to fight in the balkans and in Italy itself...but if they want to go grab some ottoman stuff like constaniople or the holy land, they need to be seen as saviours/protectors of orthodoxy as well...which this war sorta flattens before they've begun.

Bit short sighted, I think.

Collecting all the Romes would be a very cool plan but those are not prizes that are taken easily. Protecting Orthodoxy is not entirely out of the question since the Greeks are being ruled by a Bavarian Catholic so it could be framed as a defense by a talented wordsmith.
 
Chapter VIII: The Spectre Awakens

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Pope Urban IX

OdXWKv9l.jpg

Wednesday 14th of July 1847

Troubling news today, it seems that the rumors of unrest may have some truth to them. There was a large gathering of liberals in Frankfurt and, though harmless so far, they discussed and praised the idea of a unified German nation. I can't think of who would wish to work with such subversives but I worry that Austria might attempt to use these naive would-be revolutionaries to set itself at the center of Europe and keep an everlasting grip on Italy.

This compounds itself with the incendiary murmurings about Italian unification that have come out of Sardinia-Piedmont with a patriotic song in their latest iteration. I don't know if the Piedmontese have aims on the subjugation of Italy or if this is the raving of some liberal outcasts but this places serious doubts on the trustworthiness of Sardinia-Piedmont as an ally. This shouldn't affect the Greek expedition, for which poor old Lambruschini was sent to lay the foundations, since France has always been supportive but it is one less security in this dangerous climate.

I have prayed for a sign that this will all blow over soon but the Lord has left me with nothing but the echo of my words and this non-response makes me fear the worst. I wonder if I should call off the expedition, maybe those soldiers would be more useful at home. I have time to ponder this but I must make sure this decision is not taken lightly.



Wednesday 13th of October 1847

The world has gone entirely mad. Revolutionary liberals have sprung up in most European states to demand limits to their Kings and some even have the audacity to demand republics. Though German unification is still distant, the Austrian Empire is being overtaken by separatist rebellions that threaten to tear it apart. The Hungarians seem to have forgotten that they haven't ruled themselves in almost four hundred years and have established a temporary government with the aim of forming a republic. It appears, however, that they were so taken by their ravings about freedom that they forgot to provide any soldiers for their cause and the Austrian army is making quick work of the first fortresses.

Further distressing news came from Italy itself, what was once the Republic of Venice has claimed its own independence and it is joined by Milan who has expelled its Austrian garrison.

I have spent many anxious days watching this situation evolve and I almost fainted when I heard that Milan had sent a petition for Piedmontese annexation in exchange for their aid against the Austrians. This madness would have dragged me into a conflict that we have no possibility of winning and all for the sake of Piedmont alone, removing any hope for the possibility of a Greek expansion. I spent the entirety of last night in prayer and prostration before God as I begged him to make the Piedmontese refuse this offer for the good of His Church. And, as the first light of the day rose, I received the answer to my prayer and King Carlo Alberto has refused to deal with any of the rebels currently ravaging the Austrians.

I have issued an official proclamation to all the Catholics of Europe to lay down their arms and return to their divinely appointed rulers and not fall into the seductive promises that drowned France in blood fifty years ago. I did not expect much of a reaction to this but I was stunned at how little effect my words had in the public at large. I only received a few congratulations from certain cardinals and ambassadors but the influence on the people was entirely absent. What times are these we live in that the flock will not listen to the shepherd and freely consign itself to the wolves! My predecessors thought that the Papacy could remain relevant in the modern world without the strength to back up its words but these current atrocities show us how wrong they were. And yet, what can I do to remedy this situation? The Papal armies are barely sufficient to ensure order at home, my words fall on deaf ears and my political influence is negligible. If only Gregory had gotten off his laurels and done something...

I will have many more sleepless nights praying for the end of this deluge, may they be fruitful.



Wednesday 29th of December 1847

Perhaps I was too quick to cover my head with ash and this situation is nothing more than a straw fire with no long term consequences. Of course, the rebellion in Austria became extremely dangerous for a short while but now this new Emperor seems to have a firm grip on the reins of state. He has managed to disentangle himself from the promises that Ferdinand had been forced to make and commit to limited vows of reform that I am sure he will not go through with. Now that the conditions in Vienna have returned to normal, the other Austrian rebels are being dealt with swiftly. Milan and Venice are securely under siege while the Russians have opened a second front against the Hungarians.

A few days ago, I stared in confusion when I received a letter from the Venetians with a request for support and access to the territory of the Papal States. I could not believe the audacity of such radicals who would come here with clearly impossible requests with the likely aim of corrupting my own subjects. I replied to them that they were welcome to enter the Papal States if they renounced their republicanism and retired to a monastery in the Appennines. Two of them actually took me up on the offer and so we have two new "brother Urban" walking around in Franciscan robes. How quickly these revolutionaries can be shaken out of their delusion.

Thank God for this deliverance. We have stood steadfast before the waves and the Lord has parted them for us. I look forward to the end of this crisis and a return to normality. I've heard from Lambruschini and it seems he has finally made some real progress in Athens even though it looks like the prideful fool is taking his time to spite me like a spoiled child. Perhaps by the time he has finished, the Springtime of the Peoples will have turned to Winter and the Papal States may regain their authority once more.



Thursday 10th of August 1848

Venice has finally given up its pretenses. The news is still fresh on everyone's lips but it is unequivocal, the last bastion of revolution has been struck down and the rebel leaders shot. Though France did lapse again into republicanism, it couldn't be said that Louis Philippe was a proper king in the first place. I feared that that change might have triggered a further wave of revolts or even wars from the new regime but thankfully they seem to have kept their stable place in European politics.

It was a terrifying year, always waiting for an enemy that, fortunately, never came. I spent so much time prostrating myself and praying for deliverance and it has finally come to us. Not only that, but we've managed to improve upon our condition. France has agreed to help us with the Greek invasion even if the Piedmontese broke their promises. Just a couple of months ago, our navy shattered the Greek fleet and landed our brave men on the coast of Kalamata. This will all be over in a few months and provide an additional pool of men and resources for the Papacy.

Though my health is as it always was, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my legacy. I must admit that my handling of these revolutions could have been much better but one cannot simply bottle-up the hurricane once it is released. No, I think this failing of mine will vanish with the years. The last element that will remain is this Hellenic foundation that I have placed for the future greatness of my Country and my Church. I know I risk a fall into vanity but what of it? False modesty would be just as much a sin and I would prefer to spend my years in purgatory for pride rather than perjury.
 
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A pope bitter about the modern world he finds himself in doesn't spell much good for Europe. Particularly not when he's decided that he needs to back his words up by force of arms.
 

TheButterflyComposer

The Dark Lord Kelebek
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Argh! Blessed are the cheesemakers, for they get their bloody realms to the top!

Oh, but for a cheesy pope that would have seized the moment to take Milan and Venice for himself by supporting their independence. Then Northern Italy would be full of small states to be gobbled by God, and italy is that much closer.

Oh well, at least they got Greece. Until Austria wants it, I suppose. No Austria-Hungary however may or may not be a benefit to the empire...
 

Cromwell

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I have to admit to being a little bit disappointed that his holiness didn't seize the chance to conquer northern Italy in the chaos. Maybe he is keeping his powder dry for another gambit? Wheels within wheels...
 

stnylan

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A pope really ought to have more confidence in the power of prayer