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TheButterflyComposer

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I think papal coronation reminds Europe of the other Bonaparte

Well, he crowned himself, and pissed off the aristocracy of europe. This one getting crowned 'legitimately' by the Holy Father is probably a better route.
 

El Pip

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It is interesting to see that the new Pope has given up any pretence of being anything other than just another ambitious Italian leader. He is still mouthing some words about prayer and piety, but if it came out he was agnostic, or even full blown atheist, I genuinely would not be surprised at this point. Plus of course there is this;

The Church has many flaws but, in the end, it has a universality and unity that cannot be found in other ideals.
...
a step in the right direction by expelling the foreigners
That is quite an impressive definition of 'universality' he has there. It matters not what your faith is, or even if you believe in god, it only matters that you are Italian. Everyone else must be expelled.

If we could have a brief diary exert from the current Anti-Pope that would be interesting. Because when the Bishop of Rome is saying things like that, there has to be an Anti-Pope loudly damning the false-Pope Innocent XIV as a non-believing heretic who has abandoned the faith and his duties to God in his lust for temporal power.
 

DensleyBlair

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He is still mouthing some words about prayer and piety, but if it came out he was agnostic, or even full blown atheist, I genuinely would not be surprised at this point.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold our pope!

918E5D75-0B96-443F-9B2E-FFD138DC9D68.jpeg
 
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slothinator

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Well, he crowned himself, and pissed off the aristocracy of europe. This one getting crowned 'legitimately' by the Holy Father is probably a better route.

Damn, I'm not sure how I didn't think about the most Napoleon thing to ever happen but oh well...
In any case, I guess Louis Napoleon prefers to keep things on the "Hey look, we're a sated power" side rather than "The world is mine and God says so"

It is interesting to see that the new Pope has given up any pretence of being anything other than just another ambitious Italian leader. He is still mouthing some words about prayer and piety, but if it came out he was agnostic, or even full blown atheist, I genuinely would not be surprised at this point. Plus of course there is this;


That is quite an impressive definition of 'universality' he has there. It matters not what your faith is, or even if you believe in god, it only matters that you are Italian. Everyone else must be expelled.

If we could have a brief diary exert from the current Anti-Pope that would be interesting. Because when the Bishop of Rome is saying things like that, there has to be an Anti-Pope loudly damning the false-Pope Innocent XIV as a non-believing heretic who has abandoned the faith and his duties to God in his lust for temporal power.

I think the evergreen principle of "God helps those who help themselves" applies here and the Papacy is definitely going to help itself from now on.
You can only be so universal before you start bumping into people you don't like and have to smite them.
At the moment, there isn't really anyone senior enough in the Curia to take up that mantle while Cappellini and Aloisi aren't really the denouncing types. You will have your chance to hear some disapproval in some future chapters though.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold our pope!

View attachment 633653

Damn it, I've been had! My inspiration is out in the open for all to see! I wouldn't say Innocent XIV is fully up to Pius' level but an upcoming fellow is going to be a less sedate Pius XIII if you can imagine that.

PS. I loved the conclave scene in The New Pope and that gave me the impulse for the conclave chapters here
 

DensleyBlair

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Damn it, I've been had! My inspiration is out in the open for all to see! I wouldn't say Innocent XIV is fully up to Pius' level but an upcoming fellow is going to be a less sedate Pius XIII if you can imagine that.

Jude Law’s Pius is everything I need in a pope, so I’m very excited to hear this!

PS. I loved the conclave scene in The New Pope and that gave me the impulse for the conclave chapters here

I’ve been meaning to watch The New Pope for months now, so this is finally going to give me the kick I’ve needed!
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Catholicism is universal, but they only called it that after half the members left...so perfectly in character for the pope to now decree Italians for Italy, and screw Greece, I'm in charge!
 
Chapter XIV: The Spectre Manifests

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Annibale Lisi

pag8Y02l.png

Thursday 28th of February 1856

The letters have come back from Innocent and he thinks that my proposal of five years is excessive for certain conservative members of the curia to accept. Apparently, they feel that this would be an extravagant concession to modernity or, I suspect, the social mobility of the poor. I will have to work on the proposal again and sneak in a way to hide its utility from the other cardinals.

I remember how Nunzia danced with joy when I told her that each of her children would have been able to learn how to read and write and maybe even study further, all for free. She wouldn't stop talking about the news with the other servants, especially Cecilia who was still pregnant at the time. It would break my heart to go back on such a promise that has so much potential at the large or small scale. Innocent is a good man and a good Pope but he does not understand the urgency for reform, for these children a year can be the difference between being able to read and aspire to something or to die in some mine or factory as slave labor.

I thought about the wording of the bill for days, writing and erasing and rewriting the key segments. Now I think I know what it should be. All children of the Papal States from the age of six will be guaranteed at least three years of free compulsory education; however, since there is no mention of the maximum number of compulsory years, it should be easy to allow for considerable expansions of this right in cities or for families with a large number of children to care for.

I will certainly continue to rework the text but I think I hit upon an adequate base for the time being. It is deeply problematic that each of the recent popes and a majority of cardinals was not raised among normal people and only see them when they dare venture out for a public appearance. I don't know how often the high clergy pray or reflect on the real meaning of the words and actions of our Lord but it is not hard to notice that many of them don't take the lessons to heart. I need to find a reliable circle of cardinals that I can work with and that can help me to return the Church to its true calling. I hope we'll be able to replace the older generation with a more progressive one and get the Papal States on course to fulfill the teachings that we claim to uphold. I have written a letter to Cardinal Cappellini to see if he can be of any aid in my endeavor. He is a noble without a significant religious disposition but his propensity for industry might prove to be an auspicious start to bring him to my side. It is a blessing that the Pope is liberally inclined but inclined is all I can say for him although he is certainly a pious man in his own way. My mission is going to be a long one but I feel that a new pontiff will be needed to go as far as I am willing. Not me certainly, I am too lowly and too junior a cardinal to be seriously considered but I have to set myself in a position that will allow me to actively pursue a real progressive agenda.

But now I am overextending my plans, it is helpful to be prepared, however, I need to keep my eye on the task at hand and focus on the construction of an educational system for the country. Just a few touches more and I can proceed to greater things.

Saturday 14th of August 1858

My work with Innocent has given some fruits but I have set my main plans aside for now. In happier news, Libero has written back still basking in the glow of his financial endeavors and he seems to agree with a good amount of my reform-oriented ideas. We both understand that while the socialists make some tragic mistakes in their conclusions, it is the role of the Universal Church to protect the poor and the oppressed without regard to the expense since the reward for mankind is incommensurable. He has invited me to his country home to discuss the matter further and organize some proposals that we may present to Innocent and, though Libero may not consider this, make known to prospective papabili by using his influence as the man who helped free the Papal States from financial ruin. Flattering a title as that is, I must admit that if one considers the time elapsed and the significant changes of this papacy it is likely that the crisis solved itself and the good cardinal saved us maybe a few months of struggle. Nonetheless, his reputation has shot up and that is precisely what we need to get our proposals through. I first expected to dictate the majority of the terms but Cappellini preceded me in several cases and I look forward to a fruitful collaboration.

In the meantime, the Pope has asked me to extend citizenship to all Italians who have lived in Papal territories in the Peninsula and in the Peloponnese for a minimum of five years. No luck yet for the Greeks who remain prisoners in their own homes but we inch ever closer to rectifying Urban's misguided plan. I am not sure if Innocent expects this new law to spur immigration but it seems more likely that he hopes the decree will limit talk of Venetian independence that I have heard about. On this I agree with him, there is no need for an unstable new nation in Italy, especially if it is born of civil war.

The matter of Italy will also have to be faced sooner or later but I believe that the Pope has decided to leave an explicit treatment of the conundrum to a future generation. For myself, I have not yet thought enough about it. If I think of how things were back at home, I am not bursting with hope or pride on behalf of those who still live there and I think the same can be said for most of the cities that are not capitals. However, outright unification risks killing even those brief flashes of light in favor of a single one. Of course, there is the possibility that unification might simply bring greater prosperity for every party involved but something in my stomach wants me to pull away from those risks since the rewards feel so uncertain.

We have an interesting future to look forward to.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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There are still good men in the church. But...not enough?
 

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Modest enough reforms, but reforms even so. The question of Italy though ... conundrum is a good word. But then, he says it best in the final line we have:

We have an interesting future to look forward to.
 

DensleyBlair

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Innocent viewed through Lisi's eyes feels a bit too… diffident, is the word I'll use. He seems basically kitted out for spiritual conviction (or about as much as a mid c19 pontiff can be ITTL), but lacks an ounce of courage in more worldly matters of compassion. Where's Voiello when you need him…
 

El Pip

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You can understand why the Church would be against educating children. They might start asking awkward questions if they were educated.

Once again the church confirms that any Catholic who isn't Italian should either find a new faith or accept being a second class (or worse) citizen. I look forward to the next 'reform' when non Italian cardinals are banned from the Curia and College for being impure.
 

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Lisi seems a decent sort of chap, and humble enough to accept being the power behind the throne if he found a candidate for pontif willing to put forward his policies?
 

slothinator

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There are still good men in the church. But...not enough?

The good men will do what they can for as long as they can remain good men.

Modest enough reforms, but reforms even so. The question of Italy though ... conundrum is a good word. But then, he says it best in the final line we have:

We have an interesting future to look forward to.

The reforms are a small signal to a certain part of the curia that change is possible. Maybe not yet but soon enough

Innocent viewed through Lisi's eyes feels a bit too… diffident, is the word I'll use. He seems basically kitted out for spiritual conviction (or about as much as a mid c19 pontiff can be ITTL), but lacks an ounce of courage in more worldly matters of compassion. Where's Voiello when you need him…

Innocent is not very adventurous as pope and dared to reach for Veneto just because the stars had aligned for such a conflict. As for reform, I imagine he does not think it is his place to make the monumental changes that are needed. Voiello would be a welcome presence in this scenario and you might just get your wish.

You can understand why the Church would be against educating children. They might start asking awkward questions if they were educated.

Once again the church confirms that any Catholic who isn't Italian should either find a new faith or accept being a second class (or worse) citizen. I look forward to the next 'reform' when non Italian cardinals are banned from the Curia and College for being impure.

Italianness and the papacy are becoming ever more tightly intertwined and, to be fair, there hasn't been a foreign pope in three hundred years so a reform would be needed in that direction.

Lisi seems a decent sort of chap, and humble enough to accept being the power behind the throne if he found a candidate for pontif willing to put forward his policies?

Lisi is wise to temper his ambitions but the search for the next pontiff will occupy his mind for quite some time.
 
Chapter XV: Under the Lion’s Wing

slothinator

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From the personal diaries of Cardinal Diomede Cangiano

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Saturday 23rd of February 1856

Venice is glorious and walking through the Doge's palace as if it were my own is an exhilarating experience. My initial misgivings regarding the war have vanished at the sight of the prize we have managed to gain. The city reminds me a lot of home except, of course, with a more limited architectural repertoire.

Unfortunately, the city's beauty is tainted by the dissenting voices that threaten to reverse the efforts of thousands of Papal soldiers. I was warned preceding my arrival that protests have been appearing in cities across Veneto and demanding independence for a Venetian Republic. I do not understand how they can hope to resurrect an institution that has not existed for over half a century but I believe that aspiration is a leftover from the Austrian domination. These liberals are all the same, like sentimental women, they dream impossible dreams and shut their eyes to the realities of the world.

Foolish and idealistic though they may be, these would-be revolutionaries have squirreled away a significant amount of supplies, enough to arm and equip over thirty thousand men. This would not have been cause for concern prior to the war but now I am told that the pontifical army counts only five thousand soldiers in its ranks. As such, my stay in this fabled city has been soured as I know that help will not arrive quickly in case of insurrections.

I am in regular correspondence with His Holiness and he agrees that something must be done about the situation but the Papal States are at a loss for both money and men to fight an insurrection on this scale. Rather, and this statement made my stomach drop, Innocent would cave to the protesters and allow for a free and compulsory national school system. I would have opposed this idea at once if the Pope hadn't asked me to help him with the wording of the proposal, an important responsibility that I immediately set to reflect on. Under our joint plan, just three years of education will be guaranteed, enough to learn how to read, write, and count but safely before the liberals can fill our children's minds with honeyed poisons.

My announcement of these measures to the masses crowded in Piazza San Marco seems to have had the desired effect and most of them have retreated to their homes. We shall see how long this will last.

Saturday 6th of March 1858

After the initial hiccups, my supervision of Veneto has turned out to be a rather dull affair. It mainly involved the search for people to organize the various provinces into an apparatus that can be joined to the older elements of the Papal States. Specifically, the new lands were divided into the two newly instituted states of Friuli and Veneto with the respective local governors. Sedition has not disappeared from every home, but it is no longer at the state where it can threaten our safety.

This stabilization is indicated by the arrival of another brother cardinal in the city. I never met Cardinal Cappellini previously, but I had heard of him enough to have my reservations about his plans and his supporters. However, in the past weeks, I've had to change my opinion of him entirely. He has hosted weekly balls with the nobility of the region, never failing to defer to my authority and having me guide the proceedings. Besides that, conversation with him is always stimulating as he transports the audience to his own world and leaves them lightheaded at the sheer aura of competence that he exudes.

We have spoken privately at length and he has explained his travels across Europe with his aim of restoring the Papal finances together with his fears concerning the rise of Sardinia-Piedmont to the status of Great Power. Such wide-ranging preoccupations make my task seem irrelevant but he is always quick to remind me that, were it not for people who work locally, the whole edifice would fall apart.

I must leave my record at this since I would not dare be late at tonight's engagement. Libero has invited several reticent locals and I am impatient to see him work his magic.

Saturday 14th of August 1858

I have had trouble with maintaining my focus in these recent weeks. My toil goes on little by little but I never see any progress that I would call significant. I am not sure if the distraction is a matter of discipline or simply the nature of my task but I am ready for a return to Rome or even Florence.

Since Libero left the city with great excitement for some project of his, life in Venice has faded away and I do not have as many chances as in the latest months to enjoy my stay. My work has mostly consisted of routine organization of the new provinces: open an office here, fix an anomaly there. Not exactly the duties that one dreams of...

Fortunately, last week provided a modicum of distraction with the return of liberal agitators and their clamors for independence. In recent months, I have begun to have a small appreciation for the economic side of liberalism but I still cannot bring myself to listen to their political mewling. In any case, I hoped for an exciting pursuit of rebel leaders or some similar intrigue but I was preempted by the Pope's action.

I received a letter from Innocent himself where he congratulated me on my results in these years, he also announced that he deemed my task to be almost complete and encouraged me to prepare Veneto and Friuli for self-rule on par with the other Papal States. I had already prepared an address calling for unity so this news only served to seal the matter. Once more I made a rousing speech in Piazza San Marco and once more the protesters returned to their homes secure in the knowledge that all Italians will be treated equally under the law.

And with that, my final chance at excitement died down without much fanfare. All I am left to do, as per Innocent's letter, is to find suitable local administrators to take over the government of the regions. Once that is done...who knows, I am not looking forward to seeing Edda back in Florence but it would be good to check in on my archbishopric. On the other hand, a return to Rome would give me a chance to meet Libero again and better acquaint myself with my brother cardinals.

Time will tell, I suppose. But what is most important is that I just need to suffer a few more weeks of this drudgery before I can find what the future will send my way.
 

DensleyBlair

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Cangiano is quite the piece of work. Opposes war only so long as it doesn't have any material benefit for him, then hopes to incite some liberal insurrection to give himself something to do. Brother cardinal indeed. What might Innocent possibly have in store for him back in Rome?
 

El Pip

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I cannot begin to imagine how much smugness is being generated by the world's protestants at this point, but it must be truly immense. It's not quite every allegation ever made about the Catholic Church being proved true, but it is close.

What might Innocent possibly have in store for him back in Rome?
He's amoral, will abandon his principles if his boss asks and doesn't give a stuff about God, his flock or anyone not Italian. So I imagine Innocent wants to give him a medal of some kind and a promotion. Those are the core qualities the pope is looking for in his senior churchmen.
 

DensleyBlair

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He's amoral, will abandon his principles if his boss asks and doesn't give a stuff about God, his flock or anyone not Italian. So I imagine Innocent wants to give him a medal of some kind and a promotion. Those are the core qualities the pope is looking for in his senior churchmen.

My money is on Secretary of State.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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And yet, the mysterious and enticing libero emerges yet again. Is this our next pope? A problem for the establishment? Merely a very useful and popular lackey?

With Venice seemingly tamed, despite the apparently horrendous cost she to get it from the Papal States, things seem to be going well. Of course, having a great power with claims to Italian is nothing new...but having one that is Italian is a bit problematic. Austria and France's can be handled with clever diplomacy and simple real politik (as long as liberal nationalism is a thing, neither of them are holding any Italian population centres for very long). Sardinia on the other hand is a massive threat, and one that has natural allies with anyone who hates or has disdain for chatolicsm, the papacy, or even this current regime (bascially...everyone).
 

DensleyBlair

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And yet, the mysterious and enticing libero emerges yet again. Is this our next pope? A problem for the establishment? Merely a very useful and popular lackey?

Going back I do wonder if Libero may prove to be a sort of intensely worldly Leo XIII, who recognises that there is a lot of dirty work to be done to drag the mechanisms of the Church into the modern world. But that doesn't entirely seem like the sort of thing a Pope necessarily need deal with, as opposed to an exceptional functionary. Maybe he's our secretary of state.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Going back I do wonder if Libero may prove to be a sort of intensely worldly Leo XIII, who recognises that there is a lot of dirty work to be done to drag the mechanisms of the Church into the modern world. But that doesn't entirely seem like the sort of thing a Pope necessarily need deal with, as opposed to an exceptional functionary. Maybe he's our secretary of state.

All we know is he's popular with the people, and the cardinals who meet him. Eminently practical, economically sound and has a long term plan for the future of the papal states.

Almost certainly not going to be elected pope, sadly. However, should certainly be the one running the show day to day.