- Papal conclave, 1799–1800
The Papal conclave of 1799-1800 followed the death of
Pope Pius VIon 29 August 1799and led to the selection as popeof Giorgio Barnaba Luigi Chiaramonti, who took the name Pius VII, on 14 March 1800. The conclave, the last conclave to take place outside Rome, was held in Venice. This period was marked by uncertainty for the Pope and the Roman Catholic Churchfollowing the invasion of the Papal Statesand abduction of Pius VI under the French Directory.
Pope Pius VI
Pius VI's reign had been marked by tension between his authority and that of the European monarchs and other institutions, both secular and ecclesiastical. This was largely due to his moderate liberal and reforming pretences. At the beginning of his pontificate he promised to continue the work of his predecessor,
Pope Clement XIV, in whose 1773 bull " Dominus ac redemptor", the dissolution of the Jesuits was announced. Pro-Jesuit powers remained in support of Pius, thinking him secretly more inclined to the Society than Clement. The Archduchy of Austriaproved a threat when its ruler, Emperor Joseph II, made internal reforms which conflicted with some of the power of the Papacy. Further, German archbishops had shown independence at the 1786 Congress of Ems, but were soon brought into line.
At the outbreak of the
French RevolutionPius was compelled to see the independent Gallican Churchsuppressed, the pontifical and ecclesiastical possessions in France confiscated and an effigy of himself burnt by the populace at the Palais Royal. The murder of the republican agent Hugo Bassevillein the streets of Rome (January 1793) gave new ground of offence; the papal court was charged with complicity by the French Convention, and Pius threw in his lot with the First Coalitionagainst the French First Republic.
The State of the See
1796Napoléon Bonaparte invaded the Italian Peninsula, defeated the papal troops and occupied Anconaand Loreto. He did not continue and conquer Rome, as the French Directoryordered, being aware that this would not win favour among the French and Italian populations. Pius sued for peace, which was granted at Tolentinoon 19 February 1797. The Treaty of Tolentinotransferred Romagnato Bonaparte's newly formed Cispadane Republic(founded in December 1796out of a merger of Reggio, Modena, Bolognaand Ferrara) in a hope that the French would not further pursue the Papal lands. Several reforms were made in the French-controlled regions, where much property of the Church was confiscated.
Several factors led to the complete occupation of Rome by the French. Firstly, the entrance of the Russian army into
Northern Italypushed the French back. Secondly, on December 28 1797, in a riot created by some Italian and French revolutionists, the French general Mathurin-Léonard Duphotof the French embassy was killed and a new pretext furnished for invasion. Louis Alexandre Berthiermarched to Rome, entered it unopposed on 13 February 1798, and, proclaiming a Roman Republic, demanded of the pope the renunciation of his temporal authority. Upon his refusal he was taken prisoner, and on February 20was escorted from the Vatican to Siena, and thence to the Certosa near Florence. The French declaration of war against Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscanyled to Pius' removal, though by this time deathly ill, by way of Parma, Piacenza, Turinand Grenobleto the citadel of Valence, where he died six weeks later, on August 29, 1799.
With the loss of the Vatican and the pope's other temporal power, the cardinals were left in a remarkable position. They were forced to hold the conclave in
Venice, making the conclave the last to be held outside Rome. This followed an ordinance issued by Pius VI in 1798, in which was stated that the conclave, in such a situation, would be held in the city with the greatest number of Cardinals among the population. The Benedictine San Giorgio Monastery, Venice, was the chosen location of the conclave. The city, along with other northern Italian land, was at the time held by the Archduchy of Austria, whose ruler Francis II, Holy Roman Emperoragreed to foot the costs of the conclave.
Despite beginning on
30 November 1799the assembled cardinals could not overcome a stalematebetween three candidates until March 1800. Thirty-four Cardinals were present at the start, with the late arrival of Cardinal Franziskus Herzan von Harraswho was also the imperial commissioner and used the imperial veto of Francis II twice. Ercole Consalviwas almost unanimously voted as secretary of the conclave; he would prove an influential figure in the election of the new pope. Carlo Bellisomiseemed the sure winner, with wide support from the Cardinals, but his unpopularity among the Austrian Cardinals, who preferred Mattei, subjected him to the veto. The conclave added a third possible candidate in Cardinal Hyacinthe Sigismond Gerdil CRSPbut was also vetoed by Austria. As the conclave was in the third month Cardinal Maury, a neutral, suggested Chiaramonti who, with the support of the powerful Conclave secretary, was elected.
Barnaba Luigi Count Chiaramonti was, at the time, the bishop of
Imolain the Subalpine Republic. He had stayed in place after the assumption of his dioceseby Bonaparte's army in 1797 and famously made a speech in which he stated that good Christians could make good democrats, a speech described as " Jacobin" by Bonaparte himself. Though he could not save ecclesiastical reform and confiscation under the new rule, he did prevent the church being dissolved, unlike that in France.
Due to its temporary siting in Venice, the
Papal coronationwas hurried. Having no papal treasures on hand the noblewomen of the city manufactured the famous papier-mâché papal tiara. It was adorned with their own jewels. Chiaramonti was declared Pope Pius VII and crowned on 21 Marchin a cramped monastery church.
A new pope
Battle of Marengoon 14 June 1800The French regained Northern Italy from the forces of Austria. Following this promotion, Bonaparte decided to recognise the new Pope and restored the Papal States to those borders set out at Tolentino.
The new Pope headed for
Rome, which he entered to the pleasure of the population on 3 July. Fearing further invasion he decreed the Papal Statesshould remain neutral between Napoleonic Italy in the north and the Kingdom of Naplesin the south. At the time the latter was ruled by Ferdinand III of Sicily/Ferdinand IV of Naples, a member of the House of Bourbon. Ercole Consalvi, the secretary of the conclave, ascended to the College of Cardinalsand became the Secretary of the Papal State on 11 August. On 15 JulyFrance officially rerecognised Catholicismas its majority (not state) religion in the Concordat of 1801, and the Church was granted a measure of freedom with a Gallician constitution of the clergy. The Concordat further recognised the Papal States and that which it had confiscated and sold during the occupation of the area. In 1803 the reinstatement of the Papal States was made official by the Treaty of Luneville.
Napoleon pursued secularisation of smaller, independent lands and, through diplomatic pressure, the dissolution of the
Holy Roman Empire(1806). The relations between the Church and the First French Empiredeclined following the Pope's refusal to divorce Jerome Bonaparteand Elizabeth Patterson in 1805. The newly-crowned Emperor of the French restarted his expansionist policies and assumed control over Ancona, Naples (following the Battle of Austerlitz, making his brother Joseph Bonaparteits new monarch), Pontecorvo and Benevento. The changes angered the pope, and following his refusal to accept them, Napoleon, in February 1808, demanded he subsidise France's military conflict with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The pope again refused, leading to further confiscations of territory such as Urbino, Anconaand Macerata. Finally in 1809, on 17 May, the Papal states were formally annexed to the First French Empire and Pius VII was taken to the Château de Fontainebleau.
A unique conclave
The conclave of 1800 had several unique features and occurrences which render it quite estranged from not only many of its predecessor conclaves, but also all those successive gatherings to date. Foremost, it is the last to be held outside Rome, in this case Venice. In fact, all conclaves since the
Western Schism( 1378) have been held in Romewith this as a sole exception.
As the graph on the left demonstrates, the conclave was conducted with the fewest cardinals present since
1534, a total of thirty-four. Indeed, due to the political situation in which the church found itself at the time it had just 45 cardinals in total, the lowest number since the 31 of 1513.
At 105 days (
30 November– 14 March) this also happens to be the longest conclave to date since its immediate predecessor, which lasted from 5 October 1774until 15 February 1775- a total of 133 days.
The extent to which the successor was debated, and the contentiousness of certain nominations, may be seen in the fact that the Austrian Emperor presented the veto twice - a unique occurrence in the history of the conclave; the Empire then included Venice, and had already denied the use of St. Mark's to the Cardinals for declining to accept the Austrian candidate. Typically, a single veto would have been used by a represented kingdom, to ensure that a particular objectionable candidate would not succeed.
List of participants
Gian Francesco Albani, da Urbino, bishop of Ostia and Velletri
Henry Benedict Stuart, bishop of Frascati
Leonardo Antonelli, bishop of Palestrina
Luigi Valenti-Gonzaga, bishop of Albano
Francesco Carafa di Trajetto
Francesco Saverio de Zelada
Guido Calcagnini, bishop of Osimo e Cingoli
Bernardino Honorati, bishop of Senigallia
Andrea Gioannetti, archbishop of Bologna
Hyacinthe Sigismond Gerdil, CRSP
Carlo Giuseppe Filippo di Martiniana, bishop of Vercelli
Franziskus Herzan von Harras
Giovanni Andrea Archetti, Archbishop- bishop of Ascoli Piceno
Giuseppe Maria Doria-Pamphilj
Gregorio Barnaba Chiaramonti, OSB, bishop of Imola(Elected Pope Pius VII)
Carlo Bellisomi, bishop of Cesena
Francisco Antonio de Lorenzana, archbishop of Toledo, Spain
Jean-Sifrein Maury, Archbishop of Paris, France
Giambattista Bussi de Pretis, bishop of Jesi
Francesco Maria Pignatelli
Giulio Maria della Somaglia
Ludovico Flangini Giovanelli
*Fabrizio Dionigi Ruffo
List of absentees
Christoph Anton von Migazzi von Waal und Sonnenthurn, archbishop of Vienna, Austria
Dominique de La Rochefoucauld, archbishop of Rouen, France
Johann Heinrich von Frankenberg, archbishop of Mechlin, Belgium
Louis-René-Eduard de Rohan-Guéménée, archbishop of Strasbourg
Giuseppe Maria Capece Zurlo Theat., archbishop of Naples
Vicenzo Ranuzzi, bishop of Ancona e Umana
Carlo Livizzani Forni
José Francisco de Mendonça, patriarch of Lisbon, Portugal
Antonio de Sentmenat y Castella, patriarch of the Western Indies, Spain
Louis-Joseph de Laval-Montmorency
*cite web|url=http://www.pax-et-veritas.org/Popes/justpius/pius_vii.htm|title=Pope Pius VII|work=The Popes Pius|accessdaymonth=8 April |accessyear=2005
*cite web|url=http://www.fiu.edu/~mirandas/conclave-xix.htm|title=Papal elections of the XIX. Century (1799-1878)|work=The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church|accessdaymonth=8 April |accessyear=2005
*cite web|url=http://www.zum.de/whkmla/region/italy/papalstate17991809.html|title=Papal State and Papacy, 1799-1809 |work=History of the Papal State|accessdaymonth=9 April |accessyear=2005
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