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Church History The Papacy

The New Holy Roman Empire

popecover0928On September 28, Time magazine featured Pope Francis’ visit to the United States with the headline “Pope Francis and the New Roman Empire.” The first paragraph of the article read,1

From Cuba to climate change, he has revitalized the Vatican’s role in global diplomacy. Now he’s bringing his activist agenda to the U.S.

In 1796 the Holy Roman Empire was defeated and subjugated under the conquest of Napoleon Bonaparte. General Berthier marched into Rome unopposed on February 10, 1798, and proclaimed a Roman Republic. He demanded the pope renounce all his temporal power.  Papal lands were confiscated and the power of the popes greatly diminished. But the Papacy was only temporarily “wounded” and since that time has continued to recover from that major defeat.  At the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) the Papal States were largely restored. The Jesuits were restored and the Inquisition was revived.