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Biography of Papa Pío XI (1857-1939)


Italian Pope, under whose pontificate he solution to the "Roman question" in the Lateran Treaty, which recognized the independent State of the Vatican and regulated the relations of the Holy see with the Kingdom of Italy.

Pius XI, whose original name was Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was born in Desio (Monza, Italy) on May 31, 1857 and died in Rome on February 9, 1939. Son of a spinner, studied high school at the Diocesan Seminary and his priestly career in Rome, where he was ordained priest in 1879. Doctor in Canon law and theology, returned to Milan and for five years was Professor of sacred eloquence in the seminar, to then become prefect of the library Ambrosiana, where he remained for 26 years. Here he developed an intense scientific and literary activity that became known not only in Italy but also abroad. His strictly religious studies include Acta Ecclesiae Mediolanensis (three volumes) and the revision of the Missale Ambrosianum. During your holiday, you liked instructive for Europe travel and alpine excursions, hobby that would later remember to nominate San Bernardo de Menton as a special patron of mountaineers. In 1914 he was appointed Prefect of the Vatican Library. Visitor and nuncio of the Pope in Poland (1918-1920), was appointed Archbishop of Milan, and cardinal in 1921, who barely could brand new, then on 6 January the following year was elected successor to Pope Benedict XV in the Pontifical throne.

Pius XI has gone down in history mainly for "Reconciliation" between the Holy See and the Italian State that took place during his papacy. The tension had originated with the unification of Italy in the second half of the 19th century, by which the Holy See lost the Papal States and occurred the rupture between that one and the Italian State. From his first encyclical (Ubi arcano Dei, December 1922), Pope Pius XI expressed his desire to settle the issue "in a true peace and, therefore, not separated from justice". The circumstances seemed propitious, as the Government of Benito Mussolini (Prime Minister of King Víctor Manuel III) had shown signs of approaching the Church. The talks, which began at the meeting in Assisi on October 4, 1926, were conducted by Cardinal Pietro Gasparri as Secretary of State of the Holy See and Benito Mussolini as Prime Minister of the King of Italy. After two years of talks, on February 11, 1929 signed the Lateran Treaty, in which three conventions were collected: to) a political treaty, which was neutral and inviolate form the State of the Vatican City; (b) a financial Convention, by which the Italian State compensated financially to the Holy see by renunciation of the heritage of San Pedro; (c) a Concordat, which regulated the mutual relations between the Holy See and the State of Italy.

Pius XI highlighted as a great organizer of the missions and as a patron of the sciences in the most varied expressions. In the first appearance, missionary around the missionary for the propagation of the faith, unified movement for Holy Childhood and the indigenous clergy; He created the missionary Museum in the Lateran Palace (Rome); the first Chinese and Japanese bishops consecrated in Rome and instituted 78 new missions in lands of infidels. But his interest in missions also covered guidance, encouragement and the spirit of the same: he insisted that the missionary should no-show already as an outpost of European political powers, the Catholicism should appear as a religion imported from Europe, but it must adapt to the realities of each region. This earned the nickname of "Pope of the missions". As patron of the sciences reformed, adapting them to the demands of the times, the seminaries and colleges-Catholic programs, with the Apostolic Constitution "Deus scientiarum Dominus" (1931); He founded the Pontifical Institute of Christian Archaeology; installed a station broadcasting in the Vatican, which he opened on February 12, 1931 with his message "arcane Qui Dei"; He founded the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, with 70 members chosen from among the world's most distinguished scientists.

The other his encyclicals also give us reason of their major concerns. The most notable are (in addition to those already mentioned) Divini illius Magistri (1929), on the right of the Church to the cristina youth education; Casti connubii (1930), about marriage and the Christian family; Quadragessimo anno (1931) - Recalling the forty years of the Rerum novarum of Leo XIII-, which insists on the establishment of the society according to the principles of the Christian religion; Bitter animi (1932), denounces the unjust conditions to which it was subjected the Catholic Church in Mexico; MIT brennender Sorge (with living concern, 1937), an explicit condemnation of the Nazi doctrines, as well as the Communists would be convicted in the divine Redemptoris promissio, which came out five days later; and Dilectissima nobis (1933), in which, reflecting on the situation that Spain lived in those days, defends freedom and Christian civilization.

Deeply concerned by the unstoppable rise of the national socialism of Hitler, he agreed to establish with him a Concordat in 1933, Concordat that the Führer did not respect even in its principles. Relations were already broken when Hitler visited Mussolini in Rome (May 1938) and refrained from visiting the Vatican. Upset by the terrible hurricane that looked powerless to sift over Europe, Pius XI offered his life to God "for the peace and prosperity of peoples", and died just before the outbreak of World War II.

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