Pio Nono


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By E. E. Y. Hales

Pio Nono, regarded by friend and foe alike as the founder of the modern papacy, the Pope who recovered for the Papacy an influence it had not enjoyed since the Council of Trent, has nevertheless become a largely forgotten or ignored figure. That is thanks, according to E. E. Y. Hales, not to the kind of man he was, but to the kind of record history keeps. If historical epochs were known for their tragic heroes instead of their political protagonists, then the mid-nineteenth century would be known universally as the Age of Pio Nono, the man whose gifts to the Church’s power and influence—such as the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and Papal Infallibility, the restoration of England and Holland, the rejection of modern errors—balance the scales with what he lost for the same: the most ancient sovereignty of Europe, the Papal States.

The most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow… ( Pope Pius IX)

Originally published in 1954 as the first significant English treatment of Pope Pius IX, Pio Nono examines the Pope, his personality and his policies, and the main political problems of Europe during his papacy. The years 1846 to 1878 shook with revolutions, with the rising conflict between monarchism and liberalism, with the mighty steps of such towering figures as Mazzini and Garibaldi, Napoleon III and Victor Emmanuel. Casting Pio Nono as the main character in this chaotic plot, Hales offers a chronicle of nineteenth-century religion and politics that is as detailed as it is compelling.


E. E. Y. Hales (1908–1986) was an English Catholic historian and author. After a brief professorship at Yale University, he served as an Inspector of Schools for Britain, retiring as a Commander of the British Empire. In 1949, he converted to Catholicism. His books include The Catholic Church in the Modern World and Revolution and Papacy.

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Paperback: 396pp.

ISBN: 978-1685952662