Pope Pius IX

pope of the Catholic Church from 1846 to 1878

Pope Pius IX (13 May 1792 – 7 February 1878), born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti), was head of the Catholic Church from 16 June 1846 to his death on 7 February 1878. He was the longest-reigning elected Pope in the history of the Catholic Church, serving for over 31 years. During his pontificate, Pius IX convened the First Vatican Council (1869–70), which decreed papal infallibility, but the council was cut short owing to the loss of the Papal States.

Pope Pius IX in 1875
Tomb of Blessed Pius IX photographed in 2015
Pope Pius IX


  • This evil doctrine which is called Communism, radically contrary to natural rights itself; this doctrine, once accepted, would be the complete ruin of all rights, institutions, properties and of human society itself.
    • Qui pluribus (9 November 1846), quoted in Paul Higginson, 'The Vatican and Communism from ′Divini Redemptoris′ to Pope Paul VI', New Blackfriars, Vol. 61, No. 719 (April 1980), p. 159
  • Certainly the Church does not condemn the efforts of those who want to know the truth, since it is God who made it the nature of man to be most eager to grasp truth. Nor does she condemn the efforts of healthy and right reason, for it is through this reason that we cultivate the spirit, study nature, and bring to light its most hidden secrets. This tender mother recognizes and justly maintains that reason is the most notable of the heavenly gifts, since it is through reason that we raise ourselves above the senses and display a certain image of God in ourselves.
  • Some of you may perchance wonder that the war against the Catholic Church extends so widely. Indeed each of you knows well the nature, zeal, and intention of sects, whether called Masonic or some other name. When he compares them with the nature, purpose, and amplitude of the conflict waged nearly everywhere against the Church, he cannot doubt but that the present calamity must be attributed to their deceits and machinations for the most part. For from these the synagogue of Satan is formed which draws up its forces, advances its standards, and joins battle against the Church of Christ.
  • It is certain that men’s prayers are more pleasing to God if they go up to Him from a pure heart; from souls, that is, that are free from all sin.
    • Act. et Decr. Sacr. Concil. Recent., Coll. Lac. tom. VII, Freiburg im Breisgau, 1890, col. 10 as quoted in Paenitentiam Agere, encyclical by Pope John XXIII (1962). Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
  • The man is the head of the family, the woman being flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone must be submissive and obedient to the man, but not in the manner of a slave girl, but of a mate, so shall her obedience to him be honorable and dignified, the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church, but just as the church is subject to Christ, the wife is subject to her husband in everything.

Quotes about Pope Pius IX

  • ...the main cause of his popularity was the magic of his presence, which was such as to dissipate and utterly destroy the fog out of which the image of a Pope looms to the ordinary Englishman. His uncompromising faith, his courage, the graceful intermingling in him of the human and the divine, the humour, the wit, the playfulness with which he tempered his severity, his naturalness, and then his true eloquence, and the resources he had at command for meeting with appropriate words the circumstances of the moment, overcame those who were least likely to be overcome.
    • John Henry Newman, address to the Birmingham Annual Catholic Reunion (27 January 1880), quoted in W. P. Neville (ed.), Addresses to Cardinal Newman with his replies, etc., 1879-81 (1905), p. 243
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