Vatican I And Vatican Ii

In the run up to Vatican I and its definition of papal authority, the work of the French writer Joseph de Maistre (1753—1821) was seminal. In a world shaken by the French Revolution and its aftermath, he presented the papacy as an absolute monarchy that sustained the well-being of the whole Church. The pope's authority is sovereign: his decisions are not open to appeal, and his doctrinal declarations are infallibly binding. De Maistre argued that only such an absolute papacy could check abuses from national states in the temporal sphere and save separated Christian brethren from lapsing into religious indifference. Gallicans and many who championed liberal ideas dismissed de Maistre and others, such as William George Ward (1812—82), as 'ultramontanes (beyond the mountains)', since they looked 'across the Alps' to Rome, maximalized papal authority, and expected from the pope answers to every important question. In a saying that was widely quoted, Ward declared: 'I should like a new Papal Bull every morning with my Times at breakfast.'194

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