Pius considered himself a priest first, and only secondly a temporal ruler, and acted accordingly. When his ministers urged him to enter the war of national liberation, he consulted a number of theologians to determine if this would be legitimate.24 A majority considered it improper, and he followed their advice rather than that of his cabinet. His reluctance to enter the war, announced in an allocution of 29 April 1848, provoked a revolution in Rome and his flight from the capital at the end of November 1848. It was a flight from his subjects and his earlier reformism. Patriots denounced the papal refusal to declare war a betrayal, and perceived his flight as an abdication.
These events turned Pius against constitutionalism, liberalism and nationalism and those states identified with these movements. Liberalism he branded a dangerous delusion.25 The theory of nationalism he found as criminal as that of socialism. Pius defended his decision not to assume leadership of the national movement. 'Who can doubt that the Pope must follow a path which extols the honour of God and never that sought by the major demagogues of Europe?', he asked, adding, And with what conscience could the Pope have supported such a national movement, knowing . . . it would only lead to the profound abyss of religious incredulity and social dissolution?'26
Papal abandonment of the national crusade provoked resentment among liberals and patriots. The Piedmontese, distraught by their defeat, tended to blame Rome for the catastrophe. Count Cavour's newspaper II Risorgimento reported that the pope's 'betrayal' proved crucial, and Italians could only conclude that the national movement and the papal temporal power were incom-patible.27 The hostility was mutual. Pius proved suspicious of the Piedmontese, who urged him to negotiate with the 'rebels', and assumed leadership of the national movement. In mid-February, the acting secretary of state invoked the intervention of the Catholic powers: Austria, France, Spain and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, to restore the states of the church. Piedmont and France, seeking reconciliation rather than revenge, urged the pope to retain his earlier reforms, but Rome balked. Pius cited the incompatibility of constitutionalism with the free exercise of his spiritual power. While the Austrians defeated the Piedmontese at the battle of Novara (23 March 1849), the French Republic authorised an expedition to Rome. Louis Napoleon claimed he sought to
24 ASV, Archivio Particolare Pio IX, Oggetti Vari, n. 415.
25 A. Rosmini, Delia missione a Roma (Turin: Paravia, 1854), pp. 143-4; ASV, Archivio Particolare Pio IX, Francia, Particolari, n. 18; Segreteria di Stato Esteri [SSE], corrispondenza da Gaeta e Portici, 1848-50, rubrica 248, fascicolo 2, sottofascicolo 4.
26 ASV, Archivio Particolare Pio IX, Particolare, n. 30.
27 IlRisorgimento, 23 November 1848.
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