Pope Pius XI

Pope Pius XI

Pope Pius XI was the 259th leader of the Catholic Church and the 11th such individual to claim “Pius” as his papal name. This article will address his upbringing, time working for popes and his time as pope, while also bringing up the basic stat sheet of his papacy and highlight any notable quirks or contributions connected to his person.

Early Life and Education.

Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti was born to Francesco, the owner of silk factory, and Teresa Ratti and grew up among five siblings: Carlo, Fermo, Edoardo, Camilla and Cipriano.

Career with the Church.

Ratti’s ordination occurred in 1879 and he sought to become an academic. In his time at Rome’s Gregorian University, he earned doctorates on the topics of canon law, philosophy and theology. The years 1882 to 1888 involved him serving a professorship at Padua’s seminary, focusing on paleography-studying Church manuscripts of the past. After his time at the seminary, he moved on to a full-time position with Milan’s Ambrosian Library from 1888 to 1911.

In his time at Milan, Ratti worked on an edition of the Ambrosian Missal and wrote upon the life and texts of St. Charles Borromeo. 19 years into his time at the Library saw him ascend to its chief, where he began a series of programs engineered to restore and reclassify its contents. Pope Pius X would invite him to move to the Vatican in 1911, serving as the Vice-Prefect of its library. Three years later, Ratti would become Prefect.

Time in Poland.

In 1918, Pope Benedict XV suggested Ratti transition from working in academia to become a diplomat. Specifically, Benedict XV thought Ratti might do well as an unofficial representative of the pope for Poland, a nation that had been newly restored but still under the boots of Germany and Austria-Hungary. In 1919, Ratti’s position in Warsaw was elevated to an official one, serving as its nuncio; he was consecrated in October of that year.

Benedict XV and Ratti frequently had to inform the Polish government that the Church frowned on persecuting Lithuanian and Ruthenian clergy. When the Bolsehvik’s attacked Warsaw, Benedict XV besought the world’s prayers for Poland’s health and Ratti was the sole foreign diplomat who chose to stay as the Red Army reached the capital in August of 1920. On June 11th, 1921, Benedict XV asked Ratti to tell the Polish episcopate not to misuse spirituality toward political gains and to seek peace with its neighbors.

While Ratti had hoped to work as an intermediary between Poland and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and was even willing to give his life to the cause of peace, Benedict XV forbid the nuncio from entering the USSR. Ratti’s continued interaction with Russians failed to garner him sympathy with Poland. After Benedict XV sent him to Silesia as a measure of stopping agitation against Polish Catholics, Ratti was asked to leave the country. On November 20, Germany’s Cardinal Bertram announced a papal ban of all political actions by clergymen; German nationalists resented the notion of Ratti’s supervision of local elections.

Papal Legacy.

While Ratti was made Archbishop of Milan in June 3rd, 1921, he would only serve such a role for less than a year. Nine months later, Benedict XV would die and Ratti was elected his successor in 1922.

  • He re-affirmed the notion that Christian matrimony is the basis of life and and anyone who sought to stop its progress was acting sinfully.
  • He was less dedicated to the notion of monarchy within the Church and regarded the Church as something beyond the scope of any single form of government.
  • While he saw the concept of private property as an extension of personal freedoms, he also believed that private property also had a social function; anything that was deemed to have become immoral was fit for the Church to claim or redistribute.
  • He was leery of capitalism due to the increasing interdependence of people in contemporary times. He cautioned that excessive capitalism could reduce people to slaves chained to their individual interests instead of to society as a whole.
  • He despised the antisemitism that had crept into italy in the late 1930s, declaring it antithetical to the church’s teachings.

List of Events In The Life of Pope Pius XI (Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti)

31 May 1857Born
20 Dec 187922.5Ordained PriestPriest of Milano, Italy
20 Feb 191254.7AppointedPro-Prefect of the Vatican Library
20 Aug 191457.2AppointedPrefect of the Vatican Library
6 Jun 191962.0AppointedApostolic Nuncio to Poland
3 Jul 191962.0AppointedTitular Archbishop of Naupactus
28 Oct 191962.4Ordained BishopTitular Archbishop of Naupactus
19 Apr 192163.8AppointedTitular Archbishop of Adana
13 Jun 192164.0AppointedArchbishop of Milano, Italy
13 Jun 192164.0Elevated to Cardinal
16 Jun 192164.0AppointedCardinal-Priest of Santi Silvestro e Martino ai Monti
6 Feb 192264.6ElectedPope (Roma, Italy)
12 Feb 192264.6InstalledPope (Roma, Italy)
10 Feb 193981.6DiedPope (Roma, Italy)

Quick Facts About Pope Pius X.

  • He was born within the Austrian Empire on the last day of May in 1857.
  • His full regular name was Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti.
  • He passed away on February 10th, 1939.
  • Pius XI’s health never really recovered after suffering two consecutive heart attacks on November 25th, 1938. After giving a final address covering the relationship between science and Catholicism, he retreated into convalescence. The last few weeks of his life were reportedly filled with heart troubles and bronchitis. While some claimed this was an act of murder, such claims have been refuted; Pius XI officially died of illness.
  • His papacy began on February 6th, 1992.
  • His papacy stopped on the same as his heart, February 10th, 1939.
  • His papal successor chose to keep the name and became Pius XII.

Five Interesting Facts About Pope Pius X.

  1. Hitler and Mussolini, two-thirds of the Axis leaders, sent letters of condolences upon hearing of his death.
  2. One of his major hobbies was mountaineering. Its known that he reached the summits of the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and Presolana. The papacy would not land upon another scholar-athlete’s shoulders until John Paul II.
  3. He established Vatican Radio in 1931 and his voice was the first papal voice to be broadcast by radio.
  4. He took his position serious. Even his siblings had to make appointments and address him as “Your Holiness.”
  5. He established the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.