His works of charity were well-known during his lifetime.
His person (and his pontificate) added to the glory of Rome – that seat of the
universal empire that conquered and transformed much of the known world in all
aspects. Rome was made even greater and more glorious when Pius reigned in Rome. The
Eternal City, baptized in the blood of the martyrs and made stronger through persecution,
became more celebrated under the reign of Pope Pius IX, the father of Christendom.
“I have seen
many pious priests in the performance of their sacred functions; but never
before did I behold a countenance more intensely expressive of piety, or so
illumined with the heavenly brightness which outwardly manifests the working of
the spirit within. It seemed as if it were suffused with a light from above.
Heart, and mind, and soul appeared to be absorbed, as they really were, in the
sacred ceremonies in which he assisted; and not for a second’s space did his attention
wander from his devotions. He communed as truly with his God in the midst of
that splendid crowd, and with hundreds of eager eyes riveted upon him, as if he
were kneeling in his private chamber, and asking for another day of strength to
meet the difficulties of his exalted but perilous position.”
“There have been great and illustrious
pontificates in the history of the Church, pontificates that stand prominently
forth by the personal holiness of the Pope and the great works he accomplished
for the Church of God, or the great sufferings he underwent in her defense.
These pontificates mark distinct epochs in ecclesiastical history; and with
them posterity will range the remarkable reign of Pius IX.
The length of years during which Divine
Providence has sustained him in his eminent position; the personal sanctity
which breathes forth in all his actions; the zeal with which he has met the spirit
of an unbelieving age, that seeks to destroy alike the organization and the faith
of the Church; the defining of an article of faith called for by the piety of a
world, the convoking of a general council, the heroism and serenity displayed
amid the vicissitudes and misfortunes that have chequered his career; exile,
spoliation, imprisonment; a great heart afflicted by the sight of the evils
visited on those who adhered to him and to the cause of God; all these conspire
to invest Pius IX and his pontificate with a halo peculiarly his own.”
“To the Clergy and People of Rome:
The majesty of the omnipotent God has recalled to himself the sovereign pontiff
Pius IX, of blessed memory, according to the sad news just imparted to us by
the most eminent Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, to whom it belongs to
make known to the public the death of the Roman pontiffs.
At such an announcement, the Catholic people in
every part of the world, devoted to the great and apostolic virtues of the
immortal pontiff and his sovereign magnanimity, will weep. But, above all, are
we most supremely sorrowful; we, O Romans! Since today has unhappily terminated
the most extraordinary and glorious pontificate which God has ever conceded to
his vicars upon earth.
His life as pontiff and as sovereign was a series
of widespread benefits as well in the spiritual as in the temporal order,
diffused over all the churches and nations, and in a most particular manner
upon his Rome, where at every step monuments of the munificence of the lamented
pontiff and father are met with.
In accordance with the sacred canons, in all the
cities and important places solemn obsequies and suffrages for the soul of the
departed pontiff should be made until the Holy Apostolic See be provided with a
new head, and prayers should be made to the Divine Majesty for the speedy
election of a successor to the deceased, whom we can never sufficiently lament.”
R. Card. Monaco, Vicar
Placido can. Petacci, Secretary