Burn the Pope!

by Instant Noodle

THE POPE he leads a happy life,
He has the Church for child and wife,
With lodging, board, and washing free,
And eke Infallibilitie.

With ANTONELLI’S counsels sage,
McGUIRE’s and BOWYER’S truthful page,
ABOUT may write what scoffs he will,
And the Romagua kick its fill.

Let, GARIBALDI rouse to arms,
A CULLEN’S voice the tempest charms;
If to play false NAPOLEON dare,
There’s VEUILLOT and his Univers.

But yet he’s not a happy man,
With GRAMMONT at the Vatican.
In PETER’S chair ’tis hard to sit,
With pointed bayonets propping it.

MORTARA meetings break his rest ;
SHAFTESBDRY night-mares ride his breast ;
Austria and France, his fav’rite sons,
Each other pound with swords and guns.

Between two stools, as all folks know,
Unto the ground a man will go.
Much more his Holiness of Rome
Between seven hills to grief must come.

Envoys of France his conduct school ;
A rebel people spurn his rule ;
As brutum fulmen coolly scan
The thunders of the Vatican.

When excommunications fail,
And drunken Switzer guards turn tail ;
When naked Truth dares face the day,
Fig-leaves and figments thrown away,

When Austria hides her damaged head,
And BOMBALINO skulks to bed ;
When Pio NONO’S best defense
Is VEUILLOT’S truth and CULLEN’S sense,

Old Hollow Mask, that sittest there,
In PETER’S aught but easy chair,
Bluster or bully, wail or whine,
I would not that thy seat were mine.

Pope Pius IX resided over a rather tumultuous period in Christianity. Prior to 1858, the Pope presided over a kingdom of 3 million subjects in the Papal States, comprising a large part of what is now Italy. The catholic church had its own army, its own taxes, its own laws that it propagated, its own prisons, and many other things. All at the disposal of the mighty figurehead, the Pope.

I’ve mentioned the Springtime of the Peoples in 1849, when peoples of kingdoms around the world rebelled against their autocratic leaders, much like the Arab Spring of 2011. It was these events that precipitated the 1859 revolution in Italy, which lead to the overthrow of the papal monarchy in Italy. His influence was squeezed until only the city of Rome was left under his jurisdiction. Rome too was eventually taken from him in 1870 thanks to the Franco Prussian war.

In Britain, the Liberal Lord Palmerston, took office as Prime Minister just as the Revolution was beginning. Britain, and the British people, had long been hostile to the papacy, regarding it as “the epitome of political and religious tyranny and economic backwardness” (McIntire 1983). Indeed, many would say that anti-papacy is a fundamental part of the English identity. But the election of the vocally critical Palmerston as Prime Minister meant that what had previously been the “Papal Question” culminated in Britain taking an important role in abolishing the papal states and installing Victor Emmanuel as King.

Though it’s best to be subtle about these things. Too much overt military action could lead to an all out war across Europe.

(12th November 1859)