Temporal power (papal)
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The temporal power of the popes is the political and governmental activity of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church, as distinguished from their spiritual and pastoral activity, which by Catholics is sometimes also called eternal power, to contrast it with the Church's secular power, that is, power exercised within time rather than in eternity.
For centuries, its secular activities brought the Papal States into a status as a country bearing some relation with other countries of the world. Some historians identify the crowning of Charlemagne in 800 as the moment in which the Church started having an international importance in a modern sense, although the temporal power can be traced even earlier to either the Donation of Pepin in 754, or the crowning of Pepin by Pope Zachary in 752 which was the first time a secular sovereign was crowned by a pope. In his Pastoral Care, Pope Gregory the Great (died 604) had discussed the extensive range of duties that bishops owed their flock as huius saeculi potentes, "the powers of these ages"; hence some historians prefer to see the origins of secular powers in the age of the Byzantine suzerainty over the bishop of Rome. Yet "Justinian I succeeded in imposing his ecclesiastical policies on the papacy and Pope Gregory the Great maintained an attitude of political loyalty to the empire."
Charlemagne's crowning, however, was perhaps the first moment in which the Church was generally granted a power of control of the imperial dignity, thus demonstrating a sort of power of international veto. Subsequently, the Donation of Constantine was forged to provide a legal basis for the temporal power.
The temporal power has often been discussed[by whom?] in politics, in philosophy and in theology, mainly given that its practical effects were often very far from the official religious doctrine. The same story with the inquisition, quite commonly considered as a mere instrument of the temporal power (therefore with no accepted religious meaning); it is perhaps the moment of the greatest distance between the Gospel and the Roman curia.
The common reply to critics usually considers that the final goal of spreading the Good News (working for the diffusion of the Catholic faith), was so important that some "unavoidable" passages had to be crossed, practicing at times some of Machiavelli's political lessons.
The temporal power was abolished by Napoleon Bonaparte, who dissolved the Papal States and incorporated Rome and Latium into his French Empire. The temporal power was restored by the Great Powers at the 1815 Congress of Vienna. The Napoleonic civil laws were abolished, and most civil servants were removed from office. Popular opposition to the reconstituted corrupt clerical government led to numerous revolts, which were suppressed by the intervention of the Austrian army.
- "He was a ferocious fanatic, whose object was to destroy all the improvements of modern times, and force society back to the government, customs, and ideas of medieval days. In his insensate rage against progress he stopped vaccination; consequently, small-pox devastated the Roman provinces during his reign, along with many other curses which his brutal ignorance brought upon the inhabitants of those beautiful and fertile regions. He curtailed the old privileges of the municipalities, granted new privileges to the religious communities, and enlarged the power of the clergy to the extent that bishops and cardinals had the power of life and death in their hands. He set the Inquisition to work with new vigor; and though torture had been nominally abolished in 1815, new kinds of torment were invented, quite as effectual as the cord, the thumbscrew, and the rack of old times. He renewed the persecution of the Jews; drove them back into the Ghetto from whence they had begun to emerge, rebuilt its walls, and had them locked in at night; and issued an edict ordering all Israelites to sell their goods within a given time on pain of confiscation." 
When Pius IX was elected pope in 1846, one of his first acts was to grant an amnesty to more than 2,000 political prisoners. In November 1848, following the assassination of his minister Pellegrino Rossi, Pius IX fled Rome. During a political rally in February 1849, a young Roman priest, the Abbé Arduini, described the temporal power of the popes as a "historical lie, a political imposture, and a religious immorality."  On 9 February 1849, the newly-elected Roman Assembly proclaimed the Roman Republic (19th century). Subsequently, the Constitution of the Roman Republic abolished the temporal power, although the independence of the pope as head of the Catholic Church was guaranteed by article 8 of the "Principi fondamentali." Religious freedom was guaranteed by article 7, while the death penalty was abolished by article 5, and free public education was provided by article 8 of the "Titolo I".
At the end of June 1849, the Roman Republic was crushed by 40,000 French troops sent by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (later Napoleon III), at the urging of the rabid ultramontane French clerical party. The temporal power was restored and propped up by a French garrison.
In 1859–60, the Papal States lost Romagna, Marche and Umbria. These regions were incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy, and the temporal power was reduced to Rome and the region of Lazio. At this point, some ultramontane groups proposed that the temporal power be elevated into a dogma. According to Raffaele De Cesare:
The first idea of convening an Ecumenical Council in Rome to elevate the temporal power into a dogma, originated in the third centenary of the Council of Trent, which took place in that city in December, 1863, and was attended by a number of Austrian and Hungarian prelates.
However, following the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, Austria had recognized the Kingdom of Italy. Consequently, because of this and other substantial political changes: "The Civiltà Cattolica suggested that the papal infallibility should be substituted for the dogma of temporal power ..." 
On 20 September 2000, there was an item in the Catholic publication Avvenire, which stated:
That in 1970, precisely on 20 September 1970, Pope Paul VI sent Cardinal Angelo Dell'Acqua, his vicar for Rome, to Porta Pia to celebrate the "providential" significance of the loss of the temporal power. Since then, at least since then, Porta Pia has also been a Catholic celebration!
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Formally, the temporal power was restored in 1929 with the treaty between the Vatican State and Italy (Concordat), when the papacy accepted to have no more interests on Italy, its closest neighbor, and therefore on any other country. Of course, the influence of the Vatican still is relevant and evident, even now, and is mostly considered as a spiritual voice.
Some small degree of temporal power persists in the formal government of the Vatican City as an independent state.
- Some authors define the medieval church as as a theocracy, e.g. H. Spruyt, "the empire, the feudal lordships, and the theocratic church" in The Sovereign State and its competitors: an analysis of systems change, 1996, or J.G. Francis, "The best example of a European theocracy in the last century was the Papal state" in The Evolving Regulatory Structure of European Church-State Relationships; apologists and critics may contrast this with perceived anomalies in a "theocracy" of a regular standing army and an active international political life.
- T. S. Brown, "The Church of Ravenna and the Imperial Administration in the Seventh Century" The English Historical Review 94, No. 370 (January 1979, pp. 1–28) p. 1
- Will Durant (1953). The Renaissance. Chapter XXI: The Political Collapse: 1494-1534, page 619. The councilors of Leo X literally consulted Machiavelli, who had observed the Borgias (the family of earlier Pope Alexander VI).
- G. S. Godkin, Life of Victor Emmanuel II, Macmillan (1880) pp. xiii–xiv
- Jasper Ridley, Garibaldi, Viking Press (1976) p. 268
- De Cesare, Raffaele (1909). The Last Days of Papal Rome. Archibald Constable & Co. p. 422.
- De Cesare, Raffaele (1909). The Last Days of Papal Rome. Archibald Constable & Co. p. 423.