Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Beatification of Pope Innocent XI

After I posted a video of the canonization of St Pius X on September 3rd, his EF feast day, YouTube came up with a useful “you might like” suggestion, a similar report on the beatification of Pope Innocent XI, who was elected on this day in 1676, and reigned for just shy of 13 years. His cause was begun more than once, but stalled at the objections of the French monarchy, with whom he had several clashes over matters of Church-State relations. (These clashes were so severe that at one point, the Pope placed the French royal church in Rome under interdict.) By the 20th century, the controversies had largely passed, and he was beatified on October 7, the feast of the Holy Rosary, in 1956. In the translation below, I have taken a few liberties with the excessively purple prose of the Italian commentary.

“A day of great rejoicing and faith for the Catholic religion; Benedict Odescalchi, who, on ascending to the pontifical throne, was called Innocent, eleventh of that name, is today raised to the glory of the altars. Thick crowds approach the largest church in Christendom, many foreigners among them, especially increased by the presence of the Hungarians. [note] (0:30) And now, everyone’s the gaze is concentrated on the ascetic figure of the Supreme Pastor, who comes forward on the sedes gestatoria. The acclamations of the multitude rise loud and clear, as the Pontiff raises his hand in fatherly blessing. The successor of Peter, kneeling before the altar of the Chair, concentrates a long while in prayer; the brief and solemn ceremony is celebrated by Mons. Bonomini, bishop of Como (where Pope Innocent was born in 1611). Thus, as Pius XII affirmed in his radio discourse, the deep holiness of Innocent XI’s great soul is revealed in the sacred halo of the blessed which shines around his head, and the glorifies the triple diadem of the Popes, as if to symbolize his three greatest works: as reformer of the Church, vindicator of its rights, and defender of Christendom.”

[note] Pope Innocent was the principal organizers of the Holy League between the Papal States, the Holy Roman Empire, then headed by the Hapsburg monarch Leopold I, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, ruled by King Jan III Sobieski, and the Venetian Republic. This was the alliance that led to the great defeat of the Ottoman Turks outside the gates of Vienna on September 12, 1683, in thanksgiving for which the Pope instituted the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. Over the next 16 years, the Ottomans suffered a dramatic series of defeats, and were almost entirely driven out of the territories of the Kingdom of Hungary which they had overrun in the previous century. The large presence of Hungarians noted by the commentator is due to this fact.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: