Sunday, February 06, 2022

The Centenary of Pius XI’s Election

Today is the one hundredth anniversary of the Papal election of Cardinal Achille Ratti, who look the name Pius XI. He was ordained a priest of Milan in 1879 at the age of 22, and had spent much of his early career as a scholar in the Ambrosian and Vatican Libraries, both of which he very effectively reorganized and modernized. In 1919, he was appointed the first Apostolic Nuncio to the newly reconstituted state of Poland, and ordained a bishop very shortly thereafter. Within less than 2 years, in June of 1921, he was raised to the cardinalate and made archbishop of his native city, a position in which he would serve for less than eight months before his papal election. His papacy lasted for almost exactly 17 years; he died on Feb. 10, 1939, two days before the anniversary of his coronation.

Here is some footage from the time of the election, from the always interesting archives of British Pathé (still silent in 1922), followed by some pictures collected by another native son of the Ambrosian church, our own Nicola de’ Grandi.

Masses in the Sistine Chapel
And in St Peter’s Basilica

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