Pius VII: A strange conclave in Venice leads to another Pius and another conflict with Napoleon.
In this episode of Habemus Papam, Fr. Conrad discusses Pius VII, who succeeded Pius VI: Captured by Napoleon and died in Captivity, “Pius the Last”. You can listen to the podcast about him here.
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Born Barnaba Niccolo Maria Luigi Chiaramonti in Cesena, Italy in 1742 on August 14 as the youngest son of Count Scipione Chiaramonti and Giovanna Coronata.
He joined the Order of St. Benedict at the age of 14 and later took the name Gregorio on August 20, 1758. He taught at Benedictine colleges in Parma and Rome and received the sacrament of Holy Orders on September 21, 1765.
The French Army invaded Italy in 1797 and Cardinal Chiaramonti delivered a homily at Christmas. He stated: “Christian virtue makes men good democrats…. Equality is not an idea of philosophers but of Christ…and do not believe that the Catholic religion is against democracy.”
Pope Pius VI died in exile at Valence in 1799 and a conclave ensued in Venice to elect the next pope because Napoleon occupied Rome. They elected Cardinal Chiaramonti on March 14, 1800 and he chose the name Pius VII to honor his predecessor. He died in 1822 and Leo XII succeeded him.