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Pope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII  256th Roman Pontiff from 1878 to 1903

256th Pontiff (1878-1903)

Pope Leo XIII Coat of Arms

Pope Leo XIII was born Vincenzo Gioacchino Pecci in Carpineto Romana of Italian nobility on March 2, 1810.  Having studied with the Jesuits, Pope Leo XIII was ordained a priest in 1837, became Archbishop of Damietta and Perugia, cardinal in 1957,  and was installed as pope on March 3, 1878.

Pope Leo XIII was part of the Italian intelligencia and opened the archives of the Vatican Library to scholars.  He was opposed to naturalism and communism and wanted the world to know that the Holy See was at the mercy of an Italian anticlerical government.

Pope Leo XIII wanted the papacy to be involved in Italy's economic, social, and political affairs. He successfully prevented the Italian government from passing divorce laws.

French novelist and naturalism proponent Emile Zola's description of Pope Leo XIII:  "[Pope Leo] is more intellectual than sentimental, with unbounded pride, having from his youth had the highest ambitions, demonstrating everywhere and in everything he did, the determination, once pope, to rule, to rule at all costs, to rule as an absolute..."

Pope Leo XIII died July 20, 1903.

Pope Leo XIII Coat of Arms

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