Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti

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Noun1.Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti - Italian pope from 1846 to 1878 who in 1854 declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary
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Astonishingly (in retrospect), when Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti began his 32-year reign as Pope Pius IX in 1846, some Italian nationalists viewed the new pontiff as a potential ally in liberating and unifying Italy because of his modest reforms--releasing political prisoners, allowing Jews to build homes outside the Ghetto walls in his territories and even introducing gas streetlights.
Pio Nono, in fact, emerges as the key villain, both real and symbolic, of the book: an ignorant, petulant-when-not-hysterical power-monger (he once made a group of liberal German bishops kiss his shoe in obeisance), Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti represents for Wills something like the outer limit of obscurantism and duplicity, culminating in his rigged definition of papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council.