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Part One - Pope Pius IX
In the 19th century, several historical figures contributed towards shaping Christianity, integrating it with the political systems and cultural activities of the people across the world. Additionally, this period was characterized by different conflicts that threatened the spread of Christianity and adoption of the moral principals as attributed by the church. This was the period when Christianity was on the verge of collapse, thanks to the election of Pius IX as the 225th pope of Rome (Coppa, 1979). Pius IX became the longest-serving pope in the history of papal pontification (Coppa, 1979). Being a devoted Christian with influences on the social, political and religious matters, Pius IX defended the church from political threats that could interfere with the spread of Christianity and sanity in the entire world. He was the last pope to rule as a sovereign of the papal states. During his election as the pope of Roman Catholic and the leader of Christianity who played the same roles as Saint Peter, entire Europe including the Italian Peninsula was undergoing political ferment (Coppa, 1979). He took the name Pius in honour of the Pius VII who suffered as a prisoner during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte. Pius IX was elected as the Pope by the cardinals who were sympathetic to the political liberations that were spreading across Europe. This faction of cardinals believed that Pius IX could use the religious influence to avert the political interferences with the church and the entire Christianity. For a long period of time, Christians suffered, many killed while others became prisoners because of their faith. The 19th century was the period when Christianity faced stiff opposition from the political actors, a situation that required a stronger believer who understands the cultural and political barriers in the spread of Christianity and moral principles (Coppa, 1979).
Pius IX style of governance of the papal state elaborates evidence of his own liberal sympathizers. Under his leadership, several political prisoners were released from prisons and the Rome was granted the constitutional framework, a scenario that would later change the administration of Christianity. Pius's Christian policies towards countries, such as Germany, France and Russia were successful although the processes applied in the administration of the policies were faced with opposition from the political actors (Coppa, 1979). Additionally, the process was also influenced by the internal developments and the changing secular institutions. The papal concordat was also completed in different states such as Portugal, Canada, Spain, Venezuela, Tuscany, Honduras, Haiti and Ecuador, the mission helped in the spread of morality and the Christian principles to many people across the globe. Pius IX also sent different priests and bishops to Peru and Chile to aids the Apostolic Nuncio, some of the priests led the first mission to post-revolutionary South America (Hackett, 2003). The above mission was meant to map out the role of the church in the South American states that had just attained their independence. Pius IX was, therefore, the first pope to visit America for liturgical purposes.
Amidst the formulation of church values, moral principles and Christian virtues, the church policies of Pius IX were dominated by the protection of the rights of the church as well as the free practice of religion for Christians in countries such as Ottoman Empire and Russia; the defence was however on the behalf of the Catholics. Pius IX fought against the anti-catholic philosophies in countries such as Germany, France and Italy; this was in his line with the plans to increase the spread of Christianity and to eradicate the secular believed of the people in these continents. In the period leading to the 1848 revolution, Pius IX was one of the most passionate reformers advised by great innovative thinkers (Coppa, 1979). He managed to integrate the Christian values with social values cross different nations. Through his policies, he managed to convince the people of the need to adopt Christian values and to enhance the development of the moral society. In addition, Pius was able to reconcile the new free thinking about the human rights as well as the classical natural law which are the traditions of the teaching of the church in the economic order and political affairs. In other words, he encouraged the social justice systems, an idea that continues to guide Christians to date. After the revolution of 1848, his attempt to integrate Christian policies with the political matters attempted to calm the tension that was rising between the political actors and the religious leaders (Coppa, 1979). He defines morality to be the basis of every action undertaken by a human. Pius gave too many resources to charities, making him live like a pauper. He freed the prisoners captured during the revolution by offering amnesty to the revolutionaries, a step that surprised monarchs from different parts of the globe. Within one year into the office, he appointed different cardinals who formed the assembly of lay people to assist in the formation of policies aimed at taming the political interference to the religious matters. His actions and the way of governing were greatly applauded by the entire Christianity including the Protestants (Marty, 1984). In the end, he was celebrated in London, Berlin and New York. Pius IX also work beyond the religious issues; he formulated the education policies which were mainly a continuation of the religious matters. The church gave priorities to the Catholic education with a little emphasis on the science and other subjects. The above scenario enables a lot of engagement on the Christian issues, a situation that led to the spread of Christianity and moral principles. Although education was not mandatory to the Papal States, he attempted to spread different religious activities to encourage people to embrace Christian values. The secondary education was mainly controlled by the Catholic institutes and other religious orders. The influential Pius IX approved over seventy-five new religious congregation for women alone. In France, Pius IX developed over two hundred new dioceses and came up with new hierarchies in different countries. During the time of Pius IX, early Christianity was mainly an urban faith, it was mainly practised in the city centres majorly in the Roman Empire. Majority of the people lived in the crowded tenements and as a result, there were few secrets. The above belief was, however, terminated by the Pius IX who saw the need to spread Christianity to different locations by the help of different priests, cardinals and bishops. Towards the end of his last days, Pius IX was perceived as the major contributor in the spread of Christianity and the Catholic policies in different parts of the Europe, South America, Asia and even Africa. Most of the policies applied by the missionaries were mainly based on the Catholic policies that were initially formulated by the Pius IX.
Part Two - John Wesley
Historical personalities in the religious context vary in terms of the roles that they played towards shaping up the Christianity. Different people contributed significantly to defending the church at various stages of development. Among these personalities, there are some who defended the church when it was on the verge of collapse during the intense political interferences. On the other hand, there are some individuals who continued with the work of Christian values as stipulated by the founders (Dieter, 1996). In the last five hundred years, on the surface, the Christian leaders appeared weak and powerless; they were the easy target for ridicule and scorn. They lacked financial resources, social status, buildings to conduct their religious activities, government approvals and lack of respect from the educators. The early Christian personalities were separated but consistently enhanced the spread of Christian values to many people. With the lack of institutional backing as well as the strong traditional system of religious doctrines, these personalities could not deliver effectively but attempted to improve the moral principals in different societies. They also came up with diverse policies that are even applicable to date. In the end, what mattered is what they achieved. They had faith, fellowship, introduced a new way of life and confidence in Christ and his teachings (Irvin & Sunquist, 2002). These were the most important things in the life of personalities who changed or shaped Christianity and moral values. They played significant roles in laying the Christian foundation for the western civilization. The three religious personalities that I would like to bring together into a common conversation are Pope Pius IX, Mother Theresa and John Wesley. These strong defenders of Christianity operated in the different time period but had the same dream of ensuring the spread of Christianity and positive values amidst the strong opposition from educators and political actors. The policies that they formulated continue to help Christians today. The theme or topic that would suit these personalities is;" overcoming the political and social interferences in the spread of Christianity."
This year, the world is marked the 300th Anniversary since the birth of John Wesley with publications, celebrations, conferences and many other commemorations. For the modern Christians, many people may wonder the differences that Wesley made to the society at large. Furthermore, while he was serving as a Parish minister in America, he did not last for two years before experiencing the wrath of colonists (Hutchison, 1987). The above scenario, therefore, means that he experienced the political interferences in an attempt to spread Christianity and moral values in America, making him become suitable for the above topic of discussion or theme. The policies attributed by John Wesley in America changed Methodism, and in the end, Methodism started returning the favour. At the beginning of 19th century, Methodist was still a small Protestant denomination existing among many others and by the beginning of 1900; it grew to become the largest Protestant denomination in America. John Wesley together with his hairs struggled to implement the policies that would encourage the advancement of Methodist church not only in America but also in the rest of Europe and other parts of the world. Amidst the pressure from colonists and the political influences, John Wesley and Methodism joined hands with other evangelically minded Christians in spreading moral values, promoting faith and reminding the none Christians on the importance of following the life of Christ. John Wesley work both in Europe and America led to the spread of Protestantism, a scenario that enhanced many people to take part in the spread of Christian virtues. For Wesley, Christianity was not a spectator sport but rather, a calling. His mission was to change the world and encourage positive social values and love of God through Christ.
In accordance to the above theme, John Wesley would become one of the best instructive and conversation partner, bearing in mind the challenges he faced in America at a time when the country was undergoing rapid political changes characterized by the lack of positive values and understanding of Christianity. With the experience that he acquired, he would be able to advise the modern Methodist as well as the entire Christians on the need to abolish segregation and racism in churches and in the Christian life (Ahlstrom, 1972). John Wesley would be the ideal instructor when it comes to the social and political challenges that continue to affect churches years after the death of missionaries and other Christians who had enthusiasm and passion to ensure the spread of Christianity.
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