Pacca, Bartolomeo

Pacca, Bartolomeo an Italian prelate of note in secular and ecclesiastical history, was born at Benevento Dec. 15, 1756, of a noble family. After studying at the college in Naples and at the Clementine College in Rome, he entered in 1778 the ecclesiastical school which Pius VI had just then founded. Pacca here gained not only the esteem of his teachers, but he was brought to the notice of the pope, who became so much interested in him that he was ordained archbishop in partibus of Damietta, and was despatched to Cologne as papal nuncio. Abroad the same capacity which distinguished him at school was manifest, and he was frequently instrumental in strengthening papal influence at a time when it was difficult to stay the tide of its decline. In 1794 he returned to Rome, only, however, to assume at once the papal novitiate at Lisbon, and there he remained until 1802. His services to the papal chair in this quarter were so great that in 1801 he was created a cardinal by pope Pius VII, and in 1808 was made a papal minister of state, as successor to Consalvis. In this new position Pacca proved an enthusiast. He urged the pope to unbending resistance against Napoleon, and would suffer the pontiff to listen to no proposals except the most favorable for Rome. When Napoleon gained possession of Rome Pacca was therefore arrested, together with the pope, and imprisoned as a rebel, July 6, 1809. After the Concordat at Fontainebleau in 1813, Pacca was suffered to go free, but his counsel to publish a bull of excommunication made his reimprisonment a necessity, and he was banished to Uzes, until the fall of Napoleon set him free again. He entered Rome May 14, 1814, in the same carriage with the pope, whom he had served so faithfully. In 1815 he was again the companion of the pontiff in his flight from the Eternal City. After the pope's return to Rome Pacca became a member of the Congregation for Missions in China, and in 1816 was sent on a special mission to Austria. In 1821 he was made bishop of Porto and St. Rufinus. In 1830 he was given the sees of Ostia and Velletri, and was made prodatarius of the holy see, and archpriest of the Basilica of St. John of Lateran. He died April 19, 1844. He was actuated to the last by a strong desire to re-establish the. papacy in its former glory, and was convinced that the power of the pope could be secure only by a firm adherence to the ecclesiastical rights which obtained in the Middle Ages. He was also a great friend of the Jesuits, and it was his influence with the pope that caused their restoration. Pacca narrated his experiences in a most agreeable and skilful manner, under the title Memorie istoriche, etc. (2d ed. Rome, 1830, 3 vols.). He also wrote Relazione del viaggio di pope Pio VII (Rome, 1833), etc. His complete works were published and translated into French and German. See Biographie Universeile, vol. 76, s.v.; Ami de la Religion, Mai, 1844 (Paris); L'Univers (Paris, 1844); Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.; Biographie Univ. et portat. des Contemporains, vol. v, s.v.

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