Ultramontanists (from. ultramontes, "beyond the mountains"), the name applied to those who recognize the papal claim of supremacy, over every part of, the Church, as well as over every sovereign within its boundaries; and also, since 1870, to those who, accept the decrees of the Vatican Council. Ultramontanism dates from Gregory VII, who propounded the following claims: "Quod solus papa possit uti imperialibus in, signiis; quod solius papse pedes omnes principes deos:, culentur; quod ili liceat imperatores deponere; quod a fidelitate iniquorum. subjectos potest absolvere." These views are principally maintained in the Italian peninsula, but it is the tone generally adopted by English seceders. The free action of national churches is wholly superseded by such pretensions. The theory has apparently grown up from the feudal relations of the papacy as a temporal power. An assertion of authority so incompatible with catholic liberty aroused opposition on the other side of the Alps, in the Gallican and German churches, and in the Swiss cantons. Bellarmine's statements are important as regards papal infallibility. He sets forth the opinion of divines in four propositions: (1) The Roman pontiff ruling any point, even in an ecumenical council, may be guilty of heresy, and of teaching others heresy which has de flicto, happened;" (2) "The Roman pontiff may be heretical and teach heresy, if he rule anything apart from synodical assistance, and this has happened de flicto;" (3) "The pope cannot be in any way heretical, nor teach heresy publicly, even though he rule any point on his own responsibility alone;" (4) That "whether the pope can be heretical or not, he can rule nothing heretical as a point to be believed by the whole Church." After the Council of Constance the question of the direct or indirect power of the papacy over states and sovereigns became the chief point of dispute, and everywhere assumed a national character. In Germany Febronius (bishop Hontheim) wrote a powerful work against Ultranontanism; and in 1786, at the Convention of Ems, the archbishops of Mentz, Treves, Cologne, and Salzburg denounced it. In Italy its chief opponent in the last century was Scipione Ricci, bishop of Pistoja, who convened a synod in that city, September, 1786, and promulgated disciplinary decrees and a doctrinal exposition favoring extreme Gallicanism and Jansenism. These were partially confirmed, April 23, 1787, by an assembly of the bishops of Tuscany, but were condemned by Pius VI, in the dogmatic bull Auctorens fidei, Aug. 28, 1794.
The practical influence of Ultramontane theories was greatly reduced during the reconstruction of southern Europe that attended the career of Napoleon I, who paid little regard to the papal claims; but the principles were still maintained, and on the Bourbon restoration they were reasserted.
Among modern assertors of the Ultramontane theory the most strenuous are English Romanists, especially neophytes. Among Continental writers are bishop Ziegler, Das katholische Glaubels princip; Carovo, Die alleinseligmachende Kirche; Der Papst im Verhdiltniss zum Katholicismmus; and the abbé Lamennais in his journal L'Avenir. Perhaps the work of greatest influence is Mohler's Symbolik (1832). For a fuller account of the controversies to which the claims of Ultramontanism have given rise, SEE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION; SEE INFALLIBILITY; SEE PAPACY.