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Pius IX

Pope from 1846. Born Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti, he was archbishop of Spoleto (1827) and bishop of Imola (1832) before his election as pope. He enjoyed the longest pontificate in history and consummated the spiritual renewal of the Roman Church in the nineteenth century. His central task was the identification and promotion of devoutly Catholic faith and practice in distinction from the many non-Christian and anti-Catholic philosophical or societal movements. Two world-historical events summarized his reign: the end of papal temporal power (1859-61, 1870), and the First Vatican Council (1869-70).