Vincenzo Gioberti

1801-1852. Italian philosopher and statesman. Born in Turin, he was ordained priest at the age of twenty-four and was soon known for his great scholarship, leading to his appointment as professor in the theological school of Turin University. Suspected and hated for his liberal ideas, he was imprisoned and exiled to Paris in 1833. In exile his published work praised Italy and its civilization, and at the same time exhorted Italians to strive for unity and join in a confederation under papal leadership (“Neo-Guelphism”). The impact and success of his writings were great, and Pius IX's liberal policies seemed to confirm Gioberti's expectations. He returned to Turin, was elected member of parliament, and became prime minister of Piedmont during the first war of independence. Back in Paris after the Piedmontese defeat, disillusioned by the pope's volte-face and the waning of his utopian federation, he wrote a work that condemned the pope's temporal power and advocated the unity of Italy under the new Piedmontese king, Victor Emmanuel II, and his minister Cavour. His latter writings suggest the necessity of suppressing the papacy in order to renew the church.