previous next

Private Life of the Pope.

--Some of our readers may like to know a little about the interior of a Papal palace. Those who have derived the idea of it from the luxurious reign of Leo X., may learn how staid, demure, and methodical a modern Pope is expected to be. His Court, though externally splendid, is austerely regulated, and his privy purse is estimated at Lot more than 4,260 Roman dollars per annum, though offerings from the faithful in various countries have (especially in the case of his present Holiness,) brought occasional augmentation to these narrow means.

Among the thousand chambers of the Vatican, few, and those not the largest, are reserved for his residence. In the Quirinal Palace he has a more magnificent suite, but his villa on the lake of Albano, and that lately purchased at Porto d'anzio, are surpassed in scale and grandeur by many country seats of gentlemen and noblemen in England. Though always appearing abroad with a cortege of chariots and mounted guards, in private his habits are simple, his dress entirely white, with a gold embroidered cross on the slipper, which is kissed in the act of that homage he usually dispenses with from non-Catholics at the presentation, and of which he himself sets the example, so far as Christian humility is implied, by kissing the feet of the priests (who are generally poor and strangers,) during the solemnity of Holy Thursday.--He holds no levees, but access to him is easy, through proper officials, for persons of almost every rank, with no other requirements as to etiquette of costume than black evening dress without gloves, and the veil for females. As to the private life of Pius IX., he daily celebrates Mass in his private chapel, and attends another Mass said by a chaplain; dedicates the entire morning, till and early dinner, to his duties; then drives out, and (when beyond the city walls,) usually walks; returns again to occupy his hours, till a rather late supper, in that routine of endless and ever-prescribed engagements that render the life of a Pope little else than a magnificent slavery.

Among these engagements, audiences, official and private, are not the least prominent or wearisome; and it is said his present Holiness has literally spent the day till 7 P. M., in one series of receptions. Most of the ecclesiastics enrolled in the Papal Court rank as prelates; and this household is at present composed of the Cardinal, the Secretary of State, (Perfect of the Apostolic Palaces,) a majordomo, a maestro di camera, an auditor, the maestro of the sacred palaces, (who is always a Dominican and head of the censorship over the press,) ten private chamberlains, 102 private supernumerary chamberlains, all, like the former, of practical rank.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Pope (1)
Life (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: