Wednesday, November 26
Catholics: Pio Nono Wants You to Have a Fun Time
"Meanwhile, in the Holy City, the pope tried hard to buck up his supporters' sagging spirits. In February 1864, Odo Russell, Britain's perceptive--if acerbic--envoy to Rome, reported that Pius was eager for the upcoming Carnival celebrations to be as successful as ever. The partisans of Italian unification responded by calling for a boycott. The Italianissimi, Russell wrote, "won't attend the Carnival and won't dance, whilst the Papalini or neri ["blacks"; the Roman aristocrats devoted to the pope were called the black nobility] dance frantically to show their devotion to the Pope because His Holiness told two old princesses that he wished all the faithful to be [...] happy. In consequence we saw this winter at the balls given by the pious Papalini, the oldest dowagers attempting to be frolicksome, and old Princess Borghese, who has scarcely been able to walk for the last half-century, hobbled through a quadrille with Field Marshal Duke Saldanha who has not danced since the Congress of Vienna, and all this in the name of religion!"
--David I. Kertzner, Prisoner of the Vatican: The Popes, the Kings, and Garibaldi's Rebels in the Struggle to Rule Modern Italy, p. 14.