The First Vatican Council
How much authority does the pope still claim to have in an increasingly secularizing Western world? In this brief clip, W. Robert Godfrey examines how the Roman Catholic Church attempted to respond to the problem of papal authority with its First Vatican Council.
And so, Pius IX, who lived a long time – he reigned down till 1878, 32 years; that is a very long papal reign at any time in history – Pius IX concluded that there ought to be an ecumenical council of the church called. It would meet in the Vatican, and its primary task would be to reassert and clarify the power of the papacy. This council meeting in 1870 in the Vatican is known today as the First Vatican Council, since there has been a second one since in the 20th century. But this First Vatican Council was intended by Pius to be a strong and effective testimony to who the pope was, how he must be recognized, and what should be thought of the papacy. And so, the declarations of the First Vatican Council are very important for us to remember because they continue to be the official position of the Roman Catholic Church.