The Papacy in the Modern World 1565-1958


Not Offered in 2020

This unit will trace the changing nature of the papacy throughout the period 1565-1958. Attention will focus on the main occupiers of the Roman See and the external challenges faced by each. These include a fractured Christianity, the rise of the nation state, the challenges of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, the growth of nationalism, the ‘social question’ and some of the intellectual challenges of the early twentieth century. Consideration will also be given to the papacy in its relation with various states and national and local Churches. Some attention will also be devoted to its role in missionary endeavours, ecumenism and the arts and sciences. 




face-to-face 3-hour weekly classes in semester


second level
  • one 1,000-word seminar paper 30%
  • one 3,000-word essay 70%
third level
  • one 1,000-word seminar paper 30%
  • one 4,000-word essay 70%


  • Atkin, Nicholas, and Frank Tallett. Priests, Prelates and People: A History of European Catholicism since 1750. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Burleigh, Michael. Earthly Powers: The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe from the French Revolution to the Great War. London: Harper Collins, 2006.
  • Chadwick, Owen. A History of the Popes 1830–1914. Oxford History of the Christian Church. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Coppa, Frank. The Papacy in the Modern World: A Political History. London: Reaktion Books, 2014. 
  • Duffy, Eamon. Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.
  • Kent, Peter C., and John F. Pollard, eds. Papal Diplomacy in the Modern Age. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1994.
  • O’Malley, John W. A History of the Popes: From Peter to the Present. New York: Sheed & Ward, 2010.
  • Pollard, John F. Money and the Rise of the Modern Papacy: Financing the Vatican 1850–1950. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
  • ———. The Papacy in the Age of Totalitarianism 1914-1958. Oxford History of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. 
  • Wright, Anthony D. The Early Modern Papacy: From the Council of Trent to the French Revolution, 1564–1789. Longman History of the Papacy. Harlow: Longman, 2000.