Ultramontanism literally alludes to a policy supporting those dwelling "beyond the mountains" (ultra montes), that is beyond the Alps - generally referring to the Pope in Rome. In particular, ultramontanism may consist in alleging the superiority of Papal authority over the authority of local temporal or spiritual hierarchies.
The actual origins of the term is relative and technical ecclesiastical language from the Middle Ages: when a non-Italian pope was elected he was said to be a papa ultramontano.
The word was revived after the Protestant Reformation. Among the northern European governments and peoples there gradually developed an tendency to regard the papacy as a foreign power. This name of Ultramontain was applied in France to the supporters of the Roman doctrines and papal superiority, as opposed to the "Gallican liberties". The term was intended to be insulting, or at least to convey the implication of a failing in attachment to one's own country. From the 17th century, ultramontanism became closely associated with the Society of Jesus, stating the superiority of popes over councils and kings, even in temporal questions.
In the 18th century the word passed to Germany (Josephinism and Febronianism), where it acquired a much wider signification, being applicable to all the conflicts between Church and State, the supporters of the Church being called Ultramontanes. (It is in this sense that Paleoconservatives in the United States are sometimes referred to as being Ultramontanist.) The Vatican Council issued numerous written attacks upon Ultramontanism. In it sense of papal dominance over the Church the word is used in opposition to Cisalpinism
The word ultramontanism was revived in the context of the French Third Republic as a general insulting terms for policies advocating the involvement of the Roman Catholic Church in the policies of the French government, in opposition to la´citÚ.
Categories: Political movements | 17th century | French politics | Roman Catholic Church history
Ultramontanism (from Latin, meaning "beyond the mountains"; specifically, beyond the Alps, in Rome) refers to the position of those Roman Catholics who historically have emphasized the importance of centralized papal authority over the authority of kings and regional ecclesiastical hierarchies.
Among the basic tenets of ultramontanism were the superiority of popes over councils and kings, even in temporal questions, the primacy of the popes over all other bishops, and, in some cases, papal infallibility in matters of faith and morals.
Ultramontanism means literally "beyond the mountains" (Alps), the term usually refers to a movement within the Roman Catholic Church in the nineteenth century that opposed conciliar and nationalist decentralization and advocated centralization of power in the papacy in order to restore the spiritual vigor of the church.
Ultramontanism is a religious philosophy within the Roman Catholic community that places strong emphasis on the prerogatives and powers of the pope.
In particular, ultramontanism may consist in alleging the superiority of Papal authority over the authority of local temporal or spiritual hierarchies (including the local bishop).
Within the Roman Catholic Church, Ultramontanism achieved victory over conciliarism at the First Vatican Council with the pronouncement of papal infallibility (the ability of the pope to define dogmas free from error ex cathedra) and of papal supremacy, i.e., supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary jurisdiction of the Roman Pope.
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