|Pope Alexander III|
One such example was Pope Alexander III, a native of Siena, who was faced by an invasion on the part of the famed German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. More than that, he also faced an attempt to usurp his spiritual authority as the Emperor appointed his own anti-pope and tried to have Alexander III deposed. Pope Alexander III rallied the city-states of northern Italy, behind the leadership of Papal Rome, to create a coalition of about fifteen cities known as the Lombard League to oppose the German invasion of Frederick Barbarossa. In 1176 at the Battle of Legnano the combined Italian forces of the Lombard League administered a crushing defeat on Emperor Frederick in one of the most famous victories in Italian history. It was also Alexander III who clearly defined the rules for the election of the Bishop of Rome. The Lombard League that he organized was not permanent but it did reform on more than one occasion, sometimes with somewhat different membership, as the states of northern Italy banded together to fight off foreign attacks, usually coming from Germany.
|Pope Julius II approving plans for St Peter's Basilica|
|Pope Clement VII|
Gioberti being perhaps the most prominent example. When Pius IX was elected to the See of Peter many thought he would be the ideal man for the job and, early on, the Pope gave every indication that this was the case. He had shown sympathy for the Italian nationalists and had spoken in public of the "Italian nation". The Austrian Empire was so nervous that he would be a leader in this area that they planned to use the imperial veto to prevent his election but their cardinal arrived too late. It was not to be however and Pius IX eventually turned against the unification movement. Still, with such a long history of papal support, it would be wrong to view the Church or the Papacy itself as being solidly opposed to the concept and, with the signing of the Lateran Treaty, the two finally came together. It should also be remembered that when the choice between the monarchy and a republic came up after World War II the Church under Pius XII (himself from a "Black Nobility" family) was firmly in support of the monarchy and the House of Savoy. Catholics and monarchists should march together toward the goal of restoration for a united, independent and Catholic Kingdom of Italy.