Spirituality for Today – October 2014 – Volume 19, Issue 3

The 98th Pope
Saint Paschal I

An image of Saint Paschal I, the 98th PopeSaint Paschal I, the 98th Pope

Pope St. Paschal I (817-824) – The emperor, Louis the Pius, and Pope Paschal enjoyed a positive relationship, but the pope's harsh governing style caused him to be detested by the people. The Pactum Ludovicianum was an important document that solidified the pope's governance of the Papal States and deterred the emperor from interfering in ecclesiastical affairs. When the son of Louis the Pius, Lothair became emperor, he was more individualistic in his relationship with the pope. After an incident involving the murder of two supporters of Lothair and enemies of Paschal, the emperor was intending to look closely into the pattern of rule exercised by the pope. The death of Pope Paschal ended the matter.

From the East, iconoclasm was rearing its ugly head again. Pope Paschal tried in vain to convince the Byzantine emperor, Leo V, to suppress the movement. In Rome, he did effect the refurbishing of a number of churches. As mentioned above, the pope was so despised by the people of Rome that, at death, he was not allowed to be buried in the Basilica of Saint Peter. Although designated as a saint, even his feast day was suppressed in the twentieth century. What can one say? Apparently, he was a very difficult man to like.

Habemus papam