26 MARCH 1954, Page 34

Pio Nono: A Study in European Politics and Religion in

the Nineteenth Century. By E. E. Y. Hales. (Eyre and Spottiswoode. 25s.) Pto NONO was Pope for thirty-two years, and this book is an attempt to defend his policies during this long pontificate, in both spiritual and political matters. The very vastness of this subject has imposed strict limitations on Mr. Hales; nor can anything definitive be written about Pius IX until the Vatican archives are accessible. Nevertheless it would have been better to have attempted more than a justification; it does not really matter whether one approves of the Roman Republic or approves of the Pope's actions. What matters is that one should try to understand and explain the events of 1848, and this Mr. Hales does not do. He does increase our understanding of Pius himself, and corrects the generally accepted views on a number of matters, such as the Syllabus of Errors (1864), where he shows its close connection with Italian politics. But by concentrating too much on the Pope, and by trying to defend him at every step, many important matters are too easily dismissed. The struggle between the Church and much of society can only be explained by going beyond the Pope as an individual, and examining the various forces in European history which, as much as the Pope himself, helped to make the modern Papacy. D. J.