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Ventura, Gioacchino (1792-1861)

Ventura, Gioacchino (1792-1861) a popular preacher and a leading proponent of an alliance between the catholic church and liberty, Ventura, the son of Paolo Ventura, the Baron of Raulica, was born in Palermo on December 8, 1792. He studied under the Jesuits and despite the objection of his parents joined that order. Disenchanted with the new superior of the Sicilian Jesuits, Ventura left the Jesuits in 1817 and entered the Theatine order. He served as superior general of the Theatines from 1830 to 1833. Ventura, attracted to the traditionalism of de Maistre and de Bonald, was an early supporter of Lamennais, but he remained submissive to the papacy. Ventura attempted to use his influence with Pius IX to nudge the latter toward consultative and representative government. Chosen by Pius IX to deliver the funeral oration for Daniel O'Connell in June 1847, Ventura's identification of religion and liberty electrified Rome.

Ventura enthusiastically supported the Sicilian revolution of January 12, 1848, and was named minister plenipotentiary and extraordinary commissioner to Rome by the new government. He was, above all, a proponent of limited government, of decentralization, and of constitutionalism. He supported the war against Austria and opposed the appointment of Pellegrino Rossi as chief minister in Rome. After the assassination of Rossi, Ventura opposed the flight of Pius IX to Neapolitan Gaeta. He stayed in Rome to promote the Sicilian cause and to defend the interests of the pope, but he became increasingly critical of Pius IX. Ventura was one of three priests elected to the constituent assembly, but declined his seat. However, as the representative of the Sicilian republic, he did recognize the Roman republic. In May, Ventura went to Civitavecchia. Unable to dissuade General Oudinot from attacking Rome, Ventura went into exile in France at the end of July. Though he submitted to the authority of the pope, he remained an Italian patriot. In 1861, the year of his death in Versailles, Ventura expressed his support for the Italian Kingdom established by the Piedmontese.

Bernard A. Cook


Andreu, Francesco "P. Gioacchino Ventura: Saggio Biografico," Regnum Dei, 1961, XVII: 1-161.

Cultrera, Paolo Della vita e delle opere del Rev. P. Gioacchino Ventura Palermo: Lorsnaider, 1877.

Eugenio Guccione ed. Gioacchino Ventura e il pensiero politico d'ispirazione cristiana dell'Ottocento Rome: Edizioni Studium, 1990.

Ventura, Gioacchino Discorso Funebre pei Morti di Vienna Rome: Cairo Filippo, 1848.

_______. Pio IX e L'Italia ossia Storia della sua Vita e degli Avvenimenti politici dei suo Pontificato Milan: Carlo Turati, 1848.

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