Ercole Consalvi, (born June 8, 1757, Rome—died Jan. 24, 1824, at age 66, Anzio, Papal States), Italian cardinal and statesman, who played the leading role in Vatican politics during the first quarter of the 19th century; he sought a modus vivendi between the new principles of the French Revolution and the traditions of the papacy.
Consalvi joined the papal government in 1783 and ascended through the ranks to become auditor of the Rota, a Curia tribunal, in 1792. During the French occupation of Rome in 1798, he was imprisoned and then exiled, and he became secretary of the conclave that was to elect a new pope in Venice under Austrian protection (November 1799). Cardinal Chiaramonti, a close friend, was elected Pope Pius VII (March 1800). Consalvi, a cardinal, and secretary of state-appointed by Pius instituted internal changes in the papal government to safeguard the pope’s temporal authority. Papal State Passport Consalvi
Recognizing the significance of reaching an agreement with France under Napoleon Bonaparte, he traveled to Paris to negotiate a concordat (1801), which established a new relationship between church and state with significant concessions from the French. Consalvi was compelled to retire as Secretary of State in 1806 by Napoleon, who saw him as a dangerous foe. Napoleon exiled Consalvi (1810–13) after imprisoning the Pope. Despite this, Consalvi remained a key figure in the anti-Napoleonic movement.
At the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), Consalvi, as the Vatican’s representative, succeeded in the face of great difficulty in obtaining the restitution of most of the Papal States in Italy. Again, he was wary of Austrian designs against the papal holdings as secretary of state. In 1816 he promoted Pius VII’s motu proprio, or personal proclamation, which aimed at a general reorganization of the government of the Papal States. Inspired by a spirit of tolerance and conciliation toward those who had previously been considered enemies of the church, this act reflects Consalvi’s constant desire to adapt the restored papal government to the times. Although these reasonable measures displeased the radicals and the reactionaries, Consalvi reached several accords with secular governments between 1817 and 1823. When Pius VII died in 1823, the conservatives triumphed by electing Leo XII pope, a significant defeat for Consalvi. He was removed from office and died shortly after that. Papal State Passport Consalvi
A Papal State passport is already rare nowadays and even more so when issued and signed by such a leading person as Consalvi.