Ambrogio Ratti (Pius XI) elected Pope

Pope Pius XI (Latin: Pius PP. XI; Italian: Pio XI; 31 May 1857 – 10 February 1939), born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was Pope from 6 February 1922, and sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929 until his death on 10 February 1939. He issued numerous encyclicals including Quadragesimo Anno highlighting capitalistic greed of international finance, social justice issues and Quas Primas establishing the feast of Christ the King. He took as his papal motto "Christ's peace in Christ's kingdom".
Achille Ratti had the most unusual papal career in the 20th century. Throughout his life he was an accomplished scholar, librarian and humble priest. He celebrated his 60th birthday as a priest on 31 May 1917 and fewer than five years later, on 10 February 1922, he was elected Pope, succeeding Pope Benedict XV, who was only thirty months older and thus from the same generation as Ratti. In those five years he had short stints as papal nuncio in Poland, which forced him to leave the country, and as Archbishop of Milan and Cardinal-Priest of Ss. Silvestro e Martino ai Monti, where he served for a few months before being elected Pope. He chose the name Pius, and his personality was strong, similar to Pius IX and Pius X. But as a scholar, he was open to science and research like no other Pope since Leo XIII. To establish or maintain the position of the Church, he fostered and concluded a record number of concordats including the Reichskonkordat with Germany. Under his pontificate, the 1870 stalemate concerning the Roman Question with Italy over the status of the papacy was finally solved in the Lateran Treaty of 1929 with the assistance of Cardinal Pietro Gasparri and Francesco Pacelli, brother of the future Pope Pius XII. He was unable to stop the Terrible Triangle consisting of massive Church persecution and killing of clergy in Mexico, Spain and the Soviet Union. While in Mexico and Spain, the persecution was mainly directed against the Catholic Church, hostility in the Soviet Union were directed against all Christians but especially against the Eastern Catholic Churches united with the Vatican. He vehemently protested against both Communism and National Socialism as demeaning to human dignity and a violation of basic human rights, but found no echo or support in the democracies of the West, which he labelled a Conspiracy of Silence. Against totalitarian demands, he fostered the freedom of families to determine on their own the direction of education of their children.
In one of his most important encyclicals on the social order of modern society, Quadragesimo Anno he stated that social and economic issues are vital to the Church not from a technical point of view but in terms of moral and ethical issues involved. Ethical considerations include the nature of private property. in terms of its functions for society the development of the individual. He defined fair wages and branded the exploitation both materially and spiritually by international capitalism. He canonized important saints including Albertus Magnus, Thomas More, Petrus Canisius, Konrad von Parzham and Don Bosco. He beatified and canonized Thérèse de Lisieux, for whom he held special reverence. He created the feast Christ the King in response to Mussolini's earthly dictatorship.
Pius XI took strong interests in fostering the participation of lay people throughout the Church, especially in the Catholic Action movement. The end of his pontificate were dominated by defending the Church from intrusions into Catholic life and education.

Pius XI assumed the position of pope shortly after the end of World War I, a time when many were still recovering from the devastation and a few still seemed hungry for further conflict. As a result, one of the tasks he set before himself was the development of a "Pax Christiana," a peace and soothing of tensions based upon Christian notions of love and brotherhood. He vastly increased the numbers of missionaries and priests throughout South and Southeast Asia in order to spread the message of Catholicism (the total number of missionaries around the world doubled during his pontificate), something which was not always welcome and which continues today to exacerbate tensions between Christianity and other religions.

Pius XI also did not always manage to ease tensions among different Christian groups. He encouraged Eastern Orthodox churches to unite once again with Rome - but of course on the terms dictated by Catholicism, something which could hardly endear him with Eastern Orthodox leaders. He also rejected many of the efforts of ecumenical groups, declaring in 1928 that Christ's Church does not consist of many different, independent organizations which believe and teach different doctrines.

There were also a number of efforts to bring the Church into greater harmony with the modern world. In 1931 he installed the first radio in Vatican city and in 1936 he founded the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. On the political front, he made an important advancement when he signed the Lateran Treaty on February 11, 1929. With this document the Holy See recognized the existence of the kingdom of Italy and the Vatican was recognized as an independent state.

Less successful was his concordat with Hitler in 1933 - Pius XI regarded communism as a much more serious threat to the Catholic Church than Nazism, thus sought to appease Hitler in the effort to protect the rights of Catholics in Germany. Pius' fundamental fear of modernism, something he shared with his predecessors, lead him to support Franco, the leader of fascism in Spain. According to Pius' way of thinking, it was better to have a repressive fascist in power who also supported traditional social structures than a democratically elected leader who might undermine traditional social structures. It was not until 1937, when he issued the encyclical Mit brenneder Sorge, that he condemned aspects of Nazism.