pope clement vii


  • “[5][7] On the death of Pope Leo X in 1521, Adams writes there was a “ready inclination in all of the principal citizens [of Florence], and a universal desire among the people,
    to maintain the state in the hands of the Cardinal de’ Medici; and all this felicity arose from his good government, which since the death of the Duke Lorenzo, had been universally agreeable.

  • He declared modestly that he was unworthy of such high office; instead, he suggested the little-known Flemish scholar Cardinal Adrian Dedel, an ascetic and deeply spiritual
    man who had been tutor to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Cardinal Giulio was sure that Cardinal Dedel would be rejected—on the grounds of his obscurity, his lack of political expertise and the fact that he was not Italian.

  • [8] Inheriting unprecedented challenges, including Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation in Northern Europe; a vast power struggle in Italy between Europe’s two most powerful
    kings, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Francis I of France, each of whom demanded that the Pope choose a side; and Turkish invasions of Eastern Europe led by Suleiman the Magnificent, Clement’s problems were exacerbated by King Henry VIII
    of England’s contentious divorce, resulting in England breaking away from the Catholic Church; and in 1527, souring relations with Emperor Charles V, leading to the violent Sack of Rome, during which Clement was imprisoned.

  • [2] Cardinal Giulio’s reputation during the reign of Leo X is recorded by contemporary Marco Minio, the Venetian ambassador to the Papal Court, who wrote in a letter to the
    Venetian Senate in 1519: “Cardinal de’ Medici, the Pope’s cardinal nephew, who is not legitimate, has great power with the Pope; he is a man of great competence and great authority; he resides with the Pope, and does nothing of importance
    without first consulting him.

  • This policy in itself was sound and patriotic, but Clement VII’s zeal soon cooled; by his want of foresight and unseasonable economy, he laid himself open to an attack from
    the turbulent Roman barons, which obliged him to invoke the mediation of the emperor, Charles V. One month later, Francis I was crushed and imprisoned in the Battle of Pavia, and Clement VII went deeper in his former engagements with Charles
    V, signing an alliance with the viceroy of Naples.

  • [74] For example, Clement’s contemporary Francesco Vettori writes that he “endured a great labor to become, from a great and respected cardinal, a small and little-esteemed
    pope”, but also that “if one considers the lives of previous popes one may truly say that, for more than a hundred years, no better man than Clement VII sat upon the Throne.

  • An early report from the Protonotary Marino Ascanio Caracciolo[50] to the Emperor records: “As the Turks threaten to conquer Christian states, it seems to him that it is his
    first duty as Pope to bring about a general peace of all Christian princes, and he begs him (the Emperor), as the firstborn son of the Church, to aid him in this pious work.

  • After escaping confinement in the Castel Sant’Angelo, Clement—with few economic, military, or political options remaining—compromised the Church’s and Italy’s independence
    by allying with his former jailer, Charles V.[3][4] In contrast to his tortured pontificate, Clement was personally respectable and devout, possessing a “dignified propriety of character”, “great acquirements both theological and scientific”,
    as well as “extraordinary address and penetration—Clement VII, in serener times, might have administered the Papal power with high reputation and enviable prosperity.

  • [35] Francis I expected Giulio, France’s cardinal protector, to support him; but Giulio perceived Francis as threatening the Church’s independence—particularly the latter’s
    control of Lombardy, and his use of the Concordat of Bologna to control the Church in France.

  • In 1527 Henry asked Clement to annul the marriage, but the Pope, possibly acting under pressure from Catherine’s nephew, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, whose effective prisoner
    he was, refused.

  • [43] Among them were Cardinal Francesco Soderini, a Florentine whose family had lost a power struggle to the Medici “and held a grudge”; Cardinal Pompeo Colonna, a Roman nobleman
    who wanted to become Pope himself; and a group of French cardinals who “were unwilling to forget Leo X’s treachery to their King.

  • The fact that Leo X had blithely ignored his cousin’s advice, on so many occasions, was widely seen as being responsible for the plight of the papacy—not the influence of
    Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici.

  • [53][54] Sack of Rome[edit] Main article: Sack of Rome (1527) The Pope’s wavering politics also caused the rise of the Imperial party inside the Curia: Cardinal Pompeo Colonna’s
    soldiers pillaged Vatican Hill and gained control of the whole of Rome in his name.

  • At the time, the Church wanted Emperor Charles V to combat Lutheranism, then growing in Germany.

  • “[77] Regarding Clement’s struggle to liberate Italy and the Catholic Church from foreign domination, historian Fred Dotolo writes that “one might see in his papacy a vigorous
    defense of papal rights against the growth of monarchial power, a diplomatic and even pastoral struggle to retain the ancient division within Christendom of the priestly and kingly offices.

  • [59] Many people close to Henry wished simply to ignore Clement, but in October 1530 a meeting of clergy and lawyers advised that the English Parliament could not empower
    the Archbishop of Canterbury to act against the Pope’s prohibition.

  • [24] This became clear in 1521, when a personal rivalry between King Francis I and Holy Roman Emperor Charles V boiled over into war in northern Italy.

  • Clement pursued policies consistent with those of his illustrious predecessors Julius II and Leo X; but in the 1520s, those policies could but fail…. Reform of the Church,
    to which his successors would turn, required resources and concerted secular support that the second Medici pope was unable to muster.

  • Laws made under Henry already declared that bishops would be consecrated even without papal approval.

  • Meanwhile, in Florence, Republican enemies of the Medici took advantage of the chaos to again expel the Pope’s family from the city.

  • [36] While his strategy of shifting alliances to liberate the Church and Italy from foreign domination proved disastrous during his reign as Pope Clement VII, during the reign
    of Leo X it skillfully maintained a balance of power among the competing international factions seeking to influence the Church.

  • [29] Regardless of his paternity, throughout Alessandro’s brief life, Giulio—as Pope Clement VII—showed him great favoritism, elevating Alessandro over Ippolito de Medici
    as Florence’s first hereditary monarch, despite the latter’s comparable qualifications.

  • “[32] Statesmanship[edit] While Cardinal Giulio was not officially appointed Vice-Chancellor of the Church (second-in-command) until 9 March 1517, in practice Leo X governed
    in partnership with his cousin from the beginning.

  • “[39] During his 20-month papacy, Adrian VI “seemed to set great store by Cardinal Medici’s opinions… And all the other cardinals were kept distinctly at arm’s-length.

  • [49] Pope Clement VII brought to the papal throne a high reputation for political ability and possessed in fact all the accomplishments of a wily diplomat.

  • This was in contradiction to Catholic canon law,[55] which required priests to be clean-shaven but had as precedent the beard Pope Julius II wore for nine months in 1511–12
    as a sign of mourning for the papal city of Bologna.

  • Neither should we seek to question the Lord, our God, who will punish—or not punish–in what manner and in what time it pleases him.’”[75] The disasters of Clement’s pontificate—the
    Sack of Rome and the English Reformation—are regarded as turning points in the histories of Catholicism, Europe, and the Renaissance.

  • [14][15][16] Church: Catholic Church; Papacy began: 19 November 1523; Papacy ended: 25 September 1534; Predecessor: Adrian VI; Successor: Paul III; Orders: Ordination, 19
    December 1517; Consecration: 21 December 1517 by Leo X[1][2]; Created cardinal: 23 September 1513, by Leo X; Personal details: Born: Giulio di Giuliano de’ Medici, 26 May 1478, Florence, Republic of Florence; Died: 25 September 1534 (aged
    56), Rome, Papal States; Buried: Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome; Parents: Giuliano de’ Medici, Fioretta Gorini; Previous post(s): Archbishop of Florence (1513–1523), Cardinal-Deacon of Santa Maria in Domnica (1513–1517), Cardinal-Priest
    of San Clemente (1517), Cardinal-Priest of San Lorenzo in Damaso (1517–1523); Motto: Candor illæsus (Innocence inviolate) Early life[edit] Giulio de’ Medici’s life began under tragic circumstances.

  • Without the guiding hand of Clement VII, the Medici would never have been able to achieve the pinnacles of greatness that were yet to come” in the following centuries.

  • Pope Clement VII (Latin: Clemens VII; Italian: Clemente VII; born Giulio de’ Medici; 26 May 1478 – 25 September 1534) was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal
    States from 19 November 1523 to his death on 25 September 1534.

  • Continental and Medici politics[edit] Portrait of Clement VII by Giuliano Bugiardini (c. 1532) Francis I of France’s conquest of Milan in 1524, during his Italian campaign
    of 1524–1525, prompted the Pope to quit the Imperial–Spanish side and to ally himself with other Italian princes, including the Republic of Venice, and France in January 1525.

  • Should the new monarchs of the early modern period reduce the papacy to a mere appendage of secular authority, religious issues would become little more than state policy….
    Clement VII attempted to restrain the expansion of royal power and maintain the independence of Rome and of papal prerogatives.

  • Clement VII, who had displayed no more resolution in his military than in his political conduct, was shortly afterwards (6 June) obliged to surrender himself together with
    the Castel Sant’Angelo, where he had taken refuge.

  • [contradictory] From this point on, Clement VII could do nothing but follow the fate of the French party to the end.

  • Ancona[edit] In 1532, Clement VII took possession of Ancona, which definitively lost its freedom and became part of the Papal States, ending hundreds of years when the Republic
    of Ancona was an important maritime power.

  • “)[8] Whether or not this was true, it allowed Leo X to create him cardinal during the first papal consistory on 23 September 1513.

  • Giulio de’ Medici appeared on the world stage in March 1513, at the age of 35,[2] when his cousin Giovanni de’ Medici was elected Pope, taking the name Leo X. Pope Leo X reigned
    until his death on 1 December 1521.

  • “[39] He was so ill at the beginning of August 1534 that Cardinal Agostino Trivulzio wrote to King Francis that the Pope’s doctors feared for his life.

  • Due to an illness, before setting out to Marseilles for the wedding, Clement issued a Bull on 3 September 1533 giving instructions on what to do if he died outside Rome.

  • “[5] Pope Following Adrian VI’s death on 14 September 1523, Cardinal Giulio overcame the opposition of the French king[48] and finally succeeded in being elected Pope Clement
    VII in the next conclave (19 November 1523).

  • The humiliated Pope promised therefore to bring the Papal States to the Imperial side again.

  • [66] According to Medici historian Paul Strathern, Clement marrying Catherine into France’s royal family; and Alessandro becoming Duke of Florence and marrying into the Hapsburg
    family, “marked perhaps the most significant turning point in the history of the Medici family—the ascent into nobility in Florence, and the joining of the French royal family.

  • When Pope Leo X died on 1 December 1521, Cardinal Giulio was “widely expected to succeed him”—but instead, during the conclave of 1522, the College of Cardinals elected a
    compromise candidate, Adrian VI of the Netherlands.

  • [ambiguous] Soon he found himself alone in Italy too, as Alfonso d’Este, duke of Ferrara, had supplied artillery to the Imperial army, causing the League Army to keep a distance
    behind the horde of Landsknechts led by Charles III, Duke of Bourbon and Georg von Frundsberg, allowing them to reach Rome without harm.

  • But deeply concerned about Imperial arrogance, he was to pick up with France again when Francis I was freed after the Treaty of Madrid (1526): the Pope entered into the League
    of Cognac together with France, Venice, and Francesco II Sforza of Milan.

  • Deemed “the most unfortunate of the popes”, Clement VII’s reign was marked by a rapid succession of political, military, and religious struggles—many long in the making—which
    had far-reaching consequences for Christianity and world politics.

  • [22] Over the next six years, Cardinal Giovanni and Giulio wandered throughout Europe together—twice getting arrested (first in Ulm, Germany, and later in Rouen, France).

  • [3] Elected in 1523 at the end of the Italian Renaissance, Clement came to the papacy with a high reputation as a statesman.

  • [dubious – discuss] Castel Sant’Angelo Charles of Bourbon died while mounting a ladder during the short siege and his starving troops, unpaid and left without a guide, felt
    free to ravage Rome from 6 May 1527.

  • Subsequently, the Pope followed a policy of subservience to the emperor, endeavouring on the one hand to induce him to act with severity against the Lutherans in Germany and
    on the other to avoid his demands for a general council.

  • [33] The following year, King Francis I of France nominated him to become Archbishop of Narbonne, and in 1516 named him cardinal protector of France.

  • [63] Ultimately, in 1534, Henry led the English Parliament to pass the Act of Supremacy that established the independent Church of England and broke from the Catholic Church.

  • [8] Within three months of Leo X’s election, he was named Archbishop of Florence.

  • But soon after, Colonna left the siege and went to Naples, not keeping his promises and dismissing the Cardinal from his charge.

  • At his accession, Clement VII sent the Archbishop of Capua, Nikolaus von Schönberg, to the Kings of France, Spain, and England, in order to bring the Italian War to an end.

  • On 26 April 1478—exactly one month before his birth—his father, Giuliano de Medici (brother of Lorenzo the Magnificent) was murdered in the Florence Cathedral by enemies of
    his family, in what is now known as “The Pazzi Conspiracy”.

  • Commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici Cardinal Giulio’s other endeavors on behalf of Pope Leo X were similarly successful, such that “he had the credit of being the prime
    mover of papal policy throughout the whole of Leo’s pontificate.

  • [33] In a scenario typical of Cardinal Giulio’s independent-minded statesmanship, the respective kings of England and France, recognizing a conflict of interest in Giulio
    protecting both countries simultaneously, brought pressure to bear on him to resign his other protectorship; to their dismay, he refused.

  • Unlike Julius II, however, Clement kept his beard until his death in 1534.

  • [65] He also held separate, private meetings with Francis I and Charles V. Charles’ daughter, Margaret of Austria was set to marry Clement’s relative, Duke Alessandro de’
    Medici in 1536.

  • “[46] Assassination Plot of 1522[edit] In 1522, rumors began to swirl that Cardinal Giulio—lacking legitimate successors to rule Florence—planned to abdicate rule of the city
    and “leave the government freely in the people.

  • Appearance[edit] Clement VII, age 48 Portrait by Sebastiano del Piombo, 1526 During his half-year imprisonment in 1527, Clement VII grew a full beard as a sign of mourning
    for the sack of Rome.

  • [17] Thereafter, Lorenzo the Magnificent raised him as one of his own sons, alongside his children Giovanni (the future Pope Leo X), Piero, and Giuliano.

  • So Cardinal Giulio negotiated an alliance on behalf of the Church, to support the Holy Roman Empire against France.

  • Chamberlin writes, “in all but his personal attributes, Clement VII was a protagonist in a Greek tragedy, the victim called upon to endure the results of actions committed
    long before.

  • The selfless suggestion that had been made by Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici would then demonstrate to all that he was in fact the ideal candidate.

  • “[5] Adams chronicles the cardinal as having “reduced the business of the magistrates, elections, customs of office, and the mode of expenditure of public money, in such a
    manner that it produced a great and universal joy among the citizens.

  • [34] Cardinal Giulio’s foreign policy was shaped by the idea of “la libertà d’Italia,” which aimed to free Italy and the Church from French and Imperial domination.

  • His example in wearing a beard was followed by his successor, Paul III, and indeed by 24 popes after him, down to Innocent XII, who died in 1700.

  • The Papal States regained some cities and Charles V agreed to restore the Medici to power in Florence.


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