Pope Clement VIII

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Not to be confused with Antipope Clement VIII.
Pope
Clement VIII
Papst Clemens VIII Italian 17th century.jpg
Papacy began 30 January 1592
Papacy ended 3 March 1605
Predecessor Innocent IX
Successor Leo XI
Orders
Ordination 1580
Consecration 2 February 1592
by Alfonso Gesualdo di Conza
Created Cardinal 18 December 1585
Personal details
Birth name Ippolito Aldobrandini
Born (1536-02-24)24 February 1536
Fano, Marche, Papal State
Died 3 March 1605(1605-03-03) (aged 69)
Rome, Papal State
Other popes named Clement
Papal styles of
Pope Clement VIII
C o a Clemente VIII.svg
Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style None

Pope Clement VIII (Latin: Clemens VIII; 24 February 1536 – 3 March 1605), born Ippolito Aldobrandini, was Pope from 30 January 1592 to his death in 1605.

Early life[edit]

He was from a Florentine family, and followed his father as a canon lawyer, becoming an Auditor (judge) of the Roman Rota, the highest ecclesiastical court constituted by the Holy See.[1] He was only ordained as a priest at the age of 45, and rose to Pope in a further 12 years. He was an effective, if sometimes ruthless, administrator.

Cardinal[edit]

He was made Cardinal-Priest of S. Pancrazio in 1585 by Pope Gregory XIII. Pope Sixtus V named him major penitentiary in January 1586 and in 1588 sent him as legate in Poland. He placed himself under the direction of the reformer Philip Neri, who for thirty years was his confessor. Aldobrandini won the gratitude of the Habsburgs by his successful diplomatic efforts in Poland to obtain the release of the imprisoned Archduke Maximilian, the defeated claimant to the Polish throne.[2]

After the death of Pope Innocent IX (1591), another stormy conclave ensued, where a determined minority of Italian Cardinals were unwilling to be dictated to by Philip II of Spain. Cardinal Aldobrandini's election on 30 January 1592, was received as a portent of more balanced and liberal Papal policy in European affairs. He took the non-politicised name Clement VIII. He proved to be an able Pope, with an unlimited capacity for work and a lawyer's eye for detail, and a wise statesman, the general object of whose policy was to free the Papacy from its dependence upon Spain.[2]

Ecclesiastical matters[edit]

De Auxiliis controversy[edit]

In 1597, he established the Congregatio de Auxiliis which was to settle the theological controversy between the Dominican Order and the Jesuits concerning the respective role of efficacious grace and free will. Although the debate tended toward a condemnation of Molinism's insistence on free will to the detriment of efficacious grace, the important influence of the Jesuit Order — among other considerations — which, beside important political and theological power in Europe, had also various missions abroad (Misiones Jesuiticas in South America, missions in China, etc.), led the Pope to abstain from an official condemnation of the Jesuits. In 1611 and again in 1625 a decree prohibited any discussion of the matter, although it was often informally avoided by the publication of commentaries on Thomas Aquinas.

Jubilee of 1600[edit]

During the jubilee of 1600, three million pilgrims visited the holy places.[2] The Synod of Brest was held 1595 in Lithuania, by which a great part of the Ruthenian clergy and people were reunited to Rome.

Canonisations and beatifications[edit]

Clement VIII canonised Hyacinth (17 April 1594), Julian of Cuenca (18 October 1594), and Raymond of Peñafort (1601).

Foreign relations[edit]

Relations with France and Spain[edit]

Clement VIII

The most remarkable event of Clement VIII's reign was the reconciliation to the Church of Henry IV of France (1589–1610), after long negotiations, carried on with great dexterity through Cardinal Arnaud d'Ossat, that resolved the complicated situation in France. Henry embraced Catholicism on 25 July 1593. After a pause to assess Henry IV's sincerity, Clement VIII braved Spanish displeasure, and in the autumn of 1595 he solemnly absolved Henry IV, thus putting an end to the thirty years' religious war in France.

Henry IV's friendship was of essential importance to the Papacy two years later, when Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara, died childless (27 October 1597), and the Pope resolved to attach the stronghold of the Este family to the states of the Church. Though Spain and the Emperor Rudolf II encouraged Alfonso II's illegitimate cousin, Cesare d'Este, to withstand the Pope, they were deterred from giving him any material aid by Henry IV's threats, and a papal army entered Ferrara almost unopposed.

In 1598 Clement VIII won more credit for the papacy by bringing about a definite treaty of peace between Spain and France in the Peace of Vervins, this put an end to their long contest, and he negotiated peace between France and Savoy as well.

War with the Ottoman Empire[edit]

In 1595, Clement VIII initiated an alliance of Christian European powers to take part in the war with the Ottoman Empire, fought mainly in Hungary, which would become known as "The Long War" and would continue past Clement's own lifetime. Facilitated by the Pope, a treaty of alliance was signed in Prague by Emperor Rudolf II and Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania. Aron Vodă of Moldavia and Michael the Brave of Wallachia joined the alliance later that year. Clement VIII himself lent the Emperor valuable assistance in men and money.

Internal policies[edit]

Law enforcement[edit]

Clement VIII was as vigorous as Pope Sixtus V (1585–90) in crushing banditry in the papal provinces of Umbria and the Marche and in punishing the lawlessness of the Roman nobility. Upon his ascension to the papal throne in 1592, he immediately had several noble troublemakers put to death. These included most famously Troio Savelli, scion of a powerful ancient Roman family, and the youthful and noble Beatrice Cenci, who had murdered her father – probably as a consequence of his repeated abuses. The latter case prompted many requests of clemency – rejected by the Pope, who passed the confiscated Cenci property to his own family.

Clement's strict ways also concerned philosophical and religious matters. In 1599 he ordered the Italian miller Menocchio – who had formed the belief that God was not eternal but had Himself once been created out of chaos – to be burned at the stake. A more famous case was the trial for heresy of Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake in 1600. Pope Clement VIII participated personally in the final phases of the trial, inviting the Cardinals in charge of the case to proceed with the verdict.

Anti-Jewish measures[edit]

Clement VIII tightened measures against the Jewish inhabitants of his territories. In 1592, the papal bull Cum saepe accidere forbade the Jewish community of the Comtat Venaissin of Avignon, a papal enclave, to sell new goods, putting them at an economic disadvantage. In 1593, the bull Caeca et Obdurata reiterated Pope Pius V's decree of 1569 which banned Jews from living in the Papal states outside the cities of Rome, Ancona, and Avignon. The main effect of the bull was to evict Jews who had returned to areas of the Papal States (mainly Umbria) after 1586 (following their expulsion in 1569) and to expel Jewish communities from cities like Bologna (which had been incorporated under papal dominion since 1569).[3] The bull also alleged that Jews in the Papal States had engaged in usury and exploited the hospitality of Clement VIII's predecessors "who, in order to lead them from their darkness to knowledge of the true faith, deemed it opportune to use the clemency of Christian piety towards them" (alluding to Christiana pietas).[4] With the bull Cum Hebraeorum malitia a few days later, Clement VIII also forbade the reading of the Talmud.[5]

Later life and death[edit]

Statue of Pope Clement VIII in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.

Clement VIII was afflicted by gout, and was forced to spend much of his later life immobilized in bed. He died in March 1605, leaving a reputation for prudence, munificence, ruthlessness and capacity for business. Clement was buried in St. Peter's Basilica, and later Pope Paul V (1605–21) had a mausoleum built for him in the Borghese Chapel of Santa Maria Maggiore, where the remains were transferred in 1646.

His reign is especially distinguished by the number and beauty of his medals. Clement VIII founded the Collegio Clementino for the education of the sons of the richer classes, and augmented the number of national colleges in Rome by opening the Collegio Scozzese for the training of missionaries to Scotland.

Coffee[edit]

Coffee aficionados often claim that the spread of its popularity is due to Pope Clement VIII's influence. Being pressured by his advisers to declare coffee the "bitter invention of Satan" because of its popularity among Muslims and it being a sort of antithesis or substitute for wine (which was used in the Eucharist), upon tasting it he instead declared that, "This devil's drink is so delicious...we should cheat the devil by baptizing it." The year often cited is 1600. It is not clear whether this is a true story, but it may have been found amusing at the time.[6]

In popular culture[edit]

Pope Clement VIII appears as one of dramatis personae in the album The Metal Opera (2000) by German heavy metal project Avantasia, where he plays vital role in the fantasy-styled plot. However the character is rather loosely based on the real person, and as such the Pope is shown in rather negative light, impersonating hypocrisy, intolerance and blind lust for power.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ See John Paul II, ap. con. Pastor Bonus art. 121, 80 Acta Apostolicae Sedis 841 (1988) (noting that the Apostolic Signatura is the supreme tribunal).
  2. ^ a b c Loughlin, James. "Pope Clement VIII." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 3 Sept. 2014
  3. ^ Foa, Anna; Grover, Andrea (2000). The Jews of Europe After the Black Death. University of California Press. p. 117. ISBN 0520087658. 
  4. ^ Fragnito, Gigliota. Adrian Belton (trans.). 2001. Church, Censorship and Culture in Early Modern Italy. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-66172-2. p. 182-183.
  5. ^ S. Wendehorst, "Katholische Kirche und Juden in der Frühen Neuzeit" 1.3 "Zensur des Talmud", following Willchad Paul Eckert, "Catholizmus zwischen 1580 und 1848" in Karl Heinrich Rengstorf and Siegfried Kortzfleisch, eds. Kirche und Sinagoge II (Stuttgart, 1970) p. 232.
  6. ^ http://www.professorshouse.com/food-beverage/beverages/coffee-facts-statistics.aspx Coffee Facts and Statistics

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Innocent IX
Pope
30 January 1592 – 3 March 1605
Succeeded by
Leo XI