1902 Encyclopedia > Clement - 14 popes

(Clement was the name of 14 popes)

CLEMENT, the name borne by fourteen Popes.

CLEMENT I. (Clemens Romanus). See APOSTOLIC FATHERS, vol. ii. p. 195.

CLEMENT II. (Suidger, a Saxon, bishop of Bamberg) was chancellor to the Emperor Henry III., to whom he was indebted for his elevation to the Papacy upon the abdication of Gregory VI. (December 1046). His short pontificate was only signalized by the convocation of a council in which decrees were enacted against simony. He died in October 1047, and was interred at Bamberg.

CLEMENT III. (Paulino Scolari, bishop of Praeneste) was elected Pope in December 1187, and died in March 1191. He succeeded shortly after his accession in allaying the discords which had prevailed for half a century between the Popes and the citizens of Rome, in virtue of an agree-ment by which the latter were allowed to elect their magistrates, while the nomination of the governor of the city remained in the hands of the Pope. He incited Henry II. of England and Philip Augustus to undertake the third crusade, and introduced several minor reforms in ecclesiastical matters.

CLEMENT IV. (Gui Foulques, archbishop of Narbonne) was elected Pope in February 1265. Before taking orders he had been successively a soldier and a lawyer, and in the latter capacity had acted as secretary to Louis IX. of France, to whose influence he was chiefly indebted for his elevation. At this time the Holy See was engaged in a conflict with Manfred, the usurper of Naples ; and Clement, whose elec-tion had taken place in his absence, was compelled to repair to Italy in disguise. He immediately took steps to ally himself with Charles of Anjou, the French pretender to the Neapolitan throne, who marched into Naples, and having defeated and slain Manfred in the great battle of Benevento, established himself firmly in the kingdom. Clement is said to have disapproved of the cruelties committed by Charles, and there seems no foundation for the charge of his having advised the latter to execute the unfortunate Conradin, the last of the church's hereditary antagonists of the house of Hohenstaufen. His private character was unexceptionable, and he is especially commended for his indisposition to promote and enrich his own relatives. He also did himself great honour by his encouragement and protection of Roger Bacon. He died in November 1268, and was buried at Viterbo, where he had resided throughout his pontificate.

CLEMENT V. (Bertrand de Goth, archbishop of Bordeaux) is memorable in history for his suppression of the order of the Templars, and as the Pope who removed the seat of the Roman see to Avignon. He was elected in June 1305, after a year's interregnum occasioned by the disputes between the French and Italian cardinals, who were nearly equally balanced in the conclave. According to Villani he had bound himself to subserviency towards the French monarch by a formal agreement previous to his elevation ; however this may be, it is unquestionable that he conducted himself throughout his pontificate as the mere tool of that monarch. His first act was to create nine French cardinals. The removal of the seat of the Papacy to Avignon (1308) might seem palliated by the factious and tumultuary con-dition of Rome at the period, but it proved the precursor of a long " Babylonish captivity," in Petrarch's phrase, and marks the point from which the decay of the strictly Catholic conception of the Pope as universal bishop is to be dated. The guilt or innocence of the Templars is one of the most difficult of historical problems, the discussion of which belongs, however, to the history of the order. Clement may have acted conscientiously in his suppression of an order which had heretofore been regarded as a main bulwark of Christianity, but there can be little doubt that his principal motive was complaisance towards the king of France, or that the latter was mainly actuated by jealousy and cupidity. Clement's pontificate was also disastrous for Italy. The Emperor Henry VII. entered the country, established the Viscouti in Milan, and was crowned by Clement's legates in Rome, but was unable to maintain himself there, and died suddenly, leaving great part of Italy in a condition of complete anarchy. The dissensions of the Roman barons reached their height, and the Lateran palace was destroyed in a conflagration. Other remarkable incidents of Clement's reign are his sanguinary repres-sion of the heresy of Fra Dolcino in Lombardy and his promulgation of the Clementine Constitutions in 1313. He died, leaving an inauspicious character for nepotism, avarice, and cunning, in April 1314. He was the first Pope who assumed the triple crown.

CLEMENT VI. (Pierre Roger, archbishop of Rouen), the fourth of the Avignon popes, was elected in May 1342. Like his immediate predecessors, he was devoted to France, and he further evinced his French sympathies by refusing a solemn invitation to return to Rome, and by purchasing the sovereignty of Avignon from Joanna, queen of Naples, for 80,000 crowns. The money was never paid, but Clement may have deemed that he gave the queen a full equivalent by absolving her from the murder of her husband. The other chief incidents of his pontificate were his disputes with Edward III. of England on account of the latter's encroachments on ecclesiastical jurisdiction, his excommunication of the Emperor Louis of Bavaria, his negotiations for reunion with the Eastern Church, and the commencement of Bienzi's agitation at Rome. He died in December 1352, leaving the reputation of " a fine gentleman, a prince munificent to profusion, a patron of the arts and learning, but no saint" (Gregor-ovius ; see also Gibbon, chap. 66).

CLEMENT VII. (Giulio de' Medici), the most unfortunate of the Popes, was the son of Giuliano de' Medici, assassinated in the conspiracy of the Pazzi, and consequently nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent and cousin of Pope Leo X. Upon the latter's accession to the Papacy, Giulio became his principal minister and confidant, especially in the mainten-ance of the Medici interest at Florence. At Leo's death, Cardinal Medici, though unable to gain the Papacy for himself or his ally Farnese, took a leading part in determining the unexpected election of Adrian VI., to whom he succeeded in the next conclave (November 1523). He brought to the Papal throne a high reputa-tion for political ability, and possessed in fact all the accomplishments of a wily diplomatist, but the circum-stances of the times required a man of far different mould. His worldliness and lack of insight into the tendencies of his age disqualified him from comprehending the great religious movement which then convulsed the church; while his timidity and indecision no less disabled him from following a consistent policy in secular affairs. At first attached to the imperial interest, he was terrified by the overwhelming success of the emperor in the battle of Pavia intojoining the other Italian princes in a league with France. This policy in itself was sound and patriotic, but Clement's zeal soon cooled ; by his want of foresight and unseasonable economy he laid himself open to an attack from the turbu-lent Roman barons which obliged him to invoke the media-tion of the emperor. When this danger seemed over he veered back to his former engagements, and ended by drawing down upon himself the host of the imperialist general, the Constable Bourbon, who, compelled to satisfy his clamorous mercenaries by pillage, embraced the opportunity of leading them against Rome. The city was assaulted and sacked on May 5, 1527, and Clement, who had displayed no more resolution in his military than in his political conduct, was shortly afterwards obliged to surrender himself together with the castle of St Angelo, where he had taken refuge. After six months' captivity he was released upon very onerous conditions, and for some years subse-quently followed a policy of subserviency 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 elude his demands for a general council. One momentous consequence of this dependence on Charles V. was the breach with England occasioned by Clement's refusal, justifiable in point of principle, but dictated by no higher motive than his fear of offending the emperor, to sanction Henry VIII.'s divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Towards the end of his reign Clement once more gave indications of a leaning towards a French alliance, which was prevented by his death in September 1534. As a man he possessed few virtues and few vices ; as a pontiff he did nothing to disgrace the church and nothing to restore its lustre; his adroitness and dexterity as a statesman were counteracted by his suspicion and irresolution ; his administration affords a proof that at eventful crises of the world's history mediocrity of character is more disastrous than mediocrity of talent.

CLEMENT VIII. (Ippolito Aldobrandini) was elected in January 1592. The most remarkable event of his reign was the reconciliation to the church of Henry IV. of France after long negotiations carried on with great dexterity by Cardinal D'Ossat. Europe is principally indebted to this Pope for the peace of Vervins (1598), which put an end to the long coutest between France and Spain. Clement also annexed Ferrara to the States of the Church upon the failure of the line of Este, the last addition of importance to the Pope's temporal dominions. The execution of Giordano Bruno, February 17, 1600, is a blot upon an otherwise exemplary pontificate. Clement was an able ruler and a sagacious statesman, the general object of whose policy was to free the Papacy from its undue dependence upon Spain. The conferences to determine the questions of grace and free will, controverted between the Jesuits and Dominicans, were commenced under him, but he wisely abstained from pronouncing a decision. He died in March 1605, leaving a high character for prudence, munificence, and capacity for business. His reign is especially distinguished by the number and beauty of his medals.

CLEMENT IX. (Giulio Bospigliosi) was elected Pope in June 1667. Nothing remarkable occurred under his short administration beyond the temporary adjustment of the disputes between the Roman see and those prelates of the Gallican church who had refused to join in condemning the writings of Jansenius. He died in December 1669.

CLEMENT X. (Emilio Altieri) was elected in April 1670, at the age of eighty. His years and infirmities led him to devolve the charge of the government upon his nephew, Cardinal Altieri, whose interference with the privileges of ambassadors occasioned disputes in which the Pope was obliged to yield. Little else of importance occurred during his reign, which terminated in July 1676.

CLEMENT XI. (Giovanni Francesco Albani) was elevated to the pontificate in November 1700, and died in March 1721. The most memorable transaction of his adminis-tration was the publication in 1713 of the bull Unigenitus, which so greatly disturbed the peace of the Gallican church. By this famous document 101 propositions extracted from the works of Quesnel were condemned as heretical, and as identical with propositions already condemned in the writings of Jansenius. The resistance of many French ecclesiastics and the refusal of the French parliaments to register the bull led to controversies extending through the greater part of the 18th century. Another important decision of this Pope's was that by which the Jesuit missionaries were forbidden to take a part in idolatrous worship, and to accommodate Christian language to pagan ideas under plea of conciliating the heathen. The political troubles of the time greatly embarrassed Clement's relations with the leading Catholic powers, and the moral prestige of the Holy See suffered much from his compulsory recognition of the Archduke Charles of Austria as king of Spain. His private character was irreproachable ; he was also an accomplished scholar, and a patron of letters and science.

CLEMENT XII. (Lorenzo Corsini) was Pope from July 1730 to February 1740. His first act was the trial and condemnation of Cardinal Coscia, guilty of malversation under his predecessor. Nothing else of importance occurred under his administration, during the greater part of which, according to some historians, he was afflicted with blindness. He was the first pontiff who condemned the Freemasons.

CLEMENT XIII. (Carlo Rezzonico, bishop of Padua) was elected in July 1758. Notwithstanding the meekness and affability of his character, his pontificate was disturbed by perpetual contentions respecting the investiture of Parma, and subsequently by the demands of France, Spain, and Portugal for the suppression of the Jesuits. Clement warmly espoused the cause of the order in an apostolical brief issued in 1765. The pressure put upon him by the Catholic powers, however, was so strong that he seemed about to give way, when, having convoked a consistory to receive his decision, he died suddenly, February 3, 1769, not without suspicion of poison.

CLEMENT XIV. (Giovanni Vincenzo Antonio Ganganelli), the best and most calumniated of the popes, was born in 1705, and was originally a Franciscan monk Having acquired a great reputation as a preacher, he became the friend and confidant of Pope Benedict XIV., and was created a cardinal by his successor. He was elected Pope on May 19, 1769, after a conclave extremely agitated by the intrigues and pretensions of the Catholic sovereigns, who were resolved to exclude every candidate favourable to the Jesuits. Theiner has satisfactorily vindicated Ganganelli from the charge of having given a formal pledge on this subject. He may probably have leant to the views of the Catholic powers, but if so his motive was widely different from the subservience which had induced his predecessor Clement V. to gratify Philip the Fair by the suppression of the Templars. The breach between the temporal and the spiritual authorities had become threaten-ing, and the guiding principle of Clement's policy was undoubtedly the reconciliation of the European sovereigns, whose alienation threatened to produce the results which we have seen accomplished in our own times. By yielding the Papal pretensions to Parma, he obtained the restitution of Avignon and Benevento, and in general he succeeded in placing the relations of the spiritual and the temporal authorities on a satisfactory footing. Whether from scruple or policy he proceeded with great circumspection in the suppression of the Jesuits, the decree to this effect not being framed until November 1772, and not signed until July in the following year. This memorable measure, which takes rank in history as the most remarkable, perhaps the only really substantial, concession ever made by a Pope to the spirit of his age, has covered Clement's memory with obloquy in his own communion. There cannot be any reasonable doubt of the integrity of his conduct, and the only question is whether he acted from a conviction of the pernicious character of the Society of Jesus, or merely from a sense of expediency. In either case his action was abundantly justified, and to allege that though beneficial to the world it was detrimental to the church is merely to insist that the interests of the Papacy are not the interests of mankind. His work was hardly accomplished ere Clement, whose natural constitution was exceedingly vigorous, fell into a languishing sickness, generally and plausibly attributed to poison. No conclusive evidence of this, however, has been produced ; and it is but just to remark that poison would more probably have been administered before the obnoxious measure had been taken than when it was already beyond recall. Clement expired on September 22, 1774, execrated by the Ultramontane party, but regretted by his subjects for his excellent temporal administration. No Pope has better merited the title of a virtuous man, or has given a more perfect example of integrity, unselfishness, and aversion to nepotism. Notwithstanding his monastic education, he approved himself a statesman, a scholar, an amateur of physical science, and an accomplished man of the world. As Leo X. indicates the manner in which the Papacy might have been reconciled with the Benaissance had the Beformation never taken place, so Ganganelli exemplifies the type of Pope which the modern world might have learned to accept if the movement towards free thought could, as Voltaire wished, have been confined to the aristocracy of intellect. In both cases the requisite condition was unattainable ; neither in the 16th nor in the 18th century has it been practicable to set bounds to the spirit of inquiry otherwise than by fire and sword, and Ganganelli's successors have been driven into assuming a position analogous to that of Paul IV. and Pius V. in the age of the Beformation. The estrangement between the secular and the spiritual authority which Ganganelli strove to avert is now irreparable, and his pontificate remains an exceptional episode in the general history of the Papacy, and a proof how little the logical sequence of events can be modified by the virtues and abilities of an individual. The history of Clement's administration has been written in a spirit of the most violent detraction by Cretineau- Joly, and perhaps too unreservedly in the opposite spirit by Father Theiner, the custodian of the archives of the Vatican. Theiner calls attention to the disappearance of many documents which have apparently been abstracted by Clement's enemies. Ganganelli's familiar correspondence has been frequently reprinted and is much admired for its elegance and urbanity. (R. G.)

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