Biography of Papa Clemente VII (1478-1534)

Roman Catholic Pope born in 1478 in Florence and died in Rome from September 25, 1534. The most important event that took place under his pontificate was the divorce of Henry VIII of England. At the beginning of this pontificate, Pope Clement VII formed a League to confront the Emperor Carlos V, but improved relations with the Empire after the defeat of the League.

Biographical synthesis

Belonging to the family of the Medici, his real name was Julio (Giulio) and was the son of Julian (Giuliano) de Medicis, died in the disturbances produced in Florence during the Pazzi conspiracy, months before the birth of July. Although his parents were not married, it was declared legitimate under certain religious cannons. July was educated together with the sons of his uncle, Lorenzo the magnificent. Knight of Rhodes and Grand prior of Capua was made, but reached true political relevance following the election of his cousin Juan (Giovanni) as Pope (Leo X). Appointed Archbishop of Florence and a cardinal September 28, 1513, Cardinal Deacon of the title of Santa María in Dominica and Chancellor of the Roman Church with the title of Cardinal of San Lorenzo in Damaso, Julio de Médicis was a key piece of the policy developed during the pontificate of León X, being Governor of the legations of TuscanyBologna and Ravenna. However, Cardinal de Medici lost much of its influence under his successor, Adriano VI, which carried out a policy of austerity. Clement VII was succeeded by Paulo II.

The League of Cognac and the tilting towards the Empire

The death of Adriano VI, Cardinal de Medici was elected Pope (November 18, 1523), and took the name of Clement VII. The first years of his pontificate was entrascado in the negotiations that resulted in the formation of the League of Cognac. Although the Emperor Carlos V had been one of the main support that led to the election as Pope of Cardinal, in 1524, Clement VII signed a treaty secrecy with Francisco I of France, at war with the emperor. After the defeat of the French troops in Pavia, Francisco I catch by the viceroy of Naples, Carlos de Lanoy, in February 1525 and benevolent peace of Madrid (January 14, 1526), imperial influence increased greatly in Italy and to counteract esto, Pope organized a League against Carlos V in which became part of VeniceFlorence, and France. As soon as Francisco I abandoned his captivity was at the head of the League, known as the League of Cognac (signed in the French city 22 May 1526) or "Clementine". The emperor sent ambassadors to Pope Clement VII to convince them to abandon the League, but not obtain satisfaction, these got to Carlos the Alliance of the Colonna. Contrary to the agreed truce with Hugo of Moncada, the Pope destroyed fourteen villages belonging to the Colonna family, what did the Colonna are pelted about Rome, reinforced by the army of the viceroy of Naples, Carlos de Lannoy. Frightened, the Pope pledged to return to the Colonna possessions and dignities and to hand over to Lannoy 70,000 ducats; then he/she committed and he/she retired his army, but troops Imperial of the Milan, hungry, not stopped and at the beginning of may 1527 laid siege to Rome (see: sack of Rome), forcing the Pontiff to take refuge in the castle of Sant' Angelo, while the city was methodically looted. The Pope gave in to the viceroy of Naples, agreeing to all the conditions that were imposed on him: the payment of 400,000 ducats to the imperial army; the delivery of several squares, such as Ostia, Parma and Plasencia; and the condition that the Pope would remain captive until provisions might be fulfilled. Clement VII was released on December 6, without that what has been agreed, would have met but not before paid 100.000 ducats to contain German lansquenets had initiated the siege of Rome. But thereafter it varied its policy against the Emperor, naming Cardinal to the general of the Franciscans, Francisco Quiñones, Chief Representative of imperial interests against the Vatican, and above all, convincing the Emperor of his intention of summoning a general Council, long requested by Carlos V.

Indeed, the helplessness that the Pope suffered by members of the League in the seven months that remained prisoner and the request for help from the emperor to deal with the Lutherans in Germany and to replace the Medici in Florence, they did that Clement VII basculase to the imperial side. The Pope, who had resided in Viterbo and Orbieto, returned to Rome at the end of July 1529 and there signed a peace with favorable conditions for the Holy See, which pledged to allow the passage of their territories by imperial army, to forgive those who had participated in the sack of Rome, and to collaborate with the Emperor and his brother Fernando in to bring back to the Lutherans to the Catholic faith. The relations between the papacy and the Empire were normalized after Clement VII coronase Emperor in Bologna to Carlos V (February 24, 1530).

Clement III and Henry VIII of England

While these events were produced in Italy, in England Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, in order to marry Anne Boleyn. Clement VII received the Envoy English, Knigt, wanting to get the annulment of the marriage of the English monarch, the Pope while he/she was prisoner in Sant' Angelo; Knigt claimed that the marriage of Enrique VIII with his brother's wife had carried out thanks to the papal dispensation publicae honestatis, so if Clement agreed to declare it illegal, the marriage would be void. The Pope could do nothing, however, until after his release. While he/she was in Orbieto received back to Knight, but having declared the Queen Catherine that her marriage with Arturo, brother of Enrique VIII, has never had consummated, the Pope declared the marriage of the King could not be overridden because of affinity.

Henry VIII took the reins of the matter directly and first thing he/she did was to depose from office of Prime Minister to Cardinal Wolsey for his affinity to Rome and the Empire. In this way, breaking the link between England and the papacy was consummated. In 1531 the King took a large amount of money from the Church of England through the restoration of the old law called Praemunire, which accused traitor who opposed to the interests of the King; the excuse was that the English prelates had recognized the Papal legates. In 1532 the Anglican Church attained its total fiscal independence from Rome with the anatas excision, i.e. submission to Rome of the incomes of a Headquarters during the first year of occupation by a bishop. Judicial independence with appellate law (1533), banning the English clergy to resort to foreign ecclesiastical courts was finally reached. Thanks to the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Warlam, contrary to the divorce and the appointment of Thomas Cranmer as his successor, the divorce took effect and was sanctioned, the 23 May 1533. On June 1, Ana Bolena was crowned with all the solemnities as Queen of England.

Only then reacted the Pope with the sentence of excommunication on Enrique VIII and the statement that the decree pronounced by Cranmer was illegal, and the marriage with Ana Bolena was therefore null. However Enrique VIII had the support of the English clergy, Parliament and the people and sanctioned their final separation from Rome with the Act of supremacy of November 3, 1534, who left the Anglican Church and the ecclesiastical revenues in the hands of the King. The papal nuncio was expelled from England and diplomatic relations were broken. The papal court gave the verdict on the divorce of Enrique VIII, declaring that the marriage between the King and Catherine of Aragon was absolutely valid in March 1534.

The Pope, who had been accused of making too many concessions and delay in the Declaration of the validity of the marriage of Enrique VIII, was then accused of being responsible for that England lost to Catholicism. The truth is that the determination with which the monarch conducted the affair makes it unlikely that any other policy developed by the Pontiff had given different results.

Other aspects of policy clementina

Although the friendship with the Emperor never broke after the coronation of Bologna, Clement VII never lent to Carlos V the aid which it had asked him to deal with the Protestants in Germany. It seems that the Pope had never intended to summon a general Council that it was very possible that unify the differences between France and the papacy. Only Carlos V was not interested in the Council; Henry VIII also asked the Pope to convene a general Council in which were the subject of his divorce.

Clement VII was aware of the Turkish danger and always encouraged foreign expeditions. Under his patronage were two reforms in the Franciscan order: the Capuchins, and collectors. Splendid patron, was the protector of Cellini, Rafael and Miguel Ángel and during his pontificate began the work of decoration of the vault of the Sistine Chapel.

The sources seem to agree that Pope Clement VII was a humanist, Representaive of the Medici family, great diplomat, who left behind the scenes spiritual matters. His private life, so it is known it was irreproachable.


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