Pope Clement VIII bigraphy, stories - Catholic pope

Pope Clement VIII : biography

24 February 1536 - 3 March 1605
Not to be confused with Antipope Clement VIII.

Pope Clement VIII ( ), 24 February 1536 – 3 March 1605), born Ippolito Aldobrandini, was the head of the Catholic Church from 30 January 1592 to his death in 1605. 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.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). 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.

Later life and death

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.

Internal policies

Law enforcement

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

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). 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).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. With the bull Cum Hebraeorum malitia a few days later, Clement VIII also forbade the reading of the Talmud.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.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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