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Innocent X
1644-1655

Giovanni Battista Pamphili born 1572

Innocent X was born at Rome, on the 7th of March, 1572, of a very noble family, originally of Gubbio.

Placed in the Roman College, the resort of the young Roman nobility, he applied himself to all the studies that could enhance the advantages of his birth. At twenty he was received as doctor, and soon after made consistorial advocate and auditor of the Rota, when his uncle, Jerome Pamphili, who had occupied that honorable magistracy, was created cardinal.

Giovanni Battista filled the post during twenty-five years, and drew up with admirable learning more than seven hundred and fifty decisions, which the princes his heirs carefully preserve in their library.

Gregory XV, aware of his talents for business, sent him as nuncio to the court of Naples. Urban VIII recalled him to accompany his nephew, Francis Barberini, whom he had accredited to France and Spain. In reward of his labors, Giovanni Battista was promoted to the dignity of Patriarch of Antioch, and made nuncio apostolic, resident at the court of Philip IV. On the 19th of November, 1629, the same pope invested him with the purple.

After the funeral of Pope Urban VIII, fifty-six cardinals went into conclave on the 9th of August, 1644. As frequently happens, there were several members of the Sacred College who were worthy of the papacy; the choice was difficult to make, and it was foreseen that the conclave would be long.

Cardinal Bentivoglio was first named; but the great heat so affected him that he was obliged to leave the conclave, and in a short time his life was even despaired of.

Ultimately Pamphili obtained forty-nine votes–that is to say, thirteen more than the two thirds requisite to make the election canonical–and great joy was felt by Rome.

With reference to that election, the following account was published in France at that time by Peter Targa:

"The Holy Apostolic See being vacated by the death of Urban VIII, of happy memory, when the bark of the Catholic Church was tossed by tempestuous winds, it has pleased the divine mercy, at the end of forty-nine days of conclave, to console his people by the election of a Roman pontiff, aged seventy years to which that dignity was as it were predicted to him when he was baptized by the name of John Baptist."

"The father of His Holiness was Camillus Pamphilus, Roman, and his mother Mary del Bofale, a Roman lady of an ancient family, noble, esteemed and loved in all times by the Roman people, having only one nephew, also named Camillus, twenty-four years of age, and the follower and imitator of his ancestors in all their noble, wise, and virtuous qualities, son of the illustrious Pamphilus, brother-german of His Holiness, and of Olympia, of the house of Maldachini and Gualtieri, both noble, and long resident in the city of Viterbo."

"His Holiness, before his pontificate, filled posts in the Holy Church; he rose by continual vigils and studies. In the twenty-third year of his age he was received as doctor, and began, with general admiration, to exercise the office of advocate in the court of Rome; and in the year 1600 he was made consistorial advocate by Clement VIII, a very erudite pope, who, having learned the value of Giovanni Battista Pamphili, honored him, in 1604, with the office of auditor of the Rota, which became vacant by the promotion to the cardinalate of his uncle, Jerome Pamphili, who was vicar and governor of Rome."

"In the year 1621 Gregory XV, of happy memory, sent him as nuncio to Naples, where he behaved generously and merited great praise; and by Pope Urban VIII, in the year 1626, he was sent as datary to Cardinal Barberini, legate in France. In the following year he had the like post in his legation in Spain, where, with the title of Patriarch of Antioch, he remained as nuncio in ordinary with great justice and piety, and to the satisfaction not only of the pope, but also His Catholic Majesty and all the kingdom. Then he was promoted to the dignity of cardinal, on the 30th of August, 1627, having been kept in petto by His Holiness, who afterwards declared him cardinal of the title of Saint Eusebius, on the 19th of November, 1629. In the year 1630, having returned to France, to the great gratification of all the court, he was employed in various congregations, or highest and most difficult business of Holy Church, and especially in the congregations of Sacred Ceremonies, the Council, the Holy Office, the Propaganda, Ecclesiastical Immunity, jurisdictional controversies, State, and others."

"His election took place on the 15th of September of the year 1644, on Thursday, about nine in the morning, by ballot and accesso. He took the name of Innocent X, having been reared by Cardinal Innocent del Bufalo, his relative, who was nuncio in France."

"The adoration having been made, the musicians of the papal chapel chanted Ecce Sacerdos Magnus, and Cardinal Francis Barberini, instead of the prince-cardinal of Tuscany, first deacon, to whom that duty belonged, but who was ill, took the cross to the balcony, where the benediction is given, to announce to the people that a new pope was created. This was confirmed by the thunder of the guns of the Castle of Sant' Angelo, and immediately all the bells of all the quarters of Rome caused the populace, who awaited the news, to thrill with joy, and to shout with one voice, 'Long live Pope Innocent X!', And, hastening in crowds to see their prince, they gathered so numerously that Duke Savelli, marshal of the Church, for the safety of the conclave and for the peace of the city, ordered the barrier to be closed, to keep back that rush of people who, impatient in their joy, impetuously rushed towards the Vatican Palace."

"His Holiness, attired in his pontificals, and having the mitre on his head, was carried in a chair from his palace to Saint Peter's; and then, the Swiss guard having signalized that fact to the Castle of Sant' Angelo, the cannons and other artillery were discharged more rapidly than ever, which caused more rejoicing in the hearts of the people. Then His Holiness, seated upon the great seat of the apostles, was adored by forty-eight cardinals, who first kissed his slipper and then his hand, and afterwards embraced him, the other infirm cardinals being unable to attend."

"The square of Saint Peter's was full of soldiers, both cavalry and infantry, drawn up in fine order, the people, above forty thousand in number, shouting, 'Long live Pope Innocent X!' and His Holiness with gentle countenance and paternal words, and with tearful eyes that attested the tenderness of his heart, gave the universal benediction, followed by an acclamation that shook the welkin. And on the same evening, and the two following evenings, the Castle of Sant' Angelo discharged its artillery, and the whole city, by its illuminations, bonfires, and fireworks, gave perfect tokens of its joy. A beautiful sight was presented by the squares of Navona and Pasquin, which are by the Pamphili palace, where His Holiness lived when he was cardinal. Then all the surrounding palaces, especially those of the Orsini, of Don Maria Pamphili, and of the Marquis Tassi, put torches and wax-lights in their windows; and at the palace of the Orsini, beside the fine Navona square, there was upon the lodge a great papal tiara, in high relief, gilded, and, beneath, the three fleurs-de-lis, and the dove with the olive-branch in its beak, which are the arms of His Holiness, together with a fine array of lights, which resembled so many twinkling stars. The same was done in the palace of the dukes of Parma and Florence, and many other of the Roman palaces, and the lodgings of the ambassadors of the kings and princes, which for three nights rivalled in splendor the moon at her full."

"Some particulars must be mentioned that had been noticed as presaging the exaltation of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Pamphili to the pontificate–namely, that in the casual allotment of the cells or dormitories of the members of the conclave, that of His Holiness was opposite to the lodge of the general benediction; and during the said conclave a dove was seen to circle round the cell of Cardinal Pamphili, as was seen and pondered by many; and it was even seen to alight upon the portico and drink from the fountain, calling to mind the arms of His Holiness, a dove, and the dove of Noah's ark, sent forth to ascertain the state of the deluge, and returning with the olive-branch in its beak, the emblem of peace. To which end, peace, His Holiness directed his first cares, for to that end he appointed eminent cardinals as legates from the Holy See–Spada to the Most Christian King, Sacchetti to the Catholic king, and Barberini to the emperor; and he intrusted the government of Rome to one of his own relations."

"Those selections excite the hope that His Holiness, filled with a great zeal, will elevate the condition of the Catholic Church, pacifying the monarchs and all the princes, and giving them the opportunity to devote their arms and their duties to the service of God and to the extirpation of the enemies of that cross upon which the price of their salvation and the salvation of all men was so charitably and so bitterly paid."

"On the 4th of October the pope was crowned by Cardinal de' Medici, first deacon; and on the 23rd of November His Holiness took possession of Saint John Lateran. On that occasion gold and silver medals were distributed to the cardinals and the Roman princes, with the Immaculate Conception, and these words in the exergue: 'Unde venit auxilium mihi.'"

In the month of December, 1640, a revolution broke out in Portugal. Urban VIII had anxiously watched the course of events, his health precluding further steps. What Philip II styled "the petty kingdom of Portugal" was wrested in a moment, and without a battle, from Philip IV. Spain strained every nerve to prevent the recognition of the house of Braganza as rulers of Portugal. At Rome, especially, Spain haughtily demanded that John IV, the new king, should be left to his own resources; that no bishops presented by him should be instituted; nay, more, that an interdict should be issued, especially against Lisbon. Innocent, however, was not inclined to such violent proceedings, and he calmly replied in the words of Richelieu's testament, referring to the French bishops: "There are many things to be considered on that question."

By his second constitution Innocent confirmed the decree of the Congregation of Ceremonies, requiring the cardinals, however otherwise elevated in dignity or lineage, to confine themselves simply to the title of cardinal, without any addition of secular dignity, and directing them to be addressed only as Eminence, and not to surmount their arms with any ducal or royal crown, but only with the cardinal's hat.

In 1647 the celebrated revolt headed by Masaniello, or Tommaso Aniello, broke out in Naples. Innocent was advised to profit by the event to send troops into Naples and recover the old sovereignty, which had devolved upon the Holy See. Innocent magnanimously replied that it would ill become the common father of Christendom to aggravate the misfortune of a neighbor; and he immediately sent to the viceroy thirty thousand doppie d'oro, and gave him permission to levy troops in the Ecclesiastical States, assuring him, at the same time, that the Holy See would faithfully defend the interests of the Catholic king.

That assurance and aid, added to the inexperience of the leader of the revolt, and to the lack of courage among the foreigners who had plotted it, assisted the viceroy in warding off the worse evils that had threatened, and shortly to recover his authority.

In his third promotion Innocent named only one cardinal, John Casimir of Poland, son of King Sigismund III. At thirty years of age he had become a religious of the Society of Jesus, and four years later, without having anticipated it, he was appointed cardinal-deacon. It was believed at the time that it was in compliance with the solicitation of Spain. The brother of John Casimir, Ladislas, King of Poland, having died without children, John Casimir renounced the hat in 1648, as, being only a cardinal-deacon, he had a right to do, and he married Mary de Gonzaga, widow of John Casimir's brother Ladislas. John abdicated the throne after occupying it twenty years, and retired to France. He was were kindly received by Louis XIV, who gave him the revenues of the abbey of Saint Germain-des-Près, where he died in 1672, at the age of seventy-six. He gained victories over the Russians and the Swedes, and displayed his zeal the Socinians.

In 1647, the high dignity of senator being vacant at Rome, the pope granted it to James Inghirami, a Tuscan noble, and granted him new privileges which made that rank equal to that of a prince. At the same time the pope gave the conservators of the Roman people the right to sit on the third step of the pontiff's throne, at his right.

The institute of the Regular Clerks of the Christian Doctrine, which had been founded by the Blessed Caesar de Bus, was confirmed by Innocent, who separated it from the Somascho congregation, to which it had been united. The decree arranged that, on the division, the regular clerks should return to the secular condition. He confirmed the congregation of the Noble Widows of Dole, instituted to extend devotion to the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God.

He next suppressed two ancient orders–Saint Basil of the Armenians and the Good Jesus of Ravenna–because they had deviated from their primitive rule.

On the 14th of May Innocent X published a brief on the controversy that had arisen between the Bishop of Puebla, in Mexico, and the Fathers of the Society of Jesus.

On the 7th of October the pope made a promotion of cardinals, and gave the purple to Michael Mazarin, of the Dominican order, and brother of the celebrated cardinal of the same name, who was then prime minister of France.

On the 24th of October, 1648, the famous peace was signed at Münster, between the empire, France, and Sweden. After a thirty years' war two treaties of peace were signed in 1648–one at Münster and the other at Osnabrück; collectively, they are generally spoken of as the Peace of Westphalia. The kings of France and Sweden were the principal promoters of that peace, which secured the electoral rights and the liberty of the electors, the princes, and the States of the empire. During some years those rights had greatly been infringed upon. By his nineteenth constitution the pope manifested his disapproval of some of the articles of that peace.

When the Revolution broke out in England, Charles endeavored in vain to obtain a Parliament to second his views, but a civil war ensued. Fleeing to Scotland, he was delivered up to the Parliament, arraigned before a new-made court, condemned to death, and executed.

Amid this terrible period the queen had taken refuge in France, with her two eldest children, after displaying on the throne every example of virtue, and affording, by her very presence for many years, a protection which the Catholics had long needed.

Meanwhile Ireland was in a condition which required the most anxious solicitude of the Holy Father. There the Catholics of English as well as of Irish origin had formed a confederation, known as the Confederation of Kilkenny, to maintain their rights. A general assembly of the Irish nobility, clergy, and people met at Kilkenny on the 24th of October, 1642, and actually assumed the government. For the time Ireland rose to her position as a State. France, influenced by the Queen of England, was unfriendly to the movement. Charles used but too successfully means to win over and divide them. Pope Urban VIII had sent Father Scarampi, of the Oratory, with money and arms. This envoy, on learning the condition of affairs, joined those who advocated total independence.

In 1644 Belling, the secretary of the supreme council, was sent to Rome, where he arrived about the end of February, 1645, and was presented by Father Luke Wadding to the sovereign pontiff, Innocent X, by whom he was received as the accredited envoy of the confederate Catholics. On receiving his report of the state of Irish affairs, the pope resolved to send an envoy to Ireland qualified with the powers of nuncio extraordinary, and chose for that purpose John Baptist Rinuccini, Archbishop of Fermo. This distinguished prelate set out on his arduous mission early in 1645, and arrived in Paris, where he was detained about three months, chiefly by negotiations with the English queen, then at Saint Germain.

Cardinal Mazarin was but little inclined to expedite the journey of the papal envoy, although he gave him twenty thousand livres for the use of the Irish, and five thousand more to fit out a ship for his expedition. At Rochelle the nuncio purchased a frigate of twenty-six guns, called the San Pietro, in which he embarked at Saint Martin, in the isle of Rhè, with a retinue of twenty-six Italians, several Irish officers, and the secretary, Belling. He took with him a large quantity of arms and warlike stores, among the rest two thousand muskets and cartouche-belts, four thousand swords, two thousand pike-heads, four hundred brace of pistols, and twenty thousand pounds of powder. In addition to the money furnished by the pope, Father Wadding had given a sum of thirty-six thousand dollars. The San Pietro was chased by some Parliamentary cruisers on her passage; but a fire having broken out, providentially, on board a large vessel which was foremost in pursuit, and which was thus obliged to slacken sail, the frigate anchored safely in the bay of Kenmare on the 21st of October, 1645. On landing, the nuncio took up his abode in a shepherd's hut, where he celebrated Mass, surrounded by peasantry from the neighboring mountains. The nuncio then proceeded to Kilkenny, where he was received with great honor by many thousands of the gentry and people. He entered the city riding a richly caparisoned horse, and wearing the pontifical hat and cape as insignia of his office, while the secular and regular clergy walked in processional order before him, preceded by their several standard-bearers. At the entrance to the old cathedral of Saint Canice, he was received by the venerable David Rothe, Bishop of Ossory, who was too feeble to walk in the procession, and then advancing to the altar, he intoned the Te Deum, after the chanting of which he pronounced a blessing on the vast congregation. After the religious ceremony he was received in the castle by the general assembly, the archbishops of Dublin and Cashel meeting him at the foot of the grand staircase, and Lord Mountgarret, president of the assembly, receiving him standing, but without advancing a step from his chair; and a seat, richly decorated with crimson damask, was fixed for him at the president's right hand, yet so that it was difficult to say which of the seats occupied the center. The nuncio then addressed the president in Latin, declaring the object of his mission, which was: "To sustain the king, then so perilously circumstanced; but, above all, to rescue from pains and penalties the people of Ireland, and to assist them in securing the free and public exercise of the Catholic religion, and the restoration of the churches and church property, of which fraud and violence had so long deprived their rightful inheritors."

The nuncio was no party to the unwise treaty of March 28. It left wholly untouched the great objects on which he had fixed his mind–the restoration of the Catholic Church to its legitimate position, and the deliverance of the Irish people from the degradation to which he saw them reduced; and he had before this induced nine of the bishops to sign a protest against any arrangement with Ormonde or the king that would not guarantee the maintenance of the Catholic religion.

The nuncio then became, in fact, the virtual head of the national party in Ireland. Under the influence of his presence, Bunratty was taken, and Owen Roe O'Neill, put at head of an army, marched out to annihilate Monroe at Benburb.

Meanwhile, Pope Innocent X, misled by the treaty of March, was about to sign a treaty with the Queen of England, when Charles repudiated that signed in his name. The nuncio still struggled to nerve the Irish leaders to union and vigor, but they lent too credulous an ear to the false and deceitful proposals of Charles and his servants, and the golden opportunity was lost.

Rinuccini endeavored to uphold Owen Roe O'Neill by excommunicating all who took part in a suicidal truce; but all was lost, and on the 23rd of February, 1649, he embarked at Galway, in his own frigate, to return to Rome.

His mission was unsuccessful, but its failure is to be attributed to the recreant and temporizing party who, from the very day when they found themselves involved in the war, were prepared to sacrifice the principles for which the country had taken up arms. Rinuccini desired to raise the Catholic Church in Ireland to the dignity to which it was entitled, and the native race of Ireland to the social state for which he saw them fitted. These were the principles for which he contended. The only fault with which even his enemies could charge him was that he was uncompromising. And for the rest, it can hardly be denied that on his side was all that the confederation could boast of as chivalrous, high-minded, and national; while on that of the Ormondists we find intrigue, incapacity, and cowardice.

Notwithstanding the benefits promised by the treaty of Westphalia, Rome was tormented by seditions which had broken out at Fermo. It was necessary to levy troops without delay, and as the germ of discontent might possibly reach the capital, the pope was obliged to raise troops and put down sedition.

At the end of that year, 1649, as the most terrible misfortunes are not allowed to interrupt the great solemnities of the Catholic Church, Innocent opened the holy door. An immense concourse of pilgrims arrived.

In the year 1650 the pope celebrated the thirteenth jubilee of the holy year, which he had published on the 4th of May,1649. Notwithstanding the war between France and Spain, pilgrims reached Rome in great numbers. On the 15th of March two Tuscan princes, Matthias and Leopold, brothers of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, arrived. The Princess Mary of Savoy received the hospitality of the ladies of Tor' de Specchi, and the Duke of Mirandola was welcomed at the novitiate of the Jesuits.

Donna Olympia, sister-in-law of the pontiff, prioress of the hospital of the Trinity, in order to procure aid for that institution, selected forty-two ladies who were to collect, during the year, alms to meet the immense expenses occasioned by the jubilee. In consequence, the hospital was enabled to receive, lodge, and maintain, for three days each, two hundred and twenty-six thousand seven hundred and eleven men and eighty-one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two men. The Holy Father also sent to that hospital a considerable sum from his own treasury.

Innocent continued to embellish Saint John Lateran and its approaches; he also assigned funds for perfecting the interior of Saint Peter's; he laid the floor of the naves with precious marbles, and he ornamented the chapels with bas-reliefs by the most skillful masters. In consequence of some abuse, he forbade the use of tobacco or snuff in the chapels, in the sacristy, or in the portico of Saint John Lateran. Seventy-five years later Benedict XIII modified that prohibition, which Urban VIII had especially extended to the cathedral of Seville.

Innocent determined to share the glories of Sixtus V by erecting in the Piazza Navona an obelisk of red granite adorned with hieroglyphics, fifty-one feet high, which Caracalla had brought from Egypt and set up at the baths. At the corners of the pedestal were four colossal statues by Bernini, representing the four great rivers of the world. The Ganges, with his oar, was sculptured by Claude, a Frenchman; the Nile, by Anthony Fancelli; the Plata, by Francis Baralta; the Danube, the best of all, by Andrew the Lombard. Four streams of the Aqua Vergine, to correspond with the rivers, issue from the pedestal. On the same square are five other fountains, constructed by the celebrated Chevalier Bernini.

In front of the Capitol, on one side, was the palace built by Michaelangelo. Innocent ordered a corresponding wing on the other side, after the same design. It was necessary to level a hill near the church of Aracoeli. The senate in gratitude caused a bronze statue of the pope to be placed in the Capitol, with an elegant inscription composed by the Jesuit William Dandini. It enumerated the principal benefits that the Romans had received from Innocent, and cited the monuments which the Eternal City owed to him.

We will now rapidly mention the most important services rendered by that pontiff to the Church–namely, the sums of money sent to Ireland for the defence of the Catholics; to the island of Malta and the Knights of Saint John, who were thus timely succored against the Turks; Dalmatia, belonging to the Venetians, saved from the Mussulman arms; the possession of Poland, confirmed in the hands of King Ladislas; the conversion, in Germany, of Edward, Count Palatine; of Oderic, Duke of Würtemberg; of the Duke of Alsace-Lüneburg; of Ernest and Eleonora, landgraves of Hesse; of Wolfgang Frederic de Hoffmann, Baron of Moravia; and of Herard, Count of Truchsess.

Meantime the troubles excited by the book of Jansenius still continued in France. There was abundant writing on both sides upon that subject. At the end of July, 1649, the syndic of the Faculty of Paris presented to the assembly six propositions extracted from that book, which he stated to be the cause of all the perturbation. These propositions were examined by nine doctors deputed from the Sorbonne, and they declared them to deserve the severest censures. Louis Garin de Saint-Amour alone opposed that decision. He induced sixty doctors to join his party, and, with them, appealed to the Parliament. But the commissioners, not recognizing the Parliament as competent judges in such a matter, had recourse to the tribunal of the bishops of France.

Eighty-five prelates of that kingdom, to whom three others were added, received the cause from the commissioners, and reduced to five the six propositions of which the syndic had complained; and by a letter of the 12th of April, 1651, transmitted them to the pope, in order that the successor of Saint Peter, they said, might teach the Universal Church what to think of those five propositions. The disciples of Arnauld and the abettors of Jansenius sent four deputies to Rome to prevent the condemnation of the five propositions, and the French bishops also sent their deputies to solicit the condemnation.

On the 20th of April, 1651, Innocent named a congregation consisting of the most learned men in Rome and of all the Catholic schools of the various religious orders.

They heard the parties, and after an examination of some months before the cardinals, after ten or eleven congregations before the pope of three or four hours each, between 10th of March and the 7th of July, 1652, the cardinals and the consulters, excepting the two Dominicans, with Wadding, the Observantine Franciscan, and Visconti, procurator-general of the Augustinians, and five others who, before the discussion ended, were defenders of Jansenius, pronounced that the five propositions were entirely contrary to the Catholic faith. Innocent then condemned them on the 31st of May, 1653.

While the consulters mentioned above were engaged in such labors, eleven French bishops, headed by De Gondrin, Archbishop of Sens, all of whom were deluded by the Jansenists, wrote to the Holy Father a letter which was presented by Saint-Amour. In that letter it was maintained that this cause should be referred to the bishops of France, to judge it in the first instance, or else postpone its consideration to a more fitting season; but eighty-five bishops, their colleagues, had written to the pope, saying that it was the custom to submit to the pope all important causes, and that the mischief done in France during ten years was their just reason for having recourse to the judgment of the Holy See, which they confessed to be infallible.

That this pontifical bull might be received in his kingdom, the government of the Most Christian King ordered a convocation at Paris of all the bishops who were then in that city or its neighborhood; and to hasten the acceptance of the bull, the king, on the 4th of July, 1653, despatched letters patent addressed to all the bishops of France.

On the 11th of July thirty bishops assembled in the palace of Cardinal Mazarin. Among them were the bishops of Châlons, Valence, and Grasse, three of those who had written to the Holy Father in favor of the five propositions. All, including these three bishops, accepted the bull of Pope Innocent, and on the 15th of the same month wrote to the Holy Father a letter worthy of the learning, the piety, and the zeal in which they congratulated His Holiness on having given a bull so useful to the Church, and confessed that Saint Peter spoke by the mouth of the pontiff.

It was the first time since the Council of Bâle that the French, united in a solemn act, confessed that the pope, without the council, could dictate definitions of the faith to the Christian world. On the same day they despatched their declaration to the other bishops who conformed to the determination of their colleagues.

It seemed that the decision of the head of the Church, the support of the French government, and the authority of the French bishops must needs vanquish the resistance of the Jansenists; but it was not so.

The Bishop of Rennes had taken the bull to the Sorbonne on the 1st of August, and it had been registered there. A month afterwards the same theological faculty declared that if any one of its members should defend any of the condemned propositions, he would be excluded from that body and struck off the list of doctors.

Notwithstanding so many uniform opinions, the Archbishop of Sens, on the 23rd of September, 1653, the Bishop of Comminges, on the 10th of October, and the Bishop of Beauvais, on the 12th of November, published three pastorals which attacked the bull. The Holy Father immediately named bishops to proceed against those three bishops. Cardinal Mazarin committed the same affair to the judgment of twelve bishops, and ultimately the Archbishop of Sens and the Bishop of Comminges submitted.

Still Anthony Arnauld would not yield, so on January 31, 1654, he was degraded from the doctorate and excluded from theSorbonne. The same penalty was applied to seventy other doctors who, like Arnauld, would not recognize the censure of the Sorbonne; which then, to render its decree permanent, decided that no one should be admitted to any of its degrees who did not recognize that decree.

On the 9th of February, 1652, Innocent had given the purple to John Francis Paul de Gondi, known in history as Cardinal de Retz; to Dominic Pimentel, minister from Spain to Rome; to Fabio Chigi, subsequently pope under the name Alexander VII; to John Jerome Lomellini, a Genoese; Louis Alexander Omodei, a Milanese; Pietro Ottoboni, subsequently pope under the name of Alexander VIII; Marcellus Santa Croce, a Roman; Frederic of Hesse, of the family of the landgraves, converted from Lutheranism; and Charles Barberini, grandnephew of Urban VIII.

In 1653 the pope recalled from Paris the nuncio Monsignor Bagni, who had made himself loved and esteemed there by his prudent zeal, distinguished politeness, and liberal alms.

Monsignor Corsini was sent to replace him; but he was not received, and it was not until after long explanations that he was admitted into France, where his wit, his profound knowledge, and the purity of his accent, at once Tuscan and Roman, speedily made him acceptable.

At the close of 1654 Innocent fell ill. Some time after, when the pope was convalescent, the Roman people hoped that he would withdraw from his sister-in-law, Donna Olympia, the favor which she had too extensively enjoyed. With reference to her abuse of it, Novaes says: "If the Church had no cause to complain of the pontiff, Innocent X, who was really deserving of remembrance on account of excellent qualities, it had room to complain of Donna Olympia, who seemed in her use of his favor to aim at obscuring the virtues of that pope."

The death of the pope had been feared; but he regained the appearance of health. His great age, his long-standing infirmities, with others scarcely endurable, and the quarrels among his relations, forced him to leave the cares of government to his ministers, and the care of his person to his sister-in-law, whom he had sent away from him, and whom he now recalled, notwithstanding the opposition of the cardinals. She soon regained her former ascendancy, and succeeded in consolidating the reconciliation of her house with that of the Barberini by marrying a grandniece of the pope to Don Maffeo Barberini, then an ecclesiastic, and afterwards Prince of Palestrina. Olympia's sole care then was to prolong the life of Innocent, already past eighty.

Whether she feared some guilty attempt against his life, or deemed it necessary to subject him to a strict regimen, she was present at all his meals, and allowed no one to enter the kitchens unless when she was present.

At the close of December, 1654, the pope felt himself more than usually weak, and the physicians despaired of his life. Olympia dared not warn him of his danger; but Cardinals Chigi and Azzolini surmounted all obstacles and caused the sacraments to be administered to him. Innocent received the news with firmness, and said to Cardinal Sforza: "You now see where the grandeurs of the sovereign pontiff must terminate." He sent for his nephews and nieces, and gave them his benediction, receiving again to favor those to whom he had shown severity.

On the 7th of January, 1655, attended by Father John Paul Oliva, general of the Society of Jesus, his preacher and confessor, he yielded up his soul, at the commencement of the eighty-third year of his age, after governing the Church ten years, four months, and twenty-three days. He had created forty cardinals, and he left but one hat vacant.

Feller says of this pope: "He had much elevation of mind, fire and vivacity, prudence and discernment. Firm under the most difficult circumstances, and inflexible in his resolutions, he yet never formed them till he had thoroughly considered them. He was very temperate, living upon little, hating luxury, as chary of superfluous expense as magnificent in that which was necessary; which enabled him to leave seven hundred thousand crowns which were not subject to the bull of Sixtus V – an amount of saving of which there are but few examples. He tenderly loved his subjects and was scrupulously just; in fact, not an error or a fault could be attributed to him, had he but been somewhat less attentive to the interests of his family."

It must be remarked here that Innocent cannot justly be too violently censured for nepotism, seeing that he left above six hundred thousand crowns to his successor for the abolition of an impost which was burdensome to the people of Rome–one which always rendered breadstuffs dearer in the market than was needful.

We have said that he left vacant only one cardinal's hat. At his death, therefore, there were sixty-nine cardinals.

Innocent was of strong constitution and tall; his features were not at all handsome, although they were imposing. He was temperate, economical in ordinary matters, splendid in pontifical pomps, and he is said to have borne nobly his age of eighty-three years, walking with dignity in the ceremonies.

Hyacinth Gigli, in his diary, relates an extraordinary occurrence. "The body of Innocent," says that author, "had been exposed at Saint Peter's during three days, and no one took any measures for his interment. Olympia was asked to order coffin and shroud for him; her reply was, 'I am poor widow.' The other relations and nephews of the deceased pope did not in the least bestir themselves on the occasion. Finally, the deserted corpse was carried into a room in which the masons were accustomed to deposit their tools. One of these men compassionately took a tallow candle thither and placed it at the head of the corpse. As it was said that there were many mice in that room, another person paid, from his own poor means, a man to watch over the body. On the following day a chief majordomo, who had been discharged, purchased a coffin and paid for the interment of his late master.

Father Pallavicini, who was present at the time, and who subsequently became cardinal, repeats the same facts, at the head of a manuscript life of Alexander VII, and adds "A great lesson for the pontiffs! It teaches what affectionate returns they may expect from the relatives for whom, nevertheless, they compromise both conscience and happiness."

It was unfortunate that at that time the arrangements for the funeral were not intrusted to the government, and that the senior cardinals of the three orders did not act.

This biographical data is from "The Lives and Times of the Popes" by The Chevalier Artaud De Montor. Published by The Catholic Publication Society of New York in ten volumes in 1911. The pictures, included in the volumes, were reproduced from " Effigies Pontificum Romanorum Dominici Basae."

 

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