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The ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) online

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" Propositiones in Lessio et Hamelio a theologis Lovaniensibua
notatse : ut quid sit scriptura sacra, non est necessarium singula
ejus verba inspirata esse a spiritu sancto." From words they
proceed forthwith to truths : " Non est necessarium ut singulse
veritates et sententise sint immediate a spiritu sancto ipsi scriptori
inspiratae." The main propositions of Molina are to be found
already in these essays, at least in ])art ; attention is likewise
drawn to the complete difference between them and the protest-
ant opinion : " Hsec sententia .... quam longissime a sententia
Lutheri et Calvini et reliquorum hsereticorum hujus temporis re-
cedit, a quorum sententia et argumentis difficile est alteram sen-
tentiam [the augustine and thomist] vindicare."



openly expressed their censure. The dominieans,
however, engeiged with far greater fervour in the
defence of their patriarch, and attacked Molina in
their sermons, lectures, and writings. At length
on the 4th of March, 1594, a public disputation
was held between the two parties in Valladolid.
The dominieans, v/ho thought themselves exclu-
sively orthodox, were extremely violent. "Are
then," exclaimed a Jesuit, " the keys of wisdom in
your hands?" The dominieans regarded this as
an attack upon St. Thomas himself^ and broke out
into loud cries.

From that time a complete division arose be-
tween the two orders. The dominieans w^ould have
nothing more to do with the Jesuits, a large ma-
jority of whom, if not all, took part with Molina.
Aquaviva himself and his assistants were of the

But here again the inquisition interposed. The
grand inquisitor (that Geronimo Manrique who had
been appointed visitor of the order) seemed in-
clined to condemn Molina; he caused him to be
admonished that his book would not only be
prohibited, but condemned to the flames. He
refused to receive Molina's charges against the

This controversy threw the whole catholic world
into agitation, both on account of the doctrines and
their champions, and greatly strengthened that ac-
tive hostility to the institute of the Jesuits which
had arisen in Spain.

Hence arose the strange anomaly, that whilst


the Jesuits were driven out of France on account of
their leaning to Spain, the most formidable attack
upon them originated in Spain itself. In both
countries political and religious interests were ac-
tively at work. The political movement was in
both, in effect, the same, — namely, a national op-
position to the privileges and franchises of this
order; but in France it was more fierce and violent,
in Spain, more directed against its peculiar institu-
tions and abuses. As far as doctrine was concerned,
it was the novelty of their opinions which had brought
hatred and persecution on the Jesuits ; their doc-
trines of the sovereignty of the people and the law-
^ fulness of assassinating kings, were ruinous to them
in France ; that of free will in Spain.

This was a moment in the history of the com-
pany which was of the utmost importance in de-
termining its future destiny.

Aquaviva sought aid against the assaults of the
national authorities, the parliament and the inqui-
sition in the head of the church, — the sovereign

He availed himself of the favourable moment
when the grand inquisitor had just died and his
place was not yet filled, to induce the pope to
evoke the decision of the disputed points of faith to
Rome. Much was gained even by a momentary
procrastination of the decision, for Rome abounded
with various sorts of influences which might be
turned to account at any critical moment. On the
9th of October, 159G, the acts relating to the pro-
ceedings were forwarded to Rome, where the most


learned theologians on either side met to fight out
their battle under the eyes of the pope*.

On the French question Clement took part with
the Jesuits. He deemed it unjustifiable on account
of the delinquency of one man who might have de-
served punishment, to condemn an entire order ;
the order too which had contributed the most to
the restoration of Catholicism — w^hich had been so
firm a prop of the church. Did not the Jesuits
suffer for their devoted attachment to the papal see?
for the eagerness with which they had combated in
defence of the claims of Rome against the mightiest
powers of the earth ? It was of the last importance
to the pope to put an end to the opposition which
France still maintained against him. The more
intimate the alliance which he could form with
Henry IV., and the more consonant their respective
systems of policy, the more weight would his re-
presentations have : every successive communication
from Henry was conceived in a more conciliatory
and yielding spirit*.

* Pegna, " Rotse Romanae decanus istarum rerum testis locu-
pletissimus," as he is called by Serry. " Cerniendo (Molina) lo
que verisimilmente podia suceder de que su libro fuese prohibido
y quemado, porque assi se lo avia asomado el inquisitor general,
luego lo aviso a Roma, donde por obra y negociacion de su ge-
neral su santidad avoco a se esta causa, ordinando a la inquisi-
cion general que no la concluyesse ni diesse sententia."

t The Jesuits wished to deny that their affairs had become con-
nected with politics ; but it appears from Bentivoglio, Memorie,
ii. 6. p. 395, how carefully cardinal Aldobrandino kept in view
their interest during the transactions at Lyons ; and the king at
that very time made a declaration in their favour, (Le Roi au
Card» Ossat, 20 Janv. 1601.)

§ IX.] . THE JESUITS. 311

The pope's measures in favour of the Jesuits were
vastly facilitated by their discreet and considerate

They were careful not to betray any irritation
or aversion against the king of France, nor were
they inclined to rush into any further danger in
behalf of the lost cause of the League ; as soon as
they perceived the turn which the pope's policy
had taken, they adopted a similar one. Father
Commolet, who, even after the conversion of
Henry IV., had exclaimed from the pulpit that it
was needful that some Ehud should arise against
him, and who had been compelled to flee before the
victorious monarch, changed his opinion on his ar-
rival at Rome. Even he declared in favour of the
king's absolution. Amongst all the cardinals, there
was none who, by prudent concessions, conciliatory
measures, and personal influence with the pope,
contributed so much to obtain this absolution as
the Jesuit Toledo*. Such was the conduct of the
members of the company of Jesus while the par-
liament was still passing new edicts against them ;
edicts of which Aquaviva complained, but without
suffering himself to be hurried by them into violence
or intemperate zeal. It had been impossible to expel
all the Jesuits ; those who remained now declared
for the king, and admonished the people to love
him and be faithful to him. Some were already
eagerly returning to All the deserted places ; but

* Du Perron a Villeroy, Ambassades, i. 23 : " Seulement vous
diray-je que M"" le C Tolet a fait des miracles, et s'est monstre
bon Fran9ais."


Aquaviva refused to sanction this, and desired them
to await the king's permission. Care was taken
that both these circumstances should come to the
king's ears, upon which he was greatly delighted,
and expressed his gratitude to the general in auto-
graph letters. The Jesuits did not neglect to con-
firm him in these favourable dispositions. Father
Rocheome, who was called the French Cicero, com-
posed a popular apology for the order, the argu-
ments in which were particularly convincing to the

These combined efforts of the pope and the or-
der received additional strength from the political
views of Henry himself. He saw, as he says in
one of his despatches, that by persecuting a so-
ciety which numbered in its ranks so many men
of talent and learning, — which had so much power
and so large a following, — he would create irrecon-
cileable enemies and give occasion to conspiracies
amongst the still numerous class of zealous catho-
lics. He saw that he could not drive the Jesuits out
of those places in which they still maintained their
ground ; while, by attempting to do so, he would
have run the risk of exciting popular commotionsf .
Besides this, Henry had made such large conces-
sions to the huguenots by the edict of Nantes, that
he owed some fresh guarantee to the catholics.

* Gretser has translated them into Latin for the benefit of
those not understanding French. Gretser i Opera, torn. xi. p.

t Dispaccio del re de' 15 Agosto, 1G03, al re Jacopo d' Inghil-
terra; abridged in Siri, Memorie recondite, i. p. 247.


Murmurs were already heard in Rome, and the pope
sometimes hinted that he feared he had been de-
ceived *. At length, however, the king stood on so
commanding a height that he could take a more com-
prehensive view of the situation of things than his
parliament, and had no need to fear the connexion
of the Jesuits with Spain. Father Lorenzo Maggio
hastened, in the name of the general, to France, to
assure the king with the most solemn oaths of the
fidelity of the society. " If anything happens to
prove the contrary," said he, " let me and my
brethren be accounted the blackest traitors f." The
king thought it more prudent to put their friend-
ship than their enmity to the trial. He perceived
that he might make them subserve his own inter-
ests against Spain |.

Influenced by so many motives of external policy
and internal necessity, the king declared himself,
during the negotiations at Lyons in the year 1600,
ready to admit the order into his dominions. He
chose the Jesuit Cotton for his own confessor ; and
after various other indications of favour had pre-
pared the public mind for what was to follow, he
published, in September, 1603, the edict by which
the order of Jesuits was re-established in France.
They were subjected to certain conditions; the most
important of which was, that not only the superiors,
but all the members of the society in France,

* Ossat a Villeroy, i. 503, f Sully, lib. xvii. p. 307.

X " Riconobbe chiaramente d' esserne per ritrarre servigio e
contentamento ia varie occorrenze a pro proprio e de' suoi amici
contra gli Spagnoli stessi." (Dispaccio, Siri.)


must for the future be Frenchmen*. Henry doubted
not that he had arranged everything in such a
manner as to justify his entire confidence.

He granted them his favour frankly and without
reservation, and lent them his assistance in their
own affairs, — especially in their dispute with the

Clement VHI. displayed a lively theological in-
terest in this controversy. Sixty-five meetings and
thirty-seven disputations on all the points which
could possibly come under discussion, were held in
his presence ; he wrote a good deal on the subject
himself, and, as far as we can judge, he inclined to
the traditional scheme of faith, and would have
decided in favour of the dominicans. Bellarmine
himself said, that he did not deny the pope's in-
clination to declare himself against the Jesuits, but
that nevertheless he knew he would not act upon
it. It would have been too perilous, at a time
when the Jesuits were the most eminent apostles of
the faith throughout the world, to break with them
on account of one article of that faith ; indeed, they
already talked of demanding a council : the pope is
said to have exclaimed, "They dare everything —
everythingf !"

* Edictum Regium, in Juvencius, p. v. lib. xii. n. 59. In Ju-
vencius is to be found everything said at that time in favour of
the Jesuits ; and in the Historia Jesuitica Basilese, by Ludovicus
Lucius, 1627, lib. ii. c. ii., everything that was said in their dis-
paragement. From neither do we learn the decisive causes which
turned the scale in their favour ; they are however more nearly
indicated by their apologist than by their accuser.

t Serry, 271 . Contarini also maintains that they had indulged in


It would also have involved him in disagreements
with the French, who were their decided support-
ers. Henry IV. was on their side ; either be-
cause their system of opinions was more congenial
to his mind — which is certainly possible; or because
he wished to show peculiar approbation to that
order which made war upon protestantism, that so
he might place his orthodoxy beyond the reach of
doubt. Cardinal du Perron took part in the con-
gregations, and sustained the Jesuit party with dex-
terous zeal. He told the pope that a protestant
might subscribe the creed of the dominicans ; and
it is not impossible that these words made some
impression on Clement.

The great contest betweenFrance and Spain which
agitated the world was likewise blended with these
dissensions. The dominicans received as cordial
support from the Spaniards as the Jesuits from the

threats : "Portata la disputatione a Roma ventilata tra tlieologi,
il papa e la maggior parte de' consultori inclinavano nell' opini-
one di Domenicani. Ma li Gesuiti, vedendosi in pericolo di cader
da quel credito per il quale pretendono d' haver il primo luoco di
dottrina nella chiesa catolica, erano resoluti di mover ogni ma-
china per non ricever il colpo." The doctrine which, according
to Contarini, they threaten is, that the pope was undoubtedly-
infallible, but that it was no article of their faith to acknowledge
one man or another for the true pope. " La potenza di questi e
r autorita di chi si proteggeva era tanta che ogni cosa era dissi-
mulata e si mostrava di non sentirlo e sopra diffinire della con-
troversia si andava temporeggiando per non tirarsi adosso carica

* Principal passage in du Perron, Ambassades et Negotiations,
liv. iii. torn. ii. p. 839. Lettre du 23 Janv. 1G06 : " Les Espagnols
font profession ouvertement de proteger les Jacobins [domini-


Hence it liappened that Clement eventually came
to no decision. To offend either of" these influential
orders, or either of these puissant kings, would
have involved him in fresh perplexities.


It was indeed now one of the chief cares of the
papal see to alienate neither of the great powers in
whose hands rested the balance of the catholic
world ; to appease their mutual differences, or at
least never to allow them to break out into open
w^ar ; and while thus mediating between them, to
preserve its influence over both.

The papacy here appears to us employed in its
highest vocation — as mediator and peacemaker.

The world was mainly indebted to Clement VIII.
for the peace of Vervins, which was concluded on
the 2nd of May, 1598. He seized the favourable
moment when the king of France was constrained

cans], en haine, comme je croy, de I'affection que le j^ere general
des Jesuites et presque tons ceux de son ordre, excepte ceux qui
dependent des peres Mendozze et Personius comme particuliere-
ment les Jesuites Anglois, ont monstre de porter ä vostre majeste :
et semble que d'une dispute de religion ils en veuillent faire une
querelle d'estat." This shows that, a small fraction excepted,
the Jesuits were held to incline to the French party. In Serry,
p. 440, we find, that the dominicans were at that time excluded
from the French court : " Prscdicatores turn temporis in Gallia
minus accepti et a publicis curiee muueribus nuper amoti."


by his disordered finances, and the king of Spain
by the increasing feebleness of age, to think of
some accommodation. He prepared the prelimina-
ries, and made the first overtures; while the general
of the franciscans, Fra Bonaventura Calatagirona,
whom he had fortunately selected for this business
and had sent to France, removed the first and great-
est obstacles. The Spaniards were in possession of
a number of strong places in France ; they were
ready to give them all up with the single exception
of Calais ; the French, on the other hand, insisted
on the restitution of Calais also, and it was Fra
Calatagirona who prevailed on the Spaniards to cede
it. It was not till this point was gained that the
negotiations at Vervins were formally opened. A
legate and a nuncio presided over them ; the fran-
ciscan general continued to mediate with consum-
mate address, and even his secretary Soto acquired
no little credit by his share in the transactions. The
main thing was to induce the king of France to se-
parate himself from his allies, England and Holland.
This was regarded as an advantage to Catholicism,
since it seemed to complete the secession of Henry
IV. from the protestant cause. After long hesita-
tion Henry consented, upon which the Spaniards
gave up all their conquests ; they were restored to
the power which had possession of them in the year
1559. The legate declared that his holiness would
feel a greater pleasure at this restitution, than even
at the acquisition of Ferrara ; that a peace em-
bracing and tranquillizing all Christendom, was far


more important in his eyes than that temporal con-

At this peace there was but one point which re-
mained unsettled, — the dispute between Savoy and

The duke of Savoy had, as we mentioned, taken
forcible possession of Saluzzo, and could not be
prevailed on to give it up again ; after many fruit-
less negotiations Henry IV. at length had recourse
to arms. The pope, to whom the mediation of this
affair had previously been expressly committed at
Vervins, had the greatest possible interest in restor-
ing peace, which he urged at every opportunity and
in every audience ; every time the king sent him
assurances of his devotedness, he demanded this
peace as a proof of the sincerity of these profes-
sions, — as a favour which must be granted to him-
self. The real difficulty lay in the apparent preju-
dice to Italian interests generally from the restitu-
tion of Saluzzo, and in the unwillingness of the
Italians that the French should possess a province
in Italy. The expedient of leaving the duke in pos-
session of Saluzzo and indemnifying France by the
cession of Bresse and certain neighbouring Sa-
voyard districts, was, as far as I can discover, first
proposed by the minorite Calatagironaf. In the

* At the end of the edition of the Meraoires d'Angouleme,
Didot, 1756, there is, i. 131 — 3G3, under the title of Autres Me-
moires, a circumstantial account of the negotiations at Vervins,
distinguished for its accuracy and irai)artiality : the accounts I
have given arc derived from it ; the last in p. 337.

f Ossat to Villeroy, March 25, 1599.


year 1600, cardinal Aldobrandino had the merit of
reducing this proposal to a positive agreement at
Lyons. The French were grateful to him for his
successful negotiation, since Lyons thus acquired
a more extended boundary, which had long been
the object of her desire*.

Under these auspicious circumstances, pope Cle-
ment occasionally cherished the idea of turning the
forcesof the whole catholic world, now reunited under
his authority, against the ancient and hereditary foe
of Christendom. A Turkish w^ar had broken out
anew in Hungary ; even at that time people thought
they perceived symptoms of dechning strength in
the Ottoman empire ; and the personal inefficiency
of the sultans, the influence of the seraglio, and
the incessant revolts of the people, especially
in Asia, seemed to justify the belief that some
attack upon Turkey might now be attempted with
success. The pope at least gave the project his
strenuous support. As early as the year 1599, the
sum which he had applied to this purpose amounted
to a million and a half of scudi, and shortly after-
wards we find a papal army of 12,000 men on the
Danube. But far more momentous consequences
might be anticipated when once the powers of the
west should combine on a large scale for an expedi-
tion against the east, especially if Henry IV. could
be brought to add his forces to those of Austria.
The pope was indefatigable in his exhortations, and
in fact Henry wrote immediately after the peace of

* Bentivoglio gives (in the principal part of the second book
of his Memorie, c. 2. — c. 6.) these transactions in detail.


Vervins to tlie Venetians, that lie hoped in a short
time to embark at Venice, hke the French captains
of old, on an expedition against Constantinople. He
repeated his promise to that effect at the ratification
of the peace with Savoy*. But unquestionably
the execution of such an undertaking must have
been preceded by a more sincere and cordial friend-
ship than was possible after so violent a shock of
interests and passions.

On the other hand, the animosities and rivalries
which still subsisted between the two greatest
powers, were more than once advantageous to the
pope's interests. Pope Clement had indeed occa-
sion once more to turn them to account in the
affairs of the ecclesiastical states.

In the midst of these brilliant achievements
and successes abroad, Clement exercised a ri-
gorous and very monarchical power in his own

The new constitution which Sixtus V. had given
to the college of cardinals, appeared to him neces-
sary in order to give it a due and regular influence
in public business. But form is not substance ;
and the very contrary to his expectations took place.
The tedious course of law proceedings, and the cum-
brousness and immobility to which a deliberative
body is condemned, (chiefly from the diversity of
opinions it comprises,) rendered it impossible to
Clement VIII. to confide important business to the
congregations. At first he consulted them, though

* Lettre du Koy, in the appendix to tlie second volume of
Ossat's Letters, p. 11.


he often departed from their decisions ; then he
only communicated affairs to them immediately
before they were concluded ; in short the consisto-
ries served rather for giving publicity than for con-
sultation, till at length he employed them only on
subordinate matters or mere formalities*.

It is not to be disputed that the new turn which
Clement gave to the policy of the court of Rome,
rendered this curtailment of the powers of the con-
gregations almost inevitable, yet it was not a little
prompted by his inclination for absolute power.
The administration of the country was carried on
in the same spirit ; new taxes were imposed with-
out the slightest inquiry into the resources of the
country ; the revenues of the communes were
placed under special supervision ; the barons were
subjected to the rigorous operation of the laws, and
not the slightest deference was paid to aristocratic
descent or privileges.

As long as the pope conducted all public busi-
ness himself, this worked well. The cardinals, at
least, although their thoughts were not all on
the surface, were full of admiration and submis-

* Delfino : " Ora li consistorj non servono per altro che per
comunicare in essi la collation delle chiese e per j'ublicar le
resolutioni d' ogni qualita fatte dal papa e le congregationi, da
quella dell' inquisitione in poi che si t; pur conservata in qualche
decoro e si riduce ogni settimana, tutte le altre, anche quelle che
sono de' regolari e de' vescovi, sono in sola apparenza : perche se
bene risolvono ad un modo, il papa eseguisce ad un altro e nelle
cose^ piü importanti, come nel dar ajuto a principi, di spedir
legati, dichiarar capi."



Gradually, however, as the pope advanced in
age, the real possession and exercise of this mon-
archical power devolved on his nephew, Pietro
Aldobrandino. He was the son of that Pietro Al-
dobrandino who had distinguished himself, among
the remarkable band of brothers to which he be-
longed, by his practical talents as a lawyer. At
the first glance he promised little. His person was
insignificant, he was marked with the smallpox,
he had an asthma and coughed incessantly, and in
his youth he had made no great proficiency in his
studies. As soon, however, as his uncle took him
into public business, he showed an address and
ability which no one expected from him. Not only
did he know how to adapt himself to the character
of the pope, and, if we may use the expression, to
fill up its deficiencies, to soften its asperities, and to

Online LibraryLeopold von RankeThe ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) → online text (page 21 of 39)