October–December 1590 papal conclave

The October to December 1590 papal conclave (8 October – 5 December) was the second conclave of 1590, and the one during which Gregory XIV was elected as the successor of Urban VII. This conclave was marked by unprecedented royal interference from Philip II of Spain.

Papal conclave
October–December 1590
Dates and location
8 October – 5 December 1590
Apostolic Palace, Papal States
Key officials
DeanGiovanni Antonio Serbelloni
Sub-deanAlfonso Gesualdo
CamerlengoEnrico Caetani
ProtopriestMark Sittich von Hohenems Altemps
ProtodeaconAndreas von Österreich
VetoedIppolito Aldobrandini, Vincenzo Lauro, ...
Elected pope
Niccolò Sfondrati
Name taken: Gregory XIV
1591 →

The pontificate of Urban VII edit

Urban VII was elected as pope on 15 September 1590. On 27 September 1590 he died due to malaria infection after only 12 days of his pontificate before he could be crowned, giving him the shortest papacy in history. His death was deeply mourned by the poor from Rome who inherited his wealth.[1]

Participants edit

The conclave after the death of Urban VII was attended by all the cardinals who took part in his election, with the exception of Cardinal Federico Cornaro (who had died on 4 October). Protodeacon Andreas von Österreich and Camerlengo Enrico Caetani also came to Rome. Of the 65 total cardinals, 54 took part in conclave.:[2]

Twenty-four electors were nominees of Sixtus V, fifteen of Gregory XIII, six of Pius V, eight of Pius IV, and one of Julius III.

Absentees edit

Eleven cardinals were absent:

Seven of them were appointed by Gregory XIII and four by Sixtus V.

Divisions and candidates edit

As during the previous conclave there were three large factions:[3]

  • Spanish faction – political supporters of Spain. The core of the party was formed by Cardinals Madruzzo (faction leader), Deza, Mendoza, Tagliavia d'Aragona, Spinola, Marchntonio Colonna, Ascanio Colonna, Gallio, Pellevé, Santori, Rusticucci, Sfondrati, Paleotti, Simoncelli, Facchinetti, Carafa, Allen, Cusani, Giovanni Vincenzo Gonzaga, Scipione Gonzaga, Andreas von Österreich and Caetani;
  • Sistine faction – nominees of Sixtus V who were led by his grandnephew Alessandro Peretti de Montalto. The members of this faction were Cardinals Castrucci, Pinelli, Aldobrandini, della Rovere, Bernerio, Galli, Sarnano, Rossi, Sauli, Pallotta, Morosini, Pierbenedetti, Petrocchini, Matei, Giustiniani, Borromeo, del Monte and Pepoli;
  • Gregorians – nominees of Gregory XIII: Sforza, Medici, Canani, Salviati, Valeri, Lauro, Lancelotti. Cardinal Sforza, the leader of this faction, was related by marriage to Gregory XIII.

There were two small groups practising nepotism. One was related to Pius IV (Sitticus von Hohenems, Serbelloni, Gesualdo i Avalos d'Aragona) and the other to Pius V (Bonelli, Albani). Due to the small size of the groups they almost did not play any major role and the majority of nominees of these Popes became part of the Spanish faction.

The Cardinals who were considered as papabile were Serbelloni, Marchntonio Colonna, Gallio, Paleotto, Madruzzo, Santori, Facchinetti, Sfondrati, Valier, Lauro, della Rovere.[4]

In the context of this conclave, the Prophecy of the Popes was forged, probably in order to support Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli's bid for the papacy.[5][6]

Interference from Philip II of Spain edit

On 6 October, even before the conclave had started, the Spanish ambassador Olivares gave the Cardinals the official recommendations of King Philip II. They contained two lists of names. The first one had seven names: Madruzzo, Santori, Facchinetti, Sfondrati, Paleotti, Gallio and Marcantonio Colonna. The king’s official will was a choice of one of those seven names. The second list contained the names of 30 cardinals, who Philip II put a clear veto on. The subjects from Madrid were banned from voting against the king’s recommendations. Philip II wished to secure his claim to the French throne by gaining power over The Holy See. Although in the past, secular monarchs had many times and in different ways tried to influence the election of popes, such an explicit interference was unprecedented. It was the beginning of what in the seventeenth century was considered as Jus exclusivae.[7]

Conclave edit

The conclave began on 8 October, with 52 cardinals. A few days later, Camerlengo Caetani joined them after his return from France, and on 13 October Cardinal Andreas von Österreich arrived.[8] Cardinal Mantalto nominated Ippolito Aldobrandini but Cardinal Madruzzo, who was the leader of the Spanish faction, and according to the will of King Philip II, effectively torpedoed this candidacy. The nomination of Cardinal Vincenzo Lauro, which was proposed by Montalo and Sforza, suffered the same fate.[9]

On 12 October, a rumor broke in Rome that Marco Antonio Colonna was elected the new Pope. His nomination did take place but did not receive the majority of votes, due to the opposition of Sforza and his faction. The Spanish did not want to support him either. Although Colonna was one of Philip II's choices, unofficially it was known that both he and Gallio were not popular in Madrid and their election was unlikely.[10]

On 15 October, the Spanish faction took the initiative and nominated its leader Madruzzo. The candidacy met with strong opposition from the Sforza, d'Aragony and the Venetian cardinals. Objections against Madruzzo included his close ties with the king of Spain, his poor state of health (he was impaired by gout), and even his origin (his mother was German).[11]

After the rejection of Madruzzo, Cardinal Montalto offered the Spanish faction five names — Aldobrandini, Lauro, Valiero, Salviati and Medici — and asked them to pick one. As King Philip had rejected all five of them, none of them were chosen.

As a result of the prolonged sede vacante, more and more chaos reigned on the streets. During November, disagreements among the Cardinals increased instead of decreasing. The main opponent of the Spanish faction was Cardinal Montalto.[12]

At the end of November, the majority of cardinals gradually came to the conclusion that no matter how outrageous the interference of Philip II, without the support of his followers there was no chance to elect a Pope, so it would be better to choose someone from his list. On 4 December, therefore, supported by the Madrid faction, Cardinal Paleotti received 33 votes (he needed another three to win). Montalto did not prefer Paleotti, so together with Sforza he came to the conclusion that in order to prevent his election, they needed to support either Sfondrati or Facchinetti. In the end, they decided to elect Sfondrati.[13]

Election of Gregory XIV edit

On the morning of 5 December 1590, after nearly two months' conclave, 55-year-old Cardinal Niccolo Sfondrati, Bishop of Cremona, was elected Pope, and chose the name Gregory XIV.[14] His coronation took place on 8 December 1590.[15]

Notes edit

  1. ^ Pastor, p. 323-333.
  2. ^ Pastor, p. 339; Sede Vacante 1590; Chacón, col. 203–204 and 214; compare Eubel, p. 53, which excluded Caetanii.
  3. ^ Pastor, p. 35-319, 334.
  4. ^ Pastor, p. 333.
  5. ^ Boyle, Alan (12 February 2013). "Why the buzz over St. Malachy's 'last pope' prophecy outdoes 2012 hype". NBC News. Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  6. ^ Sieczkowski, Cavan (14 February 2013). "St. Malachy Last Pope Prophecy: What Theologians Think About 12th-Century Prediction". Huffington Post Canada. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  7. ^ Pastor, p. 335-336, 340–341; Sede Vacante 1590.
  8. ^ Pastor, p. 339; Chacón, col. 213; Sede Vacante 1590.
  9. ^ Sede Vacante 1590; Pastor, p. 339-340.
  10. ^ Pastor, p. 336, 338, 341–342; Sede Vacante 1590.
  11. ^ Pastor, p. 342-343.
  12. ^ Pastor, p. 343–346.
  13. ^ Pastor, p. 346–348.
  14. ^ Pastor, p. 348; Eubel, p. 53; Sede Vacante 1590; Chacón, col. 214.
  15. ^ Eubel, p. 53; Sede Vacante 1590; Chacón, col. 214.

Sources edit

  • Von Pastor, Lugwig (1932). "History of the Popes", V. 22. London
  • Chacón, Alfonso (1677). "Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et P R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max," V. IV. Rome (Latin)
  • Eubel, Konrad (1922) "Hierarchia Catholica." V. IV. Padwa (Latin)

External links edit