October 16, 1591—October 29, 1591

December 30, 1591—January 30, 1592

Portrait of Cardinal Enrico Caetani, Camerlengo
Cardinal Enrico Caetani

ENRICO CARDINAL CAETANI (1550-1599), of a distinguished Roman family, son of Don Bonifacio, fourth Duke of Sermoneta and Caterina Pio di Savoia, was born on August 6, 1550, nephew of Cardinal Niccolò Caetani. He obtained a doctorate in canon and civil law from the University of Perugia. He was Patriarch of Alexandria (1585), and had served as Legate in Bologna (1585-87), and Nuncio to France and to Poland. He was created Cardinal by Sixtus V on December 18, 1585, and was sent to France as Legatus a latere (1589 and again in 1590) to deal with the crisis over the struggle for the French throne Henri (IV) de Bourbon had been excommunicated in 1585 (and again in 1591). Despite instructions from the Pope to maintain a balance among the competing interests, which included Philip II of Spain (who was proposing his son as a candidate), Caetani joined the Duc de Mayenne and the Holy League in proclaiming the Cardinal de Lorraine as King Charles X. Unfortunately, the Duc was defeated at the Battle of Ivry, and the Cardinal died in prison shortly thereafter (1589). With Henri de Bourbon besieging Paris, Caetani returned to Rome, his mission a failure. He fled Paris at the end of September, but missed the first conclave of 1590.  He was present at the Second Conclave, October 8–December 5, 1590.

He was named Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church on October 26, 1587, and presided over the Interregna of 1591, and that of 1591-1592. He died on December 13, 1599 (Cardella, V, 228-230).  His elder brother Odoardo was the fifth Duke of Sermoneta. His younger brother, Camillo Gaetani, Patriarch of Alexandria (1588-1602) was Nuncio in Germany from January 1591 to June 1592, when he was made Apostolic Nuncio in Spain (October 1592-1602), where he died.


The Dean of the Sacred College was Alfonso Cardinal Gesualdi, Cardinal Serbelloni having died on March 18, 1591.

The Governor of the conclaves was Msgr.Alfonso Visconti. The nephew of Cardinal Antonio Maria Sauli, he was born in 1552 in Milan. He took degrees in Civil and Canon Law at Pavia. In Rome he became an Oratorian, but left to pursue a career in ecclesiastical government. He was Nuncio to Austria from 1589 to 1591. He was governor of Borgo and of the two conclaves of 1591 and 1592. He became Bishop of Cervia in 1591, was Nuncio to Hungary (1595-1598), and was sent on missions to Poland and Naples. He was made a cardinal priest on March 3, 1599 (S. Giovanni a Porta Latina). In 1601 he became Archbishop of Spoleto. He died in 1608.

Msgr. Paolo Alaleone was one of the Masters of Ceremonies.  Another was Giovanni Paolo Mucanzio, brother of Francesco Mucanzio.



Gregory XIV was crowned on December 8, 1590. During his brief reign of ten months, he took the trouble to declare his support for the League in France, against Henri IV, promising both money and troops for their cause.  He especially praised the Parisians for their stout defense of the Faith.  This news was published in France by the Bishop of Piacenza Filippo Sega, on February 21, 1591.  To make his support more concrete, Gregory XIV married his nephew Ercole to the daughter of the Duke of Massa, and  in March appointed the Duke to lead his army against the heretic French. The League sent an ambassador to the Papal Court Charles de Lorraine-Vaudemont, the Cardinal of Lorraine.  The younger Cardinal Charles de Bourbon-Vendôme (1583-1594) [Ciaconius-Olduin IV, 75; Gallia christiana XI, 101], also approached the Pope, through Scipio Balbani of Lucca, with a report that Henri IV was persisting in his heresy, and that, with the permission of the Pope, the French Crown ought to be transferred to its rightful owner by right of descent, the Cardinal himself.  Pope Gregory was vague in responding to Charles de Bourbon's ideas.  In addition,  Bourbon's letter was intercepted and put into the hands of King Henri IV  [Fleury, Histoire Ecclesiastique 36 (1738), 350-355].

Meanwhile, Henri IV was attempting to reach an accommodation with his Protestant, moderate Catholic, and zealot Catholic subjects, while pursuing the war against the League.  In 1591, however, Gregory had sent a new Legate to France, Cardinal Enrico Caetani, and had provided him with bulls declaring all of the King's followers heretic and excommunicate.  The bulls were read in S. Denis on June 3 [Fleury, Histoire Ecclesiastique 36 (1738), 359-362]. King Henri responded promptly.  A meeting was held at Mantes on July 4, 1591 [Fleury, Histoire Ecclesiastique 36 (1738), 362-366], with the Princes, Bishops and nobles of his party. An edict was published, restoring the edicts of pacification which had originally been issued by Henri III, but which had been limited by concessions made to the League in 1585 and 1588. The Cardinal de Bourbon made an attempt to leave the session, but was ordered by the King to seat himself again. The incident increased the suspicion of the King towards the Cardinal. King Henri also published an edict stating his intention to maintain the Catholic Church in France.  On September 25, 1591, the prelates met again at Chartres, and declared the actions of Gregory XIV, which had been obtained by the influence of King Henri's political enemies (Count-duke of Olivares and the Duke of Sessa), to be null and void both in form and in matter. Two cardinals (Bourbon and Lenoncourt) and seven bishops signed the documents; the future Cardinal du Perron, Bishop-Elect of Evreux, also signed along with other notables [Spondanus, Continuatio Caes. Baronii Annalium III (Paris 1641), 732; Barigny, Vie du Cardinal du Perron, 69-75; Fleury, p. 366]. 

The October Conclave

Pope Gregory XIV (Sfondrati) died in the night between October 15 and 16, 1591. His life had been despaired of three times before (and he had received Extreme Unction four times). He suffered from kidney stones; a large one was found in his urinary track during the opening of the body for enbalming [Spondanus, Continuatio Caes. Baronii Annalium III (Paris 1641), 733]. Some cardinals were already on their way to Rome at the time of his death, believing that one of his crises had already been fatal. The Cardinals who were already in Rome had already begun their intrigues, even though the Pope was still alive (Conclavi, 516).  Messengers were sent out to various cardinals, informing them that there would soon be a Conclave. Cardinal Francesco Sforza (Papal Governor of the Romagna) and Cardinal Monte (Papal Legate in Florence) arrived in Rome even before the Pope had died.

A di 15 d' ottobre 1591 Martedi, circa dodici ore sino all' hore ventidue, il Papa cominciò a peggiorare in modo, che bisognò raccomandar l' anima. La domenica antecedente parimente gli fu raccomandata l' anima, e la notte seguente. Il Mercordi veniente cioò ad hore sette della notte seguente a detto giorno passò da questa a miglior vita il nostro Santissimo Padre Gregorio XIV.. Gia in questa lunga sua infermità S. Santità nello spazio di 23 giorni, che stette ammalato, più volte si era communicate ed ultimamente alli cinque del predetto mese d' Ottobre ebbe l' oglio santo, ed è morto santamente, sicche piamente si puole credere, che sia andato dritto dritto in Paradiso, e cosi sia. (Laemmer, Meletemetum, 234-235).

Gregory was buried in the Vatican Basilica in the Capella Gregoriana.  The funeral oration was pronounced by Vincenzo Blas Garsias, of Valencia in Spain, on December 18, 1591 [Novaes, Introduzione, p. 263].  Agostino Valier, the Cardinal of Verona, wrote a small commentary on his life.   On Friday, October 25, the ninth and last of the novendiales Masses was celebrated by the Cardinal of Ascoli, Girolamo Bernerio, OP.  Fifty-six cardinals attended the Mass (Laemmer, Meletematum, 235).



Portrait  of Cardinal Ptolomeo Galli of Como

The principal factions were the Spanish interest and an opposition group led by Cardinals Montalto (Alessandro Peretti, nephew of Pope Sixtus V) and Francesco Sforza. There was also a small number of cardinals led by the nephew of the late Pope, Cardinal Paolo Aemilio Sfondrati. The Spanish faction, which had lost in the Conclave of 1590, was eager to recover their reputation and to demonstrate their worth to the King of Spain, Philip II, who had recently suffered such a dramatic defeat at the hands of the English heretics (the Spanish Armada of 1588). In France, another heretic, Henri IV, was poised to become master of the country, a prospect which drove King Philip to distraction. Popes had cooperated with Spanish policy in the past, and a cooperative pope was needed again. But Philip's choices had gradually been limited, until he was left essentially with one candidate whom he could count on to do his bidding, Cardinal Luigi Madruzzi, the bishop of Trent, who was unacceptable to many simply because he was so acceptable to King Philip. The Spanish faction, therefore, turned in the direction of Cardinals Girolamo Simoncelli and Giovanni Facchinetti, but with the understanding that if Cardinal Ascanio Colonna or Cardinal Tolomeo Galli, Suburbicarian Bishop of Frascati [portrait at left], should begin to show well in the voting, they would support them by preference.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit was sung in the Vatican Basilica on Sunday, October 27, and afterwards the cardinals proceeded to the area of the Conclave, and swore the customary oaths; at the fourth hour of the night, the Conclave was enclosed. Fifty-six or fifty-seven cardinals entered conclave on October 27 (Novaes, 248). Paolo Alaleone, the Master of Ceremonies, counted 54 [according to Gattico I, 342]. Thirty-eight votes were needed to elect.

On Monday, October 28 the Cardinal Dean, Alfonso Gesualdo, said the Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Capella Paolina, and distributed communion to all the Cardinals. After the Mass, the Cardinals proceeded to the first scrutiny, in which the Cardinal of Santi Quattro, Giovanni Facchinetti, received the most votes, twenty-four, but there was no successful election. After lunch, there was a vetting of the Conclavists.

On the second day of voting, Tuesday, October 29, in the morning scrutiny, Cardinal Facchinetti received twenty-eight votes, four more than on the previous ballot. The rest of the day was spent in discussion until late afternoon (l' ore ventitre'), when the Cardinals escorted Cardinal Facchinetti to the Capella Paolina. The Cardinal Dean began to speak, "Ego Card. Gesualdus Episcopus Hostiensis eligo in Summum Pontificem Reverendissimum Dominum meum Joannem Antonium Facchinettum Tituli Sanctorum Quattuor Coronatorum Sanctae Ecclesiae Romanae Presbyterum Cardinalem. Following him, each of the other cardinals, in order, did the same (Laemmer, Meletmetum 236 ). The newly elected pope was led behind the altar where he changed from his cardinalatial costume into that of the pope, assisted by two Cardinal Deacons. When he returned to the Chapel he was seated on the papal throne and announced that he would be called Innocent IX. The Cardinal Protodeacon, Andreas of Austria, went to the traditional window and, displaying the processional cross, made the announcement of the election of Cardinal Facchinetti. While this was taking place, the new pope signed the usual bulls which committed him not to alienate Church property. The Cardinal Camerlengo, Enrico Caetani, placed the Fisherman's ring on the Pope's finger, and the Pope received the hommage of all the Cardinals. He was then carried to St. Peter's Basilica, where the ceremony was repeated in public.

Cardinal Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti, Cardinal Priest of SS. Quattro Coronati, though seventy-two years of age and in chronic ill health, was elected as Innocent IX. He was crowned in public on November 3, in the customary place at the top of the steps of the portico of St. Peter's. Cardinal Farnese was allowed to take part, even though he had not yet received the red hat.  A fairly good list of the cardinals who participated is given in the Bull  Quae ab hac  of November 4, 1591 [Bullarium Romanum IX (Augustae Taurinorum 1865), p. 507], containing fifty-one names.  On the 8th of November Innocent took solemn possession of the Lateran Basilica. Thirteen cardinals rode in the procession. Fifty were present at the ceremonies in S. Giovanni Laterano [Cancellieri, pp. 149-153, based on the diaries of Giovanni Paolo Mucanzio and Paolo Alaleone; Alaeone and Francesco Mucanzio took part as Maestri di Caeremonie].  Cardinal Ascanio Colonna, the Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica, presided at the installation [Cancellieri, p. 151].  The customary distribution of medals to Cardinals and other prelates did not take place, since the Treasurer, Bartolomeo Cesi, explained that there had not been time to strike them. During his return procession to the Vatican, the Pope stopped at his old titular church, SS. Quatuor Coronati, which was celebrating the parish feast day on that day. The monks were permitted to greet the pope and kiss his foot. The entire outing took some five hours.

Already on December 13, however, it was clear that Pope Innocent would not last long.  Cardinal Monte wrote to the Grand Duke Ferdinand [Petruccelli II, 366, translated by Petruccelli]:

Le pape ne vivra pas. Les Espagnols persistent dans leurs candidats, ou ils ne s’expliqueront qu’au moment voulu. Il faut donc prévoir. Cinq choses rendent Santa Severina difficile : son caractère, qui ne peut pas transiger avec la nécessité; ses ennemis nombreux, puissants, enragés et toujours plus implacables; la faiblesse de Montalto qui est le fondement de tout; la moquerie dont le berna Mendozza (et je ne sais ce que celui—ci fera plus tard); enfin ce qui me déplait le plus, la haine du pape, lequel compte beaucoup sur Sfondrato. Santa Severina baisse donc. On travaille sans cesse contre lui. D`autre part, si le roi le veut, tout plie sous sa volonté, même Mendozza et ses cardinaux. Tout est en cela. Paleotto frise l’impossible; Montalto et les Espagnols le pulvérisent. Beaucoup de monde s'est déclaré contre Colonna; personne n’agit sincèrement envers lui. Madruzzo n'éblouit personne: mais les faveurs dont dispose son roi sont immenses, et Montalto est jeune. Je me suis ri de Como jusqu’ici; mais maintenant, comme il faut, après tout, enfanter un pape quelconque, la peur de Santa Severina le pousse en avant, et Montalto le préférera toujours à Paleotto et à Madruzzo.

On the 18th of December, though ill, Pope Innocent made a pilgrimage of Rome's seven pilgrimage churches and caught a chill. He developed a heavy cough and fever, and died in the Apostolic Palace on Monday, December 30, 1591, between the eleventh and twelfth hours, at the age of 73 [Petramellari, p. 372], or two hours before sunrise [Ciaconius-Olduin IV, 238]. There was no Papal Master of Ceremonies present, but it was reported that he received Holy Communion and Extreme Unction.  On the same day his body was transferred to St. Peter's Basilica, and laid out for public viewing for three days. He was buried in the Vatican Basilica next to Urban VII (Laemmer, Meletmetum, 236; Petramellari, 372).  The Sede Vacante following his death lasted for thirty-one days.  The Novendiales began on Tuesday, December 31, and concluded on January 8, 1592.  The Funeral Oration was pronounced by Father Benedetto Giustiniani, SJ. on January 8, 1592 [text in Ciaconius-Olduin IV, 240-245; date given by Victorelli in col. 239].



The College of Cardinals, 1591

The second Interregnum lasted from December 30, 1591 to January 30, 1592. There were sixty-four cardinals, Giovanni Vincenzo Gonzaga (aged 49), Cardinal Priest of S. Alessio having died December 23, 1591 [Petramellari, pp. 371-372], Ippolito de Rossi, Cardinal Priest of S. Biagio (died April 28, 1591), and Cardinal Juan Hurtado de Mendoza (aged 43), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere on January 6, 1592 [Petramellari, pp. 373-374]. Ciaconius-Olduin [IV, 236-238] also provide a list of fifty-six cardinals who attended the Conclave, and nine who were absent—a total of sixty-five.   Fifty-two cardinals entered conclave on January 10, 1592, according to a list provided by Giovanni Stringa, "Vita di Clemente VIII" , p. 241-242. The Cardinal de Joyeuse arrived on January 12, making fifty-four electors. Thirty-six votes were needed to elect.

Cardinals attending:

  1. Alfonso Gesualdo (aged 51) [Neapolitanus], Suburbicarian Bishop of Ostia and Velletri, Dean of the Sacred College (died 1603)
  2. Iñigo de Aragona [Neapolitanus], Suburbicarian Bishop of Porto and Santa Rufina
  3. Marc' Antonio Colonna [Romanus], son of Don Camillo Colonna, first Duke of Zagarolo; and Vittoria Colonna, heiress of Pierfrancesco Colonna.   Suburbicarian Bishop of Palestrina. Abbot Commendatory of Subiaco.  S.R.E. Bibliothecarius.   Prefect of the SC of the Index.
  4. Tolomeo Galli (aged 64), "Como",  Suburbicarian Bishop of Tusculum (Frascati),   (d. 1607)
  5. Gabriele Paleotti (aged 69) [Bononiensis], Suburbicarian Bishop of Sabina (d. 1597)
  6. Michele Bonnelli, OP (aged 50) [Dertonensis], grand nephew and Nipote of Pius V, Suburbicarian Bishop of Albano (1591–1598)   (d. 1598)   "Alessandrino" [See Bullarium Romanum IX (Augustae Taurinorum 1865), p. 433]

  7. Girolamo Simoncelli (aged 69) [Urbevetanus; Orvieto], Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca (died 1605) Administrator of Orvieto.
  8. Marco d' Altemps [Markus Sittich von Hohenems] (aged 58), nephew of Pius IV, Cardinal Priest of S. Giorgio in Velabro (d. 1595)
  9. Nicolas de Pellevé (aged 76) [France], son of Charles Malherbe Sieur de Jouy  and Helena de Fay. Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede (died 1594) Archbishop of Sens (1562-1591) [Gallia christiana XII, 95], previously Bishop of Amiens (1552-1564) [Gallia christiana X, 1207] .  Doctor utriusque iure (Bourges).
  10. Luigi Madruzzi (aged 59) [Trent], nephew of Cardinal Cristoforo Madruzzi, Cardinal Priest of S. Onofrio (d. 1600) Bishop of Trent.
  11. Giulio Antonio Santorio (aged 58) [Caserta], Cardinal Priest of S. Bartolomeo all’Isola (1570–1595) (died 1602).  "Sanseverino"
  12. Girolamo Rusticucci (aged 54), Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna (1570–1597), former Bishop of Sinigaglia (1570-1577).   (died 1603). Vicar General of Rome (1588-1603)
  13. Girolamo Simoncelli (aged 69), grand-nephew of Julius III, Cardinal Deacon of (d. 1605)
  14. Pedro de Deza (aged 71), Cardinal Priest of S. Girolamo dei Croati (1587–1597)  (died 1600);  Professor of Law at Salamanca. Grand Inquisitor
  15. Alessandro de' Medici (aged 56), son of Ottaviano de' Medici and Francesca Salviati (niece of Leo X).   Cardinal Priest of SS. Giovanni e Paolo (1591–1592).  Formerly Bishop of Pistoia (1573-1574). Archbishop of Florence (1574–1605).   (died April 27, 1605).  "Cardinal of Florence"  Fiorenza.    Pope for 27 days in 1605.
  16. François de Joyeuse (aged 29) [France], Cardinal Priest of Sma Trinità al Monte Pincio (1587–1594)   Former Archbishop of Narbonne (1582-1589) [Gallia christiana 6, 117-118].  Archbishop of Toulouse (1589-1604) [Eubel III, 315; Gauchat IV, 340]. Protector of France before the Holy See (1587-1589; 1596-1615)   (arrived January 12, 1592)  (died 1615)
  17. Giulio Canani (aged 67) [Ferrara], Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia (1591–1592).   Bishop of Modena (1591–1592);   Doctor in utroque iure, Ferrara   (d. 1592)
  18. Agostino Valier (aged 60) [Venetus], Cardinal Priest of S. Marco (1585–1605).  (died 1606); Bishop of Verona (1565-1606) [Ughelli-Colet Italia sacra V, 994], nephew of Cardinal Bernardo Navigerio, his predecessor (1562-1565)
  19. Antonmaria Salviati (aged 54) [Romanus] , Cardinal Priest of S. Maria della Pace (1587–1600) former Nuncio in France (1572-1578).  (died 1602)
  20. Vincenzo Lauro (aged 68) [Tropensis Calabriae], Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente (1589–1592). (died 1592)  former Bishop of Mondovi (1587-1588).
  21. Jerzy Radzvil (Radziwill) (aged 35) [Lithuania], Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto (died 1600) Bishop of Krakow
  22. Simeone Tagliavia d' Aragona (aged 41) [Siculus], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria degli Angeli (died 1604) "Terranova"
  23. Filippo Spinola (aged 56) [Januensis], Cardinal Priest of S. Sabina (1584–1593).  Former Bishop of Nola (1569–1585)  (died 1593)
  24. Scipione Lancelotti (aged 64) [Romanus], Cardinal Priest of S. Salvatore in Lauro (died 1598) Doctor in utroque iure
  25. Enrico Caetani (aged 41) [Romanus], Cardinal Priest of S. Pudenziana S. Pudenziana (1586–1599)  (died 1599) Doctor in utroque iure, Perugia; former Patriarch of Alexandria (July-December, 1585), Cardinal Camerlengo (1587-1599).  He placed the Fisherman's Ring on the finger of the new pope [Gattico, I, 342].
  26. Giovanni Battista Castrucci (aged 50) [Lucensis], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Ara Coeli (1586–1592)   Aracoeli   (died 1595)   former Archbishop of Chieti (1585–resigned 1591)  Doctor in utroque iure
  27. Domenico Pinello (aged 50) [Januensis], Cardinal Priest of S. Crisogono (January 1591–1602)  (died 1611) Professor of Law at Padua; Archpriest of S. Maria Maggiore
  28. Ippolito Aldobrandini (aged 55) [Born at Fano, of a Florentini family; his father had a prominent part in a rebellion against Grand Duke Ferdinando I], Cardinal Priest of S. Pancrazio S. Pancrazio (1585–1592);  Papal Datary (1585–1592).  Legate in Germany and in Poland. Major Penitentiary (1586-1592);  elected Pope Clement VIII (died 1605).  He was opposed by the Florentines and the Spanish in 1590 and again in 1591.
  29. Girolamo della Rovere (aged 63) [Piedmont], Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in vincoli S. Pietro in Vincoli (1587–1592) (died January 25, 1592, as his tombstone states, not February 7.  The same is reported by Msgr. Paolo Alaleone, the Master of Ceremonies [Gattico I, 343].  Ciaconius-Olduin IV, 248, report the date correctly, in the old Roman style.   Eubel III, p. 51 is probably the source of the error).   Archbishop of Turin (1564–1592)
  30. Girolamo Bernerio, OP (aged 51) [Corregio], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria sopra Minerva (1589–1602).   Former Inquisitor of Genoa. Prior of S. Sabina in Rome.  Bishop of Ascoli Piceno (1586-1604)   Ascoli   (died 1611)  [See Bullarium Romanum IX (Augustae Taurinorum 1865), p. 433]
  31. Antonio Maria Galli (38) [Osimo], Cardinal Priest of S. Agnese in Agone (1587–1600). (died 1620) Bishop of Perugia to 1591, then Osimo; "Cardinal Perusinensis"
  32. Costanzo da Sarnano, OFM Conv. (aged 60) [Picenus], Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Montorio (1587–1595). (died 1595) [See Bullarium Romanum IX (Augustae Taurinorum 1865), p. 433]
  33. Benedetto Giustiniano (aged 37) [Januensis], Cardinal Priest of S. Marcello (1591–1599). (died 1621) Doctor of law, Genoa
  34. William Allen (aged 59) [England], Cardinal Priest of SS. Silvestro e Martino (died 1594) Vatican Librarian
  35. Scipione Gonzaga (aged 49) [Mantuanus] , Cardinal Priest of S. Maria del Popolo (died 1593) Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
  36. Antonmaria Sauli (aged 50) [Januensis], son of Ottavio Sauli, a senator of Genoa.; his  mother was a Giustiniani.  His brother had been Doge of Genoa.  A cousin of Cardinal Visconti's mother.  Cardinal Priest of S. Stefano al Monte Celio (died 1623)  former Bishop of Genoa (1585-1591) [Ughelli-Colet, Italia sacra IV, 901-902].
  37. Giovanni Palotta (aged 43) [Calderola], Cardinal Priest of S. Matteo in Merulana (died 1620)    former Archbishop of Cosenza,    Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica
  38. Giovanni Francesco Morosini (aged 54) [Venetus], Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Via (1590–1596).  He was Legate in France (1587-1589) when created cardinal, even though he had a relative in the Sacred College, Federico Cornaro.   Bishop of Brescia (1585–1596).    (died 1596)
  39. Agostino Cusani (aged 49) [Mediolanensis], Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna (January 1591–1595)   (died 1598);    Doctor in utroque iure
  40. Francesco Bourbon del Monte Santa Maria (aged 42), Cardinal Priest of SS. Quirico e Giulitta (April 1591–1592), on the recommendation of Grand Duke Ferdinand I of Tuscany  [Eubel III, p. 52 n. 4].     (died 1627)    Doctor of law
  41. Mariano Pierbenedetti, OESA (aged 53) [Camerino], Cardinal Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro (1590–1607).  (died 1611)  Formerly Governor of Rome [Eubel III, p. 53]   "Camerino"
  42. Gregorio Petrocchini. OESA (aged 56) de Montelparo, Cardinal Priest of S. Agostino (1590–1608). Formerly Prior General of the Order of Hermits of Saint Augustine (1587-1591).   (died 1612)  "Montelbero" "Montelparo"
  43. Paolo Emilio Sfondrati (aged 31) [Mediolanensis], son of  Paolo Sfondrato and Sigismonda d' Este.  Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia (January, 1591– 1618).  (died 1618) Cardinal nipote of Gregory XIV
  44. Ottavio Paravicini (aged 39) [Romanus], Cardinal Priest of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina (November 1591-1592)  (died 1611); Bishop of Alessandria (Piedmont/Savoy) (1584–1596)

  45. Francesco Sforza di Santa Fiora (aged 29) [Romanus], Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata (died 1624)
  46. Alessandro Damasceni Peretti, Cardinal Deacon of S. Lorenzo in Damaso pro illa vice Deaconry (1589–1620).  Vice-Chancellor S. R. E.   (died 1623); grand-nephew of Sixtus V "Mont' Alto"
  47. Girolamo Mattei (aged 44), Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio (1589–1592).  (died 1603) Doctor in utroque iure, Bologna
  48. Ascanio Colonna (aged 31) [Romanus], son of Don Marcantonio Colonna, third Duke of Paliano; and Felice Orsini, daughter of Girolamo, Signore di Bracciano. Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin (January 1591–1599). (died 1608). Knight of Malta, Doctor in utroque iure, Alcalá.   Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica  (He presided at the installation of Gregory XIV on December 13, 1590: Gattico I, 396;  of Innocent IX on November 6, 1591: Cancellieri, p. 151;  and of Clement VIII on April 12, 1592: Cancellieri, p. 155).
  49. Federico Borromeo (aged 27) [Mediolanensis], Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano (died 1631) Doctor of Law, Pavia
  50. Guido Pepoli (aged 31) [Bononiensis], Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano (died 1599) Doctor in utroque iure, Siena
  51. Odoardo Farnese (aged 18) [Parmensis], son of Alessandro, Duke of Parma and Piacenza, and Maria of Portugal.  Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano al Foro (from November, 1591–1595).   (died 1626); nephew of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese.  Great-grandson of Pope Paul III.
  52. Ottavio Acquaviva d' Aragona (aged 31) [Neapolitanus], son of the 10th Duke of Atri.   Cardinal Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro (from April 1591–1593).   (died 1612) Doctor in utroque iure (Perugia).
  53. Flaminio Piatti (aged 39) [Mediolanensis], Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica (April 1591–1592) (died 1613)
  54. Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti (aged 17) [Bononiensis], Cardinal Deacon (from December 18, 1591)    (died 1606) "Santi Quattro"  Grand-nephew of Innocent IX (Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti, died December 30, 1591).

Cardinals not attending:

  1. Andreas von Austria (aged 32) Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria Nuova (1577–1600).  Bishop of Konstanz (1589–1600).  (died 1600)  Nephew of Emperor Charles V and also of Emperor Ferdinand I. [Ciaconius-Olduin consider him to have been present].
  2. Albertus of Austria (aged 32), son of Emperor Maximilian II.  Cardinal Priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme (1580–1598).  He was Papal Legate in Portugal and the Algareve [Bullarium Romanum IX (Augustae Taurinorum 1865), p. 515], and Viceroy of Portugal 1585-1595
  3. Gaspar de Quiroga y Vila (aged 79) Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina (died 1594) Archbishop of Toledo
  4. Hughes de Loubenx de Verdalle (aged 60), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Portico.   Grand Master of the Sovereign order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (1582-1595).  (died 1595)
  5. Andreas Bathóry (aged 25), Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano (died 1599) nephew of king Stephen Bathory of Poland
  6. Rodrigo de Castro Osorio (aged 68) Cardinal Priest of SS. XII Apostoli (1585–1600). (died 1600) Archbishop of Seville (1581–1600)
  7. Charles de Bourbon de Vendome (aged 29), Cardinal Deacon without a deaconry (died 1594) Archbishop-elect of Rouen (never ordained, never consecrated)
  8. Charles de Lorraine-Vaudemont (aged 24), Cardinal Deacon of S. Agata alla Suburra (1591–1607).  Bishop of Metz (1578-1607).  (died 1607)
  9. Philippe de Lenoncourt (aged 64), Cardinal Priest of S. Onofrio (1588–1592). (died 1592)
  10. Pierre de Gondi (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of S. Silvestro in Capite (died 1616) Bishop of Paris
  11. Filippo Sega (aged 54) [Bononiensis], Cardinal Priest without title (died 1596) Doctor in utroque iure, Bologna; Bishop of Piacenza.  Nuncio in France;  he had been left behind as Nuncio by Cardinal Caetani when he fled Paris in September, 1590.  Innocent IX made him a cardinal on December 18, 1591.



The Conclave of January, 1592

The Conclave opened on Friday, January 10, 1592, with the celebration of the Mass of the Holy Spirit by Cardinal Gesualdo, the Bishop of Ostia.  There were fifty-two cardinals in attendance [Histoire des conclaves  3rd edition, I, p. 259].  After the enclosing had taken place, it was discovered that the Spanish Ambassador the Duke of Sessa, and Cavaliere Vinta (the Ambassador of the Grand Duke of Tuscany) were still inside, campaigning fo their favorite candidates;  the gates had to be reopened so that they could make their exits. The Spanish Ambassador, who was now the Duca de Sessa, had acquired, it is said, nearly enough promises to elect. He took the trouble to remind Madruzzo of the five candidates preferred by Philip II, and at the last moment he added the name of Ippolito Aldobrandino [Petrucci II, p. 375].

Two parties were in evidence, one led by Cardinal Andrea Peretti di Montalto (the nephew of Sixtus V) and the Spanish party which was supporting Giulio Antonio Cardinal Santorio (of Caserta, a Spanish subject).  The King of Spain (according to a report of Marquis Muti to the Duke of Savoy on January 4 [Petruccelli, II, p. 367], had provided a list of candidates, which included Madruzzo, Santorio [Santa Severina], Paleotto, Ptolomeo Galli [Como], and Colonna. Santorio (Sanseverino) had been much disliked by the recently deceased Pope Innocent.

On the Saturday, January 11, there was a disgraceful spectacle in the Pauline Chapel, as the Spanish party attempted to install Cardinal Santorio by acclamation, but they were vigorously resisted by Cardinals Altemps, Gesualdi and Colonna.  There were thirty-six cardinals gathered in the Pauline Chapel, the election venue, and they could have elected Santorio, if they had had the nerve to attempt to do so, and if they were genuinely inspired and genuinely united in their desire. But as often happens in Conclaves, individuals are swept along for the moment, and on reconsideration they regret their enthusiasm.  Cardinal Gesualdo, the Dean, advised Santorio to forgive those who were excluding him so that they could all proceed in peace.  Santorio replied that he considered all the cardinals his brothers, and that he did not want to pressure anyone and cause a scandal, and that they should make a count of those in each chapel. This took some three hours.  The standoff continued, and it was becoming apparent that the election by acclamation could not be accomplished unanimiter et concorditer, as the traditional phrase puts it.   Gesualdo's even-handedness, despite the fact that he was a supporter of the Spanish interest, was a matter of surprise and admiration.

The two Colonna cardinals, Marcantonio and Ascanio, were in opposing assemblies, the one in the Sistine Chapel, the other in the Pauline. Altemps and Montalto could only assemble  seventeen contrarians in the Sistine Chapel, which was insufficient to constitute an exclusiva. The elder Colonna, Marcantonio, sent a message from the Sistine to Ascanio, who thereupon announced that he would not support Santorio because he was not given by God. "Lo Spirito santo non vuole santa Severina, ne anco le vuole Ascanio Colonna." The enthusiasm for Santorio collapsed.  Then Sforza, Sfondrati  and Aquaviva proclaimed loudly that there was no election  (de nullitate electionis).  Some of Santorio's supporters, who had been blocking the door of the Pauline Chapel to keep others from exiting after Ascanio Colonna, were compelled to give way. Some wanted Gesualdo to proceed to the Mass of the Holy Spirit and then to a Scrutiny, but he declined to do so while theree were two groups of cardinals in two different chapels. Those in the Sistine Chapel needed to be formally asked if they would come to the Pauline Chapel and join in the adoratio.  He and Cardinal Madruzzo were deputized to carry out that task.  Cardinal Altemps replied to their request on behalf of the minority, that, since they had not been invited to the adoratio and the majority had not observed the rules, they did not want to be present at such a gathering, and for their part they would have a Mass in the Sistine Chapel.  On that day, therefore, there were two separate Masses of the Holy Spirit.  Nevertheless, the minority cardinals sent in their ballots to the Scrutiny that the majority was conducting.  Being informed that the votes were going to be given openly rather than secretly, they entered a protest against irregular procedure, and summoned one of the Masters of Ceremonies who was a Protonotary Apostolic, to legally and properly record the Protest.  Cardinal Bonelli, who had been on his knees praying the entire time of all of the disturbances and had not said one word, finally stood up and said to his associates,  "I have been praying to God to inspire me as to what I should do. But, having felt nothing in my heart to speak to me in favor of Sanseverino [Santorio], I see that Our Lord does not want this man to be pope."

When the Cardinals in the Pauline Chapel hesitated as to whether to open the ballots and under what terms,  Santorio claimed that the ballot did not matter one way or the other, since he had already been canonically elected. He would take the name Clement, to show that he would be clement to those who had opposed him. But when the votes were counted, the Spaniards could muster only 30 votes, followed by two more (Montalto and Pinelli)  on the accessio.  Humiliated, Sanseverino returned to his cell alone.  His cell, however, had been completely plundered by the Conclavists, who expected his proclamation as pope.  His supporters, though, were not completely discouraged and began canvassing for additional hopes.  They also looked forward to the arrival of Cardinal de Joyeuse and of Andreas of Austria, who might tip the balance in Santorio's favor.

Santorio had not, of course, been canonically elected.  The Mass of the Holy Spirit had not yet been sung.  No formal written scrutiny had been taken until after his claim was made.  For an Election by "Inspiration" to be valid, all cardinals had to be present and had to agree;  neither condition had been fulfilled.  The Cardinal Dean, Gesualdo would not have the Mass said, nor a Scrutiny held, until all the Cardinals were in the same chapel.

On January 12, Cardinal de Joyeuse arrived.

On January 18, Ambassador Belisario Vinta informed the Grand Duke of Tuscany that he had gained access to the secret list of approved Spanish candidates [Petruccelli, II, p. 390]:

Sa Majesté veut Aldobrandino. On a vit l’ordre : donc, ou Santa Severina ou Aldobrandino. Sesso ne peut pas faire violence à Madruzzo et lui montrer de la défiance. Il dira quel’on hate le conclave. Monti a donné des coups de poing à deux cardinaux qui médisaient de Votre Altesse. On attend Autriche pour en finir avec Santa Severina.

On Saturday, January 25, after the Communion of the daily Mass, which had been celebrated by the Sacristan, he asked permission of the Cardinals to address them with a few remarks which had come to him by inspiration (petens licentiam posse dicere aliqua verba, quae ex inspiratione dixit venisse).  His request was not granted, and he was instructed to finish the Mass.  Apparently the rule was that the Holy Spirit speaks only through the Eminent Cardinals.  On the same day, the Viaticum was administered to Cardinal della Rovere, who was in extremis. He died at the eighth hour of the night [Diary of Msgr. Paolo Alaleone, in Gattico I, p. 343].  According to local Roman time, it was already January 26.  He had been an opponent of Cardinal Santorio.

On the 26th, Vinta wrote again to Grand Duke Ferdinando:

Della Rovere est mort de pétéchies. L‘autre soir s’éleva le bruit de Colonna; Sforza l' apaisa par la menace de Santa Severina. Grandes difficultés partout. Nous n’échapperons pas Aldobrandine. Madruzzo ne recule pas devant cette élection. Les Espagnols se réchauffent pour Colonna, après un billet de Sessa pour nous dépiter.

Having finally given up on Santorio, his supporters turned to Cardinal Madruzzo, the fifty-nine year old Bishop of Trent, the manager of the Imperial faction and Spanish faction.  Florence (Alessandro de' Medici), Monte (a confidante of the Grand Duke of Tuscany), and Morosini the Venetian, however, were opposed to his candidacy.   His party had expected the support of Cardinal Montalto (Alessandro Damasceni Peretti, the grand-nephew of Sixtus V) and his faction—which was not forthcoming.

Of the seven Cardinals who were on the list of acceptable candidates supplied by King Philip II, only the seventh, Cardinal Aldobrandini could muster support outside the Spanish faction.  Cardinal Montalto was happily aware that Aldobrandini could muster thirty-four votes, as he stated in a letter he wrote to Camilla Peretti, the sister of Sixtus V [Petruccelli, II, p. 391].  After some considerable resistance on the part of Cardinal Madruzzo, who was doubtless disappointed in his own hopes, and was giving consideration to other candidates in his party, Ptolomeo Galli of Como (who was highly desired by King Philip II), Gabriele Paleotto the Bishop of Sabina, and Marc'Antonio Colonna Bishop of Palestrina.  He finally gave way and endorsed the candidacy of Cardinal Aldobrandini on behalf of the Spanish and the Empire. This was the first time, on the evening of the 29th, that he revealed to his supporters the permission to elect Aldobrandini which had been given him on the opening day of the Conclave [Petruccelli II, p. 391].  On Thursday, January 30, at 19:00 hours, Ippolito Cardinal Aldobrandini (Clement VIII) was finally elected Pope. He had been a power in the reign of Sixtus V, serving both as Papal Datary (the manager of most papal patronage, except for bishoprics) and as Major Penitentiary.


On February 2, 1592, Clement VIII was consecrated bishop by Cardinal Alfonso Gesualdi, Dean of the College of Cardinals [Diary of Stefano Antonio Romano: Cancellieri, p. 154]. On the 9th he was crowned by Francesco Cardinal Sforza, the Cardinal Protodeacon, and on April 12 he took possession of the Lateran Basilica.

A month after the election, on March 12, 1592 the Ambassador of Ferrara at the Papal Court, Claudio Rangoni the Bishop of Reggio, wrote to the Duke of Ferrara [Petruccelli II, pp. 401-402]:

Le cardinal Canano [Giulio Canani, of Ferrara]  me disait avoir appris par le cardinal Mattei que Sa Sainteté vit dans un soupçon continuel, à propos des mets qu’il mange; qu’il a pris à son service un cuisinier du cardinal Farnese, auquel cuisinier il a parlé et ordonné de ne pas s'adjoindre d`aides et de ne pas laisser hanter la cuisine à qui que ce soit, son maitre d’hôtel excepté. Ces préoccupations du saint-père tiennent en alarme continuelle sa cour. Il est certain, et j’ai entendu dire par plusieurs cardinaux, que Sa Sainteté fit brûler sa mule qui avait été baisée par le duc de Sessa.

Evidently the new Pope went in fear of Spanish poison.





Joannes Baptista Gattico, Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ex variis mss. codicibus et diariis saeculi xv. xvi. xvii. Tomus I (Romae 1753).  E. Giovannini, La incoronazione di N. S. pp. Gregorio XIV nuovamente fatta in S. Pietro di Roma, con le cerimonie solite ad usarsi in simili solennita: e la cavalcata con la quale S. S. e andato a pigliare il possesso in S. Giovanni in Laterano, con milti altri particolari che in tal fatto si usano dai papi  (Venezia: apud G. A. Rampazzetto 1590).

Vincenzo Blas Garsias, De felici S. D. N. Gregorii XIV pontificatu: oratio habita in basilica S. Petri, xv id. ianuariis, 1591 (Romae: V. Accoltus in Burgo 1591).  B. Iustinianus [Giustiniani], Oratio habita in funere Innocentii IX p.m. vi idus ianuar. 1592 (Romae: apud I. Martinellum 1592).

Tria conclavia, id est Tres historicae narrationes, de tribus trium pontificum Romanorum, Urbani, videlicet VII. Gregorii XIV. et Clementis VIII. electionibus ... ex Italico, in quo primum conscriptae fuerunt, sermone, in Latinum fideliter translatae (Francofurti: Typis Hartm. Palthenii, anno M.DC.XVII).  Lelio Marretti, Gentil'huomo Senese, Conclave di Clemente Ottavo [V. Forcella, Catalogo dei manoscritti relativi alla storia di Roma III (Roma 1881), pp. 667 no. 75 (Codex Ottobonianus 2798)]. 

Conclave account of Cardinal Francesco Bourbon del Monte Santa Maria (January 30, 1592).  Conclavi de' pontefici romani Nuova edizione, riveduta, corretta, ed ampliata Volume I (Colonia: Lorenzo Martini, 1691), 514-527 [election of Innocent IX]; Volume II (Colonia: Lorenzo Martini, 1691), 1-26 [election of Clement VIII]. Antonio Cicarelli, "Vita di Innocenzio IX", in Bartolommeo Platina, Storia delle vite de' Pontefice di Bartolommeo Platina e d' altri autori edizione novissima Tomo Quarto (Venezia: Domenico Ferrarin 1765) 228-233. Giovanni Stringa "Vita di Clemente VIII" , in Bartolommeo Platina, Storia delle vite de' Pontefice di Bartolommeo Platina e d' altri autori edizione novissima Tomo Quarto (Venezia: Domenico Ferrarin 1765) 234-285.  Giovanni Antonio Petramellari, Ad Librum Onuphrii Panvinii De summis pontificibus et S. R. E. Cardinalibus... Continuatio  (Bononiae: Heredes Ioannis Rosij 1599).

For details of the Interregna of 1591, see Giuseppe de Novaes, Elementi della storia de' sommi pontefici da San Pietro sino al ... Pio Papa VII   third edition, Volume 8 (Roma 1822) 248-252; and Volume 9. 5-6. F. Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves   Volume II (Paris: 1864), 340-361. Ludwig Wahrmund, Das Ausschliessungs-recht (jus exclusivae) der katholischen Staaten Österreich, Frankreich und Spanien bei den Papstwahlen (Wien: Holder 1888), 107-108. Paul Herre, Papsttum und Papstwahl im Zeitalter Philipps II (Leipzig: Teubner 1907) 544-590. L. Ranke, History of the Popes. Their Church and State II (tr. E. Fowler) (New York 1901),Book VI, section 4, pp.158-161; Alexis François Artaud de Montor, Histoire de pontifes V (Paris 1851), pp. 33-35. For Cardinal Santorio: Charles Berton, Dictionnaire des cardinaux (1857) 1503.

Conclave of January, 1592: F. Petruccelli della Gattina, Histoire diplomatique des conclaves   Volume II (Paris: 1864), 362-400. Ludwig Wahrmund, Das Ausschliessungs-recht (jus exclusivae) der katholischen Staaten Österreich, Frankreich und Spanien bei den Papstwahlen (Wien: Holder 1888), 109-111. Paul Herre, Papsttum und Papstwahl im Zeitalter Philipps II (Leipzig: Teubner 1907) 591-626.

Hugo Laemmer, Meletmetum Romanorum mantissa (Ratisbon 1875) [Diario of Paolo Alaleone, Maestro di ceremonie].   Francesco Cancellieri, Storia de' solenni Possessioni de' Sommi Pontefici, detti anticamente Processi o Processioni dopo la loro Coronazione dalla Basilica Vaticana alla Lateranense (Roma: Luigi Lazzarini 1802).

Lorenzo Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa Tomo Quinto (Roma 1793).

P.O. v. Törne, Ptolémée Gallio, Cardinal de Côme (Paris 1907).  Antoine Aubery, L' histoire du Cardinal duc de Joyeuse (Paris: chez Robert Denain, 1664).  Antoine Aubery, L' histoire du Cardinal duc de Joyeuse (Paris: chez Robert Denain, 1664).  Cesar de Ligny (editor),   Les ambassades et negotiations de l' Illustrissime et Reverendissime Cardinal du Perron dernière edition (Paris: chez Pierre Lamy 1633). M. de Burigny,  Vie du Cardinal du Perron, Archevêque de Sens et Grand-Aumônier de France (Paris: De Bure 1768).


July 24, 2015 11:46 AM

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