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, 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 (1589-1590) 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 shortly thereafter (1589). With Henri de Bourbon besieging Paris, Caetani was recalled to Rome, his mission a failure. Nonetheless, he was again sent as Legatus a latere in 1589, and was still in France when Pope Sixtus died. He missed the conclave of 1590.

He was named Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church on October 26, 1587, and presided over the Interregna of 1590, that of 1591, and that of 1591-1592. He died on December 13, 1599 (Cardella, V, 228-230).

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.


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). 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).

On October 25, the ninth and last of the novendiales Masses by Cardinal the d' 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 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. 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 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 [Gattico I, 342]. Thirty-eight votes were needed to elect.

On 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 Cardina 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, 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. 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]. 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.

On the 18th of December, though ill, he made a pilgrimage of Rome's seven pilgrimage churches and caught a chill. He developed a heavy cough and fever, and died on December 30, 1591. There was no Papal Master of Ceremonies present, but it was reported that he received Holy Communion and Extreme Unction. He was buried on January 8, 1592 (Laemmer, Meletmetum, 236)


The Conclave of January, 1592

The second Interregnum lasted from December 30, 1591 to January 30, 1592. There were sixty-four cardinals, Cardinal Juan Hurtado de Mendoza (aged 43), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Trastevere, having died January 6, 1592 . 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), Suburbicarian Bishop of Ostia and Velletri, Dean of the Sacred College (died 1603)
  2. Iñigo de Aragona, Suburbicarian Bishop of Porto and Santa Rufina
  3. Marc' Antonio Colonna, Suburbicarian Bishop of Palestrina
  4. Tolomeo Galli (aged 64), "Como", Suburbicarian Bishop of Frascati, (d. 1607)
  5. Gabriele Paleotti (aged 69), Suburbicarian Bishop of Sabina (d. 1597)
  6. Michele Bonnelli, OP (aged 50), grand nephew and Nipote of Pius V, Suburbicarian Bishop of Albano (d. 1598) "Alessandrino"

  7. Girolamo Simoncelli (aged 69), Cardinal Priest of S. Prisca (died 1605) Administrator of Orvieto. "Sanseverino"
  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), Cardinal Priest of S. Prassede (died 1594) Archbishop of Sens.
  10. Luigi Madruzzi (aged 59), nephew of Cardinal Cristoforo Madruzzi, Cardinal Priest of S. Onofrio (d. 1600) Bishop of Trent.
  11. Giulio Antonio Santorio (aged 58), Cardinal Priest of S. Bartolommeo all' Isola (died 1602)
  12. Girolamo Rusticucci (aged 54), Cardinal Priest of S. Susanna, former Bishop of Sinigaglia (died 1603). Vicar General of Rome
  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 Schiavoni/Croati (died 1600); Professor of Law at Salamanca. Grand Inquisitor
  15. Alessandro de' Medici (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Giovanni e Paolo (died 1605) "Cardinal of Florence" Fiorenza
  16. François de Joyeuse (aged 29), Cardinal Priest of Sma. Trinità al Monte (died 1615) Archbishop of Toulouse, Protector of France (arrived January 12, 1592)
  17. Giulio Canani (aged 67), Cardinal Priest of S. Anastasia (d. 1592) Bishop of Modena; Doctor in utroque iure, Ferrara
  18. Agostino Valier (aged 60), Cardinal Priest of S. Marco (died 1606); Bishop of Verona
  19. Antonmaria Salviati (aged 54), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria della Pace (died 1602)
  20. Vincenzo Lauro (aged 68) Cardinal Priest of S. Clemente (died 1592) Bishop of Mondovi
  21. Jerzy Radzvil (Radziwill) (aged 35), Cardinal Priest of S. Sisto (died 1600) Bishop of Krakow
  22. Simeone Tagliavia d' Aragona (aged 41), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria degli Angeli (died 1604) "Terranova"
  23. Filippo Spinola (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Sabina (died 1593)
  24. Scipione Lancelotti (aged 64), Cardinal Priest of S. Salvatore in Lauro (died 1598) Doctor in utroque iure
  25. Enrico Caetani (aged 41), Cardinal Priest of S. Pudenziana (died 1599) Doctor in utroque iure, Perugia; Patriarch of Alexandria, Cardinal Camerlengo
  26. Giovanni Battista Castrucci (aged 50), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Aracoeli (died 1595) Archbishop of Chieti
  27. Domenico Pinello (aged 50), Cardinal Priest of S. Crisogono (died 1611) Professor of Law at Padua; Archpriest of S. Maria Maggiore
  28. Ippolito Aldobrandini (aged 55), Cardinal Priest of S. Pancrazio (died 1605); Major Penitentiary; elected Pope Clement VIII
  29. Girolamo della Rovere (aged 63), Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in vincoli (died January 25, 1592, as his tombstone states, not February 7) Archbishop of Turin
  30. Girolamo Bernerio, OP (aged 51), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria sopra Minerva (died 1611) Bishop of Ascoli
  31. Antonio Maria Galli (38), Cardinal Priest of S. Agnese in Agone (died 1620) Bishop of Perugia to 1591, then Osimo; "Cardinal Perusinensis"
  32. Costanzo da Sarnano, OFM Conv. (aged 60), Cardinal Priest of S. Pietro in Montorio (died 1595)
  33. William Allen (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of SS. Silvestro e Martino (died 1594) Vatican Librarian
  34. Scipione Gonzaga (aged 49), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria del Popolo (died 1593) Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
  35. Antonmaria Sauli (aged 50), Cardinal Priest of S. Stefano al Monte Celio (died 1623) former Bishop of Genoa
  36. Giovanni Palotta (aged 43), Cardinal Priest of S. Matteo in Merulana (died 1620) former Archbishop of Cosenza, Archpriest of the Vatican Basilica
  37. Giovanni Francesco Morosini (aged 54), Cardinal Priest of S. Maria in Via (died 1596) Bishop of Brescia

  38. Francesco Sforza di Santa Fiora (aged 29), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Via Lata (died 1624)
  39. Mariano Pierbenedetti (aged 53) Cardinal Priest of SS. Marcellino e Pietro (died 1611) "Camerino"
  40. Gregorio Petrocchini (aged 56), Cardinal Priest of S. Agostino (died 1612) "Montelbero"
  41. Paolo Emilio Sfondrati (aged 31), Cardinal Priest of S. Cecilia (died 1618) Cardinal nipote of Gregory XIV
  42. Ottavio Paravicini (aged 39), Cardinal Priest of S. Giovanni a Porta Latina (died 1611); Bishop of Alessandria (Piedmont/Savoy)
  43. Alessandro Damasceni Peretti (died 1623); grand-nephew of Sixtus V "Mont' Alto"
  44. Girolamo Mattei (aged 44), Cardinal Deacon of S. Eustachio (died 1603) Doctor in utroque iure, Bologna
  45. Benedetto Giustiniano (aged 37), Cardinal Priest of S. Marcello (died 1621) Doctor of law, Genoa
  46. Ascanio Colonna (aged 31), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Cosmedin (died 1608). Knight of Malta, Doctor in utroque iure, Alcalá. Archpriest of the Lateran Basilica
  47. Federico Borromeo (aged 27), Cardinal Deacon of S. Nicola in Carcere Tulliano (died 1631) Doctor of Law, Pavia
  48. Agostino Cusani (aged 49), Cardinal Priest of S. Lorenzo in Panisperna (died 1598); Doctor in utroque iure
  49. Francesco Bourbon del Monte Santa Maria (aged 42), Cardinal Priest of SS. Quirico e Giulitta (died 1627) Doctor of law
  50. Guido Pepoli (aged 31), Cardinal Deacon of SS. Cosma e Damiano (died 1599) Doctor in utroque iure, Siena
  51. Odoardo Farnese (aged 18), Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano (died 1626); nephew of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese
  52. Ottavio Acquaviva d' Aragona (aged 31), Cardinal Deacon of S. Giorgio in Velabro (died 1612) Doctor in utroque iure
  53. Flaminio Piatti (aged 39), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Domnica (died 1613)
  54. Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti (aged 17), Cardinal Deacon (died 1606) "Santi Quattro"

Cardinals not attending:

  1. Andreas von Austria (aged 32) Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria Nova (died 1621) nephew of Emperor Charles V and also of Emperor Ferdinand I.
  2. Gaspar de Quiroga y Vila (aged 79) Cardinal Priest of S. Balbina (died 1594) Archbishop of Toledo
  3. Hughes de Loubenx de Verdalle (aged 60), Cardinal Deacon of S. Maria in Portico (died 1595) Grand Master of the Sovereign order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (1582-1595).
  4. Andreas Bathóry (aged 25), Cardinal Deacon of S. Adriano (died 1599) nephew of king Stephen Bathory of Poland
  5. Rodrigo de Castro Osorio (aged 68) Cardinal Priest of SS. XII Apostoli (died 1600) Archbishop of Seville
  6. Charles de Bourbon de Vendome (aged 29), Cardinal Deacon without a deaconry (died 1594) Archbishop-elect of Rouen (never ordained, never consecrated)
  7. Charles de Lorraine-Vaudemont (aged 24), Cardinal Deacon of S. Agata in Suburra (died 1607)
  8. Philippe de Lenoncourt (aged 64), Cardinal Priest of S. Onofrio (died 1592)
  9. Pierre de Gondi (aged 59), Cardinal Priest of S. Silvestro in Capite (died 1616) Bishop of Paris
  10. Filippo Sega (aged 54), Cardinal Priest without title (died 1596) Doctor in utroque iure, Bologna; Bishop of Piacenza; Legate in France


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). On the 11th, there was a disgraceful spectacle in the Sistine Chapel, as the Spanish party attempted to install Cardinal Santorio by acclamation, despite a demonstration that went on for seven hours, vigorously resisted by Cardinals Altemps, Gesualdi and Colonna. Forced to undertake a scrutiny, the Spaniards could muster only 30 votes by secret ballot, five short of the number needed to elect at the moment.

The two Colonna cardinals, Marcantonio and Ascanio, were in opposite camps, the one in the Pauline Chapel, the other in the Sistine.. The elder, Marcantonio, sent a message to Ascanio, who thereupon announced that he would not support Santorio because he was not given by God. The enthusiasm for Santorio collapsed. 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. On January 30, Pietro Cardinal Aldobrandini (Clement VIII) was finally elected.

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.




Joannes Baptista Gattico, Acta Selecta Caeremonialia Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae ex variis mss. codicibus et diariis saeculi xv. xvi. xvii. Tomus I (Romae 1753)

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.

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)

November 8, 2011 7:16 PM

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