Pope Clement VIII

Pope Clement VIII (Latin: Clemens VIII; 24 February 1536 – 5 March 1605), born Ippolito Aldobrandini, was Pope from 2 February 1592 to his death in 1605. Born in Fano, Italy[1] to a prominent Florentine family, he initially came to prominence as a canon lawyer before being made a Cardinal-Priest in 1585. In 1592 he was elected Pope and took the name of Clement. During his papacy he effected the reconciliation of Henry IV of France to the Catholic faith and was instrumental in setting up an alliance of Christian nations to oppose the Ottoman Empire in the so-called Long War. He also successfully adjudicated in a bitter dispute between the Dominicans and the Jesuits on the issue of efficacious grace and free will. In 1600 he presided over a jubilee which saw a large number of pilgrimages to Rome. He had little pity for his opponents, presiding over the trial and execution of Giordano Bruno and implementing strict measures against Jewish residents of the Papal States. He may have been the first pope to drink coffee. Clement VIII died at the age of 69 in 1605 and his remains now rest in the Santa Maria Maggiore.


Clement VIII
Bishop of Rome
Papst Clemens VIII Italian 17th century
Elected30 January 1592
Papacy began2 February 1592
Papacy ended3 March 1605
PredecessorInnocent IX
SuccessorLeo XI
Ordination31 December 1580
Consecration2 February 1592
by Alfonso Gesualdo di Conza
Created cardinal18 December 1585
by Sixtus V
Personal details
Birth nameIppolito Aldobrandini
Born24 February 1536
Fano, Marche, Papal States
Died5 March 1605 (aged 69)
Rome, Papal States
Previous postCardinal-Priest of San Pancrazio fouri le Mura (1585–92)
Other popes named Clement
Papal styles of
Pope Clement VIII
C o a Clemente VIII
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone

Early life

He was from a Florentine family, and followed his father as a canon lawyer, becoming an Auditor (judge) of the Roman Rota, the highest ecclesiastical court constituted by the Holy See.[2] He was only ordained as a priest at the age of 45, and rose to Pope in a further 12 years. He was an effective, if sometimes ruthless, administrator.


Caullery Pape Clément VIII Rome
Election of Pope Clemens VIII in 1592, by Louis de Caullery, Petit Palais (Paris)

He was made Cardinal-Priest of S. Pancrazio in 1585 by Pope Sixtus V, who named him major penitentiary in January 1586 and in 1588 sent him as legate in Poland. He placed himself under the direction of the reformer Philip Neri, who for thirty years was his confessor. Aldobrandini won the gratitude of the Habsburgs by his successful diplomatic efforts in Poland to obtain the release of the imprisoned Archduke Maximilian, the defeated claimant to the Polish throne.[3]

After the death of Pope Innocent IX (1591), another stormy conclave ensued, in which a determined minority of Italian Cardinals were unwilling to be dictated to by Philip II of Spain. Cardinal Aldobrandini's election on 30 January 1592 was received as a portent of more balanced and liberal Papal policy in European affairs. He took the non-politicised name Clement VIII. He proved to be an able Pope, with an unlimited capacity for work, a lawyer's eye for detail, and a wise statesman, the general object of whose policy was to free the Papacy from its dependence upon Spain.[3]

Ecclesiastical matters

De Auxiliis controversy

In 1597, he established the Congregatio de Auxiliis which was to settle the theological controversy between the Dominican Order and the Jesuits concerning the respective role of efficacious grace and free will. Although the debate tended toward a condemnation of Molinism's insistence on free will to the detriment of efficacious grace, the important influence of the Jesuit Order — among other considerations — which, beside important political and theological power in Europe, had also various missions abroad (Misiones Jesuiticas in South America, missions in China, etc.), led the Pope to abstain from an official condemnation of the Jesuits. In 1611 and again in 1625 a decree prohibited any discussion of the matter, although it was often informally avoided by the publication of commentaries on Thomas Aquinas.

Jubilee of 1600

During the jubilee of 1600, three million pilgrims visited the holy places. The Synod of Brest was held 1595 in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, by which a great part of the Ruthenian clergy and people were reunited to Rome.[3]

Canonisations and beatifications

Clement VIII canonised Hyacinth (17 April 1594), Julian of Cuenca (18 October 1594), and Raymond of Peñafort (1601). He beatified 205 individuals, 200 of them being group martyrs; notable individuals he named as Blessed included Carlo Borromeo.


The pope created 53 cardinals in six consistories during his pontificate; he named his two nephews Pietro and Cinzio Passeri as cardinals. Notable cardinals named during his reign included Camillo Borghese (his successor Pope Paul V) as well as the noted theologians Roberto Bellarmino and Cesare Baronio.

Foreign relations

Relations with France and Spain

Clement viii
Clement VIII

The most remarkable event of Clement VIII's reign was the reconciliation to the Church of Henry IV of France (1589–1610), after long negotiations, carried on with great dexterity through Cardinal Arnaud d'Ossat, that resolved the complicated situation in France. Henry embraced Catholicism on 25 July 1593. After a pause to assess Henry IV's sincerity, Clement VIII braved Spanish displeasure, and in the autumn of 1595 he solemnly absolved Henry IV, thus putting an end to the thirty years' religious war in France.[3]

Henry IV's friendship was of essential importance to the Papacy two years later, when Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara, died childless (27 October 1597), and the Pope resolved to attach the stronghold of the Este family to the states of the Church. Though Spain and the Emperor Rudolf II encouraged Alfonso II's illegitimate cousin, Cesare d'Este, to withstand the Pope, they were deterred from giving him any material aid by Henry IV's threats, and a papal army entered Ferrara almost unopposed.[3]

In 1598 Clement VIII won more credit for the papacy by bringing about a definite treaty of peace between Spain and France in the Peace of Vervins,[3] this put an end to their long contest, and he negotiated peace between France and Savoy as well.

Long War

In 1595, Clement VIII initiated an alliance of Christian European powers to take part in the war with the Ottoman Empire, fought mainly in Hungary, which would become known as the "Long War" and would continue past Clement's own lifetime. Facilitated by the Pope, a treaty of alliance was signed in Prague by Emperor Rudolf II and Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania. Aron Vodă of Moldavia and Michael the Brave of Wallachia joined the alliance later that year. Clement VIII himself lent the Emperor valuable assistance in men and money.[3]

Internal policies

Law enforcement

Clement VIII was as vigorous as Pope Sixtus V (1585–90) in crushing banditry in the papal provinces of Umbria and the Marche and in punishing the lawlessness of the Roman nobility.[3] Upon his ascension to the papal throne in 1592, he immediately had several noble troublemakers put to death. These included most famously Troio Savelli, scion of a powerful ancient Roman family, and the youthful and noble Beatrice Cenci, who had murdered her father – probably as a consequence of his repeated abuses. The latter case prompted many requests of clemency – rejected by the Pope, who passed the confiscated Cenci property to his own family.

Clement's strict ways also concerned philosophical and religious matters. In 1599 he ordered the Italian miller Menocchio – who had formed the belief that God was not eternal but had Himself once been created out of chaos – to be burned at the stake. A more famous case was the trial for heresy of Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake in 1600. Pope Clement VIII participated personally in the final phases of the trial, inviting the Cardinals in charge of the case to proceed with the verdict.

Anti-Jewish measures

Clement VIII tightened measures against the Jewish inhabitants of his territories. In 1592, the papal bull Cum saepe accidere forbade the Jewish community of the Comtat Venaissin of Avignon, a papal enclave, to sell new goods, putting them at an economic disadvantage. In 1593, the bull Caeca et Obdurata reiterated Pope Pius V's decree of 1569 which banned Jews from living in the Papal states outside the cities of Rome, Ancona, and Avignon. The main effect of the bull was to evict Jews who had returned to areas of the Papal States (mainly Umbria) after 1586 (following their expulsion in 1569) and to expel Jewish communities from cities like Bologna (which had been incorporated under papal dominion since 1569).[4] The bull also alleged that Jews in the Papal States had engaged in usury and exploited the hospitality of Clement VIII's predecessors "who, in order to lead them from their darkness to knowledge of the true faith, deemed it opportune to use the clemency of Christian piety towards them" (alluding to Christiana pietas).[5] With the bull Cum Hebraeorum malitia a few days later, Clement VIII also forbade the reading of the Talmud.[6]

Later life and death

Clement VIII SM Maggiore
Statue of Pope Clement VIII in the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Clement VIII was afflicted by gout, and was forced to spend much of his later life immobilized in bed. He suddenly became ill on 10 February 1605 and his condition rapidly deteriorated over the next few weeks. He died on 3 March 1605 around midnight, leaving a reputation for prudence, munificence, ruthlessness and capacity for business. Clement was buried in St. Peter's Basilica, and later Pope Paul V (1605–21) had a mausoleum built for him in the Borghese Chapel of Santa Maria Maggiore, where the remains were transferred in 1646.

His reign is especially distinguished by the number and beauty of his medals. Clement VIII founded the Collegio Clementino for the education of the sons of the richer classes, and augmented the number of national colleges in Rome by opening the Collegio Scozzese for the training of missionaries to Scotland.[3]


Coffee aficionados often claim that the spread of its popularity among Catholics is due to Pope Clement VIII's influence. He was pressed by his advisers to denounce coffee. The advisers believed coffee was the "bitter invention of Satan" because of its popularity among Muslims. However, upon tasting coffee, Pope Clement VIII declared that, "This Satan's drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it."[7] Clement allegedly blessed the bean because it appeared better for the people than alcoholic beverages.[8] The year often cited is 1600. It is not clear whether this is a true story, but it may have been found amusing at the time.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Clement VIII". w2.vatican.va.
  2. ^ See John Paul II, ap. con. Pastor Bonus art. 121, 80 Acta Apostolicae Sedis 841 (1988) (noting that the Apostolic Signatura is the supreme tribunal).
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLoughlin, James (1908). "Pope Clement VIII". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. 4. New York: Robert Appleton. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  4. ^ Foa, Anna; Grover, Andrea (2000). The Jews of Europe After the Black Death. University of California Press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0520087651.
  5. ^ Fragnito, Gigliota. Adrian Belton (trans.). 2001. Church, Censorship and Culture in Early Modern Italy. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-66172-2. p. 182-183.
  6. ^ S. Wendehorst, "Katholische Kirche und Juden in der Frühen Neuzeit" 1.3 "Zensur des Talmud", following Willchad Paul Eckert, "Catholizmus zwischen 1580 und 1848" in Karl Heinrich Rengstorf and Siegfried Kortzfleisch, eds. Kirche und Sinagoge II (Stuttgart, 1970) p. 232.
  7. ^ Cole, Adam. "Drink Coffee? Off With Your Head!", Salt, NPR, January 17, 2012
  8. ^ Wallin, Nils-Bertil. "Coffee: A Long Way From Ethiopia", Yale Global, November 5, 2002 Archived April 1, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-01. Retrieved 2010-06-08.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Coffee Facts and Statistics

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Innocent IX
30 January 1592 – 3 March 1605
Succeeded by
Leo XI
Alessandro di Sangro

Alessandro di Sangro (died 18 February 1633) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Benevento (1616–1633) and Titular Patriarch of Alexandria (1604–1633)

Antonio Calderón de León

Antonio Calderón de León (1540–1621) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as the first Bishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (1605–1621),Bishop of Panamá (1598–1605),

and Bishop of Puerto Rico (1593–1598).

Bartolomé Lobo Guerrero

Bartolomé Lobo Guerrero (1546 – January 12, 1622) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Lima (1607–1622) and the second Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada (1596–1607).

Bartolomé Martinez Menacho y Mesa

Bartolomé Martinez Menacho y Mesa (Mechado) (1517 – February 16, 1604) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada (1593–1604)

and Bishop of Panamá (1587–1593).

Caeca et Obdurata

Caeca et Obdurata Hebraeorum perfidia (named for its Latin incipit, meaning the blind and obdurate perfidy of the Hebrews) was a papal bull, promulgated by Pope Clement VIII on February 25, 1593, which expelled the Jews from the Papal States, effectively revoking the bull Christiana pietas (1586) of his predecessor Pope Sixtus V. Prior to 1586, Pope Pius V's bull Hebraeorum gens sola (1569) had restricted Jews in the Papal States to Rome and Ancona.The bull was a culmination of Clement VIII's tightening of the anti-Jewish measures of his predecessors which began with his elevation to the papacy in 1592. The bull gave Jews three months to leave the Papal States (with the exception of Rome, Ancona, and the Comtat Venaissin of Avignon). The main effect of the bull was to evict Jews who had returned to areas of the Papal States (mainly Umbria) after 1586 (following their expulsion in 1569) and to expel Jewish communities from cities like Bologna (which had been incorporated under papal dominion since 1569).

For the Jews remaining within Rome, Ancona, or the Comtat Venaissin, the bull re-established mandatory weekly sermons. The bull also resulted in the relocation of Jewish cemeteries to Ferrara and Mantua.The bull alleged that Jews in the Papal States had engaged in usury and exploited the hospitality of Clement VIII's predecessors "who, in order to lead them from their darkness to knowledge of the true faith, deemed it opportune to use the clemency of Christian piety towards them" (alluding to Christiana pietas).Three days later, on February 28, Clement VIII promulgated Quum Hebraeorum malitia, decreeing that the Talmud should be burnt along with cabalistic works and commentaries, which gave the owners of such works 10 days to turn them over to the Universal Inquisition in Rome and subsequently two months to hand them over to local inquisitors.

Cum sæpe accidere

Cum sæpe accidere was a papal bull issued by Pope Clement VIII on 28 February 1592, which decreed that the Jews of Avignon were forbidden to trade "new commodities" in public places.

Galeazzo Sanvitale

Galeazzo Sanvitale (died 8 September 1622) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Bari-Canosa (1604–1606).

General Instruction of the Roman Missal

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM)—in the Latin original, Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani (IGMR)—is the detailed document governing the celebration of Mass of the ordinary form of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church since 1969. It is printed at the start of recent editions of the Roman Missal.

This document unified and replaced a number of documents that were printed in earlier editions:

Rubricae Generales Missalis (General Rubrics of the Missal), amplified and revised by Pope Clement VIII in 1604 and completely rewritten by Pope John XXIII in 1960.

Additiones et Variationes in Rubricis Missalis ad normam Bullae "Divino afflatu" et subsequentium S. R. C. decretorum (Additions and Variations to the Rubrics of the Missal in accordance with the Bull Divino afflatu and subsequent decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites), which existed in Missals printed only between 1920 and 1962.

Ritus servandus in celebratione Missae (Rite to be observed in celebrating Mass), revised by Pope Clement VIII in 1604 and Pope John XXIII in 1962.

Holy League (1594)

The Holy League established in 1594 by Pope Clement VIII was a military alliance of predominantly Christian European countries (Holy League) aimed against the Ottoman Empire during the Long War (1591–1606). The aim of this alliance was to drive the Ottoman Empire out of EuropeThe coalition was led by Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor. The Holy See took for granted that Poland would join the League,

together with all most powerful neighbours of the Ottoman Empire, in spite of their mutual enmities. The league expected an assistance of the Balkan's Christian population.The establishing of this Holy League was only partially successful, while Holy League managed to halt further Ottoman conquests in Europe.

Ignacio Santibáñez

Ignacio Santibáñez (1512 – August 14, 1598) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as the first Archbishop of Manila (1595-1598).

Leonardo Mocenigo

Leonardo Mocenigo (died 1623) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Ceneda (1599–1623).

Luis Fernández de Córdoba

Luis Fernández de Córdoba (February 1555 – 26 June 1625) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Seville (1624–1625), Archbishop of Santiago de Compostela (1622–1624), Bishop of Málaga (1615–1622), and Bishop of Salamanca (1603–1615).

Martín Vasquez de Arce

Martín Vasquez de Arce, O.P. (died January 13, 1609) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Bishop of Puerto Rico (1599–1609).

Nicolás de Ramos y Santos

Nicolás de Ramos y Santos (1531 – December 1, 1599) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as the Archbishop of Santo Domingo (1592–1599) and the third Bishop of Puerto Rico (1588–1592).

Order of the Most Holy Annunciation

The Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (Latin: Ordo SS. Annuntiationis), also known as the Turchine or Blue Nuns, is a Roman Catholic religious order of contemplative nuns formed in honour of the mystery of the Incarnation of Christ at Genoa, in Italy, by the Blessed Maria Vittoria De Fornari Strata.

Pope Clement VIII approved the religious order on 5 August 1604, placing it under the Rule of Saint Augustine.

At present, the order has monasteries in Brazil, France, Italy, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, and Spain.

Paolo De Curtis

Paolo De Curtis, C.R. (died 1629) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Isernia (1600–1606) and Bishop of Ravello (1591–1600).

Pedro de Agurto

Pedro de Agurto, O.S.A. (1544 – October 15, 1608) was the first Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cebu (1595–1608).

Sixto-Clementine Vulgate

Sixto-Clementine Vulgate or Clementine Vulgate is the edition of Latin Vulgate from 1592, prepared by Pope Clement VIII. It was the second edition of the Vulgate authorised by this Pope, and it was used until the 20th century.

Wawrzyniec Gembicki

Wawrzyniec Gembicki (5 August 1559 – 10 February 1624) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Gniezno (1616–1624), Bishop of Włocławek (1610–1616), and Bishop of Chelmno (1600–1610).

1st–4th centuries
During the Roman Empire (until 493)
including under Constantine (312–337)
5th–8th centuries
Ostrogothic Papacy (493–537)
Byzantine Papacy (537–752)
Frankish Papacy (756–857)
9th–12th centuries
Papal selection before 1059
Saeculum obscurum (904–964)
Crescentii era (974–1012)
Tusculan Papacy (1012–1044/1048)
Imperial Papacy (1048–1257)
13th–16th centuries
Viterbo (1257–1281)
Orvieto (1262–1297)
Perugia (1228–1304)
Avignon Papacy (1309–1378)
Western Schism (1378–1417)
Renaissance Papacy (1417–1534)
Reformation Papacy (1534–1585)
Baroque Papacy (1585–1689)
17th–20th centuries
Age of Enlightenment (c. 1640-1740)
Revolutionary Papacy (1775–1848)
Roman Question (1870–1929)
Vatican City (1929–present)
21st century
History of the papacy
Bible and
By country
of the faithful
Early Church
Late antiquity
Early Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
Late Middle Ages
19th century
20th century
21st century

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.