Pope Julius III

Pope Julius III (Latin: Iulius III; 10 September 1487 – 23 March 1555), born Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 7 February 1550 to his death in 1555.

After a career as a distinguished and effective diplomat, he was elected to the papacy as a compromise candidate after the death of Paul III. As pope he made only reluctant and short-lived attempts at reform, mostly devoting himself to a life of personal pleasure. His reputation, and that of the Catholic Church, were greatly harmed by his scandal-ridden relationship with his adopted nephew.[1]


Julius III
Bishop of Rome
Julius III
Papacy began7 February 1550
Papacy ended23 March 1555
PredecessorPaul III
SuccessorMarcellus II
Consecration12 November 1514
by Antonio Maria Ciocchi del Monte
Created cardinal22 December 1536
by Paul III
Personal details
Birth nameGiovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte
Born10 September 1487
Monte San Savino, Tuscany,
Died23 March 1555 (aged 67)
Rome, Lazio, Papal States
Previous post
Coat of armsJulius III's coat of arms
Other popes named Julius
Papal styles of
Pope Julius III
C o a Giulio III
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone

Education and early career

Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte was born in Monte San Savino. He was educated by the humanist Raffaele Brandolini Lippo, and later studied law at Perugia and Siena. During his career, he distinguished himself as a brilliant canonist rather than as a theologian.[2]

Del Monte was the nephew of Antonio Maria Ciocchi del Monte, Archbishop of Manfredonia (1506–1511). When his uncle exchanged this see for a position as a Cardinal in 1511, Giovanni Maria Ciocchi del Monte succeeded in Manfredonia in 1512. In 1520, del Monte also became Bishop of Pavia. Popular for his affable manner and respected for his administrative skills, he was twice Governor of Rome and was entrusted by the papal curia with several duties. At the Sack of Rome (1527) he was one of the hostages given by Pope Clement VII to the Emperor's forces, and barely escaped execution.[2] Pope Paul III made him Cardinal-bishop of Palestrina in 1536 and employed him in several important legations, notably as papal legate and first president of the Council of Trent (1545/47) and then at Bologna (1547/48).



Paul III died on 10 November 1549, and in the ensuing conclave the forty-eight cardinals were divided into three factions: of the primary factions, the Imperial faction wished to see the Council of Trent reconvened, the French faction wished to see it dropped. The Farnese faction, loyal to the family of the previous Pope, supported the election of Paul III's grandson, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, and also the family's claim to the Duchy of Parma, which was contested by Emperor Charles V.

Neither the French nor the Germans favoured del Monte, and the Emperor had expressly excluded him from the list of acceptable candidates, but the French were able to block the other two factions, allowing del Monte to promote himself as a compromise candidate and be elected on 7 February 1550.[3] Ottavio Farnese, whose support had been crucial to the election, was immediately confirmed as Duke of Parma.

Church reforms

IMG 0684 - Danti, Vincenzo - Giulio III -1555- - Foto G. Dall'Orto - 5 ago 2006 - 01
Bronze statue in Perugia, 1555

At the start of his reign Julius had seriously desired to bring about a reform of the Catholic Church and to reconvene the Council of Trent, but very little was actually achieved during his five years in office. In 1551, at the request of Emperor Charles V, he consented to the reopening of the council of Trent and entered into a league against the duke of Parma and Henry II of France (1547–59), causing the War of Parma. However, Julius soon came to terms with the duke and France and in 1553 suspended the meetings of the council.[4]

Julius increasingly contented himself with Italian politics and retired to his luxurious palace at the Villa Giulia, which he had built for himself close to the Porta del Popolo. From there he passed the time in comfort, emerging from time to time to make timid efforts to reform the Church through the reestablishment of the reform commissions. He was a friend of the Jesuits, to whom he granted a fresh confirmation in 1550; and through the Papal bull, Dum sollicita of August 1552, he founded the Collegium Germanicum, and granted an annual income.[5]

During his pontificate, Catholicism was restored in England under Queen Mary in 1553. Julius sent Cardinal Reginald Pole as legate with powers that he could use at his discretion to help the restoration succeed.[6] In February 1555, an envoy was dispatched from the English parliament to Julius to inform him of the country's formal submission, but the pope died before the envoy reached Rome.

Shortly before his death, Julius dispatched Cardinal Giovanni Morone to represent the interests of the Holy See at the Peace of Augsburg.[7]

The Innocenzo scandal

Julius' papacy was marked by scandals, the most notable of which is centered around the pope's adoptive nephew, Innocenzo Ciocchi Del Monte. Innocenzo del Monte was a teenaged beggar found in the streets of Parma who was hired by the family as a lowly hall boy in their primary residence,[8] the boy's age being variously given as 14, 15 or 17 years. After the elevation of Julius to the papacy, Innocenzo Del Monte was adopted into the family by the pope's brother and, by Julius, was then promptly created cardinal-nephew. Julius showered his favourite with benefices, including the commendatario of the abbeys of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy and Saint Zeno in Verona, and, later, of the abbeys of Saint Saba, Miramondo, Grottaferrata and Frascati, among others. As rumours began to circle about the particular relationship between the pope and his adoptive nephew, Julius refused to take advice. The cardinals Reginald Pole and Giovanni Carafa warned the pope of the "evil suppositions to which the elevation of a fatherless young man would give rise".[9]

Poet Joachim du Bellay, who lived in Rome through this period in the retinue of his relative, Cardinal Jean du Bellay, expressed his scandalized opinion of Julius in two sonnets in his series Les regrets (1558), hating to see, he wrote, "a Ganymede with the red hat on his head".[10][11] The courtier and poet Girolamo Muzio in a letter of 1550 to Ferrante Gonzaga, governor of Milan, wrote: "They write many bad things about this new pope; that he is vicious, proud, and odd in the head",[12] and the Pope's enemies made capital of the scandal, Thomas Beard, in the Theatre of God's judgement (1597) saying it was Julius' "custome ... to promote none to ecclesiastical livings, save only his buggerers”. In Italy it was said that Julius showed the impatience of a "lover awaiting a mistress" while awaiting Innocenzo's arrival in Rome and boasted of the boy's prowess in bed, while the Venetian ambassador reported that Innocenzo Del Monte shared the pope's bed "as if he [Innocenzo] were his [Julius'] own son or grandson."[10][13] "The charitably-disposed told themselves the boy might after all be simply his bastard son."[8]

Despite the damage which the scandal was inflicting on the church, it was not until after Julius' death in 1555 that anything could be done to curb Innocenzo's visibility. He underwent temporary banishment following the murder of two men who had insulted him, and then again following the rape of two women. He tried to use his connections in the College of Cardinals to plead his cause but his influence waned and he died in obscurity. He was buried in Rome in the Del Monte family chapel. One outcome of the cardinal-nephew scandal, however, was the upgrading of the position of Papal Secretary of State, as the incumbent had to take over the duties Innocenzo Del Monte was unfit to perform: the Secretary of State eventually replaced the cardinal-nephew as the most important official of the Holy See.[14]

Artistic legacy

The pope's lack of interest in political or ecclesiastical affairs caused dismay among his contemporaries. He spent the bulk of his time, and a great deal of papal money, on entertainments at the Villa Giulia, created for him by Vignola, but more significant and lasting was his patronage of the great Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, whom he brought to Rome as his maestro di cappella, Giorgio Vasari, who supervised the design of the Villa Giulia, and Michelangelo, who worked there.

In fiction

In the novel Q by Luther Blissett, Julius appears toward the end of the book as a moderate cardinal favouring religious tolerance, in the upheavals caused by the Reformation and the Roman Church's response during the 16th century. His election as pope and the subsequent unleashing of the Inquisition form the last chapters of the novel.

See also


  1. ^ Crompton, Louis (2004). "Julius III". glbtq.com. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2007.
  2. ^ a b Smith 2002, p. 886-887.
  3. ^ Richard P. McBrien, Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI, (HarperCollins, 2000), 283.
  4. ^ Richard P. McBrien, 283–284.
  5. ^ Oskar Garstein, Rome and the Counter-Reformation in Scandinavia, (BRILL, 1992), 105.
  6. ^ Richard P. McBrien, 284.
  7. ^ Kenneth Meyer Setton, The Papacy and the Levant, 1204–1571, Vol. IV, (The American Philosophical Society, 1984), 603.
  8. ^ a b ‘’Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes,’’ Eamon Duffy; p.215
  9. ^ Ludwig von Pastor, The History of the Popes, Germany
  10. ^ a b Crompton, Louis (2004). "Julius III". glbtq.com. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 16 August 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link). Retrieved 2007-08-16
  11. ^ E. Joe Johnson, Idealized male friendship in French narrative from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, p69. USA, 2003
  12. ^ Hor di questo nuovo papa universalmente se ne dice molto male; che egli è vitioso, superbo, rotto et di sua testa", Lettere di Girolamo Muzio Giustinopolitano conservate nell'archivio governativo di Parma, Deputazione di Storia Patria, Parma 1864, p. 152
  13. ^ Tharoor, Ishaan (12 March 2013). "Notorious Cardinals: A Rogue's Gallery of Powerful Prelates" (THE VATICAN). Time Warner. Time Magazine. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  14. ^ See The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church – Biographical Dictionary – Pope Julius III (1550–1555) – Consistory of 30 May 1550 (I) for a summary of Innocenzo Del Monte's life based on Francis Burkle-Young and Michael Leopoldo Doerrer's authoritative biography, "The life of Cardinal Innocenzo del Monte"
  • P. Messina, 'Del Monte, Innocenzo', Dizionario biografico degli italiani, Vol 38, Rome, 1990.


  • Burkle-Young, Francis A., and Michael Leopoldo Doerrer. The Life of Cardinal Innocenzo del Monte: A Scandal in Scarlet. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen, 1997.
  • Dall'Orto, Giovanni. "Julius III." Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History from Antiquity to World War II. Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds. London: Routledge, 2001. 234-35.
  • Kelly, J. N. D. The Oxford Dictionary of Popes. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Paul III
7 February 1550 – 23 March 1555
Succeeded by
Marcellus II
1549–50 papal conclave

The papal conclave of 1549–50 (November 29 – February 7), convened after the death of Pope Paul III and eventually elected Giovanni Del Monte to the papacy as Pope Julius III. It was the second-longest papal conclave of the 16th century, and (at the time) the largest papal conclave in history in terms of the number of cardinal electors. The cardinal electors (who at one point totalled fifty-one) were roughly divided between the factions of Henry II of France, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and Alessandro Farnese, the cardinal-nephew of Paul III.Noted for the extensive interference of European powers, the conclave was to determine whether and on what terms the Council of Trent would reconvene (supported by Charles V and opposed by Henry II) and the fate of the Duchies of Parma and Piacenza (claimed by both Charles V and the House of Farnese). Although the conclave nearly elected Reginald Pole, the late arrival of additional French cardinals pushed the conclave back into deadlock, and eventually Giovanni del Monte was elected Pope Julius III as a compromise candidate.

The French hoped that Julius III would be hostile to the interests of the Holy Roman Empire. Nevertheless, tensions between him and the French boiled over when he reconvened the Council of Trent in November 1550, culminating in the threat of schism in August 1551 and the brief War of Parma fought between French troops allied with Ottavio Farnese and a papal-imperial army. French prelates did not attend the 1551–1552 sessions of the Council of Trent and were slow to accept its reforms; because Henry II would not allow any French cardinals to reside in Rome, many missed the election of Pope Marcellus II, arriving in Rome just in time to elect Marcellus II's successor Pope Paul IV after Marcellus II's brief reign.

Bernardino de Cupis (bishop)

Bernardino de Cupis was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Osimo (1551–1574).

Council of Trent

The Council of Trent (Latin: Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent (or Trento, in northern Italy), was the 19th ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation.The Council issued condemnations of what it defined to be heresies committed by proponents of Protestantism, and also issued key statements and clarifications of the Church's doctrine and teachings, including scripture, the Biblical canon, sacred tradition, original sin, justification, salvation, the sacraments, the Mass, and the veneration of saints. The Council met for twenty-five sessions between 13 December 1545 and 4 December 1563. Pope Paul III, who convoked the Council, oversaw the first eight sessions (1545–47), while the twelfth to sixteenth sessions (1551–52) were overseen by Pope Julius III and the seventeenth to twenty-fifth sessions (1562–63) by Pope Pius IV.

The consequences of the Council were also significant in regards to the Church's liturgy and practices. During its deliberations, the Council made the Vulgate the official example of the Biblical canon and commissioned the creation of a standard version, although this was not achieved until the 1590s. In 1565, a year after the Council finished its work, Pius IV issued the Tridentine Creed (after Tridentum, Trent's Latin name) and his successor Pius V then issued the Roman Catechism and revisions of the Breviary and Missal in, respectively, 1566, 1568 and 1570. These, in turn, led to the codification of the Tridentine Mass, which remained the Church's primary form of the Mass for the next four hundred years.

More than three hundred years passed until the next ecumenical council, the First Vatican Council, was convened in 1869.

Exposcit debitum

Exposcit Debitum (Latin for The Duty requires) is the title of the Papal bull (or 'Apostolic Letter') that gave a second and final approval to the foundation of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). It was issued by Pope Julius III on 21 July 1550. It replaced Regimini militantis Ecclesiae of 1540. The structure of the text is the same but, based on 10 years experience, some modifications were introduced:

the limitation to 60 members was dropped;

it allowed the admission of Coadjutors, that is: zealous but uneducated priests (spiritual coadjutors) and competent lay people desirous to offer their life for an apostolic service (temporal coadjutors) The temporal coadjutors have always taken the same three vows of religious life, and are nowadays called 'Jesuit Brothers';

Defence of the faith is added to its Propagation as an aim of the Society of Jesus (the 10 years separating this text to the first approval, have been enough for St Ignatius of Loyola to realize how dangerous for the Catholic faith was the rapid progress of Protestantism).Exposcit Debitum is still the referential papal document, a sort of foundational chart, for whatever deliberation takes place on the identity and mission of the Jesuits in the world of today.

Fabio Capelleto

Fabio Capelleto was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Lacedonia (1551–1565).

Fray Thomas de San Martín

(Born in March 7, 1482 &; died August 31, 1555) was the founder of the National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru, a notable Spanish scholar, and was appointed the first Bishop of La Plata o Charcas (1552–1559).

Gaspare Ricciullo del Fosso

Gaspare Ricciullo del Fosso, O.M. (1496–1592) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Archbishop of Reggio Calabria (1560–1592),Bishop of Calvi Risorta (1551–1560),

and Bishop of Scala (1548–1551).

Gerolamo Melchiori

Gerolamo Melchiori or Gerolamo Melchiorri (died 1583) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Recanati (1573–1583) and Bishop of Macerata (1553–1573).

Giovanni Angelo Pellegrini

Giovanni Angelo Pellegrini (died 1568) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Gravina di Puglia (1552–1568) and Bishop of Fondi (1537–1552).

Giovanni Giacomo Barba

Giovanni Giacomo Barba or Jean Jacques Barba (1490 – 1 October 1565) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Terni (1553–1565) and Bishop of Teramo (1546–1553).

Giulio Gentile

Giulio Gentile (died 9 January 1572) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Vulturara e Montecorvino (1552–1572).

Juan de los Barrios

Juan de los Barrios y Toledo, OFM (1498 – April 16, 1563) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as the first Archbishop of Santafé en Nueva Granada, (1564–1569),Bishop of Santa Marta (1552–1564),

and the first Bishop of Paraguay (1547–1552).

Pedro de la Torre

Pedro de la Torre (died 1573) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Paraguay (1554–1573).

Pietro de Gozzo

Pietro de Gozzo, O.P. (died 1564) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Ston (1551–1564).

Rodrigo Vázquez

Rodrigo Vázquez was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Auxiliary Bishop of Massa Marittima (1551–1562?).

Shemon VII Ishoyahb

Shemʿon VII Ishoʿyahb (Classical Syriac: ܫܡܥܘܢ ܫܒܝܥܝܐ ܝܫܘܥܝܗܒ‎) was Patriarch of the Church of the East from 1539 to 1558, with residence in Rabban Hormizd Monastery.His reign was widely unpopular, and discontent with his leadership led to the schism of 1552, in which his opponents rebelled and appointed the monk Shimun Yohannan Sulaqa as a rival patriarch. Sulaqa's subsequent consecration by Pope Julius III saw a permanent split in the Church of the East and the birth of the Chaldean Catholic Church. His body is buried in the Rabban Hormizd Monastery near Alqosh, modern Iraq, belonging to the Chaldean Catholic Church.

Siege of Mirandola (1551)

The siege of Mirandola took part in 1551, carried on by Pope Julius III against the city, which had allied with France during the last of the Italian Wars.

As during the War of the League of Cambrai, the fortified city-state of Mirandola had again allied with France. Like his predecessor Julius II had made in 1510, pope Julius III in 1551 sent against it an army under generals Camillo Orsini and Alessandro Vitelleschi, along with his nephew, Giovanni Battista del Monte, who later proved an inept of military matters. Despite the alliance with the Emperor Charles V and his imperial support, the siege dragged on for months due to rivalry between the papal commanders. Differently from the 1510 siege, the ditches did not get iced, and sallies from besieged knights hampered communications between the four forts built by the besiegers around the citadel.

In Spring, the siege continued with no result, waiting for a corps of Landsknechts to be sent by Charles from Germany. However, in March 1552, a Mirandolese raid surprised the pope's nephew while hunting and killed him. The pope wrote to the emperor that he would abandon the siege.

Villa Giulia

This page describes the building in Rome. For the museum itself see National Etruscan Museum. For the Villa Giulia in Naples or Palermo, see Villa Giulia (Naples) or Villa Giulia (Palermo).The Villa Giulia is a villa in Rome, Italy. It was built by Pope Julius III in 1551-1553 on what was then the edge of the city. Today it is publicly owned, and houses the Museo Nazionale Etrusco, a collection of Etruscan art and artifacts.

Vincenzo Ferrari

Vincenzo Ferrari (died 1579) was a Roman Catholic prelate who served as Bishop of Umbriatico (1578–1579)

and Bishop of Montepeloso (1564–1578 and 1550–1561).

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