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Pope Pius IV

Pope Pius IVAKA Giovanni di Angelo de' Medici

Born: 31-Mar-1499
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: 9-Dec-1565
Location of death: Rome, Italy
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, San Maria degli Angeli

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Religion

Nationality: Italy
Executive summary: Roman Catholic Pope 1560-65

Pius IV, pope from 1559 to 1565, was born Giovanni Angelo Medici at Milan on the 31st of March 1499, of an obscure family, not related to the Medici of Florence (a claim to such relationship was advanced after Giovanni Angelo had attained to prominence). The fortune of the family was established by an elder brother, Gian Giacomo, who fought his way to the Marquisate of Marignano and distinguished himself in the service of the emperor. Giovanni Angelo studied in Bologna and Pavia, and for some time followed the law. Entering the service of the Church, he found favor with Pope Paul III, who entrusted him with the governorship of several important towns, and in 1549 made him a cardinal. Pope Julius III sent him upon missions to Germany and Hungary. With Paul IV he was out of favor, because not in sympathy with his policy, and accordingly retired to Milan. In the protracted and momentous conclave that followed the death of Paul the election of Pius (December 25, 1559) was due to a compromise between the Spanish and French factions.

In temperament and habit Pius was the antithesis of his predecessor: affable, vivacious, convivial. He was, moreover, astute, diplomatic and experienced in affairs. He allowed the reform movement free course, but tried to repair certain injustices of Paul IV (for example, releasing and reinstating Morone, who had been imprisoned on a charge of heresy), and mitigated some of his extreme decrees. But to the nephews of Paul he showed no mercy: they were charged with various crimes, condemned, upon testimony of suspicious validity, and executed on the 5th of March 1561. The Colonnesi, who had been active in the prosecution, recovered Paliano. But under Pope Pius V judgment was reversed, the memory of the Caraffa rehabilitated, and restitution made to the family. Pius IV himself was not guiltless of nepotism; but the bestowment of the cardinalate and the archbishopric of Milan upon his nephew, the pure and upright Carlo Borromeo, redounded to the honor of his pontificate and the welfare of the church.

With England lost to the papacy, Germany overwhelmingly Protestant, and France on the verge of civil war, Pius realized how fatuous was the anti-Spanish policy of his predecessor. He therefore recognized Ferdinand as emperor, and conciliated Philip II with extensive ecclesiastical privileges. But subsequently, antagonized by Philip's arrogance, he inclined towards France, and gave troops and money for the war against the Huguenots.

After a suspension of ten years the Council of Trent reconvened on the 18th of January 1562. Among the demands presented by the various nations were, the recognition of the equality of the episcopate, communion in both kinds, clerical marriage, and the use of the vernacular in Church services. It required all the pope's diplomacy to avoid compliance on the one hand, and a breach with the powers on the other. Thanks to Morone and Borromeo, however, he achieved his end. The council was dissolved on the 4th of December 1563, and its decrees and definitions confirmed by the pope (January 26, 1564), who reserved to himself the sole right of interpretation. The decrees were immediately accepted by most of the Catholic states; only tardily, however, and with reservation by France and Spain. Various measures were taken for carrying the decrees into effect: residence was strictly enjoined; plurality of benefices prohibited; the Inquisition resumed, under the presidency of Ghislieri (afterwards Pius V); a new edition of the Index published (1564); and the "Tridentine creed" promulgated (November 13, 1564).

After the termination of the council Pius indulged his desire for ease and pleasure, to the great offense of the rigorists. A certain fanatic, Benedetto Accolti, brooding over the pope's unworthiness, felt inspired to remove him, but his plot was discovered and punished (1565). Pius fortified Rome, and contributed much to the embellishment of the city -- among other works, the church of Sta. Maria degli Angeli in the Baths of Diocletian; the Porta Pia; the Villa Pia in the Vatican Gardens; and the Palace of the Conservatori. He died on the 9th of December, and was succeeded by Pius V.

Father: Bernardino
Brother: Giangiacomo

    University: University of Pavia
    University: PhD, University of Bologna (1525)

    Roman Catholic Pope 28-Dec-1559 to 9-Dec-1565
    Medici Family
    Assassination Attempt by Benedetto Ascolti
    Spanish Inquisition

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