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Pope Innocent X

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Innocent X born Giovanni Battista Pamphili (May 6, 1574January 5, 1655) was Pope from 1644 to 1655. Born in Rome of a family from Gubbio in Umbria who had come to Rome during the pontificate of Innocent VIII, he graduated from the Collegio Romano and followed a convensional cursus honorum, attaining the dignity of cardinal in 1629. In a conclave that was bitterly contested between the parties of France and Spain, with the assent of the French cardinals, Cardinal Pamphili was chosen to succeed Urban VIII as Pope on September 15, 1644. Trained as a lawyer, a member of the congregations of the Council of Trent and the Roman Inquisition, he was one of the most politically shrewd pontiffs of the era, and much increased the temporal power of the Vatican.

The conclave for the election of a successor to Urban VIII was long and stormy, from August 9 to September 15, 1644. The French faction objected to the Spanish candidate, as an enemy of Cardinal Mazarin who guided French policy, but found Pamphili an acceptable compromise, though he had served as legate to Spain. Soon after his accession, Innocent initiated legal action against the Barberini for misappropriation of public funds, an easily demonstrated crime in 17th-century courts anywhere. Antonio and Francesco Barberini fled to Paris, where they found a powerful protector in Mazarin. Innocent confiscated their property, and on February 19, 1646, issued a bull ordaining that all cardinals who might leave the Papal States for six months without express papal permission, should be deprived of their benefices and eventually of their cardinalate itself. The French parliament declared the papal ordinance void in France, but Innocent did not yield until Mazarin prepared to send troops to Italy. Henceforth the papal policy towards France became more friendly, and somewhat later the Barberini were rehabilitated.

Innocent objected to the conclusion of the Peace of Westphalia, against which his nuncio in his name vainly protested, and against which he issued the bull Zelo Domus Dei in November 1648, which was ignored by the European Powers. The most important of his doctrinal decisions was his condemnation of five Jansenist propositions in 1653.

Olympia Maidalchina, who had been married to his late brother, was accounted Innocent's mistress because her influence with him in matters of promotion and politics were so complete, a state of affairs alluded to in the Encyclopaedia Britannia 9th edition (1880), "Throughout his reign the influence exercised over him by Olympia Maidalchina, his deceased brother's wife, was very great, and such as to give rise to gross scandal, for which, however, there appears to have been no adequate ground... The avarice of his female counsellor gave to his reign a tone of oppression and sordid greed which probably it would not otherwise have shown, for personally he was not without noble and reforming impulses." A lively biography of her, Vita de Donna Olimpia Maidalchina (1666), Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition (1911) dismissed as "gossipy and untrustworthy".

Missing image
St._Michael_the_Archangel.jpg
Guido Reni's archangel Michael (Capuchin church of Sta. Maria della Concezione, Rome) tramples a Satan with the vividly recognizable features of Pope Innocent X

A measure of the rivalry between two arriviste papal families, the Barberini and the Pamphili, can be judged from Guido Reni's painting of the Archangel Michael, trampling Satan (illustration, right) in which the features of the Cardinal Giambattista Pamphili are immediately recognized. The less-than-subtle political statement still hangs in a side chapel of the Capuchin friars' Church of the Conception (Sta Maria della Concezione) in Rome. During the papacy of Urban VIII (Maffeo Barberini, 1568-1644), whose princely rival among the College of Cardinals was Giovanni Battista Pamphili. Antonio Barberini, the pope's brother, was a Cardinal who had begun his career with the Capuchin brothers. About 1635, at the height of the Thirty Years War between Protestants and Catholics in Germany, in which the Papacy was intricately involved, Cardinal Antonio commissioned a painting of the combative archangel Michael, trampling Satan (the source of heresy and error) for the church of his old Order.

The legend that the high-living patrician painter Guido Reni, whose personal dash was at least as great as his brilliant drawing and brushwork, had been insulted by rumors circulated, he thought, by Cardinal Pamphili, serves to place on the painter's shoulders the vengeful act that could not have been overlooked— or discouraged— by his Barberini patron. Though when a few years later Pamphili was raised to the Papacy, Antonio Barberini fled to France on the embezzlement charges that have been mentioned, the Capuchins held fast to their chapel altarpiece.

Innocent X died January 5, 1655, and was succeeded by Alexander VII.

See also: list of popes named Innocent

External links


Preceded by:
Urban VIII
Pope
1644–1655
Succeeded by:
Alexander VII

Template:End boxde:Innozenz X. (Papst) fr:Innocent X it:Papa Innocenzo X nl:Paus Innocentius X ja:インノケンティウス10世 (ローマ教皇) pl:Papież Innocenty X pt:Papa Inocncio X

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