Pope Clement IV

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Pope Clement IV (Saint-Gilles-du-Gard, November 23, ca. 1195 – November 29, 1268 in Viterbo), born Gui Faucoi called in later life le Gros (English: Guy Foulques the Fat; Italian: Guido Fulcodi il Grosso), was elected Pope February 5, 1265, in a conclave held at Perugia that took four months, while cardinals argued over whether to call in Charles of Anjou, the youngest brother of Louis IX of France (1226–70), to carry on the papal war against the last of the house of Hohenstaufen.

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Biography

Guy had been an unlikely candidate for holy orders: widowed and the father of two young women before taking orders, he had been successively a soldier and a lawyer, and in the latter capacity had acted as secretary to Louis IX of France, to whose influence he was chiefly indebted for his elevation to the cardinalate. Upon the death of his wife, he followed his father's example and gave up secular concerns for the Church. His rise in the church was rapid: in 1257, he was Bishop of Le Puy, in 1259, Archbishop of Narbonne and in December 1261, he was the first cardinal created by Pope Urban IV (1261–64), in the see of Sabina. He was the papal legate in England, 1262–64. He was named grand penitentiary in 1263.

At this time the Holy See was engaged in a conflict with Manfred, the illegitimate son and designated heir of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen, but whom papal loyalists, the Guelfs, called "the usurper of Naples". Clement IV, who was in France at the time of his election, was compelled to enter Italy in disguise. He immediately took steps to ally himself with Charles of Anjou, his erstwhile patron's brother, the impecunious French claimant to the Neapolitan throne. Charles allowed the Pope to be his feudal overlord (a bone of contention with the Hohenstaufen) and was crowned by cardinals in Rome, where Clement IV, permanently established at Viterbo, dared not venture, the Ghibelline party was so firmly in control. Then, fortified with papal money and supplies, Charles marched into Naples. "Papal legates and mendicant friars appeared upon the scene, preaching a formal crusade, with the amplest indulgences and most lavish promises" (Catholic Encyclopedia). Among the Italians who failed to see any nobler crusading purpose in the conflict was Dante (Inferno, Canto xxvii). Having defeated and slain Manfred in the great Battle of Benevento, Charles established himself firmly in the kingdom by the conclusive Battle of Tagliacozzo, in which Conradin, the last of the house of Hohenstaufen, was taken prisoner. Clement IV is said to have disapproved of the cruelties committed by his protégé, and there seems no foundation for the statement by Gregorovius that Clement IV became an accomplice by refusing to intercede for the unfortunate Conradin whom Charles had beheaded in the marketplace of Naples.

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