Pope Clement X

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Pope Clement X (13 July 1590 – 22 July 1676), born Emilio Bonaventura Altieri, was Pope from 29 April 1670 to 22 July 1676.


Early life

Emilio Altieri was born in Rome, the son of Lorenzo Altieri and Victoria Delphini, a Venetian lady. The Altieri family belonged to the ancient Roman nobility and had enjoyed the highest consideration at Rome for several centuries; they had occasionally contracted alliances with the Colonnas and the Orsinis. During earlier pontificates, Altieri held many important offices and had been entrusted with several delicate missions.

Early work

After finishing his studies, Altieri was named auditor of John Baptist Lancellotti in 1623, in the nunciature of Poland. On his return to Rome, he was named Bishop of Camerino, then governor of Loreto and of all Umbria. Pope Urban VIII (1623–44) gave him charge of the works designed to protect the territory of Ravenna from the unruly Po River.

Pope Innocent X (1644–55) sent him as nuncio to Naples, where he remained for eight years. He is credited with the re-establishment of peace after the stormy days of Masaniello. Pope Alexander VII (1655–67) confided to him a mission to Poland.

Pope Clement IX (1667–69) named him Superintendent of the Papal Exchequer (in charge of the Church's finances), and in 1667 his maestro di camera, and he was made Secretary of the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars. Just before his death, Clement IX made him a Cardinal. He was then about seventy-nine years of age; and Clement IX, when making him a member of the Sacred College, said to him: "You will be our successor."

After the funeral of Pope Clement IX, sixty-two electors entered into conclave on 20 December 1669. Forty-two votes were necessary, and heated discussion prevailed for four months; Giovanni Cardinal Conti was supported by twenty-two votes; Cardinal Rospigliosi, nephew of the late Pope, had thirty, or, as some say, thirty-three, with two at the accesso, so that he needed only seven more votes to gain the tiara. Cardinal Cerri obtained twenty-three votes.

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