Pope Pius VI

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Pope Pius VI (25 December[1], 1717 – 29 August, 1799), born Count Giovanni Angelo Braschi, Pope from 1775 to 1799, was born at Cesena.



Early years

After completing his studies in the Jesuit college of Cesena and receiving his doctorate of law (1734), Braschi continued his studies at the University of Ferrara, where he became the private secretary of Tommaso Ruffo, papal legate, in whose bishopric of Ostia and Velletri he held the post of auditor until 1753. His skill in the conduct of a mission to the court of Naples won him the esteem of Pope Benedict XIV (1740–58), who appointed him one of his secretaries, 1753, and canon of St Peter's. In 1758, putting an end to an engagement to be married (Pastor 1952) he was ordained priest, and in 1766 appointed treasurer of the camera apostolica by Pope Clement XIII (1758–69). Those who suffered under his conscientious economies cunningly convinced Pope Clement XIV (1769–74) to make him Cardinal-Priest of Sant'Onofrio on 26 April, 1773 – a promotion which rendered him, for a time, innocuous. In the four months' conclave which followed the death of Clement XIV Spain, France and Portugal at length dropped their objection to Braschi, who was after all one of the more moderate opponents of the anti-Jesuit policy of the previous Pope, and he was elected to the Holy See on 15 February 1775, taking the name of Pius VI.


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