Pope Clement VII

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Pope Clement VII (26 May 1478 – 25 September 1534), born Giulio di Giuliano de' Medici, was a cardinal from 1513 to 1523 and was Pope from 1523 to 1534.

Contents

Early life

He was born in Florence one month after his father's death. His father, Giuliano de' Medici, was assassinated in the Pazzi Conspiracy. Although his parents had not had a formal marriage, a canon law loophole allowing for the parents to have been betrothed per sponsalia de presenti meant that Giulio was considered legitimate. He was thus the nephew of Lorenzo the Magnificent, who educated him in his youth. Clement's mother also died leaving him an orphan.

Giulio was made a Knight of Rhodes and Grand Prior of Capua, and, upon the election of his cousin Giovanni de' Medici to the pontificate as Leo X (1513–21), he soon became a powerful figure in Rome. Upon his cousin's accession to the papacy, Giulio became his principal minister and confidant, especially in the maintenance of the Medici interest at Florence as archbishop of that city. On 23 September 1513, he was made cardinal and he was consecrated on 29 September. He had the credit of being the main director of papal policy during the whole of Leo X's pontificate, especially as cardinal protector of England. He was also the titular Bishop of Worcester in the county of Worcestershire in England as Administrator or the See of Worcester.

Election

At Leo X's death in 1521, Cardinal Medici was considered especially papabile in the protracted conclave. Although unable to gain the Papacy for himself or his ally Alessandro Farnese (both preferred candidates of Emperor Charles V (1519–56)), he took a leading part in determining the unexpected election of the short-lived Pope Adrian VI (1522–23), with whom he also wielded formidable influence. Following Adrian VI's death on 14 September 1523, Medici finally succeeded in being elected Pope Clement VII in the next conclave (19 November 1523).

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