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minges, on condition that he would not restore the Papacy to Rome. This offer, however, having been declined, the Conclave elected, to his great surprise, the Carmelite monk Jacopo del Forno, who became Pope, as Benedict XII., and turned out a better Pontiff than might have been expected.
Pierre Roger, of the noble house of Beaufort,* was elected regularly by Conclave, assembled at Avignon, on the 7th of May, 1342, which was the thirteenth day after the death of Benedict XII., and became Pope, as Clement VI. He, too, made a triumphal procession on horseback, the bridle rein of his palfrey being held by the Count of Normandy, afterwards King of France. One of his first acts was to proclaim that, for two months, all graces and favours demanded of the Holy See should be, in the granting of them, free from the usual fees and charges. And we are told that in consequence of this announcement more than a hundred thousand ecclesiastics flocked to Avignon from all parts of Europe, during those two months, and returned home “ filled with graces and benefits !” This was the Pope who excommunicated Cola di Rienzi, and caused him to be brought to Avignon, and there imprisoned. The Romans dispatched two embassies to Pope Clement, at the head of the second of which was Francesco Petrarcha, the object of which was to prefer three
* It is strange that the writer of the article on Clement VI. in Moroni's Dictionary, should say that he took the Benedictine habit in the monastery of Alvernia; whereas that celebrated retreat in the Tuscan Apennines is and always was a Franciscan convent, and was one of the most noted haunts of St. Francis, and the scene of many of the legends connected with him.
petitions : 1. That he would accept, not as Pope, but as Pierre Roger, the places of Senator and Captain of Rome; 2. That he would come and fix himself at the Lateran; 3. That he would reduce the period elapsing between one jubilee and the next to fifty years instead of an hundred. To the first Pierre Roger replied that he had no objection, seeing that he was the master of the city, to all intents and purposes, as he was. To the third he gave his entire adhesion. But to the second, which was the important point and main object of the embassy, he replied that he could not do as was wished, because he was so much occupied in endeavours to make peace between the different warring princes of Europewhich was true.
But in his reign of ten years and a half he accomplished little or nothing towards that end, and at his death in 1352, twenty-eight cardinals went into Conclave at Avignon, and on the third day elected the Cardinal Stephen d'Albret, a native of the parish of Brissac, in the diocese of Limoges, by the name of Innocent VI. This Conclave was, though a short, a busy one. For on going into Conclave a large number of the cardinals wished to elect the General of the Carthusians: a proposed election which seems to indicate the existence of an improved spirit in the Sacred College, for the Cardinal de Talleyrand, we are told, fearing the severity of that holy monk, dissuaded the cardinals from their choice. Another attempt was then made to elect a Cardinal de Cannillac, who had, however, only fifteen votes. This having failed, the cardinals in Conclave found it necessary to lose no more
time; for it was known that the king, John II., was approaching Avignon, by forced marches, with a view to exercise a pressure on the Conclave. Stephen d'Albret was, therefore, made into Innocent VI. in a hurry, and turned out a very good Pope, as the times went, though somewhat more of a reformer of abuses, specially in the matter of non-residence and the holding of benefices in commendam, than their eminences much liked.
It is to be observed that all the tentatives made in the Conclave were in favour of Frenchmen only.
Innocent's successor, William Grimoard, resembled Homer, as the ecclesiastical historians remark, at least in one respect—that seven places contend for the honour of having given him birth, and each of these has found writers to maintain its claim. He was certainly a Frenchman, and was most probably born at Grissac, in Languedoc, in the diocese of Mende. Twenty cardinals went into Conclave at Avignon, after the death of Innocent, on the 22nd of September, 1362; and it soon appeared that a new line of division, and consequently of strife, had manifested itself among them. The great majority were French; but a considerable number of their eminences were Gascons, and subjects therefore of the King of England, and these placed themselves in opposition to those of their colleagues, who were subjects of the King of France. The ecclesiastical historians, in recording this, do not seem to be at all struck by the fact that such a division implies a total forgetfulness of the sacred duties and functions for the discharge of which they professed to have been called altogether. But, in truth, it would have been well-nigh impossible for any Catholic writer to have treated of the history of the elections of the Popes at all, if he were to make any attempt to meddle with considerations of this order! The twenty cardinals, however, despite their differences and jealousies, contrived to agree, after six days' seclusion, to elect Cardinal Hugo -Roger. But he, to the infinite surprise of his colleagues, took the almost unprecedented step, not of merely professing unwillingness, but of absolutely declining, to accept the tiara! And the difficulties of the Conclave recommenced, and the discussions broke out with redoubled violence. It was found indeed impossible to agree in the election of one of their own body; and it was not till the 28th of October that a way out of the difficulty was found by the election, as Urban V., of the Abbot William, who was no cardinal, and had been sent as Legate to Sicily, and was at that time at Florence. It is a curious illustration of the condition of things and of men's minds at the time, that it is recorded that the cardinals, instead of sending to him to announce his election, sent a message to the effect that they desired to consult with him; the motive for the step being that they feared lest, had it been known that he was the Pope, the Italians might have forcibly detained him, with a view to the re-establishment of the Papacy in Rome! In truth repeated indications are found that all the Avignon Popes felt a more or less decided consciousness that they were in some sort doing wrong in holding the Papacy out of Rome, and that it would be a good and meritorious act to restore it to the seat of Peter. Petrarch again interceded strongly by letter with Urban V. on this point; and Urban, who seems to have been a really conscientious man, was much minded to do as all Italy implored him to do. The difficulty of doing this, however, with a College of Cardinals now almost entirely French, was very great. How much greater it was felt to be by a Pope than it could be imagined to be by any other, is curiously shown by a recorded expression which fell from Urban V., long before he had any thought that he should ever be Pope, to the effect that if he could only live to see the next Pope restore the see to Rome, he should be well content to die the next day! Yet when he himself had become that next Pope, he did not do it! He did determine, however, to at least give Rome the consolation of his presence temporarily. He arrived there, to the immense joy of the Romans, on the 16th of October, 1367. He remained in Rome and its neighbourhood three years and nine months, and then departed on his return to Avignon, on the 26th of August, 1370, despite all the entreaties that could be brought to bear on him; despite the warnings of the sainted Minorite friar, Peter of Aragon, to the effect that his residence in Avignon would lead to a schism in the Church; and those of St. Bridget, who, when he was at Montefiascone, on his way to embark at Corneto, assured him that the Blessed Virgin had revealed to her that if the Pope returned to Avignon he might at once prepare for his death, for that he would not long survive it. Urban, however, replying to all these entreaties and persuasions that the interests of the government of the universal Church made it impossible for him to yield to them, returned to Avignon, which he reached on the 24th of September,