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Marcellus II.—His Character.—The Conclave •which elected him.—Tho Choice lies between him and Cardinal Caraffa.—Hostility of the Imperial Party to the Latter.—The Meaning and Practice of '' Adoration," "Acclamation," or "Inspiration."—Anecdote of intrusive Conclavist at a Scrutiny.—Election of Marcellus II.—His Doath, and Conduct at the Council of Trent.
Marcellus II. was the first of a very remarkable series of "zealous Popes "—of Pontiffs, that is to say, who, if their conceptions of the functions, duties, and position of a true and supreme bishop of souls was still such as might have made philosophers smile and angels weep, were yet true and faithful Popes in so far as the main and earnestly pursued object of their lives was the prosperity, welfare, and advantage of the Church, as they understood the nature of these things. Marcellus was the first of these; but he, and he alone, was something more. Marcello Cervini, of Montepulciano—for his baptismal name was Marcello, and having the precedent of a predecessor of that name, a Pope and martyr at the beginning of the fourth century, he declined to change it on his elevation—was not only a zealous Pope, but a true, faithful, and pious bishop, and exemplary man and Christian.
"After the death of Julius III.," says Eahke, "the religious party, composed of the defenders of strict principles of duty and conduct, for the first* time exercised an^influence on the election of a Pope." "It wa» an election," he adds, "which already manifested the change of spirit that had begun to be dominant in the Church." And any one who reads the notices of the election which have reached us, with a somewhat larger appreciation of men and things than a conclavist can be supposed to have possessed, will hardly fail to recognise that such was the case. But the same remark has to be repeated here which was made on a former occasion with reference to the conclavist's narrative. He is evidently an old hand; and such a person would be one of the last of mortals to comprehend or admit the existence of any such changed spirit. Eeformation in such a matter, if it may be said, looking largely over the face of Europe and the progress of the world, that it came, and had to come, from below as regards the social superiorities and inferiorities, yet in Eome, in clerical Eome, and in that inmost heart and sanctuaiy of clerical Eome, the adepts of the Curia and the Conclave, clearly had to percolate from above. Little trace, accordingly, will be found of any other feeling than the old traditional notions of intrigue, cunning, bargaining, and interest in the narration of the conclavist who has recorded the incidents of the Conclave that elected perhaps the best and purest man in the long line of Pontiffs.
It is not to be imagined, however, that improvement
* I have said that to a certain degree a similar improved tone and feeling may be observed to have characterized the motives of the electors in the preceding Conclave. The manifestation of the improved spirit of the time was, however, undoubtedly, far more marked in the Conclave which elected Marcellus.
had yet proceeded to the extent of inducing the members of the Sacred College to place the consideration of their duty towards God before that of their deference for the Emperor or the French King; but there was a disposition to elect the best and fittest man, should it turn out to be impossible to do that which the Emperor or the King desired—for, as may be supposed, the desires of King and Emperor were in diametrical opposition to each other. The Cardinal of Ferrara was the head of the French faction in the College, which was very numerous; and when the cardinals went-into Conclave the general opinion was that he would be Pope. But the more authoritative cardinals were attached to the interest of the Emperor; and many of the Italian cardinals took part with his Eminence of Ferrara, considering, as the conclavist tells us, that "however the matter went they would be clear gainers by doing so; since, if they should fail of making him Pope, they would at least profit by this demonstration of their good will, as they would have merited the favour of the King, from whom they might expect various marks of recognition." But such supporters were of course likely to fall away as soon as ever it became evident that the cause they had espoused was not going to be the winning one.
I borrow the following statement of the result from Mr. Cartwright's book on Papal Conclaves.*
* I do so because the author seems to have had an ampler narrative than that before me, which is in the collection of such relations by Gregorio Leti. The narrative quoted by Mr. Cartwright is evidently the same as that which I have, for ho cites certain passages which aro almost—not quite—word for word tho same. Yet he gives several particulars not to be found in my copy of the old conclavist's story.
"On this occasion the cardinals appear to have had special grounds for being on their guard against the possible presence of unqualified conclavists" (Mr. Cartwright means unqualified persons; if they were conclavists they were qualified), for the day after the closing of the gates and the formal expulsion of strangers they proceeded to an exceptional scrutiny of all who had remained within. The whole population of the Conclave was got together in the Pauline Chapel, at the door of which the three cardinals, Capi d' Or dine (i. e. the Dean of the College, who was the senior of the cardinal bishops, the senior of the cardinal priests, and the senior of the cardinal deacons), with the Cardinal Camerlengo, took their seats and scrutinized each individual as he passed out singly before them, the result of the inspection being the ejection of fifteen interlopers. . . . After an unusual and unexplained delay, the cardinals, who had formally entered Conclave as long ago as the 5th, proceeded to a first ballot on the 9th of April, when the suffrages were found divided between Caraffa (who subsequently became Paul the Fourth), the Cardinal of Chieti, and Cervini, Cardinal of Santa Croce. The first of these three was particularly obnoxious to the Imperialists; but his following was considerable, his influence formidable; and his elevation to the Papal chair, out and out the result most deprecated from an Imperialist point of view, seemed not merely possible, but was considered likely to be assured, if the election were protracted another four-and-twenty hours. To defeat Ferrara's chance of success became accordingly the object above every other of the efforts of those cardinals who had at heart the Emperor's interest. To this end they quickly concerted to throw their influence without loss of time on the side of Cervini, as the most generally popular candidate" (this hardly states the matter correctly. Cervini was in no wise a candidate at all, save in so far as he was a cardinal; nor was the resolution of the Imperialists so immediately taken. Other attempts were made first, but Cervini was found to be the man on whom most votes could be united among those who might be supposed not utterly distasteful to the Emperor), "even though there were grounds why he could not be specially agreeable to the Emperor, whom he had displeased during his presence as legate at the Council of Trent. But the danger of Ferrara's elevation was so imminent, that a sacrifice had to be made without loss of time. Under these circumstances it was resolved to carry the election by surprise before Ferrara and the French party had the opportunity to counteract the move the next morning. Accordingly Cardinals Madruzzi (Trent) and Caraffa stole privately to Cervini's cell to prepare him for what was coming, while the cardinals were assembled within the Paoline Chapel in debate, which became eager and hot. Suddenly up jumped Cardinal Crispo, a confederate, and exclaimed, 1 Up! and let us be going; I, for one, will not rebel against the Holy Ghost!' and with these words he led the way, followed by most of the cardinals, to the cell of Cervini, who was carried forcibly into the chapel amidst the vociferous acclamations not merely of his supporters, but even of most of his opponents, when they saw the day lost for them. 'Still