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THE PRINCE POPES.
Close of the Era of tho Zealous Popes.—Characteristics of the Group which succeeded them.—Death of Paul V.—Alexander Ludovisi elected as Gregory XV. by the influence of Cardinal Borghese.— Ludovico Ludovisi, the Cardinal Nephew.—Regulations of Gregory XV. for tho holding of the Conclave.—Father Theiner's Remarks concerning them.—Interregnum, Description of.—Death of Gregory XV., and Entry of Cardinals into Conclave.—Conclave expected to be a long one, and why.—Parties in the Conclave.—Cardinal Saoli again.—Cardinal Delmonte.—Borromeo.—Cardinals Bandini, Oinnasio, and Madruzzi.—The Barberini Family.—Character of Maffeo Barborini who became Urban Will.—Cardinals Gaetani, Sacrato, and San Severino.—Illness in the Conclave of Cardinal Borghese.—He refuses to leave the Conclave.—Barberini named in the impossibility of any other Election, and elected.—Terrible mortality of Cardinals and Conclavists.
The Borghese Pope, Paul V., with his reign of fifteen years, may be said to conclude the series of " the zealous Popes." Not that their successors can be accused of having been otherwise than anxious and vigilant for the power and greatness of the Church over which they ruled, or their more immediate successors for the extension of its territorial limits. But the Church, at least within its own bounds, was no longer a Church militant; and the result of this—invariable in the case of all churches—was that zeal for the faith, as a true faith, slackened, and we have a series of Popes in 'whom the Prince tends ever more and more to supersede the * Theologian. Scarcely in any Conclave since that which elected Paul V. would any Baronius have been found to protest, and protest effectually, against the election of a candidate deemed a likely man to hold his own among the crowned heads of Europe, on the ground that as a bishop he had neglected his diocese. Scarcely, on the other hand, would there have been found in any subsequent Conclave a necessity for protesting against the election of a candidate deemed papabile that he was licentious in his conversation. In the old renaissance days such a protest would never have been heard, because it never would have occurred to any man that such a matter was worth a protest. In the period we are now entering on it would not be heard, because no need for it would arise. We are entering on an emphatically decent epoch; not an epoch of improved morality, but of a higher regard for appearances; not an epoch when any Pope could have talked jovially of "enjoying the Papacy," like a Leo X., still less have turned the Vatican to the purposes of a casino, like an Alexander VI.; nor, on the other hand, an epoch when the Inquisition was encouraged to burn and persecute men for inexactitude in their orthodoxy, and ascetic practices were a recommendation to Papal favour; but an epoch when men's minds were greatly exercised in matters of court ceremonial, and the order of precedence among the ambassadors to the Pontiff was a matter capable of setting Europe at war, and when Eoman society was convulsed by the question of the sort of headgear which
a cardinal should most properly wear when receiving company, and whether he should hold it in his hand or put it on his head!
This book of my narrative might have been called "The Popes of Fribbledom," but that we have not quite reached that stage yet. But it may, I think, be fairly said that we have reached the age when the Popes became princes first and priests afterwards.
Paul V., whose tall and majestic figure looked a few days before his death (as the narrator of the Conclave which elected his successor tells us) as if he might have attended the obsequies of every member of the Sacred College, had a fit of apoplexy during the procession which he celebrated in thanksgiving for the victory in the famous battle of the White Mountain, near Prague. It was not immediately fatal; but at the distance of a few days he had a second, which killed him on the 28th of January, 1621.
The Conclave which followed was not a remarkable one. Paul had reigned the, for those days, exceptionally long space of nearly sixteen years; and it resulted thence that by far the greater number of the cardinals existing at the time of his death were his "creatures," and were in the Conclave adherents of his nephew, the Cardinal Borghese. His party was also further increased by the adherents of Montalto and one or two more of the oldest cardinals who dated from before the elevation of Clement VIII. Opposed to him was Aldobrandino, our old acquaintance, still alive and busy, at the head of the survivors of the old Clementine party and of the French cardinals. But Borghese commanded