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majority was found to make the Cardinal Del Monte Pope by the name of Julius III. His election was caused wholly by the apparent impossibility of making any other. It was by no means because any party of those who concurred in the choice considered him to be the most fitting man among them for that supreme position, but because he was deemed the least objectionable of those whom it was possible to elect. The electors might fairly answer to their own consciences that, if they had not placed on the throne any one of the men, who might have been supposed to be the most fit man to be chosen, if in truth the Holy Ghost were the veritable controller of the election, they had endeavoured but had found it impossible to do better than they had done. And the election does not seem to have been vitiated by simony. It is related, indeed, that on one occasion, Avhen a knot of cardinals, of whom Del Monte was one, were standing around the altar, after an unsuccessful scrutiny, discoursing of the apparent hopelessness of the effort to come to any election at all, Del Monte said, ""Well! make me Pope, and the next clay I will give you as a colleague my Prevotino "—a sort of clerkly official and intimate attached to a cardinal— words which seem to have been uttered jestingly, and to indicate, if they can be considered to indicate anything, that the speaker had little thought of being taken at his word.
Julius III. was placed at the holm of St. Peter's barque when it was struggling in a very troubled and tempestuous sea; and he was utterly inadequate to assume the management of it. The duties he was entrusted to do in that state of life to which he had been called would have been very terribly arduous ones to any man. Julius cut the knot by doing nothing! He assuredly has no place, by his own right, in a series called that of the "zealous Popes!" There has hardly, perhaps, been one of the long line to whom such title would less apply! But, as has been explained, our division has been adopted as much with an eye to the Conclaves as to the Popes. And the Conclave which elected Julius was a great improvement on its predecessors. Earnest attempts had been made to elect the truly best man there. They had miserably failed. But we shall see that the next Conclave shows a further improvement, and marks clearly enough the change that was coming over the spirit of the Church.
Marcellus II.—His Character.—The Conclave which elected him.—The Choice lies between him and Cardinal Caraffii.—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 Death, 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 Eanke, "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 was 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 sanctuary 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 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 have said that to a certain degree a similar improved tono and feeling may be observed to have characterized the motives of the electors in tho precoding Conclave. The manifestation of the improved spirit of the time -was, however, undoubtedly, far more marked in the Conclave -which elected Marcellus.
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 Loti. The narrative quoted by Mr. Cartwright is evidently the same as that which I have, for he 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.