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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 forty votes out of the fifty-two cardinals who went into Conclave, and the result could not be doubtful. The new Pope was the man of his choice, and that fell on Alexander Ludovisi of Bologna, who was elected Pope, as Gregory XT., on the 9th of February, 1621.
The selection of Ludovisi marks the tendency of the time as distinctly as that of the Caraffas and Ghislieris had marked the preceding epoch. He had been known as an able and successful diplomatist. But he was now an old and broken man, and reigned only two years and five months.
His nephew, the magnificent and splendid Cardinal Ludovico Ludovisi, an able, energetic man of only fiveand-twenty at the time of his uncle's election, exercised, in fact, the sovereign power during the short reign of Gregory XV. Ludovisi, though a worldly and worldloving man, was not negligent of the duties of his station as he understood them. His tenure of power was marked by the establishment of the celebrated Propaganda,* and by the canonization of the two first generals of the Jesuits—both events also marking the character of the period.
The election to be now made was the first under the new regulations which had been laid down by Gregory XV. in his Bulls of the 15th of November, 1621, Eterni Patris Filius, and of the following 15th of March, Decet Eomanum Pontificcm. These Bulls of Gregory XV. mako no change whatever in the principle and theory of the election, but only regulate the mode of procedure and ceremonial, and they form the basis of Conclave law and practice at the present time. The most important innovation made in them seems to have been that which orders that the scrutiny shall be in future secret. We have seen enough of the disorders to which the proceedings were rendered liable by the practice of open voting to appreciate the motives of Gregory's ordinance. These Bulls also repeat and renew the strictest prohibitions to the cardinals from conferring with any one, even with their own colleagues, on the Pope to be elected, or from forming factions and parties in the Conclave, or from communicating to the world outside aught that passes within it. We have seen how far such rules were observed in the Conclaves heretofore—what sign there has been perceptible that any of the parties concerned thought any obedience was due to any such rules. And it is difficult to understand how Gregory himself, who knew well what Conclaves were, could have supposed that such rules would or, one may almost say, could be observed.
* It is perhaps hardly necessary to say that the full title of this world-famous College is the "Sacra Congregatione de Propaganda Fide." The first planning of the institution dates from the time of Gregory XIII.—but it was not effectually founded till the reign of Gregory XV., and mainly by the efforts and munificence of the Cardinal Ludovisi.
Father Theiner, in his very able history of the pontificate of Clement XIV., declares that these regulations go beyond what is humanly possible. Still, as Mr. Cartwright remarks,* he makes the distinct admission that in the correspondence written from the Conclave the cardinals violated obligations by which they had bound themselves. It might be added that they subjected themselves to penalties which it is incredible that they would have incurred if they had believed in them. "How, it will be asked," says Father Theiner, "could some cardinals venture on such an open violation of the above constitution (that of Gregory XV.) as to communicate so freely to their Court all that passed in the Conclave as was the case with the French cardinals and with Orsini?" To which the author attempts so lame an answer, that the reader can hardly help feeling that it was imprudent on the part of an orthodox writer to have asked it, or to avoid the conclusion that the true answer is, because they had no belief in the sacred nature of the command or in the punishment of the violation of it, but regarded the whole thing as a solemn sham and farce!
* "Constitution of Papal Conclaves," p. 112.
The constitution of Gregory enjoining the secrecy of the votes given in scrutiny was observed on the next following election, and has been the rule ever since, no doubt to the great increase of order and regularity of proceeding in the Conclaves—not that the plan is otherwise than an immoral one, and the necessity for it discreditable to the electors of the Sacred College. There should be nothing to prevent a conscientious man in that position from declaring openly in the face of his fellows the name of him whom, as before God, he considers most fitted to assume the government of the universal Church; but, as the electors are, and as the elections are, no doubt the secrecy of the voting has contributed to order and regularity.
But if the attention of Gregory had been drawn to