Conclaves in the Reformation Era

  • Frederic J. Baumgartner


Clement VII’s election in 1523 can be called the last conclave of the Renaissance. The new pope was very much in the mold of Renaissance popes, with his patronage of art and humanism, concern for the well-being of his family and city-state, and having a son. He had little comprehension of the issues involved in the Protestant Reformation. His goal in dealing with the religious passions in Germany was to prevent any reduction in the power and prestige of the papacy, not to make the reforms that might have mollified many, but certainly not all, of those who were following Luther. Clement stubbornly resisted calling a council despite the enthusiastic support for one from Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who had played a major role in securing his election.


Imperial Faction Henry VIII Imperial Leader French Court Charles Versus 
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  1. 4.
    For the conclave of 1549–50, see Baumgartner, “Henry II and the Papal Conclave of 1549,” The Sixteenth Century Journal, XVI (1985), pp. 301–14;CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    T. Dandelet, Spanish Rome, 1500–1700 (New Haven, Conn., 2001), p. 59. This work describes at length Spanish interference in the papal elections from 1559 to 1624.Google Scholar
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© Frederic J. Baumgartner 2003

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  • Frederic J. Baumgartner

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