Chieregati, Francesco

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Papal nuncio and bishop of Teramo; b. Vicenza, 1478: d. Bologna, Dec. 6, 1539. Chieregati (Chieregato) studied law at Padua, Bologna, and Siena, where he received the degree of doctor utriusque juris. During his early career he held various positions dealing with the secretarial and diplomatic work of the Church. In 1516 he was sent as papal nuncio to England to notify henryviii that the Concordat of Bologna between the papacy and Francis I of France had been concluded. Subsequently, he represented the papacy at the courts of Spain and Portugal. While in Spain, he became acquainted with Cardinal Adrian Florensz, Bishop of Tortosa, later Pope adrian vi, the Dutch teacher of charles v. Adrian VI created Chieregati bishop of Teramo in the kingdom of Naples. As an indication of the pope's esteem for his virtue, learning, and diplomatic skill, Chieregati was sent as papal nuncio to represent the pope at the Diet of Nuremberg in the fall of 1522. He was entrusted with the task of obtaining obedience to and enforcement of the bull Exsurge and the Edict of Worms against luther, as well as of persuading the German princes to take a stronger stand against the Turks in Hungary. The reaction of the Diet was not favorable. After three unsuccessful exhortations, Chieregati, on Jan. 3, 1523, took the step of reading publicly a papal brief issued on Nov. 25, 1522, to the members of the Diet. At the same time, he read instructions prepared for him at least in substance by the pope himself and bearing the same date as the brief. The brief was an appeal to the Diet to suppress religious sedition and to force Luther and his followers to stop their disruptive activities. In essence, Chieregati's instructions constituted a public confession by the pope that the shortcomings of the Curia and the clergy were in a large part responsible for the religious problems of the day. The document also set forth the pope's determination to effect reforms. This public confession was without precedent and both a German and a Latin version were printed for further dissemination in 1523, but did not provoke a sympathetic response. Individual reaction at the Diet was skeptical about the pope's ability to implement his promises, and on February 5 the Diet demanded that the pope, with the approval of the emperor, call a council to meet in a German border city, a council that would operate independently of the pope. It also prepared a list of financial grievances for submission to the pope. Chieregati failed to soften the Diet's position and left Nuremberg in February 1523. With the death of Adrian VI, he lost his diplomatic standing and he spent the rest of his life in relative obscurity.

Bibliography: h. jedin, History of the Council of Trent, tr. e. graf, v.12 (St. Louis 1957 ); Geschitchte des Konzils von Trient (Freiburg 194957; v.1, 2d ed. 1951) 1:210213. l. pastor, The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages (London-St. Louis 193861): v.910, 4th ed.; 9:127141. b. morsolin, Francesco Chieregati (Vicenza 1873). Deutsche Reichstagsakten unter Kaiser Karl V (Gotha 18931935) v.3. l. van meerbeeck, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912 ) 12:676678.

[v. h. ponko, jr.]