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Giberti, Gian Matteo


Bishop of Verona and advocate of Church reform; b. Palermo, Sept. 20, 1495; d. Verona, Dec. 30, 1543. He was the son of Francesco Giberti, Grand Admiral of Genoa. As a young priest he served in the secretariat of Cardinal Giulio de Medici and rose rapidly in the papal service. He was associated with the Oratory of divine love, a group devoted to the promotion of the austere life and reform of the Church. He was appointed datary by clement vii in 1523 and bishop of Verona in 1524. He remained in Rome for the first years after this appointment and was represented by a vicar-general in Verona. In 1527 he was taken hostage during the sack of Rome. Upon his release he took up his residence in Verona (1528).

Giberti established his reputation as a reformer by close supervision of all the responsibilities of his position. He insisted that the clergy perform their duties and live in the proper religious manner. He promoted measures of relief for the poor and the establishment of charitable institutions. His support of intellectual activity was carried out through the printing of religious works by his own printing press. He encouraged the study of Scripture and supported the work of learned men. In his own letters and in Constitutiones Ecclesiasticae he suggested various means of reform for the improvement of the Church. He was also a member of the reform commission appointed by Pope paul iii in 1536. The report of this commission severely criticized many papal policies and recommended specific measures of reform. In 1540 Giberti served as papal legate to the conference of Catholic and Protestant theologians at Worms. His sudden death in 1543 prevented his participation in the Council of Trent.

Bibliography: m. a. tucker, "Gian Matteo Giberti, Papal Politician and Catholic Reformer," English Historical Review 18 (1903) 2451, 266286, 439469. g. b. pighi, Gianmatteo Giberti, vescovo di Verona (Verona 1900). h. jedin, Il tipo ideale di vescovo secondo la riforma cattolica (Brescia 1950). l. bopp, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 4:885.

[w. j. steiner]

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