Pius IV, Pope

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Pontificate: Dec. 25, 1559, to Dec. 9, 1565; b. Giovanni Angelo de' Medici, Milan, Italy, March 31, 1499. His family was of modest nobility and unrelated to the famous Medici of Florence. As the son of Bernardino de' Medici, who was deeply involved in the party strife of Milan, he experienced many changes of fortune. The family became so poor that he required free tuition, secured through the mediation of his father's friend, Girolamo Morone, in order to attend the college of Pavia. In 1525 he attained the doctorate in Canon and Civil Law at the University of Bologna. His oldest brother, Gian Giacomo, the condottiere, sent the youth to Rome for his personal safety in 1526. There he soon became a prothonotary. Later Giovanni left the Roman Curia to serve his brother again as secretary. His knowledge of the law and his native ability were eventually utilized by Paul III from the first year of his reign (1534), in the government of the States of the Church. He held the post of governor in several places, the last and most important being that of Parma, 1540.

His brother Gian Giacomo's marriage to an Orsini, the sister-in-law of Pierluigi Farnese, the pope's favorite son, greatly enhanced Giovanni's position at the court of Paul III, who even as cardinal had been his protector. He was made archbishop of Ragusa, Sicily, Dec. 14, 1545,

only then receiving Holy Orders. He was appointed papal vice legate for Bologna, July 23, 1547; while in this office he hurried to Parma at the news of Pierluigi Farnese's assassination, and was largely responsible in saving that city for the Farnese. He served Paul III for 15 years before attaining the cardinalate in the pope's last consistory, held on April 8, 1549.

Cardinal Medici supported the Imperialist (Hapsburg) party and exerted much influence in the election of Julius III as pope; yet he managed to keep on good terms with the French. He was papal legate with the pope's army in the war around Parma, at the same time Gian Giacomo commanded the Imperial troops. He was altogether unsympathetic with paul iv's anti-Spanish policy, nor did he approve his often ill-advised zeal for Church reform. The Carafa pope made use of him principally as a consultant in legal matters. Happily Medici's health furnished a legitimate excuse for leaving Rome, June 13, 1558, for his Diocese of Foligno, awarded him in 1556 by a grateful emperor. From there he went to Florence to

consult with his patron, appropriately now the Medici duke, Cosimo I, who for dynastic reasons was interested in Il Medichino ("Little Medici") as a future candidate for the papacy. Having continued then to his native Milan to settle the affairs of his brother, who had died, he remained there from Oct. 18, 1558, until the death of Paul IV on Aug. 18, 1559.

The conclave had lasted more than three months when Cardinal Medici was recognized as a candidate, being acceptable to both the French and Spanish governments. Christmas morning 1559 he was elected pope, assuming the name of Pius IV, saying that he wished to be pius in both name and deed. The Romans applauded the new pontiff for his tranquil manner and moderate disposition.

Papal Rule. In the light of his reputation for moderation Pius IV's treatment of the carafa, especially his permitting the brutal execution of Cardinal Carlo, who had worked hard for his election as pope, seems incongruous and remains an enigma. The theory, espoused even by Ludwig von Pastor, that he wished by such drastic means to show his opposition to the type of nepotism involving high political stakes, is hardly convincing. His relatives, the Hohenems (Altemps), the Serbelloni on his mother's side, and the Borromeo family descended on Rome soon after his election.

Two phenomena in Pius IV's pontificate tend to obscure for many readers his person and his just claim to fame. They are (1) nepotism (certainly much less objectionable than that of his predecessor), especially exemplified by the pope's high regard and affection for his cardinal secretary of state (and later saint), Charles Borromeo, son of his sister Margherita; and (2) the resumption and conclusion of the Council of Trent. However, with regard to the first matter, it must not be supposed that the pope with his good knowledge of law and wealth of experience in secular and ecclesiastical affairs ever relinquished the reins of Church government to his gifted young nephew. As to the second, even though not physically present at Trent, the pontiff made his influence felt through his legates, whom he chose with the greatest care to represent him and preside over the assembly, and to keep him informed promptly of their deliberations.

Conclusion of Trent. In fact, Pius IV's greatest accomplishment and enduring monument is the Council of Trent, which he caused to be resumed Jan. 18, 1562, after a ten-year suspension, and which, after many vicissitudes, he brought to a successful conclusion, Dec. 4,1563. Although his own formation was not scientific and he had no real theological knowledge, he knew how to delegate technical matters to experts. After the council he was prudent in establishing a commission of cardinals, which later became a congregation, to interpret and enforce the council's decrees. Logical sequels to the council were the first Roman Catechism, designed to popularize the faith defined at Trent, and a new Index Librorum Prohibitorum, more practical and less rigid than that of PaulIV. Unlike his predecessor Pius IV did not attend sessions of the Inquisition, and he somewhat reduced its powers because he did not altogether approve of its strictness.

Although not a humanist, Pius IV appreciated scientific and literary merit, assisting many writers, and raising to the cardinalate a number of very learned men, e.g., Girolamo seripando, Stanislaus hosius, and Guglielmo sirleto. He revived the Roman University, which was almost immediately staffed with a distinguished faculty. His zeal for building and urban public works knew no bounds. Allowed to bear the Medici coat of arms by the Medici duke of Florence, he patronized architects and artists, especially the titan michelangelo. The drum of the dome and some other parts of St. Peter's, the Church of S. Maria degli Angeli within the Baths of Diocletian, and the Porta Pia in the Wall of Aurelian, named after the pope, are all examples of the collaboration of Pius IV and Michelangelo. The Borgo Pio, a section of the city between Castel Sant' Angelo and the Vatican, and the exquisite Villa Pia within the Vatican Gardens, also bear the name of him who completed them.

The pope's last days were disturbed by an abortive conspiracy directed against his life by Benedetto Accolti, a visionary of dubious antecedents, in a climate of public disgruntlement over the high taxes necessary to finance the Reform. The pontiff's recurring gout and its complications culminated in his death. Cardinal Borromeo arrived from Milan in time to assist his uncle in his last hours. Although first buried in St. Peter's, later (1583) in accordance with his testament, his remains were entombed, appropriately enough, in S. Maria degli Angeli. His simple but elegant monument, erected by his nephew Cardinal Altemps, is inconspicuous today behind the main altar in an area serving as the choir.

Bibliography: l. pastor, The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages (LondonSt. Louis 193861) v.15, 16, also Ital. ed., esp. v.17 (Rome 1963). g. constant, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951) 12.2:163347. h. jedin, Papal Legate at the Council of Trent: Cardinal Seripando, tr. f. c. eckhoff (St. Louis 1947). g. schwaiger, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 8:530531. m. a. mullet, The Catholic Reformation (New York 1999). j. w. o'malley, Trent and All That (Cambridge, Mass.2000). a. tallon, La France et le Concile de Trent (151863) (Rome 1997). Epistolae ad Principles. Leo XPius IV (15131565) ed. l. nanni (Vatican City 1993). c. gutierrez, Trento, un problema (15521562). (Madrid 1995). p. prodi and w. reinhard, eds. Il concilo di Trento e il moderno. (Bologna 1996).

[h. h. davis]