Clement IX was the 238th man to serve the role of leader for the Catholic Church and the ninth among them to choose Clement as his papal name. This article will try to distinguish him from the many other popes by showcasing his life, papal legacy and even give a few personal tidbits about the man at the end.
Life Before the Papacy.
Giulio was born to the noble Rospigliosi family, the son of Giacomo and Caterina. His education entailed learning at the Seminario Romano and then as a Jesuit pupil at the University of Pisa. 1623 would see him earn doctorates in canon law, civil law, philosophy and theology; the last of these subjects would also be something he taught as a professor from 1623 to 1625.
Rospigliosi would later work within the diplomatic arm of the church, under Pope Urban VIII. 1644 would see him become Titular Archbishop of Tarsus and also becoming Spain’s Apostolic Nuncio from 1644 to 1653; he chose to retire from his post. He remained retired during Innocent X’s papacy due to a disdain for those connected to Urban VIII. He also became vicar of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. Pope Alexander VII would elevate Rospigliosi to the cardinalate in 1657, specifically as Cardinal-Priest of San Sisto Vecchio. He was also made Cardinal Secretary of State in 1655 and stayed in that position until being elected as pope in 1667.
Papal Acts and Legacy.
Honestly, not much of historic significance occurred during the papacy of Clement IX.
- There was some changes to the disputes between the Holy See and the Gallican prelates, who did not have issue with the philosophy known as Jansenism.
- He worked as a mediator during the peace of Aachen in 1668, a period of time covering successive wars between England, France, The Netherlands and Spain.
- He was beloved by the Roman people due to his unbelievable charity and willingness to help a person regardless of his or her station.
- He bought of the monopolists who cornered the grain market.
- He would dedicate two days a week to serving confessional in St. Peter’s church.
- Considering how prevalent nepotism was within the Church at the time, he did little to improve his family’s lot in life.
- He refused to leave his signature on buildings erected during his papacy as an act of humility.
- Although eager to support the Venetian-controlled Crete from the Turks, the Venetians surrendered shortly before Clement IX died.
Quick Facts About Pope Clement IX.
- He was born in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany on January 28th, 1600.
- His birth name was Giulio Rospigliosi.
- He died on December 9th, 1669.
- Little is known about how or why he died. The leading theory is that he died of a broken heart.
- His papacy began June 20th, 1667.
- His papacy ended on the day that he died.
- His papal successor was Clement X.
Five Interesting Facts About Pope Clement IX.
- “Chi soffre, speri” is a libretto from 1637 that Clement IX wrote and might be the world’s first comedic opera.
- He was a patron of the French Baroque painter Nicolas Poussin and even commissioned “A Dance to the Music of Time.”
- His papal motto translates as “Clement to others, not to himself” and was likely intended to remind himself that he used to be known as Giulio.
- He added 12 cardinals, including Emilio Bonaventura Altieri, the man who become his papal successor.
- He opened the first Roman public opera house.