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Pope Clement VI
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Religious Figure
    (1291-December 6, 1352)
    Born in Maumont, Rosiers-d'Égletons, Limousin, France
    Birth name was Pierre Roger
    Son of the lord of Rosiers-d'Égletons
    Appointed cardinal-priest of Santi Nereo e Achilleo and administrator of the bishopric of Avignon by Pope Benedict XII in 1338
    Was chosen to succeed Benedict as Pope at the conclave of 1342
    Fourth Avignon Pope (May 7, 1342-December 6, 1352)
    Issued the bull Unigenitus Dei filius, justifying the power of the pope and the use of indulgences (January 27, 1343)
    Also an avid patron of the arts, particularly in the field of music
    Historically notable as the Pope whose reign extended over the period of the Black Death's spread though-out Europe (1348–1350)
    He excommunicated the great King Casimir III of Poland.
    He admitted to living as 'a sinner among sinners' during his time as Pope.
    Edward Gibbon reflected on his reign by saying, while he was 'a fine gentleman,' he was 'no saint.'
    He was a party animal, devoted to the most lavish lifestyle his inherited treasury could allow.
    As such, the first two payments he made after his papal coronation were to musicians under his patronage.
    He was a product of the 'great schism' in the Catholic Church, exhibiting a devotion to France to the point where he refused a solemn invitation from the people of Rome to return to the city.
    He tried his luck at setting off his own 'Holy Crusade' in 1343, but it never really got off the ground (beyond a few coastal naval attacks anyway).
    He claimed that his -- more frugal, less self-indulgent -- predecessors 'did not know how to be pope' (he was deadset on living large).
    The Roman Catholic Church would invoke his Unigenitus Dei filius issuance to justify the selling of indulgences, in the wake of Martin Luther's posting the 95 Theses to a church in Wittenberg on 31 October, 1517.
    He wasn't a saint, but by all accounts he never pretended to be one either.
    He turned down an invitation from the revered Italian poet Petrarch to return to Rome.
    He commissioned the artist Matteo Giovanetti de Viterbo to paint common hunting and fishing scenes on the walls of the Papal Palace.
    He was at the helm of the Church during one of the most serious crises of Medieval Europe.
    He granted remission of sins to all who died of the plague (a huge deal considering how many priests refused to deliver last rites for peasant victims out of fear of contagion).
    He ordered large new graveyards, in order to deal with the growing influx of rotting corpses.
    He even consecrated the Rhone River, so that bodies could be buried underwater.
    His physicians advised him that surrounding himself with torches would block the plague, urging him to isolate himself from his subjects and servants, and sit between two large pyres.
    He eventually became skeptical of this recommendation and stayed in Avignon supervising sick care, burials, and the pastoral care of the dying. Miraculously, he survived the pandemic.
    He made the rare move of issuing a papal statement condemning violence towards the Jewish community, who were being scapegoated as responsible for the Black Death, urging the clergy to take action to defend them from Christians 'seduced by that liar, the Devil.'
    He took the step of officially condemning the Flagellant movement that took form in the period (and who perpetrated the most violence against the Jews), as heretics - instructing Church leaders to suppress them in a bull of October 20, 1349.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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