The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585)
Consistory of December 15, 1578 (VI)


(14) 1. QUIROGA Y VELA, Gaspar de (1512-1594)

Birth. January 13 (1), 1512, Tuesday, Madrigal de las Altas Torres, diocese of Ávila, Spain. He is described as "pelirrojo, de complexión recia y comer templado" (red haired, of strong complexion and of moderate eating).

Education. Colegio de San Salvador de Oviedo, University of Salamanca, Salamanca, 1531-1536; Colegio Mayor Santa Cruz, Valladolid, July 25, 1536 to 1538 (licentiate in canon law, 1537; doctorate in canon law, April 13, 1538; in 1640, he was publicly recognized as the most successful and distinguished graduate in the first century and a half of the institution's existence).

Early life. Professor at Colegio de San Salvador de Oviedo, Salamanca. Cardinal Juan Pardo Tavera named him vicar general of Alcalá de Henares, 1540; later, vicar general of the archdiocese of Toledo and canon of its cathedral chapter. King Felipe II named auditor of the chancery of Valladolid. Went to Rome in 1554 (2) as auditor for Spain of the Sacred Roman Rota; he was very appreciated by Pope Paul IV and stayed in Rome for several years. At this time, he became a friend of Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus and future saint.

Priesthood. Ordained (no information found). King Felipe II charged him in 1559 with the visit to the kingdom of Naples and all the provinces and gave him complete faculties. Four years later, he returned to Barcelona and the king rewarded him with a position in the Supreme Council of Justice of the Holy General Inquisition and well as counselor in the Council of Castilla. President of the Council of Italy, 1567-1571; and again in 1586. As assessor, accompanied the king in the delicate mission of the submission of the moriscos (3) of Granada, 1570.

Episcopate. Elected bishop of Cuenca, December 17, 1571. Consecrated, April 15, 1572, convent of Santa María de las Cuevas, of the Augustinian nuns, Madrid, by Cardinal Diego Espinosa Arévalo, bishop of Sigüenza, assisted by Juan Beltrán Guevara, bishop of Mazzara, Sicily, and by Francisco Soto Salazar, bishop of Segorbe-Albarracín. After several years serving the monarch in difficult missions, he was named, on April 20, 1573, inquisitor general and member of the Council of State charged with the superintendency of the meetings celebrated in the king's residence the "Palacio de Flandes". Promoted to the metropolitan and primatial see of Toledo, September 6, 1577. He was created a cardinal to replace Fernando de Toledo Oropesa, who declined the promotion earlier in the year. His support to obtain the freedom of Fray Luis de León after five years in captivity was decisive.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of December 15, 1578; received the red hat and the title of S. Balbina, December 15, 1578. Did not participate in the conclave of 1585, which elected Pope Sixtus V. Did not participate in the first conclave of 1590, which elected Pope Urban VII. Did not participate in the second conclave of 1590, which elected Pope Gregory XIV. Did not participate in the conclave of 1591, which elected Pope Innocent IX. Did not participate in the conclave of 1592, which elected Pope Clement VIII. Under his name, if not authorship, were published two catalogs of prohibited books; famous historian Juan de Mariana had an important role in their redaction. Five days before his death, on November 7, 1594, Albrecht von Austria, titular archbishop of Filippi, was named his coadjutor with right of succession.

Death. November 12 (4), 1594, before dawn, Madrid (5), after receiving the visit of King Felipe II. Transferred to the castle of Madrigal, his family's fief, and buried in the church of S. Agustín, which he had built together with the contiguous monastery (6). In the 19th century when the monastery was expropriated, his remains were transferred to the convent of the Augustinian nuns.

Bibliography. Boyd, Maurice. Cardinal Quiroga, inquisitor general of Spain. Dubuque : W.C. Brown Co., 1954; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1793, V, ; Chacón, Alfonso. Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm ab initio nascentis Ecclesiæ vsque ad Vrbanvm VIII. Pont. Max. 2 volumes. Romae : Typis Vaticanis, 1630, col. ; Eubel, Conradus and Gulik, Guglielmus van. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, Münich : Sumptibus et Typis Librariae Regensbergianae, 1935; reprint, Padua : Il Messagero di S. Antonio, 1960, III, 46, 60, 174 and 315; Guitarte Izquierdo, Vidal. Episcopologio Español (1500-1699). Españoles obispos en españa, América, Filipinas y otros países. Rome : Instituto Español de Historia Eclesiástica, 1994. (Publicaciones del Instituto Español de Historia Eclesiástica; Subsidia; 34), p. 82; Orive, A. "Quiroga y Vela, Gaspar de." Diccionario de historia eclesiástica de España. 4 vols. Dirigido por Quintín Aldea Vaquero, Tomás Marín Martínez, José Vives Gatell. Madrid : Instituto Enrique Flórez, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1972-1975, IV, 2041-2042.

Links. Portrait and biography, in Spanish, towards the middle of the page; portrait and biography, in Spanish; same as the previous one; his portrait by El Greco, ca. 1594; portrait and brief biographical data, in Spanish; Madrigal de las Altas Torres.

(1) This is according to Boyd, Cardinal Quiroga, inquisitor general of Spain, p. 4; and his first two biographies linked above; Orive, "Quiroga y Vela, Gaspar de", IV, 2041, says that he was born on January 12, 1512. Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 1749, indicates that he was born in 1504.
(2) This is according to Orive, "Quiroga y Vela, Gaspar de", IV, 2041; his first two biographies, linked above, say that he was named in 1546.
(3) Moors who had converted to Christianity.
(4) This is according to Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, III, 46; and Guitarte, Episcopologio Español (1500-1699), p. 82; his biography, linked above, indicates that he died on November 20, 1594.
(5) This is according to Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa, V, 176; Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 1749; and Orive, A. "Quiroga y Vela, Gaspar de", 2042; but the site "Madrigal de las Altas Torres", linked above, says that he died in that locality; his brief biographical data in Spanish, also linked above, says that he died in Toledo.
(6) This is the text of his epitaph transcribed by Ferdiando Ughelli in his addition in Chacón, Vitæ, et res gestæ Pontificvm Romanorum et S. R. E. Cardinalivm, II, col. 1749: HIC. IACET. GASPAR. DE. QVIROGA. CARD. ET. ARCHIEP. TOLET. HISPANIARVM. PRIMAS. SVPREMVS. CASTELLÆ. CANCELLARIVS. ET ADVERSVS. HÆRETICAM. PRAVITATEM. INQVISITOR.GENERALIS. ITALIE. PRÆSES. PHILIPPI. II. CATHOLICI. REGIS. STATVS. CONSILIARIVS. OBIIT. NANEGESIMVM. ÆTATIS. ANNVM. AGENS. XII. KALEND. DECEMBR. ANNO. NATIVITATIS. DOMINI. MDXCIV. SVPRADICTO. REGE. REGNANTE. IN HISPANIA.

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