(15) 1. BRASCHI, Giovanni Angelo (1717-1799)
Birth. December 25, 1717, Cesena. From an ancient and noble but poor family. The eldest of the eight children of Count Marco Aurelio Tommaso Braschi and Ana Teresa, of the counts Bandi; they were related and had to obtain a second degree dispensation to get married. The other siblings were Felice Silvestro, Giulia Francesca, Cornelio Francesco, Maria Olimpia (a nun), Anna Maria Costanza, Giuseppe Luigi and Maria Lucia Margherita. He was baptized on December 27 by Father Tommaso Mustioli, vice-pastor of the cathedral of Cesena; his godparents were Count Fabio Locatelli and Countess Bianchini Fantaguzzi; his baptismal name was Angelo Onofrio Melchiorre Natale Giovanni Antonio. Nephew of Cardinal Giovanni Carlo Bandi (1775), on his mother's side; and uncle of Cardinal Romualdo Braschi-Onesti (1786). His first name is also listed as Gianangelo.
Education. Studied at the Jesuit Collegio, Cesena, from 1727; very young he earned a doctorate in utroque iure, both canon and civil law, on April 20, 1735, at the University of Cesena; soon after, he was aggregated to the Collegio dei venti giuristi of Cesena; then, he studied at the University of Ferrara where he completed his legal studies under the guidance of his uncle Giovanni Carlo, the auditor of Cardinal Tommaso Ruffo, legate in Ferrara.
Early life. He earned the favor of Cardinal Ruffo, who named him his secretary; and later his conclavist at the 1740 conclave; he never returned to Cesena. When Cardinal Ruffo became dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals and bishop of Ostia and Velletri on August 29, 1740, Giovanni Angelo was appointed his auditor, representing the cardinal in those dioceses; he resided in Velletri. For his defense and protection of the diocese and city of Velletri at the time of the battle that took place on August 11, 1744 between the Austrian and Neapolitan forces in the War of Austrian Succession, the king of Naples, Carlo of Bourbon, established very good relations with Auditor Braschi. In 1746, he was sent by the pope to a mission in Naples to resolve certain jurisdictional conflicts arising between Rome and the southern kingdom concerning the jurisdiction of the bishop's court; as a reward for the resolution of those differences, including obtaining the resignation of the archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Giuseppe Spinelli, was appointed private chamberlain of His Holiness, thus entering the Roman prelature. After the death of Cardinal Ruffo on February 16, 1753, Pope Benedict XIV named him his private secretary. Canon of the chapter of the patriarchal Vatican basilica, January 17, 1755 (1).
Priesthood. Ordained, 1758. Domestic prelate of His Holiness, 1758. Referendary of the Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace, September 14, 1758. In the serious conflict which arose between the Church and the jurisdictional policy of the Italian and European rulers on the question of the Society of Jesus, he never took a clear position, which was a prudent choice that played a role in his future election to the papacy. Civil auditor and secretary of Cardinal Camerlengo Carlo Rezzonico, iuniore, nephew of Pope Clement XIII, in September 1759. Consultor of the S.C. of the Index, 1762?. Auditor general of the dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals for the diocese of Velletri, 1765. Named treasurer general of the Apostolic Chamber on September 26, 1766 (2). Abbot commendatario of S. Maria di Valdiponte, Perugia, October 1767. Under the pressure of the Bourbon courts, the pope elevated him to the cardinalate.
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 26, 1773; received the red hat on April 29, 1773; and the title of S.Onofrio on May 10, 1773. Abbot commendatario of the Camaldolese monastery of S. Gregorio al Celio, Rome; and of the monastery of Subiaco in 1773, where he went to reside and realized the pastoral visitation. Participated in the conclave of 1774-1775 and was elected pope.
Papacy. Elected pope, February 15, 1775; took the name Pius VI.
Episcopate. Consecrated bishop of Rome, February 22, 1775, by Cardinal Gian Francesco Albani, bishop of Porto e Santa Rufina, sub-dean of the Sacred College of Cardinals, assisted by Cardinals Henry Benedict Mary Stuart, duke of York, bishop of Frascati, and Carlo Rezzonico, bishop of Sabina. Crowned, February 22, 1775, by Cardinal Alessandro Albani, protodeacon of S. Maria in Via Lata. The following Sunday, he opened the Holy Door of the patriarchal Vatican basilica, thus initiating the 1775 Jubilar Year. The ceremony of possesso, celebrated on November 30, 1775, was the last of which took place with the grandeur and the solemnity of the tradition, before the final abandonment of the rite. Enemies and friends of the Society of Jesus counted equally on the new pope, one group hoping to achieve the dissolution of the order decreed by the deceased pontiff; the other, to temper the application of the brief Dominus ac Redemptor, which dissolved the Order. During the first twenty four years of his pontificate, Pope Pius VI had to confront the enlightenment and incredulity infiltrated the educated classes and even the clergy; national churches which challenged the rule of the pope and the Roman Curia; Jansenism, which foster the fight against the Ultramontanists; Febronianism in Germany, with its anti-Roman tendencies; Josephinism in the Austrian territories trying to submit the Church completely to the State; and the Synod of Pistoia, in September 1786, an example of Josephinism in Italy, which published decrees hostile to papal authority. He founded the Pio-Clementino Museum in the Vatican; and restored the Capitol in Rome. In his relations with the Catholic kingdoms of Portugal, France and Portugal, Pope Pius VI was able to attain some improvement. Concerning Prussia and Russia, whose sovereign King Friedrich II and Empress Catherine II, who were not Catholics but maintained relations with the Holy See, they constituted themselves protectors of the last small communities of Jesuits, whose educational talents they appreciated. Empress Catherine II even authorized the Jesuits to establish a novitiate within her realm. Pope Pius VI tried to have them apply the brief of suppression of the Society of Jesus, at the risk of displeasing two powerful rulers who controlled, since the Partition of Poland, the fate of large numbers of Catholics, but he was unsuccessful.
Then on July 14, 1789, the French Revolution erupted, presenting larger and more dangerous problems for the papacy. Pope Pius VI saw the events in France as a sign of rebellion against the social order ordained by God and as a conspiracy against the Church. He was convinced that the world faced a religious persecution. He condemned the principles established in the Declaration of the Rights of Man, and supported the league against the Revolution. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy (Constitution civile du clergé), a law that subordinated the Roman Catholic Church in France to the French government, was passed on July 12, 1790. The pope issued two briefs, Quod aliquantum, dated March 10, 1791; and Caritas, April 13, 1791, by which he condemned the ecclesiastical reforms decreed by the Assembly and also the political principles on which they rested, which the pontiff saw as a negation of the fundamental truths of divine revelation. The uprisings in Avignon and in Comtat Venaissin against the pope, their ruler, deepened the distrust and dislike of the pope toward the Revolution. But basically, his opposition was because of religious principles and thus the pope's unceasingly opposition against all the oaths of obedience required of the clergy by the revolutionary assemblies; as well as his resolution to demand of all Catholics obedience to the judgments of the Holy See on the affairs of France. On May 31, 1791, the diplomatic relations between the Holy See and France were broken and Nuncio Antonio Dugnani was recalled. Pope Pius VI worked for the organization of a counter-revolutionary coalition. Because of his support of the First Coalition, the pope earned the hatred of the Jacobins. Numerous émigrés, including aristocrats and priests who were victims of the deportation laws, were welcomed in the Papal States. The pontiff displayed extraordinary generosity toward the priests. He established the Oeuvre pie de l'hospitalité française and entrusted it to Monsignor Lorenzo Caleppi, future cardinal, letting several thousand priests live supported by the papal treasury. In 1796, General Napoléon Bonaparte invaded Italy and the Revolution advanced to the borders of the Papal States. The French Directory planned to take reprisals against Pope Pius VI by forcing him to pay a ransom for Rome, and possibly by destroying the papacy itself. Until 1798, the prudence of General Bonaparte, who did not want to be the destroyer of the Holy See, allowed papal diplomats to purchase a precarious peace at the cost of abandoning the Legations, the northern provinces of the States of the Church, at the armistice of Bologna in 1796; and the Peace of Tolentino in1797. When General Bonaparte left for Egypt, incidents occurred between Jacobins and zealous partisans of the Holy See. This provided the excuse for a French punitive expedition against Rome. French General Louis Berthier entered the city on February 10, 1798; and five days later, proclaimed the Roman Republic. The pope refused to submit and was taken by force from Rome on February 20, at night. He was taken first to Siena and then to Florence, where he lived at the Charterhouse until March 28, 1799. Although he was old and seriously ill, afflicted with a seizure that deprived him of the use of his legs, the pope, who appeared a picture of courageous and serene resignation, was moved to Parma, Piacenza, Turin, then across the Alps to Briançon (April 30, 1799), Grenoble, and finally to Valence (July 13, 1799); he had an unexpected consolation from the veneration he received from the French populace. He died shortly after. His pontificate was the longest and most troubled of the eighteenth century.
Death. August 29, 1799, imprisoned by the French in the citadel of Valence; his death certificate, issued by the French authorities, referred to him as "Citizen Braschi"; his body was kept unburied in that citadel until January 29, 1800, when he was buried in the local cemetery. His remains were transferred to Rome on February 17, 1802; his funeral took place the following February 18, in the patriarchal Vatican basilica, attended by Pope Pius VII. He was finally buried in the grotto of that same basilica.
Bibliography. Baldassari, Pietro. Relazione delle avversità e patimenti del glorioso Papa Pio VI : negli ultimi tre anni del suo pontificato. 4 vols. 2nd ed., corr. ad aumentata. Modena : Dalla reale tip. degli Eredi Soliani, 1840; Becattini, Francesco. Storia di Pio VI. 2 v. Venezia : A. Zatta, 1801-1802; Caffiero, Marina. "Pio VI." Enciclopedia dei papi. 3 vols. Roma : Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 2000, III, 492-509; Collins, Jeffrey Laird. Papacy and politics in eighteenth-century Rome : Pius VI and the arts. Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2004. Publisher description: Pius VI was the last great papal patron of the arts in the Renaissance and Baroque tradition. This book presents the first synthetic study of his artistic patronage and policies in an effort to understand how he used the arts strategically, as a means of countering the growing hostility to the old order and the supremacy of the papacy. Pius' initiatives included the grand sacristy for St Peter's, the new Vatican Museum of ancient art, and the re-erection of Egyptian obelisks. These projects, along with Pius' use of prints, paintings, and performances, created Pius' public persona, and helped to anchor Rome's place as the cultural capital of Europe. Contents: List of Illustrations ix; Abbreviations xix; Preface xxi; Introduction: Arsenals of Art 1; One: Politics and Possibilities 7; Two: Images of Sovereignty 30; Three: Completing St. Peter's 87; Four: The Gods' Abode 132; Five: The Eternl City 193; Six: Creating a Nation 246; Conclusion: No Small Glory 290; Notes 299; Works Cited 331; Index 345; Gendry, Jules. Pie VI : sa vie, son pontificat (1717-1799) : d'après les Archives Vaticanes et de nombreux documents inédits. 2 vols. Paris : A. Picard, 1906; Latreille, André. "Pius VI, Pope." New Catholic Encyclopedia. Prepared by an editorial staff at the Catholic University of America. 19 vols. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1967-1996, XII, 398-400; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VI (1730-1799). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 28 and 44; Totti, Sandro. Il martirio di un papa. Sulle tracce della deportazione di Pio VI (febbraio 1798-agosto 1799). Rimini : Il Cerchio, 2002; Weber, Christoph and Becker, Michael. Genealogien zur Papstgeschichte. 6 v. Stuttgart : Anton Hiersemann, 1999-2002. (Päpste und Papsttum, Bd. 29, 1-6), I, 136; Weber, Christoph. Die päpstlichen Referendare 1566-1809 : Chronologie und Prosopographie. 3 vols. Stuttgart : Anton Hiersemann, 2003-2004. (Päpste und Papsttum ; Bd. 31/1, 31/2, 31/3; Variation: Päpste und Papsttum ; Bd. 31), II, 476-477.
Links. Biography by Michael Ott, in English, The Catholic Encyclopedia; biography, in English, (Britannica); biography by Marina Caffiero, Enciclopedia dei papi, Treccani; portraits, arms, coins, tomb and biography, in Italian, Wikipedia; his episcopal lineage by Charles N. Bransom, Jr., in English, Apostolic Succession in the Roman Catholic Church; portrait, arms and biographical information by Joseph L. Shetler, in English, Post-Reformation Popes (1655-1799), The Popes (1447 to date); his portrait, Cultural Catholic; his portrait by Pompeo Batoni, Pinacoteca Comunale, Cesena, Istituto per i beni artistici culturali e naturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna, Italy; his portrait by Giuseppe Milani, Pinacoteca Comunale, Cesena, Istituto per i beni artistici culturali e naturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna, Italy; his portrait by Agostino Plachesi, Pinacoteca Comunale, Cesena, Istituto per i beni artistici culturali e naturali della Regione Emilia-Romagna, Italy; eleven engravings, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; his effigy on sixty eight medals, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic; his effigy on fifty two coins, Numismatic collection of Olomouc archiepiscopate, Czech Republic; his engraving by Carlo Antonini, CalcoGRAFICA - Istituto Nazionale della Grafica, Italy; biography, in Italian, Enciclopedie on line, Treccani; his bust by Antonio Canova, Collezione Braschi, Rome; another view of the same bust; another view of the same bust; his bust by Vincenzo Pacetti, Museo di Palazzo Venezia, Rome; and his statue by Antonio Canova and Adamo Cadolini, patriarchal Vatican basilica, Rome; view from the back of the same statue; another view of the same statue in the grotto of Saint Peter's basilica, Mielczarek.org Photos.
(1) According to Ludwig von Pastor, The History of the popes from the close of the Middle Ages (St. Louis : Herder, 1952), vol. XXXI, p. 23, Braschi hesitated to accept the canonry in St. Peter's basilica because he was planning to marry, but he "abandoned this intention and with the agreement of his fiancée, who took the veil, he decided to enter the Church." In that same page, note 2, Pastor cites other accounts that indicate the marriage did not take place either because of his poverty, or because his fiancée had died.
(2) He became treasurer general at the height of a famine that affected the State of the Church as well as the rest of Italy with catastrophic consequences. He worked with skill and activism, taking care of the financial recovery of the state, burdened by heavy debt, and trying to establish a new tax system to boost revenue, within a workforce reform project which he had developed since 1767. The project, which has been considered one of the most important Italian financial documents of the 18th century, was inspired by a strictly mercantilist economic concept and envisaged the abolition of all the chamber taxes replacing them with only three taxes (flour, salt and valuation of land), the suppression of numerous contracts, the elimination of all tolls and transit taxes through the establishment instead of internal customs borders of the state. Monsignor Braschi obtained from Pope Clement XIII the appointment to a particular congregation for the application of his plan, but the pope's death, February 2, 1769, prevented the implementation of the plan, which was, however, but only in small part, brought about by the new Pope Clement XIV with the treasurer general of the Apostolic Chamber. The administrative and financial reform efforts undertaken in this phase provided the basis to economic measures of the future Pope Pius VI.
(16) 2. D'ELCI, Francesco (1707-1787)
Birth. October 6, 1707, Siena. Of the family of the counts d'Elci. Second of the seven children of Marquis Orso (Pietro Maria) d'Elci and Caterina Tempi. The other children were Ludovico, Ferdinando, Giovanni Battista (canon of Florence), Carlo Niccola, Maria Francesca (sister-in-law of Cardinal Girolamo Bardi, 1743), and Tommaso. Nephew of Cardinal Raniero d'Elci (1737). Nephew on his mother's side of Cardinal Luca Melchiore Tempi (1753), on his mother's side. Great-grand-nephew of Cardinal Scipione Pannocchieschi d'Elci (1657). His last name is also listed as Delci.
Education. "Applicato agli studi, vi riuscì con lode" (1). (No further educational information found).
Early life. Entered the ecclesiastical sate. Canon of the patriarchal Lateran basilica, April 12, 1735. Entered the Roman prelature. Referendary of the Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace, November 24, 1740. Vice-legate in Ferrara, December 1740. Relator of the S.C. of the Sacred Consulta, October 1743. Member of the S.C. of Indulgences, December 1746. President of the Apostolic Chamber, April 1747. Cleric of the Apostolic Chamber, November 1750. President della Zecca, December 1753 until 1758. Auditor and judge general of the diocese of Ostia e Velletri, January 1756. Prefect della Annona, September 25, 1759 until August 23, 1766. Dean of the clerics of the Apostolic Chamber, 1762. Auditor general of the Apostolic Chamber, October 1766, succeeding Monsignor Niccolò Serra, promoted to the cardinalate. Abbot commendatario of S. Galgano, Siena, December 1767; and of Anghiari, July 1770.
Sacred orders. (No information found).
Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of April 26, 1773; received the red hat and the deaconry of S. Angelo in Pescheria, May 10, 1773. Ascribed to the SS. CC. of Indulgences and Sacred Relics, Ecclesiastical Immunity, Ceremonial, and Sacred Consulta. Participated in the conclave of 1774-1775, which elected Pope Pius VI. Member of the S.C. of Bishops and Regulars. Protector of the city of Matelica; of the monastery delle Filippini of Rome; of the church and nation of Siena; and of the university de' fornari iitaliani. Abbbot commendatario of S. Paolo di Valdiponte, Perugia, March 1775. In April 1786, he suffered an apoplexy which kept him incapacitated until his death.
Death. April 4, 1787, Rome. Exposed in the church of S. Marcello, Rome, where the funeral took place; and buried in his family's tomb in the chapel D'Elci (chapel of S. Caterina di Siena), basilica of S. Sabina sul monte Aventino, Rome (2).
Bibliography. Moroni, Gaetano. Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni. 103 vols. in 53. Venezia : Tipografia Emiliana, 1840-1861, XIX, 201; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VI (1730-1799). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 28 and 50; Weber, Christoph and Becker, Michael. Genealogien zur Papstgeschichte. 6 v. Stuttgart : Anton Hiersemann, 1999-2002. (Päpste und Papsttum, Bd. 29, 1-6), I, 314; Weber, Christoph. Legati e governatori dello Stato Pontificio : 1550-1809. Roma : Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 1994. (Pubblicazioni degli archivi di Stato. Sussidi; 7) pp. 255 and 621-622; Weber, Christoph. Die päpstlichen Referendare 1566-1809 : Chronologie und Prosopographie. 3 vols. Stuttgart : Anton Hiersemann, 2003-2004. (Päpste und Papsttum ; Bd. 31/1, 31/2, 31/3; Variation: Päpste und Papsttum ; Bd. 31), II, Weber, Christoph. Senatus divinus : verborgene Strukturen im Kardinalskollegium der frühen Neuzeit (1500-1800). Frankfurt am Main ; New York : Peter Lang, 1996, p. 521, no. 755.
Links. His engraving by Domenico Cunego, Biblioteca comunale dell'Archiginnasio, Bologna; his tomb in the Dominican basilica of S. Sabina, Requiem Datenbank.
(1) Moroni, Dizionario di erudizione storico-ecclesiastica da S. Pietro sino ai nostri giorni, XIX, 201: "Applied to studying, he succeeded with distinction".
(2) This is the text of his epitaph taken from the image of his tomb, taken from Requiem Datenbank, linked above:
Note. In this consistory the pope created and reserved in pectore eleven cardinals whose names were never published.
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