Popes in a Year
#183 - Pope Clement IV
Pope from February 5, 1265 - November 29, 1268
Lived: November 23, 1190 - November 29, 1268
Birth name: Guy Foulques
Who was this guy before he was pope?
Guy Foulques lived one of the more well-rounded lives of any pope during the medieval era. He was born in France, the son of a lawyer, in 1190. He went on to study law himself, but not before serving as a soldier, fighting against the Moors in Spain in his late teens. As a lawyer and advocate, Guy served as secretary to St. Louis IX, king of France. He was married and had two daughters, but upon the death of his wife gave up secular life to serve the Church.
Guy was ordained a priest in 1255, a bishop (of Le Puy) in 1257, then was made Archbishop of Narbonne in 1259. In 1261, Pope Urban IV bumped him up to cardinal and gave him the See of Sabina, where he served until his election.
Give me the scoop on Clement IV.
Pope Clement IV was elected after four months of back-and-forth from the cardinals in Viterbo. The sacred college ultimately appointed two among them to decide, who conferred and thought Clement was a swell Guy for the job. Clement was immediately taken up with the ongoing task of snuffing out the German imperial family, the Hohenstaufen, and putting Charles of Anjou, youngest brother of St. Louis, in their place as both king of Sicily and senator in Rome. However, reports that he ordered the death of Conradin, the last living Hohenstaufen member, in 1268 are untrue and, in fact, precisely the opposite.
Clement was universally renowned for his holiness, dedication to the ascetic life, and his staunch aversion to nepotism. His hatred of coattail-riding led him to forbid any of his relatives from taking seats in the Curia during his reign. Clement, having resided at Viterbo his entire papacy, died and was buried there on November 29, 1268 after a short reign of almost four years. He never once set foot in Rome as pope.
What was he known for?
Pope Clement IV was perhaps the most influential pontiff to date when it came to advancing the Church’s intellectual pursuits, especially in both philosophy and the sciences. Immediately after his election, Clement made the Angelic Doctor himself, St. Thomas Aquinas, papal theologian, and supported Thomas in his pursuits of teaching and writing. Clement also ordered the Franciscan monk and scholar Roger Bacon to write his
, which was finished in 1267. The seven-part, 840-page document was addressed to Clement and touched on many subjects, including laying out the first scientific method, and predicting future inventions like hydraulics, steam ships, and flying machines.
For all you Harry Potter fans, it was Clement IV who canonized St. Hedwig (yes, there’s a St. Hedwig) of Poland in 1268. Hedwig had been a wealthy Polish duchess from 1231 to her death in 1243, but used her riches to establish religious communities and hospitals. She probably liked owls, too, but historians can't confirm.
What else was going on in the world at the time?
Around the year 1266, brothers Niccolo and Maffeo Polo reached the capital of the Mongol Empire and met with its ruler, Kublai Khan. This meeting set the stage for the famous expedition years later of their respective son and nephew, Marco Polo.
Coming tomorrow...Blessed Pope Gregory X
SOURCES (and further reading)
John, E. (1964). The Popes: A concise biographical history. New York: Hawthorn Books.
Guruge, A. (2010). The Next Pope. New Hampshire: WOWNH
Pope Clement IV -
Pope Clement IV -
Saint Hedwig -
Niccolo and Maffeo Polo -
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Sent by Matthew Sewell on Wednesday, September 6 at 2:00AM