Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/224

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CATASTROPHE

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Boccaccio's tale, the Christian merchant Gianotto convinces his fpend Abraham, the Jew of Paris, of the truth of Christianity. Against Gianotto's will and counsel the Jew decided to study his new faith in the city where the Curia is established. Gianotto now believes that all is lost. But Abraham returns resolved to enter the Church. He declares (and this is at once the comfort and the insight of this whole , period) to his pleasantly surprised friend: the Pope and his associates seek to blot out Christianity from the world and the hearts of men; and the fact that it nevertheless exists and flourishes proves that it must be of God.

Clement died soon thereafter of terror caused by the Lucifer letter. During his last years he had appeared in a much better light, as the giver of aid to victims of the pest, the author of measures taken to curb the madness of the Flagellantes, and the centre of resistance to a persecution of the Jews, who were believed to have brought on the plague by poisoning the wells and bewitching the atmosphere. He was followed by a simple, earnest man who took the name of Innocent VI (13521362). He curbed the maladministration of the Curia, which had now become wholly French, released Rienzi from imprison- ment, brought about a peace between France and England, and re- mained on fairly good terms with the Emperor, who received the Imperial crown when he came to Rome, though no popular enthusiasm embellished the ceremony. Charles issued a Golden Bull in 1355, which, without referring to the hody debated rights of the Pope, de- clared the Electoral-Princes sole possessors of the right to vote, and in exchange for cash gave the Italian cities freedom and the Italian princes their independence. The fact that he abandoned the right to mingle in Italian affairs meant that the German Empire was bounded on die south by the Alps. Once again Cola di Rienzi awakened the national yearning of his native city, to which he had gone after the Pope had set him free. Innocent had hoped to subdue the city by means of this tribune, but instead the man ruled so tyrannically that the people rose and slew him.

The unfortunate Rienzi had left Avignon on a Papal mission. He was to accompany the clerical general and statesman Albornoz whose task it was to reconquer the rebellious cities of the Papal States. Cardi- nal Albornoz, whom his Spanish countrymen today still regard as the


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