TOE SACK OF ROME
the last non-Italian Pontiff, the Nuncius to Germany, Chieregari, ap- peared before the assembly of Imperial dignitaries and spoke with unprecedented plainness concerning corruption in the Church and the blame which rested on the Curia and the Pope for having brought about the great apostasy. What was dishonourable, he said, was sin and not the confession of sin. But Pope Hadrian merely pushed the stone of Sisyphus up the Alps therewith; and quite as futile was his summons to the powers to join against the Turks, who after having brought about the fall of Belgrade also captured Rhodes in 1522 from the heroic Knights of Malta. He likewise set to work in earnest re- forming the Curia, gained the ill-will of those who profited by routine, and nevertheless made no friends in Germany. For even a good Curia would no longer have been appealed to in any case. The Pope whom Luther hated was zealous for the purity of Catholic teaching; and revolutionary Germany desired the "correct, pure, unadulterated Gospel" when the Nurnberg Reichstag assembled. Hadrian died full of sorrow. His monument in the German Church in Rome bears as its inscription his own sigh, "Ah, how much difference it makes in what times the virtues of even the best man blossom!"
Storm clouds gathered round the European horizon. The German war of religion was succeeded by social wars between groups of citizens. The Scandinavian countries began to sever the bonds between them- selves and Rome. Spain and France were warring for the north o Italy; and in the East the Crescent was moving onward. The Papacy, as a spiritual and temporal power, was involved in all the movements of the intellect and in all the passages at arms. The earthly strength of a giant and the heavenly strength of an angel would both have been needed in Rome to keep the Church as it was intact, for it was now an empire of compromise between Christ and Belial. Clement VII (15231534) , another Medici Pope and a son of the Renaissance as well as its destroyer, hoped to serve both masters. He lost in every engagement. Against his will he fostered religious rebellion; and equally against his will he settled alien dominion upon Italy for centu- ries. This intelligent, serious minded, but always hesitant, wavering Pope, spun a political fabric that was all too fine and artistic. The result was that it tore asunder at every thread.
Under his predecessors Popes Alexander, Julius and Leo the