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far as the Spanish Church was concerned, remained forever incon- venient but none the less sometimes a welcome supporter. The Pope expressed a fear that the Holy See would have to pay Spain's debts in heaven; but when the great blow against England, to which he himself had urged Philip, had failed, and when France seemed to cling to a Catholic policy, the Pope assumed an attitude of watchful waiting toward the league. The Holy See must not be tied to one nation alone. Spain, however, demanded that the Vatican formally disavow Henry and his followers. Stormy sessions between Sixtus and Oli- varus, Philip's ambassador, followed. The Pope adhered to his pro- gram: "We wish to restore peace in France, but without enslaving it to alien ambition." The time was in all truth past when Catholic dynasties served the Pope for the sake of the Papacy. Though the House of Habsburg remained the protector of the Vatican, it never in doing so transgressed against its own interests. Contrary to Six- tus' hopes the Bourbons failed to respect the obligations involved in the tide of "Most Christian King." Henceforth it was to be the difficult business of the Vatican not to put the Church at the disposi- tion of one of the Catholic houses struggling for hegemony in Europe. The three following pontificates were still dominated by Spanish influence. Then there came Clement VIII (15921605), a distin- guished Florentine of the House of Aldobrandini, and with him the French question was solved. Henry's return to the Church of Rome re-established the balance of power between the two rulers of the West and allowed Papal policy a freer reign. Liberated from the Spanish bondage, Clement could bring about a peace between the monarchs in 1598. Spain's dominance was surrendered completely to France un- der Philip III. Now the king who had become a Catholic soon found occasion to bring the lilies of France into renewed favour at the Roman Court. He aided the Pope to acquire a fief left vacant when the Duke of Este-Ferrara died without children. Under the Papal rule, the flourishing aesthetic activities of the court and city where Tasso had loved, suffered and sang, sank into elegiac stillness. But now in Rome (1600) Giordano Bruno, the fantastic, philosophizing prophet of a God who does not exist, ended his stormy and harassed life in a fire lighted by the Inquisition. This foe of every convention and every certitude stood and fell at the close of the Renaissance as a sym-