Adriaan Boeyens (Adrian VI) elected Pope
Pope Adrian VI (2 March 1459 – 14 September 1523), born Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens, served as Bishop of Rome from 9 January 1522 until his death some 18 months later.
He was the last non-Italian pope until John Paul II, 456 years later. He is, together with Marcellus II, one of two 'modern' popes to retain his baptismal name after election. He is buried in the Santa Maria dell'Anima church in Rome.
He was born Adriaan Florisz Boeyens under modest circumstances in the city of Utrecht, which was then the capital of the bishopric of Utrecht, the Burgundian Netherlands. He was the son of Floris/Florens Boeyens van Utrecht, also born in Utrecht, and his wife Gertruid. He is the only Dutchman to have ever become pope.
Adrian VI was known for having launched the Catholic Reformation (or counter reformation) as a response to the Protestant Reformation.
The Italians saw in him as a pedantic foreign professor, blind to the beauty of classical antiquity. Musicians such as Carpentras, the composer and singer from Avignon who was master of the papal chapel under Leo X, left Rome due to Adrian VI's indifference to the arts.
Adrian was not successful as a peacemaker among Christian princes, whom he hoped to unite in a war against the Turks. In August 1523 he was forced into an alliance with the Empire, England, Venice, against France; meanwhile in 1522 the Sultan Suleiman I (1520 – 66) had conquered Rhodes.
In his reaction to the early stages of the Lutheran revolt, Adrian VI did not completely understand the gravity of the situation. At the Diet of Nuremberg which opened in December 1522 he was represented by Francesco Chiericati, whose private instructions contain the frank admission that the disorder of the Church was perhaps the fault of the Roman Curia itself, and that it should be reformed. However, the former professor and Inquisitor General was strongly opposed to any change in doctrinal, and demanded that Luther be punished for teaching heresy.
The pope was mocked by the people of Rome on the Pasquino.
The statement in one of his works that a pope may err, privately or in a minor decree, including matters of faith, attracted attention. Catholics claim that it was a private opinion, not an official pronouncement and therefore does not conflict with the dogma of papal infallibility. Catholic apologists point to the fact that Adrian VI merely theorised about the issue.
Adrian VI died in Rome, on 14 September 1523, after a somewhat brief tenure as pope. Most of his official papers were lost after his death. He published Quaestiones in quartum sententiarum praesertim circa sacramenta (Paris, 1512, 1516, 1518, 1537; Rome, 1522), and Quaestiones quodlibeticae XII. (1st ed., Leuven, 1515).
The Romans, who had never taken a liking to a man they saw as a "barbarian", rejoiced at his death, declaring that a statue ought to be erected to his doctor.
Pope Adrian VI was a character in Christopher Marlowe's theatre play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1604).
Italian writer Luigi Malerba used the confusion among the leaders of the Catholic Church, which was created by Adrian's unexpected election, as backdrop for his 1995 novel, Le maschere (The Masks), about the struggle between two Roman cardinals for a well-endowed church office.
The last pontefice barbaro (Guicciardini, XIV, v), and the only pope of modern times, except Marcellus II, who retained his baptismal name; succeeded Pope Leo X, from 9 January, 1522, to 14 September, 1523. He was born of humble parentage in Utrecht, 2 March, 1459. He lost his pious father, Florentius Dedel, at an early age, and was kept at school by the fortitude of his widowed mother, first at home, later at Zwolle with the Brothers of the Common Life, finally at the University of Louvain. After a thorough course in philosophy, theology, and jurisprudence he was created Doctor of Divinity in 1491. Margaret of Burgundy defrayed the expenses of the poor student. His popularity as professor of theology in Louvain is shown to have been deserved by his two chief works, Quaestiones quodlibeticae (1521), and his Commentarius in Lib. IV Sententiarum Petri Lombardi (1512), which was published without his knowledge from notes of students, and saw many editions. As dean of the collegiate church of St. Peter in Louvain, and vice-chancellor of the university, he laboured to advance the arts and sciences, sacred and profane, and gave universal edification by a life of singular piety and severe asceticism. In 1506, he was, happily for the Church, selected by the Emperor Maximilian as tutor to his grandson, the future Charles V, then in his sixth year. Whatever accomplishments Charles possessed, beyond the art of war, he owed to the efforts of Adrian; most precious of all, his unalterable attachment to the Faith of his fathers. Transferred from the academic shades into public life, the humble professor rose to eminence with wonderful celerity. Within a decade he was the associate of Ximenes, Bishop of Tortosa, Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish peninsula, Cardinal of the Roman Church, and finally Regent of Spain. He was no less surprised than the rest of mankind when the intelligence reached him that the unanimous voice of the Sacred College had raised him to the highest dignity on earth. Appalling tasks lay before him in this darkest hour of the Papacy. To extirpate inveterate abuses; to reform a court which thrived on corruption, and detested the very name of reform; to hold in leash young and warlike princes, ready to bound at each other's throats; to stem the rising torrent of revolt in Germany; to save Christendom from the Turks, who from Belgrade now threatened Hungary, and if Rhodes fell would be masters of the Mediterranean — these were herculean labours for one who was in his sixty-third year, had never seen Italy, and was sure to be despised by the Romans as a "barbarian." Adrian accepted the responsibilities of his office with a full conception of their magnitude. Charles was elated at the news of the elevation of his tutor, but soon found that the new pontiff, notwithstanding his affection for him, was resolved to reign impartially. Francis I, on the contrary, who had looked upon Adrian as a mere tool of the Emperor, and had uttered threats of a schism, before long acquiesced, and sent an embassy to present his homage. Apprehensions of a Spanish Avignon were baseless; at the earliest possible date Adrian embarked for Italy, and made his solemn entry into Rome on 29 August. Two days later he received the triple crown. History presents no more pathetic figure than that of this noble pontiff, struggling single-handed against insurmountable difficulties. Through the reckless extravagances of his predecessor, the papal finances were in a sad tangle. Adrian's efforts to retrench expenses only gained for him from his needy courtiers the epithet of miser. Vested rights were quoted against his attempts to reform the curia. His nuncio to Germany, Chierigati, received but scant courtesy. His exaggerated acknowledgment that the Roman Court had been the fountainhead of all the corruptions in the Church was eagerly seized upon by the Reformers as a justification of their apostasy. His urgent appeals to the princes of Christendom to hasten to the defence of Rhodes found unheeding ears; on 24 October that valiantly defended bulwark of the Christian Faith fell into the hands of the Turks, a disaster which hastened the Pontiff's death. His unrelaxing activity and Rome's unhealthy climate combined to shatter his health. He died appropriately on the feast of the Exaltation of that Cross to which he had been nailed for more than a year (14 September, 1523). His monument, erected by his faithful friend, Wilhelm Enckenvoert, is still seen at Rome, in the national church of the Germans, Santa Maria dell' Anima, with its quaint inscription, so often admired, to the effect that even the best of men may be born in times unsuited to their virtues: "Proh Dolor! Quantum refert in quae tempora vel optimi cujusque virtus incidat" [Gregorovius-Ampère Les tombeaux des papes Romains (Paris, 1859), 200, 201, 294,295]. To the times, in fact, was it owing, not to any fault of his, that the friendship of the sixth Adrian and the fifth Charles did not revive the happy days of the first Adrian and the first and greatest of the Charleses.
Adrian VI, born Adrian Dedel (not Boyens, and probably not Rodenburgh), Roman Catholic Pope from 1522 to 1523, was born at Utrecht in March 1459, and studied under the Brethren of the Common Life either at Zwolle or Deventer. At Louvain he pursued philosophy, theology and canon law, becoming a doctor of theology (1491), dean of St. Peter's and vice-chancellor of the university. In 1507 he was appointed tutor to the seven-year-old Charles V. He was sent to Spain in 1515 on a very important diplomatic errand; Charles secured his succession to the see of Tortosa, and on the 14th of November 1516 commissioned him inquisitor-general of Aragon. During the minority of Charles, Adrian was associated with Cardinal Jiménez in governing Spain. After the death of the latter Adrian was appointed, on the 14th of March 1518, general of the reunited inquisitions of Castile and Aragon, in which capacity he acted until his departure from Tarragona for Rome on the 4th of August 1522; he was, however, too weak and confiding to cope with abuses which Jiménez had been able in some degree to check. When Charles left for the Netherlands in 1520 he made Adrian regent of Spain; as such he had to cope with a very serious revolt. In 1517 Pope Leo X had created him cardinal priest SS. Ioannis et Pauli; on the 9th of January 1522 he was almost unanimously elected pope. Crowned in St. Peter's on the 31st of August at the age of sixty-three, he entered upon the lonely path of the reformer. His program was to attack notorious abuses one by one; but in his attempt to improve the system of granting indulgences he was hampered by his cardinals; and reducing the number of matrimonial dispensations was impossible, for the income had been farmed out for years in advance by Leo X. The Italians saw in him a pedantic foreign professor, blind to the beauty of classical antiquity, penuriously docking the stipends of great artists. As a peacemaker among Christian princes, whom he hoped to unite in a protective war against the Turk, he was a failure; in August 1523 he was forced openly to ally himself with the Empire, England, Venice, etc., against France; meanwhile in 1522 the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent had conquered Rhodes. In dealing with the early stages of the Protestant revolt in Germany Adrian did not fully recognize the gravity of the situation. At the diet which opened in December 1522 at Nuremberg he was represented by Chieregati, whose instructions contain the frank admission that the whole disorder of the church had perchance proceeded from the Curia itself, and that there the reform should begin. However, the former professor and inquisitor-general was stoutly opposed to doctrinal changes, and demanded that Martin Luther be punished for heresy. The statement in one of his works that the pope could err in matters of faith ("haeresim per suam determinationem aut Decretalem asserendo") has attracted attention; but as it is a private opinion, not an ex cathedra pronouncement, it is held not to prejudice the dogma of papal infallibility. On the 14th of September 1523 he died, after a pontificate too short to be effective. Most of Adrian VI's official papers disappeared soon after his death. He published Quaestiones in quartum sententiarum praesertim circa sacramenta (Paris, 1512, 1516, 1518, 1537; Rome, 1522), and Quaestiones quodlibeticae XII (Louvain, 1515).