Sunday, September 04, 2005

More Crow Eaten

According to Louis E. -- our resident master of institutional history -- I blew it on the "Cardinal-Nepos":
Can't believe you got that wrong... the position of Cardinal Nephew did not "eventually come to be known as" Secretary of State!

There was a tradition that Popes named their nephews as Cardinals in the first consistory of their reigns,the Cardinal Nephew serving as the chief administrator for his uncle's Pontificate and then spending the rest of his life in the College unless he became Pope himself.

Then Pope Julius III stretched this tradition to the breaking point by giving the job to a teenaged near-illiterate his brother had adopted (Innocenzo Cardinal Ciocchi Del Monte,1532-1577).His hopeless inability to discharge the duties of the office led to the expansion of the office of Secretary Intimus (previously in charge of papal correspondence with nuncios) until THAT eventually became known as Secretary of State.

The office of Cardinal Nephew endured a while longer,but the tenure of Cardinal Ciocchi del Monte was a blow from which it never recovered; after his uncle's death he spent the remainder of his cardinalte and life as murderer,rapist,and prisoner (with occasional time out for conclaves).

The late Frank Young... wrote a book about this man subtitled "A Scandal in Scarlet."
"A Scandal in Scarlet".... I've known a few of those in my time. Amaranth, too....

But, as you can see, Lou is a frickin genius. He deserves the last word.



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