Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Pope Damasus II

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(Previously called POPPO)

A native of Bavaria and the third German to be elevated to the See of Peter. On the death of Clement II, July, 1047, the Tusculan faction reasserted its power in Rome, and, with the secret aid of Boniface, Margrave of Tuscany, restored its wretched creature Benedict IX, who continued in his wonted manner to disgrace the papacy for a further period of eight months before disappearing entirely from history. On Christmas Day, 1047, an embassy sent by the Roman people brought the tidings of Clement's death to Henry III, at Pölthe in Saxony, and besought the emperor as Patricius of the Romans to appoint a worthy successor. The envoys, according to their instructions, suggested as a suitable candidate, Halinard, Archbishop of Lyons, who had a perfect command of the Italian tongue and was popular in Rome. Henry, however, in January, 1048, appointed Poppo, Bishop of Brixen, in Tyrol, and at once directed the Margrave Boniface to conduct the pope-designate to Rome. Boniface at first refused, alleging the installation of Benedict, but Henry's decisive threat soon reduced him to obedience. After Benedict's removal, the Bishop of Brixen at length entered the city and was enthroned at the Lateran as Damasus II, 17 July, 1048. His pontificate, however, was of short duration. After the brief space of twenty-three days, he died - a victim of malaria - at Palestrina, whither he had gone shortly after the installation to escape the summer heat of Rome. The pope was buried in S. Lorenzo fuori le mura.

Liber Pontif., ed DUCHESNE, II, 274; JAFFÉ, Regesta RR. PP., 2nd ed., I, 528 sq.; Höfler, Die deutschen Päpste (Regensburg, 1839), I, 269 sqq.

Thomas Oestreich.