1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gregory (Popes)/Gregory XIV

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Gregory XIV. (Nicoló Sfondrato), pope 1590–1591, was born in Cremona, on the 11th of February 1535, studied in Perugia, and Padua, became bishop of his native place in 1560, and took part in the council of Trent, 1562–1563. Gregory XIII. made him a cardinal, 1583, but ill-health forbade his active participation in affairs. His election to the papacy, to succeed Urban VII., on the 5th of December 1590, was due to Spanish influence. Gregory was upright and devout, but utterly ignorant of politics. During his short pontificate the States of the Church suffered dire calamities, famine, epidemic and a fresh outbreak of brigandage. Gregory was completely subservient to Philip II.; he aided the league, excommunicated Henry of Navarre, and threatened his adherents with the ban; but the effect of his intervention was only to rally the moderate Catholics to the support of Henry, and to hasten his conversion. Gregory died on the 15th of October 1591, and was succeeded by Innocent IX.

See Ciaconius, Vitae et res gestae summorum pontiff. Rom. (Rome, 1601–1602); Cicarella, continuator of Platina, De vitis pontiff. Rom. (both contemporary); Brosch, Gesch. des Kirchenstaates (1880). i. 300; Ranke, Popes (Eng. trans., Austin), ii. 228 seq.