Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/274

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his cardinalate had carefully kept up the appearance of being a man who stood above the parties. His heart beat faster for his children and grandchildren, for a princely existence and role, than it did for the Church, but he gave it at least the benefit of skillful and brilliant guidance. Just so a captain spends his careful foresight on a ship and is not asked if he loves the vessel or is able to steer it. This Pope was also like a seaman in that he followed anxiously the course of the stars. The astrological superstitions of the times dictated his hesi- tancies and his actions alike.

His government was inaugurated with a noble deed. Already under Leo X fifty or sixty men had gathered in Rome pious, learned friends of the renaissance of holiness in a Church grown indifferent to what is holy. The example set by this "Oratory in Divine Love" made an impression also on other cities; and when a hard fate was visited on the society in Rome and Florence, Venice afforded them a quiet refuge. Their modest plea for reform began with efforts to purify their own souls; it was drowned out by the storm of revolu- tion in the north, and its real significance was not generally realized even later on. Outside this community there likewise arose here it will suffice to refer to Vittoria Colonna and Michaelangelo a new religious demand that the Church, which had forgotten its Founder through concern with His viceroy, become conscious of its true mission.

At first this was without connection with the Reformation in Ger- many, but later it was in more or less intimate contact with that move- ment. The first concern of these minds was not the Papacy, or even criticism of a Pope who accompanied noisy hunting parties and staged daring plays for his amusement, but rather the realization of the re- ligion of Christ in the Church. Soon Paul III had summoned from the "Oratory" confraternity a number of eminently noble men of Italian and also of foreign descent to the College of Cardinals. This became "the worthiest senate of the Papacy" to have met for centuries. One of them was the aged bishop John Fisher, whose features Holbein has passed down to us, though the summons came only a few weeks before he fell a victim to the wrath of Henry VIII. Like Thomas More, he was beheaded. His countryman Reginald Pole, later Arch- bishop of Canterbury, whom an unflinching conscience had led to refuse recognition to the King's supremacy over the Church, received