Death of Pope Innocent VI

Death of Pope Innocent VI

Pope Clement VI

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Pope Innocent VI dies. Born Étienne Aubert, he ruled from Avignon as a reform-minded administrator who tried to reverse some of the excesses of his predecessor, Clement VI, and reign with less financial extravagance.

Innocent even went so far as to sell off various paintings and jewelry in order to raise funds. Powerful cardinals who are interested in becoming even more powerful have opposed his reforms — in fact, Innocent was forced to give the cardinals wide latitude during the conclave which elected him.

However, once pope, he launched his reforms and rejected the agreement he signed on to. One of the objects of his reforms was the monastic group known as the Spiritual Franciscans — he was especially hard on them, causing Bridget of Sweden to withdraw her support for the pope, accusing him of persecuting "Christ's flock."

Externally, however, Innocent was not able to assert his power very effectively. For example, although he crowned Charles IV of Bohemia as Holy Roman Emperor in 1355 and maintained amicable relations with him, Charles insisted on issuing his "Golden Bull," a restatement of an earlier decree from Louis IV declaring that the election of an imperial candidate does not require papal approval.

Because the Hundred Years War was still going on and the papal residence was in Avignon, the security of the pope was continually in question. The city was frequently attacked by wandering soldiers, and Innocent had to invest great amounts of money to maintain and improve fortifications for both the city and the papal palace. He hoped to move the papal residence back to Rome, where the political struggles seemed mild in comparison, but he died before he could see his plans through.

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