Sunday, April 13, 2008

Pope Julius II (reign 1503- 1513) is more popularly remembered as the “Warrior Pope.” His given name is Giuliano della Rovere and he was born in 1543. He was educated by the Franciscans and entered the priesthood.In 1471 his uncle Francesco became Pope Sixtus IV. After his uncle took the Chair of Peter, and in the same year, young Giuliano became first and bishop and then a cardinal in the Church.

Pope Julius had only one child, a daughter named Felice. The mother of his daughter was Lucrezia Normanni. To his credit, Julius was very unlike his predecessor Alexander VI, because he did not use his high office to aggrandize his child.Even though Cardinal della Rovere had an affair that produced a daughter, there were persistent rumors that he was also a homosexual. These rumors endured while he was pope and there is circumstantial evidence that appear to give credence regarding the accuracy of those rumors.

As Pope, Julius was interested in expanding the secular dominions of the Papacy. He spent much of time as pope at war and involved in political intrigues. He had his mind set on expanding his earthly kingdom and not on forwarding the Gospel and Kingdom of Christ. The Pope was, at times, a better military leader than his generals and was happy to lead a siege to over take a castle are city that he wanted subdued. The French King, James I, said to in a conversation to Pope Leo X, "Holy Father, Do not wonder that all these were the enemies of Pope Julius, because he was our (i.e. France) chief enemy, and we have not known in our time a more terrible adversary in war than Pope Julius; for he was in truth a most skilful captain and would have made a better general of an army than a pope of Rome."

Julius, as pope, was constantly involved in intrigues and creating alliances against his enemies. His first target was the city of Venice, because it stood in the way of his expansionist ideas. When Venice was defeated, he formed new alliances to attack France, whom he had allied with to make war on Venice. When the expenses of war had nearly exhausted his treasury Julius created new Cardinals who paid handsomely for the positions and thereby allowed him to continue his militaristic ambitions.

Julius II was Pope when Luther visited Rome, sent there on a mission by his Augustinian order. When Luther came to Rome he found corrupt and decadent city and a pope far more interested in worldly kingdoms than in the Kingdom of our Lord.During the Pontificate of Julius II there were, as was ever common, calls for “reform” of the church just as there had been for hundreds of years before, but Julius, while he might wink at the idea, and even called a council, was not interested in spiritual reform.

Resentment, do to the ever present and growing corruptions, had been building for so long, a reaction was bound to occur. ItIn the years of the Pope that who followed Julius II the Western Church explode and divided into schism, reform, and revolution. The next pope was Leo X and Luther's Ninety-five Theses was the spark that ignited the conflagration.

Coram Deo,

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