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Christopher Madruzzi

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Born of a noble family of Trent, 5 July, 1512; died at Tivoli, Italy, 5 July, 1578. He studied at Padua and Bologna, received in 1529 from his older brother a canonicate at Trent and the parish of Tirol near Meran, was in 1536 a Canon of Salzburg, in 1537 of Brixen, and in 1539 became Prince- Bishop of Trent. Being only a subdeacon at the time, he was promoted to the deaconship, priesthood and episcopate in 1542. In January, 1543, he was appointed administrator of the See of Brixen, and shortly afterwards, during the same year 1543, he was raised to the dignity of a cardinal by Paul III (1534-49). Having resigned his bishopric at Trent in 1567, he spent the latter years of his life in Italy, and became Cardinal-Bishop successively of Sabina, Palestrina, and Porto. A few years after his death his remains were entombed in the family chapel, in the church of St. Onofrio, Rome. Madruzzi was a man of great intellectual gifts, well versed in secular and ecclesiastical affairs. Charles V (1519-56) and his brother, King Ferdinand I, afterwards emperor (1556-64), esteemed him very highly and employed him in many important and delicate missions. In the controversies between Catholics and Protestants, at the time of the incipient Reformation, he always proved himself a ready champion of the Church. He took an active part in the imperial Diet of Ratisbon (1541) as representative of the emperor, and upheld strenuously the Catholic teaching against the heresy of Luther.

As cardinal, Bishop of Trent, and temporal ruler of that principality he naturally played a prominent part in the Council of Trent. Among other things he insisted that the reform of the Church should be taken up in earnest, a matter much desired by Charles V, and by which it was hoped to win the Protestants back to the Church. It was largely due to his efforts, that this subject was discussed and enactments of that character were passed in each session together with decisions on doctrinal matters. He was also intent upon promoting a truly religious and Christian life among both the people and the ecclesiastics under his jurisdiction. For the first he recommended chiefly yearly confession and communion; and for the second an edifying, chaste, and temperate conduct, and an exact fulfilment of all the obligations connected with their high office. He was himself cultured and learned, and patronized with great munificence the liberal arts and learning. One stain attaches to his memory, the accumulation of several benefices in his hands. Mention was made of the smaller ecclesiastical holdings; in addition to his two sees he received in 1546, by the favour of Charles V, a yearly allowance of 2000 ducats from the Spanish Archbishopric of Compostela. He may be somewhat excused in view of the usage of the time, and of the financial burdens imposed on him during the sessions of the Council of Trent ; moreover, in 1567, he gave up one of his two sees.

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