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|Papacy began||June 5, 1305|
|Papacy ended||April 20, 1314|
|Birth name||Raymond Bertrand de Got or de Gouth or de Goth|
Villandraut, Gascony, France (?)
April 20, 1314|
Roquemaure (Gard), France
|Other Popes named Clement|
Pope Clement V (About 1264 – April 20, 1314), born Raymond Bertrand de Got (also occasionally spelled de Gouth and de Goth), was Pope from 1305 to his death. He is memorable in history for ordering the execution of the Order of the Templars, and as the Pope who moved the Roman Curia to Avignon - although, as a matter of fact, he moved the Roman Curia to Carpentras - in 1309, after staying four years in Poitiers.
Born in Villandraut, Aquitaine, Bertrand was canon and sacristan of the Cathedral of Saint-André in Bordeaux, then vicar-general to his brother, the archbishop of Lyon, who in 1294 was created Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was then made bishop of St-Bertrand-de-Comminges, the cathedral church of which he was responsible for greatly enlarging and embellishing; and chaplain to Pope Boniface VIII (1294–1303), who made him archbishop of Bordeaux in 1297.
Following the death of Benedict XI in 1304, he was elected Pope Clement V in June 1305 (and was consecrated on 14 November), after a year's interregnum occasioned by the disputes between the French and Italian cardinals, who were nearly equally balanced in the conclave, which had to be held at Perugia. Bertrand was neither Italian nor a cardinal, and his election might have been considered a gesture towards neutrality. The contemporary chronicler Giovanni Villani reports gossip that he had bound himself to King Philip IV of France (1285–1314) by a formal agreement before his elevation, made at St. Jean d'Angély in Saintonge. Whether this was true or not, it is likely that the future pope had conditions laid down for him by the conclave of cardinals. At Bordeaux, Bertrand was formally notified of his election and urged to come to Italy; but he selected Lyon for his coronation, November 14, 1305, which was celebrated with magnificence and attended by Philip IV. Among his first acts was the creation of nine French cardinals.
Early in 1306, Clement V explained away those features of the bulls Clericis Laicos that might seem to apply to the King of France and essentially withdrew Unam Sanctam, the two bulls of Boniface VIII which were particularly offensive to Philip IV's ambitious ministry. He appears to have conducted himself throughout his pontificate as the mere tool of the French monarchy, a radical change in papal policy.
On October 13, 1307, came the arrest of hundreds of the Knights Templar in France, an action apparently financially motivated and undertaken by the efficient royal bureaucracy to increase the prestige of the crown. Philip IV was the force behind this ruthless move, but it has also tarnished the historical reputation of Clement V. From the very day of Clement V's coronation, the King had charged the Templars with heresy, immorality and abuses, and the scruples of the Pope were compromised by a growing sense that the burgeoning French State might not wait for the Church, but would proceed independently.
In March 1309 the entire papal court moved from Poitiers (where it had remained for 4 years) to Avignon, which was not then part of France but an imperial fief held by the King of Sicily. The removal of the Papacy to Avignon was justified at the time by French apologists on grounds of security, since Rome, where the dissensions of the Roman aristocrats and their armed militia had reached a nadir, and where the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano had been destroyed in a fire, was unstable and dangerous. But the decision proved the precursor of the long Avignon Papacy, the 'Babylonian captivity' (1309–77), in Petrarch's phrase, and marks a point from which the decay of the strictly Catholic conception of the pope as universal bishop may be dated.
Meanwhile, Philip IV's lawyers pressed to reopen Nogaret's charges of heresy against the late Boniface VIII that had circulated in the pamphlet war around Unam sanctam. Clement V had to yield to pressures for this extraordinary trial, begun February 2, 1309, at Avignon, which dragged on for two years. In the document that called for the witnesses, Clement V expressed both his personal conviction of the innocence of Boniface VIII and his resolution to satisfy the King. Finally, in February, 1311, Philip IV wrote to Clement V abandoning the process to the future council of Vienne. For his part, Clement V absolved all the participants in the abduction of Boniface at Anagni.
In pursuance of the King's wishes, Clement V summoned the Council of Vienne (1311), which refused to convict the Templars of heresy. The Pope abolished the order anyway, as the Templars seemed to be in bad repute and had outlived their usefulness as papal bankers and protectors of pilgrims in the East. Their French estates were de jure granted to the Knights Hospitallers, but Philip IV held them until his death and expropriated the Templar's bank outright.
Charges of heresy and sodomy aside, the guilt or innocence of the Templars is one of the more difficult historical problems, partly because of the atmosphere of hysteria that had built up in the preceding generation and the habitually intemperate language and extravagant denunciations exchanged between temporal rulers and churchmen, and partly because the subject has been embraced by conspiracy theorists and pseudo-historians.
Clement V's pontificate was also a disastrous time for Italy. The Papal States were entrusted to a team of three cardinals, but Rome, the battleground of the Colonna and Orsini factions, was ungovernable. In 1310, the Emperor Henry VII (1308–13) entered Italy, established the Visconti as vicars in Milan, and was crowned by Clement V's legates in Rome (1312) before he died near Siena in 1313.
In Ferrara, which was taken into the Papal states to the exclusion of the Este, papal armies clashed with Venice. When excommunication and interdict failed to have their intended effect, Clement V preached a crusade against the Venetians in May 1309, declaring that Venetians captured abroad might be sold into slavery, like non-Christians, a symptom of how polarized that particular conflict had become.
Other remarkable incidents of Clement V's reign are his violent repression of the Dulcinian movement, which he considered a heresy, in Lombardy and his promulgation of the Clementine Constitutions in 1313. He died in April 1314. According to one story, while his body was lying in state, a thunderstorm developed during the night and lightning struck the church where his body lay, igniting the building. The fire was so intense that, when it was extinguished, the body of Pope Clement V was almost destroyed. He is buried at La Chaise-Dieu in Auvergne.
Promulgation of a Crusade and relations with the Mongols
Clement engaged on and off in communications with the Mongol Empire, towards the possibility of creating a Franco-Mongol alliance against the Muslims. In April 1305, the Mongol Ilkhan ruler Oljeitu sent an embassy led by Buscarello de Ghizolfi to Clement, Philip the Fair, and Edward I of England. In 1307, another Mongol embassy led by Tommaso Ugi di Siena reached European monarchs. However, no coordinated military action was forthcoming, and hopes of alliance petered out within a few years.
On April 4, 1312, a Crusade was promulgated by Pope Clement V at the Council of Vienne. Another embassy was sent by Oljeitu to the West and to Edward II in 1313. In 1313, the French king Philip the Fair "took the cross", making the vow to go on a Crusade in the Levant, thus responding to Clement V's call. Philip was warned against leaving by Enguerrand de Marigny, and died soon after in November 1314 in a hunting accident.
- "Pope Clement V" in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia.
- Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon: "Clemens V" (In German)
- Bulls of Clement V on the Knights Templar
- Clement V by Sophia Menache ISBN 0-521-52198-X
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