Catholic Encyclopedia – Pope Innocent IX

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(Giovanni Antonio Facchinetti) Born at Bologna, 22 July 1519; elected, 29 October 1591; died at Rome, 30 December 1591. After successful studies in jurisprudence in his native city he was graduated as doctor of law in 1544, and proceeded to Rome, where Cardinal Nicolò Ardinghelli chose him as his secretary. Later he entered the service of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, who appointed him his ecclesiastical representative at the head of the Archdiocese of Avignon and subsequently called him to the management of his affairs at Parma. In 1560 he was named Bishop of Nicastro in Calabria, and in 1562 was present at the Council of Trent. Sent as papal nuncio to Venice by Pius V in 1566, he greatly furthered the conclusion of that alliance (Pope, Venice, Spain) against the Turks which ultimately resulted in the victory of Lepanto (1571). In 1572 he returned to his diocese, but resigning his see he removed to Rome. In 1575 he was named Patriarch of Jerusalem, and on 12 December, 1583, created Cardinal-Priest of the Title of the Four Crowned Martyrs — whence the frequent designation “Cardinal of Santiquattro”. During the reign of the sickly Gregory XIV the burden of the papal administration rested on his shoulders, and on this pontiff’s death the Spanish party raised Facchinetti to the papal chair. Mindful of the origin of his success, he supported, during his two months’ pontificate, the cause of Philip II of Spain and the League against Henry IV of France. He prohibited the alienation of church property, and in a consistory held on 3 November, 1591, informed the cardinals of his intention of constituting a reserve fund to meet extraordinary expenses. Death, however, did not permit the realization of his vast schemes. He left numerous, though still unpublished, writings on theological and philosophical subjects: “Moralia quædam theologica”, “Adversus Machiavellem”, “De recta gubernandi ratione”, etc. His bulls are printed in the “Bullarium Romanum”.

MLA Citation

  • Nicholas Weber. “Pope Innocent IX”. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1913. Saints.SQPN.com. 8 August 2013. Web. 31 August 2014. <>