On this day: Pope Lucius II

by Gerelyn Hollingsworth

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On this day in 1145, Pope Lucius II died.

Gherardo Caccianemici, son of Orso Caccianemici, was born at Bologna, date unknown. As Pope Lucius II, he reigned for eleven months, from March 9, 1144, until his death on February 15, 1145.

Before becoming pope, "he was a canon regular in Bologna. In 1124 Honorius II created him Cardinal-Priest of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. From 1125-1126 he was papal legate in Germany where he took part in the election of King Lothair III in 1125, was instrumental in the appointment of St. Norbert as Bishop of Magdeburg in July, 1126, and helped settle the quarrel concerning the filling of the See of Wurzburg, after Bishop Gebhard had been deposed by papal authority in 1126. During the pontificate of Innocent II (1130-43) we find him three times as legate in Germany, . . . Towards the end of the pontificate of Innocent II he was appointed papal chancellor and librarian."

--from The Catholic Encyclopedia

During his brief papacy, Lucius II restored Santa Croce in Gerusalemme and installed his relative Ubaldo Caccianemici as Cardinal Priest.

Click here for The Papacy 1073-1198: Continuity and Innovation, by Ian Stuart Robinson, Cambridge University Press, 1996, a book that contains details of Lucius II's devotion, both as cardinal priest and as pope, to Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, shrine of the relics of the Passion, and of his complicated and ultimately fruitless negotiations with Roger II, the Norman king of Sicily.

In happier times, the future Pope Lucius and the future King Roger had been friends. Gherardo was godfather to one of Roger's children. Click here to see a picture of Pope Lucius II blessing King Roger and Queen Constance. (Page 119, bottom panel.)

Pope Lucius II accepted feudal homage and tribute from Alfonso of Portugal, as had Pope Innocent II, but he did not recognize him as king. It would be fifteen years after Lucius II's death when Pope Alexander III recognized Alfonso as King of Portugal.

Click here to read Saeculo Exeunte Octavo, the Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on The Eighth Centenary of the Independence of Portugal, 1940. From that:

"In the twelfth century Our predecessors Innocent II, Lucius II, and Alexander III accepted the service of obedience offered by Alfonso Henriques, first Count of Portugal and afterward King. They promised him their protection over all the territory which he had recovered in battle from Moorish domination and declared its liberation legitimate. The acts by which this was accomplished honorably rewarded the Portuguese people for their outstanding success in safeguarding the faith they had acquired."

Click here for a picture of Pope Alexander III sending the royal crown to the Duke of Portugal fifteen years after Pope Lucius II accepted his offering of the duchy.

Although the 12th-century popes enjoyed suzerainty over Portugal, Rome itself was in turmoil as demands for democracy surged. Arnold of Brescia, a student of Abelard, a precursor of the Reformation, the inspiration of the Commune of Rome, was tried by the Curia in 1155 and hanged as a rebel. His body was burnt, and his ashes thrown into the Tiber.

"On the accession of Lucius II., a Bolognese by birth, the republic boldly assumed the ideal form imagined by Arnold of Brescia. The senate and the people assembled in the Capitol, and elected a Patrician, Giordano, the descendant of Peter Leonis. They announced to the Pope their submission to his spiritual authority, but to his spiritual authority alone. They declared that the Pope and the clergy must content themselves from that time with the tithes and oblations of the people; that all the temporalities, the royalties, and rights of sovereignty fell to the temporal power, and that power was the Patrician. . . . The Pope, after some months, wrote an urgent letter to the Emperor Conrad to claim his protection against his rebellious subjects."

But the emperor, "spell-bound perhaps by the authority of Bernard, . . . had no time for interference", so Pope Lucius himself led an army of nobles; "it had become a contest of the oligarchy and the democracy", and "in an attempt to storm the Capitol in the front of his soldiers he was mortally wounded with a stone".

--from History of Latin Christianity, by Henry Hart Milman, London, 1857, p. 283.

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