Sadoleto, Jacopo

Sadoleto, Jacopo, a Roman cardinal and bishop, noted for his learning, ability, purity, and liberality, born at Modena in 1477. His father, a professor at Pisa, then at Ferrara, gave him an excellent education. While yet a mere youth he heard lectures on Aristotle, and was introduced to the riches of classical literature. Philosophy and eloquence were his favorite studies; and Aristotle and Cicero his masters. His first publication was Philosophicoe Consolationes et Meditationes in Adversiis (1502). He also made a promising start in poetry, as his De Cajo Curtio and De Laocoontis Statua testify. On leaving the university he went to Rome, and soon won the esteem of all scholars and of several eminent prelates. Cardinal Caraffa had him made a canon of San Lorenzo, a place which he held until 1517. Leo X, on his accession, chose Sadoleto and Peter Bembo as his secretaries. In this position Sadoleto rendered his Church faithful services and won great reputation. In 1517, while on a pilgrimage to Loretto, he was appointed bishop of Carpentras, near Avignon. After vainly declining this honor, he accepted it, and fulfilled its duties with exemplary diligence. Leo's successor, Adrian VI, did not esteem him so highly as Leo. But Clement VII recalled him to Rome — a call which he accepted on condition of being permitted to return to his see after three years. He now became one of Clement's most trusted counselors, and exerted a very beneficent influence. But he endeavored in vain to dissuade the pope from his league against Charles V (1526). Foreseeing the calamities which would result, he begged to be permitted to retire to his diocese. Scarcely twenty days after his departure, Rome was sacked and the pope a prisoner. He now gave his earnest attention to the management of his diocese, removing unworthy pastors, appointing faithful ones, establishing schools, and endeavoring to make the Reformation unnecessary by removing abuses. Here he came into correspondence with some of the most eminent Protestants — Martin Bucer, John Sturm, and Melancthon. He appreciated the motives of the Reformers; but he regarded their doctrine of justification by faith alone as an excessive statement of a good Catholic doctrine, and as liable to Antinomian abuse. His position was that of a mediator; and to all persecution of the Protestants he was utterly opposed. During his stay at Carpentras he entered afresh upon literary labors. Here he wrote a work on education: De Liberis recte Instituendis (Ven. 1533; new ed. Paris, 1855) and a commentary, In Pauli Epistolam ad Romanos (Ven. 1535). This commentary is his most important doctrinal utterance. His purpose was to present the general Catholic doctrine on faith, good work, justification, predestination, and free will. He mainly followed Chrysostom and Theophylact, and opposed the determinism of Augustine. Man is not passive in the process of regeneration, but must personally cooperate with the grace of God. Faith and good works are inseparable; but works without faith are of no worth. In so far as he opposed justification by faith alone, he opposed only its abuse. He also opposed the excessive fasts and asceticism of the Roman Church. The book was severely censured at Rome. Sadoleto modified some of its utterances, and issued a new edition in 1536. At this period he wrote also an Interpretatio of some of the Psalms. On the accession of Paul III, Sadoleto was called to Rome to give counsel as to measures of Church reform. The pope now raised him to the cardinalate (1536), retained him at Rome, and charged him with preparations for the contemplated Council of Trent. In 1538 he attended the pope when he met Charles V at Nice. Here he labored to bring about a peace between the emperor and Francis I. An armistice having been effected, he obtained permission to retire to his bishopric. Here he wrote his elegant work De Philosophia. In 1539 he wrote his celebrated Epistolam ad Senatum Populumque Genevensem, an eloquent and affectionate appeal to the Genevese Protestants, whom he styles "his beloved brethren in Christ," to return into the unity of the Church. Here he also began his irenical work, De Exstructione Cath. Eccl. At this period he gave a signal proof of his Christian liberality. Francis I had issued an order of persecution against all dissenters in Provence; thereupon some of them drew up a statement of their belief, sent it to Sadoleto, and asked his intercession. He candidly made the examination, suggested a few changes, and promised to use his utmost endeavors to rescue them from persecution. War breaking out afresh between Francis I and Charles V, Sadoleto was called to Rome (1542) to act as peace commissioner. This work done, he retired for a few months to Carpentras; but in the summer of 1543 he returned to Rome to aid the pope further in his preparations for the Council of Trent. The next year he was called on to meet the emperor and the pope at Busseto in an endeavor to effect a peace with France. This was among the last of Sadoleto's labors. He was now far advanced in years; his health gave way in the summer of 1547, and on Oct. 18 he entered into rest. Sadoleto was one of the noblest characters of the age; he belonged to that select circle of high Roman prelates who sincerely desired to do away with the corruptions of their Church, but whose influence was largely counteracted by the worldly minded majority. His works, which are very elegantly written, were printed in 1607: Sadoleti Opera quoe extant Omnia (Mogunt.). His collected works, except his Letters, were again issued at Verona in 1737- 38, in 4 vols. 4to; his Epistolarum Libri XVII, at Lyons in 1550; a better edition of these Letters, at Rome, 1759, in 5 vols. 8vo; his work on philosophy, at Paris in 1853. See his Life by Florebellus; Joly, Etude sur Sadolet (Caen, 1857): Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 13, 297-301; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v. (J.P.L.)

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