Schinner, Matthew

Schinner, Matthew a Romish bishop in Switzerland, and a cardinal just before the outbreak of the Reformation, was born in 1470. He studied at Zurich and Como, and became early noted for shrewdness and scholarship. In 1509 he was made bishop of Sion, and soon thereafter was called into diplomatic service by Leo X. In 1511 he received the cardinal's hat. He intrigued against the French in Italy, and was the agent for procuring an army of 20,000 Swiss by which, in 1512, the French were expelled from Lombardy. For this service the pope heaped titles and wealth upon Schinner, and gave to the Swiss for all time to come the appellation Defensores Ecclesiasticoe Libertatis. Zwingli took part in the campaign, and depicted in bright colors the glory of the occasion. Schinner now made his headquarters as papal legate at Milan. Fresh dangers from France arising again, he hastened to England (1514), and endeavored, by his Oratio Philippica ad excitandos contra Galliam Britannos, to entangle Henry VIII in war with Francis I. On his return, he inspired the Swiss to resist the French at Marignano. When the Reformation began in Switzerland, this cardinal statesman gave it at first a warm greeting. Zwingli met him at Einsiedeln and Zurich, and showed him from the Scriptures his reasons for rejecting the errors of popery, and the cardinal expressed himself as very desirous of cooperating in the work of renovation. When Luther's life was in danger in Germany, the cardinal joined with those who offered him safety and refuge. On reading Luther's works, he exclaimed, "Disputet Eccius quantum velit, Lutherus veritatem scribit!" But temporal interests held him fast to the old Church. He was even induced actively to oppose the new doctrines. His last few years were spent in Rome. He died soon after assisting in the election of Adrian VI, Oct. 2, 1522. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 20, 691- 694; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Générale, s.v. (J.P.L.)

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