Pierre Roger born on December 6, 1352 was known as Pope Clement VI form May 7, 1342 to his death in 1352. He was the fourth French Pope and reigned during the time of the Black Death in 1348 to 1350. He granted remission of all sins to those who died of the plague.
Clement entered the Benedictine order and studied at the college de Sorbonne in Paris. He was prior of St. Baudil, Bishop of Arras, Chancellor of France, Abbot of Fecamp, Archbishop of Rouen and Archbishop of Sens. He was a cardinal of Santi Nareo e Achilleo and made supervisor of the bishopric of Avignon. He succeeded Benedict XII in 1342.
He loved France and ruled his Church from France He reduced the Jubilee terms from one hundred years to fifty and purchased the sovereignty of Avignon from Queen Joan I of Naples. He distributed the Bull Unigenitus Dei filius in 143 which justified the supremacy of the pope and use of tolerances. In later years this document was used in defense of indulgences after Martin Luther wrote his 95 Themes.
He took steps to protect the Jews from violence for they had been blamed for the plague. He issued tow papal bulls in 148 which condemned the violence and told his people that they had been seduced by the Devil.
Clement was a lover of lavish living and the treasury he inherited made this lifestyle possible. He looked forward to a reign of self-indulgence. He added a new chapel to the papal palace and commissioned Matteo Giovanetti de Viterbo to paint hunting and fishing scenes on the walls of all the papal chapels. He purchased expensive tapestries to decorate the stone walls. He hired musicians from northern France and kept composers near. Cement VI died in December of 1352 and left behind a reputation of a fine gentleman and a patron of the arts. He was declared not to be a saint, however.
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