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Innocent XII

Pope from 1691. Born Antonio Pignatelli outside of Naples, he was educated at the Jesuit Roman College whence he entered the Roman Curia in 1635. He received several advancements under succeeding popes, especially under Innocent XI who created him cardinal in 1681, bishop of Faenza in 1682, and archbishop of Naples in 1687. He was elected pope as a compromise candidate in the Hapsburg-Bourbon struggle, and he patterned his pontificate after Innocent XI except that he sided with the Bourbons rather than the Austrian Hapsburgs. He proved to be a reformer of iron will as well as being successful in healing divisions within the church. He issued a bull against nepotism, abolished sinecures, established the Curia Innocenziana (lately known as the Camera dei Deputati) for the forceful and fair administration of justice, and instituted many charitable and educational works. He resolved the long-standing Gallican problem, condemned Quietism without alienating the great Fénelon,* quieted the Jansenist storm, and helped contribute to the War of the Spanish Succession by convincing Charles II of Spain to name Philip of Anjou as his successor.