The future Roman Pontiff had a reputation of living an upright life as a cultured, gentle man, the New Catholic Encyclopedia reports. He took part in several conclaves of his time, including that which elected Alexander VI.
His service to the papacy included several diplomatic appointments to Germany, France, and Perugia.
Francesco’s own papal election took place amid ruling Italian families’ disputes over control of Rome and included an unsuccessful power play by the Borgia family.
Pius III was known to be in poor health. At the time of the papal coronation he was already suffering from a diseased leg, which developed into a septic ulcer. He died at the age of 64.
Leo XI was pope for 27 days, from April 1–27, 1605.
The Florentine-born Alessandro de Medici was a member of the famous Medici family. He was grand-nephew to Pope Leo X. He sought to become a priest from an early age, but because his mother objected he was not ordained until after she died, according to the New Catholic Encyclopedia. He served as an ambassador to Rome on behalf of Tuscany, before he began to advance in the Church. He would eventually become a bishop, then archbishop of Florence, before being named a cardinal.
He served as a papal legate to France and was head of the Congregation of Bishops.
Among his great friends was St. Philip Neri, founder of the Oratorians.
He was elected pope at the age of 69 and became sick almost immediately.
Benedict V served as pope for 33 days, May 22–June 23, 964.
He was born in Rome and had a reputation for great learning.
He reigned at a time of great turmoil in the Church. Holy Roman Emperor Otto I had interfered with the pontificates of his predecessors. The emperor had forcibly deposed a pope and installed his own nominee on the See of Peter. There were rival claimants to the papacy under Benedict V and Otto again interfered, laying siege to Rome and taking the pope away from Rome by force. Benedict either renounced the papacy or was forcibly deposed. He lived in exile in Hamburg for another year.
John Paul I served as Roman Pontiff from Aug. 26–Sept. 28, 1978, 33 calendar days.
His beatification on Sept. 4 renewed attention to his life. He had a reputation for humility and for teaching the faith in an understandable way.
The future John Paul I took part in the Second Vatican Council and was named patriarch of Venice.
As a cardinal, Luciani published a collection of “open letters” to historic figures, saints, famous writers, and fictional characters. The book, “Illustrissimi,” included letters to Jesus, King David, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, and Christopher Marlowe, as well as Pinocchio and Figaro, the barber of Seville.
He was the first pope to have two names. He took his papal name from his immediate predecessors, Sts. John XXIII and Paul VI.