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Cardinal, humanist, and reformer, b. at Modena, 1477; d. at Rome, 1547. His father, a distinguished lawyer, intended him for his own profession; but Jacopo devoted himself to classical and philosophical studies. At Rome he enjoyed the favour of Cardinal Caraffa, and afterwards of Leo X, who made him his secretary. In 1517 he was appointed Bishop of Carpentras near Avignon. Unlike many of the humanists, he was a man of blameless life and attentive to all his duties as a priest and bishop. It was only at the express command of the successive popes whom he served that he would consent to absent himself even for a time from his diocese. In him were combined in an eminent degree the qualities of a man of piety, a man of letters, and a man of action. As a poet, orator, theologian, and philosopher he was in the foremost rank of his time. His poem on the recently discovered Laocoön first brought him to the notice of the learned. His mild and gentle character, shunning all extremes, and his profound learning fitted him for the difficult task of conciliating the Protestants. Indeed, his commentary on the Epistle to the Romans was considered to favour them too much, and the publication of it was forbidden at Rome until it had undergone correction. He would have nothing to do with persecuting the heretics. In 1536 he was summoned to Rome by Paul III to be a member of a special commission for the reform of the Church. In the following December he received the cardinal's hat, at the same time as Caraffa (afterwards Paul IV) and Pole, also members of the commission. With Cardinal Contarini (q. v.), the president of the commission, they drew up the famous "Consilium de emendanda Ecclesia", which they presented to the pope. Sadoleto was sent as legate to Francis I to bring about a reconciliation between him and Charles V (1542), but his mission failed. After 1543, when a coadjutor was appointed to govern Carpentras, he was constantly at the side of Paul III, ever urging the pontiff in the path of peace and reform. Sadoleto's works were published at Verona in four volumes (1737-8), and at Rome (1759).
Joly, Etude sur Sadolet (Caen, 1856); Tiraboschi, Storia della letteratura italiana, XVIII (Venice, 1824); Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste, IV-V (Freiburg, 1906-9). It is only by perusing this last-named work that the extent of Sadoleto's activity and influence in the counter-Reformation can be estimated.
T. B. Scannell.