Humanities › History & Culture Pope Clement VII Profile Share Flipboard Email Print duncan1890 / Getty Images History & Culture Medieval & Renaissance History People & Events Daily Life American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Melissa Snell History Expert B.A., History, University of Texas at Austin Melissa Snell is a historical researcher and writer specializing in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. She authored the forward for "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Crusades." our editorial process Melissa Snell Updated January 14, 2020 Pope Clement VII was also known as: Giulio de' MediciPope Clement VII is noted for: Failing to recognize and deal with the significant changes of the Reformation. Indecisive and in over his head, Clement's inability to stand strong against the powers of France and the Holy Roman Empire made an unstable situation worse. He was the pope whose refusal to give England's King Henry VIII a divorce touched off the English Reformation.Occupation and Role in Society: PopePlaces of Residence and Influence: Italy Important Dates Born: May 26, 1478, FlorenceElected pope: Nov. 18, 1523Imprisoned by the Emperor's troops: May 1527Died: Sept. 25, 1534 About Clement VII Giulio de' Medici was the illegitimate son of Giuliano de' Medici, and he was raised by Giuliano's brother, Lorenzo the Magnificent. In 1513 his cousin, Pope Leo X, made him archbishop of Florence and cardinal. Giuliano influenced Leo's policies, and also planned some impressive works of art to honor his family. As pope, Clement wasn't up to the challenge of the Reformation. He failed to understand the significance of the Lutheran movement and allowed his involvement in Europe's political sphere to reduce his effectiveness in spiritual matters. Emperor Charles V had supported Clement's candidacy for the pope, and he saw the Empire and the Papacy as a partnership. However, Clement allied himself with Charles' longtime enemy, Francis I of France, in the League of Cognac. This rift eventually resulted in imperial armies sacking Rome and imprisoning Clement in the castle of Sant'Angelo. Even after his confinement ended several months later, Clement remained under the imperial influence. His compromised position interfered with his ability to deal with Henry VIII's request for an annulment, and he was never able to make any viable decisions regarding the upheaval that the Reformation had become.