BORROMEO, CARLO: Italian prelate and reformer; b. at Arona (on the s.w. shore of Lago Maggiore, 37 m. n.w. of Milan) Oct. 2, 1538; d. at Milan Nov. 3, 1584. He was the nephew of Giovanni Angelo Medici (afterward Pope Pius IV), and even in his boyhood showed an inclination for the priesthood, receiving his first benefice at the age of twelve through the resignation of an uncle. Four years later he went to Pavia, where he studied law, and had just taken his degree in 1559, when the newly elected Pius IV invited him to Rome. His rise was extraordinary, and at the age of twenty-two he was a cardinal and the archbishop of Milan. When the Council of Trent was reopened on Jan. 18, 1562, Borromeo used his influence in securing the sharp formulation of questions relating to discipline and faith. He also governed the Romagna and the March, both of which had been added to the papal dominions in the course of the fifteenth century. In foreign politics nothing took place without him and he was also an active member of the Congregation of the Inquisition, besides being the protector of the Franciscans, the Knights of Malta, and the Carmelites. He could maintain such an activity, however, only while he lived at Rome; conforming to the decision of the Council which required all bishops to reside in their own dioceses, he removed to Milan, where he had already prepared a house for the Jesuits, who acted as his instruments in reorganizing his diocese of Milan. Borromeo's activity here had scarcely begun when Pius IV died, but his successor Pius V assisted the archbishop in the reorganization of the largest of the Italian dioceses, which was to be a model for all. Borromeo founded seminaries for the better education of the clergy in the strictest ecclesiastical spirit, and also introduced rigid church discipline, beginning with the clergy; his efforts to popularize synodical work and to improve the existing orders, as well as his introduction of others, such as the Theatines, into Italy were all designed to further the same object. In revenge, some degenerate monks who had been affected by his reform, planned his murder, but by a miracle, as it was claimed, he escaped the bullet of his would-be assassins. Hand in hand with the reform within the Church went a merciless severity against every form of "heresy" in Lombardy, the Valtellina, and the Engadine, as well as against "witches" in Valcamonica. During the plague of 1576 he heroically cared for the sick and buried the dead, while the officials fled in terror from the city. His statue near Arona still recalls the memory of Borromeo, who became, by his canonization in 1610, the saint of the Counter reformation.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Opera omnia appeared in Milan, 1747. The earlier biographies are antiquated by the works of A. Sala: Documenti circa la vita e le opere di San C. Borromeo, 3 vols., Milan, 1857-61, and Biografia di C. Borromeo, ib. 1858; The Life of St. Charles Borromeo, ed. E. H. Thompson, London, 1858, new ed., 1893; St. Charles and his Fellow Labourers, ib. 1869; C. Sylvain, Histoire de S. Charles Borromée, 3 vols., ib. 1884; C. Camenisch, Carlo Borromeo und die Gegenreformation im Veltlin, Chur, 1901; E. Wymann, Der heiliga Karl Borromeo, Stans, 1903.
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