Sunday, February 08, 2015

The Lauro Mission to Scotland

Memorial  tomb of Cardinal Vincenzo Lauro  (1523-1592)
San Clemente, Rome

A physician and a diplomat of a noble family, Vincenzo Lauro (also "Laureo") was widely travelled and respected

He had served his apprenticeship with Cardinals Parisio, Gaddi, François de Tournon and Ippolito d' Este. 

Sant Pope Pius V appointed him  Bishop of Mondovì on January 30, 1566. 

The Pope sent him on a mission to Queen Mary Stuart of Scotland, August 29, 1566

He was accompanied by the Jesuit  Edmund Hay who had accompanied the earlier former mission by the Jesuit Father Goudanus

The object of the mission was to persuade the Queen to break with Murray, Lethington, and the other Protestant ministers, who had among other things been involved in  the murder of Rizzio 

Appendix III of John Hungerford Pollen SJ`s Papal Negotiations with Mary Queen of Scots  1561-1567 (November 1901) The Scottish History Society Volume XXXVII shows the correspondence between Father Edmund Hay and senior Jesuits such as Laynez, Polanco, and Borgia before the mission showing that they were keeping a very close eye on events in Scotland since the Goudanus mission. 

They seemed to have very good sources of information

The main "linkman" in Scotland was the Bishop of Dunblane William Chisholm II whom the Jesuits regarded as faithful and not treacherous

Lauro sent Hay with the Piedmontese envoy Du Croc to prepare the mission while he waited in Paris.

The letters disclose the terrible state of Scotland

His mission was wrecked by the murder of Darnley and the advancement of his murderers, Bothwell and others. 

Mary`s behavious after the death of Darnley and in particular the marriage with Bothwell brought about a rupture between Mary and the Vatican.

Lauro returned to his diocese from Paris

Lauro wrote to the Cardinal of Alessandria from Paris in March 1567:
"[l] By my letter of the 24th of January I informed your eminence of the baptism of the Prince of Scotland. By another of the 13th of February, I wrote to you of the evil understanding and distrust which there was between the queen and her husband. 
By others of the 22nd and 23rd of last month, and the 8th of the present, I informed you of all that could be known up to the present about the particulars of the king's death. 
Now by the last advices from Scotland we hear that, her Majesty desiring to make inquisition into the authors of that crime, the Earls of Murray and Bothwell have been discovered. Both are heretics and enemies of the dead king ; each lays the blame on the other, and they are already in arms with many followers. That unfortunate country is quite upset again, so that not even the queen's life is secure.  
Most people" impute the crime to the Earl of Murray, who being the queen's brother has always had the throne in view, although he is a bastard. He is persuaded by the contrary sect that it is his by right, especially as he maintains that his mother was secretly espoused by the king his father. 
[2] By reason of these tumults, therefore, and other conflicts, I was already resolved to take my leave of their Majesties here and of the Cardinal of Lorraine, and to go to my church without awaiting the arrival of Monsignor of Dunblane. But now after having received, bv the letter of your eminence of the 17th of last month, the order which you are pleased to give me in accordance with the mind of the Holy Father I will not even trouble to await Father Edmund.  
I think his Holiness was really inspired ; so well did he foresee that the Divine Justice has not yet put an end to the chastisement of that unfortunate nation. Yet I am not without hope that when things are more troubled and desperate, God will then deign to show the holy workings of His infinite mercy especially by means of his Holiness' pious prayers".

Lauro left for his diocese. His decision appears to have been wise

In June 1567, Father Edmund Hay wrote to him from Paris:

"Most Reverend Father in Christ and my right honourable lord,— 
Yesterday about nine o'clock, while I was with the ambassador of Scotland, he showed me letters from Monsignor Clerneau, directed to him from Edinburgh on the 14th of May. The gentleman commenced his letter with an excuse (in margin, he is a member of the Cardinal of Lorraine's court) for not having written since he started for Scotland, which was contrary to his promise.  
He maintained, however, that the fault of not having written more frequently was not his but the queen's, who, he said, has as yet neither listened to nor looked at anything that I brought her from you or from others.  
At present great preparations are being made for the coming marriage of her Majesty with the Earl of Bothwell, whom she created Duke of Orkney a few days ago. 
Such was the purport of his letter so far as I can remember, for it was very brief. After the signature, however, came the following postscript To divert you, and make atonement for my past failings, [let me add that] after I had completed my letter, we celebrated the marriage according to the heretical rite, that is after a sermon delivered by a minister who discharged the duty of celebrant in place of a priest. 
I was anxious to inform your reverend lordship of this event as soon as possible, and will send further news as soon as I receive any.   
In the assemblies, about which the Bishop of Dunblane spoke in the letter forwarded to you, two decrees* were made, as I hear, whereby both religions (God have mercy on us !) are approved, and the followers of both receive her Majesty's favour, and are promised her protection.  
When these proclamations reach us we will turn them into Latin as well as we can, and send them to your lordship. May God send us better and happier news, and grant us patience to bear this in the dispositions in which His servants should endure it.
We pray Him long to preserve your lordship to us and to His Church. 
Farewell, most reverend father and most honourable lord. 
Paris, the Nones of June. 
Your lordship's servant in the Lord,  
Edmund Hay".

*The two decrees mentioned were  the Act of Parliament of 19 April 1567, and the proclamation of 23 May 1567. By the first all the remaining disabilities of Protestants were removed. By the second all royal licences 'permittand sum personis to use the forme of thair religioun,' i.e. Catholicism, were revoked, lest they should seem to throw suspicion on the former Act.

The correspondence is also in the British History Vatican series

Lauro was a friend of Ignatius Loyola, Camillo De Lellis and Filippo Neri, and Cardinal Federico Borromeo. 

Gregory XIII made him a cardinal and his titular church was San Clemente where he was buried

He was made Protector of Scotland before the Holy See in the pontificate of Pope Sixtus V. 

He maintained his good relations with the Society of Jesus. On his death he left his library to the Collegio Romano of the Society of Jesus.

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