Pope Innocent VII was the third Roman pope during the Western schism, which ran from 1378 to 1417.

               Born around 1339, Cosimo de Migliorati was from a simple, humble family from Sulmona in the mountainous Abruzzi region of Italy. As a young man, he was intelligent and distinguished himself in both civil and canon law. He taught at both universities in Perugia and Padua. His superiors esteemed Cosimo for his piety and learning and was known to be an able manager of finances. Still a young man, his teacher, Giovanni da Legnano, sponsored his trip to Rome. There he met Pope Urban VI who reigned 1378 – 1389. Urban soon took a liking to the intelligent professor and gave him a position in the Curia. Cosimo spent the next ten years in England as a papal collector.

  In 1386, he became Bishop Migliorati of Bologna. Only a year later, he became archbishop of Ravenna.

               Pope Boniface IX, two years later, nominated the new archbishop to become cardinal priest of S. Croce in Gerusalemme.  Then he sent the forty-year-old archbishop off as legate to Lombardy and Tuscany, where Migliorati stayed for years.

               As Pope Boniface IX half heartedly fought the Western schism, he aged. In 1404, the representatives of the anti-pope Benedict XIII traveled to Rome to discuss the ongoing problem. Within two days, Boniface IX died. The Roman cardinals asked the envoys a question: if they did not hold an election for the new pope, would Benedict XIII abdicate and allow an election for the whole church? The answer was no. The eight Roman cardinals, vowing to do anything to end the schism, held a conclave and voted for Migliorati unanimously on October 17, 1404.

               No sooner were the results of the election announced than the Ghibelline party members of Rome broke into a riot. King Ladislaus of Naples, who owed a great debt to the deceased Boniface, rushed to Rome with his army to suppress the insurrection. Ladislaus was not operating out of charity. In the almost ten years since he had taken the throne of Naples, his position had not been stable. He wanted concessions from the new pope. He wanted Innocent to proclaim that Ladislaus’ claim to the throne of Naples would not be compromised. Louis II of Anjou had recently challenged the King’s position and Ladislaus needed to shore it up. Meanwhile, Innocent had no intention of making an agreement with Anjou because it would compromise Innocent’s claims over the Papal States.

  Despite his oath to end the schism with a council, the events of 1405 required a postponement of his idea. He could not guarantee safe passage for the anti-pope. Then, Benedict claimed the only obstacle to ending the schism was Innocent’s unwillingness.

               Innocent proceeded to make some very embarrassing decisions. He hired his nephew, Ludovico Migliorati to be captain of the papal militia and, within months, rector of Todi. Ludovico was not a pleasant man. He had a reputation for being wild. To protect his uncle the following August, Ludovico seized eleven members of the Roman partisans after they had had a conference with Pope Innocent. He took them to his own house, murdered them then took the bodies to the hospital of Santo Spirito where he proceeded to throw them out the upstairs windows into the street. Such an uproar began!! Innocent, his court, his cardinals, and his nephew fled towards Viterbo followed by more Roman partisans. In his rush, Ludovico drove off cattle and thirty members of the court were killed.

               King Ladislaus sent troops to quell the riots, again. And tempers calmed. By January of 1406, the Romans had acknowledged papal temporal authority, again. Ladislaus decided that he wanted more concessions, Rome and the Papal States. A turncoat, he joined forces with the Ghibelline faction. One squad of his troops was sent to join the Colonna (papal) faction at Castel Sant’Angelo, to protect the Vatican. But this squad made frequent sorties into Rome and the surrounding territory. The only action that stopped Ladislaus and his troops was excommunication.

Innocent was planning new activities when he died on 9 November 1406, aged around 66.

Internal link: POPE URBAN VI, A CONTRARY MAN – Lanternarius Press

External link: POPE BONIFACE IX (catholic365.com)