Albert, of Brandenburg, Archbishop and Elector of Mainz, Cardinal, 1490-1545

Alternative names
Birth 1490-06-28
Death 1545-09-24

Biographical notes:

Albert of Brandenburg, Cardinal and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire, b. 28 June 1490; d. 24 September, 1545.

As early as 1509 he was Prebendary in the Cathedral of Mainz; Archbishop of Magdeburg and Administrator of Halberstadt from 1513; Archbishop of Mainz from 1514; Cardinal-Priest from 1518. The indulgence issued by Leo X in 1514 for the building of the new St. Peter's in Rome was entrusted to Albert (1517) for publication in Saxony and Brandenburg. This commission has been made by d'Aubign and others the ground of many accusations against Albert and Leo X, as though they had used the Indulgence as a means of enriching themselves personally. [d'Aubigne, History of the Reformation].

Albert employed Johann Tetzel for the actual preaching of the Indulgence and furnished him a book of instructions: "Instructio summaria ad Subcommissarios Poenitentiarum et Confessores." Later, Martin Luther addressed a letter of protest to Albert concerning the conduct of Tetzel, found fault with the Bishop's book of instructions, and asked him to suppress it. Luther's charges were groundless and his letter was disregarded. Though many of the accusations against Albert's morals were false, Luther was probably justified in thinking that he would find in Albert a strong partisan.

The young bishop was somewhat worldly-minded, and better trained in humanistic studies than in theology. Leo X was obliged to send an admonition to Mainz because so many books hostile to the Faith were being published under the Bishop's eye. In later life, Albert changed his conduct, strove earnestly to introduce a more perfect system of religious instruction, and brought forward measures for that purpose in the Diet of Nuremberg. He became, by the sincerity of his zeal,the great defender of the Faith in Germany. As a temporal prince, he introduced reforms in the administration of justice, into the police system, and into commerce. He was buried in the Cathedral of Mainz. (The Catholic Encyclopaedia, Special edition; vol. I, page 262. New York; The Encyclopedia Press, 1913.).

From the description of Albert of Brandenburg letter, July 30, 1540. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122414385


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