German statesman, churchman, and humanist; b. Augsburg, 1468; d. Salzburg, March 30, 1540. A member of a burgher family, he studied law at Tübingen and pursued humanistic studies at IngoIstadt and Vienna. He entered the imperial service as a secretary and soon rose to a position of power and influence; his unquestioned talent and loyalty commended him to Emperor Maximilian I. He reached the high point in his diplomatic career when he acted as the Emperor's representative in the negotiations leading to the League of Cambrai (1508), the reconciliation with the Pope (1512), and the marriage treaties with the Jagellonians, concluded at the Congress of Vienna (1515). The great influence he had as the Emperor's chief adviser made possible his especially rapid rise in the ecclesiastical hierarchy: provost of the Augsburg chapter (1500), bishop of Gurk (1505), cardinal (1512), and archbishop of SaIzburg (1519). He was ordained and consecrated bishop only in 1519. Maximilian's death brought the period of his involvement in imperial politics to a close, and he devoted much of his energy to the governing of Salzburg. He was soon confronted by powerfu1 demands for social and religious change. During the Peasants' War (1524-25) he was able to repress revolt in his territory only by securing the help of the Swabian League. The strong measures he took to halt the spread of the Reformation were paralleled by his effort to carry out a program of reform within the Church, which constituted one of the first tangible signs of the Catholic reform in Germany. Gifted and ambitious, he was not popular with his contemporaries, many of whom were troubled by his non-aristocratic origin; yet his achievements as imperial adviser and diplomat, prince-archbishop of Salzburg, and patron of the arts were of a very high order.
From the New Catholic Encyclopedia