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S.A. Bent, comp. Familiar Short Sayings of Great Men. 1887.

Clement VII.

  • [Giulio de Medici, Pope of Rome; succeeded Adrian VI., 1523; entered the league against Charles V., with Venice and France; made prisoner on the capture of Rome by the Constable de Bourbon; issued a bull against Henry VIII. of England, respecting the divorce of Catherine of Aragon; died September, 1534.]
  • Non possumus.

  • The answer, “We cannot,” to the demand by Henry VIII. of the Pope’s consent to his divorce from Queen Catherine, failing to obtain which the king threatened to attack the papal dominions. Since that time it has been the formula of refusals of the supreme pontiff.