Clement VII (1478?–1534), pope (1523–34), reigning ineffectively during a difficult time in European political and religious affairs. Clement was born in Florence, Italy, into the powerful Medici family. When the Holy Roman Empire and France struggled for dominance in Italy, Clement formed an alliance with France. Troops of the Holy Roman emperor Charles V sacked Rome in 1527 and captured Clement. In 1529 Clement accepted peace and recognized Charles as emperor. Because of these preoccupations, Clement vacillated in responding to the Protestant Reformation, which spread in Germany and Scandinavia. The Reformation took hold in England partly because of Clement's unwillingness to grant King Henry VIII of England an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragón.