It was he who regenerated the College of Cardinals by leavening it with men of ability, who took in hand the reform of the Curia, confirmed the Jesuit Order, and finally brought the Council of Trent into existence (Sessions I.
The elevation of Newman to the college of Cardinals in 1879 was regarded with approval throughout the English-speaking world, both on Newman's account and also as evidence that Leo XIII.
This organization, at least in so far as concerns the heretical church, had already been observed among the Fraticelli in Sicily, and in 1423 the general council of Siena affirmed with horror that at Peniscola there was an heretical pope surrounded with a college of cardinals who made no attempt at concealment.
In 1480 he was made legate to France, mainly to settle the question of the Burgundian inheritance, and acquitted himself with such ability during his two years' stay that he acquired an influence in the college of cardinals which became paramount during the pontificate of Innocent Viii.
Under Eugenius III., a Cistercian monk who was scarcely equal to his task, the papal absolutism grew sensibly weaker, and if we may credit the testimony of the usually wellinformed German chronicler, Otto of Freising, there arose in the college of cardinals a kind of fermentation which was exceedingly disquieting for the personal power of the leader of the Church.
He issued an important constitution on the 18th of July 1289, which granted to the cardinals one-half of all income accruing to the Roman see and a share in the financial management, and thereby paved the way for that independence of the college of cardinals which, in the following century, was to be of detriment to the papacy.