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The death of Clement VIII revealed an essential weakness of the institution.It was a personal commission, depending for its very existence on the energy of its few members.When the financial management increased in importanee, the pope ordered that each of the thirteen cardinals should direct it in turn; at a later date a single cardinal was placed at the head of the financial department.The death of Gregory XV (1624) prevented the founder of the congregation from completing its organization; happily, his successor, Urban VIII (1623-44), was Cardinal Barberini, one of the original thirteen members of the congregation.The first period is that of the cardinalitial commission (before it had been constituted a definite pontifical department or ministry).

The propagation of the Faith was a matter of such vital importance as to demand for its work an entire congregation.After the death of Gregory XIII the rapid succession of four popes in seven years arrested the progress of the commission's work.Clement VIII (1592-1605), a pontiff of large and bold aims, was deeply interested in the commission, and caused its first meeting after his election to be held in his presence.After the death of Cardinals Sauli and Ludovisi, Urban VIII directed that there should be but one prefect general of the congregation, and nominated to the office his brother, Cardinal Antonio Barberini (29 Dec., 1632).At the same time he appointed his nephew, a second Cardinal Antonio Barberini, as the auxiliary of the preceding, and later made him his successor.

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