The Sacred College having decided to hold the conclave abroad, Crispi assured them of absolute freedom if they remained in Rome, or of protection to the frontier should they migrate, but warned them that, once evacuated, the Vatican would be occupied in the name of the Italian government and be lost to the Church as headquarters of the papacy.
New to the Sacred College and free from traditional preconceptions, he was admirably fitted to carry out the papal policy under Leo XIII.
When at last the question arose of giving the Christian world a new pope, this time sole and uncontested, Pierre d'Ailly defended the right of the cardinals, if not to keep the election entirely in their own hands, at any rate to share in the election, and he brought forward an ingenious system for reconciling the pretensions of the council with the rights of the Sacred College.
In order to dominate the Sacred College more completely he created twelve new cardinals, among them his own son Cesare, then only eighteen years old, and Alessandro Farnese, the brother of Giulia Bella, one of the pope's mistresses, creations which caused much scandal.
By other decrees the jurisdiction of the court of Rome was much limited, and rules were even made for the election of popes and the constitution of the Sacred College.