Pope Paul III

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POPE PAUL III
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POPE PAUL III STATS
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Name: Alessandro Farnese
Born: 29 February 1468
Home town: Canino
Died: 10 November 1549
Position: Held Papacy from 13 October 1534 until 10 November 1549
House of: Farnese
Nickname: Cardinal Petticoat, Borgia Brother-in-Law
Personality type:
Hobbies:
Strength(s):
Weakness(es): Nepotist
Quirks:


"There is no redemption from hell"


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POPE PAUL III BIO
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Born at Canino on 29 February 1468, descendant of a famous condottiere family with properties around Lake Bolsena and south of Viterbo, Alessandro Farnese received a polished humanist education at Rome and Florence, was a student at Pisa, and was made treasurer of the Roman church (1492) and cardinal deacon (1493) by Pope Alexander VI; his nickname was 'cardinal petticoat' because his sister Giulia was the pope's mistress. Although not ordained priest till 1519, he held many bishoprics and lucrative benefices, combined wide artistic and philosophical interests with diplomatic missions, and kept a noble Roman mistress (Silvia Ruffini) who bore him three sons (Piere Luigi, Paul, Ranuccio - not to be confused with his grandson, son of Pier Cardinal Ranucchio) and a daughter (Constanza). Named bishop of Parma by Julius II in 1509, he took his new responsibilities seriously, holding a diocesan synod and putting the reform decrees of the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-1517) into effect. Breaking off his liaison with his mistress in 1513, he reorganised his private life and after ordination in June 1519, became identified with the reform party in the Curia. On Clement VII's death he was the oldest cardinal aged 67 dean of the Sacred College, respected for his experience and shrewdness, and was unanimously elected after a two day conclave.

A true Renaissance pope, Paul favoured artists, writers, and scholars. He restored Rome University enriched the Vatican Library, and exploited the talents of painters and architects, notably Michelangelo, whom he commissioned to complete the 'Last Judgement' in the Sistine Chapel and to supervise work on the new St Peter's. The Palazzo Farnese, which he began, attests his pride in his family. Under him the Vatican resounded with masked balls and briliant feasts; in 1536 he revived the carnival. A determined nepotist, he provoked protests by naming two grandsons Alessandro and Ranuccio, boys of 16 and 14, cardinals in December 1534 and then promoting them to key offices. Throughout he worked hard, often at the expense of the church's interests, to establish the Farnese family among the powerful houses of Italy. Yet despite these preoccupations his pontificate marked a fresh approach to the great issues agitating Christendom. Though not as often claimed, the first pope of Catholic reform, Paul sensed the need to meet the challenge of Protestantism constructively, and took certain hesitant steps to encourage renewal within the church itself. He therefore placed a general council and reform in the forefront of his programme.

Although the council, announced for Mantua in 1537 and for Vicenza in 1538, had to be postponed because of objections from Francis I of France (1515-1547) and Emperor Charles V (1519-1556), he at once reduced the expense of the Sacred College and revitalised it by a series of brilliant nominations, including Giovanni Carafa (later Paul IV), Gasparo Contarini (1483-1542), Reginald Pole (1500-1558), and Marcello Cervini (later Marcellus II). In 1536 he set up a commission to examine the state of the church; on 9 March 1537 it submitted a plain-spoken, far-reaching report (Consilium de Emendanda Ecclesia) which, although leaked and misused, became the basis of the work of the Council of Trent. He encouraged reforms in the new congregations - The Theatines, Barnabites, Somaschi, and Ursulines. Most noteworthy was his approval (by the bull Regimini Militantis Ecclesiae: 27 September 1540) of the Society of Jesus, and his establishment (21 July 1542) of the Congregation of the Roman Inquisition or the Holy Office, with punitive powers of censorship, as the central authority for combating heresy. When the peace of Crepy (18 September 1544) ended the war between France and the empire, he was able, after years of frustration , to hold his general council, which opened at Trent, (below left) a city recommended by the emperor, on 13 December 1545; he himself was represented by three legates. It was not the uncommitted council of all Christians desired by the Protestants, nor did Paul yield to Charles V's wish that it should confine itself to discipline and reform. It was agreed that dogma and reform should be discussed concurrently, and in its first seven sessions it hammered out decrees on Scripture and tradition, original sin, justification, and the sacraments. There being renewed tension between pope and emperor, an outbreak of typhus was made the pretext for transferring the council to Bologna (11 March 1547), which lay directly in the papal sphere of influence; but since Charles objected and refused to allow bishops subject to him to attend there, Paul was obliged to suspend the eighth session on 1 February 1548 (suspension formally published on 14 September 1549), without any further reform decrees being issued.

On 17 December 1538 (the bull had been ready since August 1535) Paul excommunicated Henry VIII (Clement VII's earlier sentence had been suspended) and placed England under an interdict, but he failed to persuade the continental powers to impose sanctions as he had hoped: the net result was to alienate England still further. Throughout his reign he sought to observe neutrality regarding Charles V and Francis I, although regarding France as the natural counter-balance to the predominance in Italy; the persistent rivalry of these powers was the chief obstacle to effective action against the Ottoman Turks, who threatened the coasts of Italy as well as the Christian outposts in the east. He supported Charles in his war to crush the defensive alliance of German Protestants known as the Schmalkaldic League (1545-1547), and encouraged Francis to persecute the Huguenots in France; but in the end his family ambitions brought him into conflict with the emperor. In 1545 he bestowed Parma and Piacenza, parts of the papal state, on his dissolute son Pier Luigi, an enemy of Charles, but on Pier Luigi's murder in 1549 Charles claimed the two duchies for his own son-in-law Ottavio, the pope's grandson. This setback, and the bitterness of having his own family ranged against him, hastened Paul's death. As he lay dying, racked by violent fever, family affection reasserted itself in the nepotist pope; he forgave Ottavio, and ordered Parma to be ceded to him. The portrait by Titian, painted in 1543 when he was seventy five represents him in the full vigour of his pontificate.

Source: JND Kelly

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CONTEMPORARY VOICES
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FROM NAME TO NAME: " ...Paul III ... devoted much of his fifteen years as Pope to scandalous promotion of the interests of his unattractively omnivorous children and family... However, Paul was also a perceptive and intelligent Renaissance prince anxious to capitalize on all his assets."
~ Diarmid MacCulloch's Reformation


FROM NAME TO NAME:--



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POPE PAUL III QUOTES
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  • "There is no redemption from hell"
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POPE PAUL III TRIVIA
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  • Pope Paul III was played by Peter O'Toole in Showtime's The Tudors.
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND MATERIALS
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BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS WEBSITES & MEDIA
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Popes by JND Kelly
  • The Popes by John Julius Norwich
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