Pope Paul IV

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POPE PAUL IV
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POPE PAUL IV STATS
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Name: Giovanni Pietro Carafa
Born: 28 June 1476
Home town: Capriglia Irpina, Near Benevento, Naples
Died: 18 August 1559
Position: Held Papacy from 23 May 1555 until 18 August 1559
House of: Carafa
Nickname:
Personality type: Self-willed, ascetic, rigid, severe, unbending.
Hobbies:
Strength(s): Reformer
Weakness(es): Nepotist. In 1555 he issued a canon (papal law), *** nimis absurdum, by which the Roman Ghetto was created. Jews were then forced to live in seclusion in a specified area of the Rione Sant'Angelo, locked in at night, and he decreed that Jews should wear a distinctive sign, yellow hats for men and veils or shawls for women. Jewish ghettos existed in Europe for the next 315 years.
Quirks: Among his first acts as Pope was to cut off Michelangelo's pension, and he ordered the nudes of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel be painted more modestly (a request that Michelangelo ignored).




“Those so promoted or elected, by that very fact and without the need to make any further declaration, shall be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and and power.”



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POPE PAUL IV BIO
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Born in Capriglia Irpina near Benevento on 28 June 1476, scion of a Neapolitan baronial family, Giovanni Pietro Carafa was educated at Rome in the home of his uncle Oliviero Carafa, acquiring a thorough grounding in Greek and Hebrew. Through his uncle he rose rapidly in the church, being bishop of Chiete, or Theate, 1505-1524, legate of Pope Leo X to King Henry VIII of England 1513-1514, archbishop of Brindisi 1518, nuncio in Flanders and Spain 1515-1520. Already reform minded, he at this stage combined strict personal asceticism with humanist interests and corresponded with Erasmus; as a Neapolitan he nourished an aversion to Spain and Spanish ascendancy. Returning to Rome, he joined the Oratory of the Divine Love and worked to amend abuses in his dioceses. Chosen by Adrain VI to collaborate with his projected reform programme, he renounced his bishoprics in 1524 and with Gaetano di Thiene (Cajetan, 1480-1547) founded the Theatines, dedicated to strict poverty and to returning the apostolic way of life and reforming abuses in the church, and became their first superior. From now on, whether at Venice after the Sack of Rome (1527) or at Rome after his nomination as cardinal in December 1536, he was an aggressive leader of the reform party, abandoning humanist sympathies in his hostility to reconciliation with the Lutherans. As head of the reactivated Inquisition he was described as showing inhuman severity. Appointed archbishop of Naples in February 1549, he was dean of the Sacred College from 1533. He was seventy-nine, a man admired but dreaded, when against Charles V's wishes, he was elected to succeed Marcellus II.

Paul's election was hailed by partisans of reform, but their hopes were not fulfilled. Autocratic and passionate, inspired by a medieval conception of the papal supremacy, he relinquished his predecessor's neutrality and, in his revulsion from Spanish rule in Italy, was led by his nephew Carlo Carafa to ally himself with France and make war with Spain. The papal forces were defeated by the Duke of Alva as viceroy of Naples, the papal state was overrun, and he was forced to accept the, fortunately generous, Peace of Cave (12 September 1557). His other ventures into politics also lacked moderation. He denounced the Peace of Augsburg (25 September 1555), which recognised the coexistence of Catholics and Lutherans in Germany, as a pact with heresy, and refused to recognise the abdication of Emperor Charles V in 1556 or the election of Ferdinand I (1558-1564) in 1558 on the ground that papal approval had not been obtained. His dislike of Spain made him quarrel with Mary I of England, and on her death (17 November 1558) he made the ultimate victory of Protestantism in England easier by insisting on the restitution of confiscated church lands and requiring Elizabeth I to submit her claims to him.

As a reformer the ascetic, self-willed pope laboured with fanatical energy and zeal. For him it was out of the question to revive the suspended (28 April 1552) Council of Trent; violently anti-Protestant, he believed he could carry through the necessary reforms himself more swiftly and efficiently. In spring 1556 he instituted a special commission of some sixty prelates with the idea that it should replace the council and be itself expanded into a papal council by the accession of foreign bishops. This was never realised, and after the Peace of Cave he devoted his energies to the Roman Inquisition, greatly increasing its jurisdiction and placing Antonio (from 1518 named Michele Ghislieri later Pius V) at its head. He regularly attended its sessions, and such was his passion for orthodoxy that he had an innocent man like Cardinal Giovanni Morone (1509-1580) imprisoned in Castel Sant'Angelo for heresy and deprived Reginald Pole (1500-1558) of his legateship to England. A further instrument he created, through the Congregation of the Inquisition, was the Index of Forbidden Books (1557: revised edition published in January 1559), of unprecedented and quite unrealistic severity. Suspecting Jews of somehow abetting Protestantism, he confined them strictly to ghettoes in Rome and the papal state, and forced them to wear distinctive headgear. But although his reign did not bring the eagerly awaited renewal of the church, it prepared the ground for it. Thus he was scrupulous in his choice of cardinals, insisted on episcopal residence, forbade the presentation of secular clerks to monasteries, and ordered the arrest of monks who had left their houses. The irony was that, blinded by hatred for the Habsburg and distrustful of strangers, he made his morally worthless nephew Carlo not only a cardinal but also his political adviser, and relied heavily on other relatives, promoting them to lucrative positions. When his eyes were opened to their unprincipled behaviour, he denounced them, stripped of their offices, and expelled them from Rome (January 1559) but the damage to his policies and reputation was obvious to more worldly eyes.

Paul appointed a commission to reform the missal and the Roman breviary. He took steps to improve the dignity of divine service at Rome and, through the governor, to repress public immorality and violence. But the narrow-mindness and harshness of his measures, his own intolerance, and his blindness to his nephew's faults, made him personally unpopular and his reign a disappointment. On his death popular hatred for him and his family exploded, the rioting crowds destroyed the headquarters of the Inquisition and released its wretched prisoners, and his statue on the Capitoline Hill was toppled and mutilated.


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CONTEMPORARY VOICES
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POPE PAUL IV QUOTES
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  • "As it is completely absurd and improper in the utmost that the Jews, who through their own fault were condemned by God to eternal servitude, can under the pretext that pious Christians must accept them and sustain their habitation, are so ungrateful to Christians, as, instead of thanks for gracious treatment, they return contumely, and among themselves, instead of the slavery, which they deserve..."
    C*m nimis absurdum, 1555
  • “Those so promoted or elected, by that very fact and without the need to make any further declaration, shall be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and and power.”
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POPE PAUL IV TRIVIA
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  • Nepotist. In 1555 he issued a canon (papal law), *** nimis absurdum, by which the Roman Ghetto was created. Jews were then forced to live in seclusion in a specified area of the Rione Sant'Angelo, locked in at night, and he decreed that Jews should wear a distinctive sign, yellow hats for men and veils or shawls for women. Jewish ghettos existed in Europe for the next 315 years.
  • Pope Paul IV who had long railed against the nudity of the figures in Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel commissioned one of Michelangelo's students, Daniele da Volterra to paint draperies over the figures' nether parts, for which the apinter was ever after called "II Braghettione" (the breeches maker). It's worth reading the Daniele da Volterra article in Wikipedia under the heading "The Loincloths in Michelangelo's Last Judgement" to see what other changes he made.
  • Under his authority, all books written by Protestants were banned, together with Italian and German translations of the Latin Bible.
  • Index of Forbidden Books - List of Authors and Works.
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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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