|Papacy began||23 May 1555|
|Papacy ended||18 August 1559|
|Consecration||18 September 1505|
|Created Cardinal||22 December 1536
by Paul III
|Birth name||Gian Pietro Carafa|
28 June 1476|
Capriglia Irpina, Kingdom of Naples
|Died||18 August 1559
Rome, Papal States
|Other popes named Paul|
|Papal styles of
Pope Paul IV
|Reference style||His Holiness|
|Spoken style||Your Holiness|
|Religious style||Holy Father|
Pope Paul IV, C.R. (Latin: Paulus IV; 28 June 1476 – 18 August 1559), born Gian Pietro Carafa, was Pope from 23 May 1555 to his death in 1559. While serving as papal nuncio in Spain, he developed an anti-Spanish outlook that later coloured his papacy, and resulted in the Papal States suffering a serious military defeat in the Italian War of 1551–59.
Carafa was appointed bishop of Chieti, but resigned in 1524 in order to found with St. Cajetan the Congregation of Clerics Regular (Theatines). Recalled to Rome, and made Archbishop of Naples, he was instrumental in setting up the Roman Inquisition, sent hundreds of convicted heretics to the stake, and was opposed to any dialogue with the emerging Protestant party in Europe. Carafa was elected pope in 1555 through the influence of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese in the face of opposition from Emperor Charles V. His papacy was characterized by strong nationalism in reaction to the influence of Philip II of Spain and the Habsburgs. He compelled the Jews of Rome to wear distinctive clothing and confine themselves to a ghetto. The appointment of Carlo Carafa as Cardinal Nephew damaged the papacy further when Paul was forced to remove him from office following a scandal. He curbed many clerical abuses in Rome but his methods were seen as harsh.
Gian Pietro Carafa was born in Capriglia Irpina, near Avellino, into a prominent noble family of Naples. His father Giovanni Antonio Carafa died in West Flanders in 1516 and his mother Vittoria Camponeschi was the daughter of Pietro Lalle Camponeschi, 5th Conte di Montorio, a Neapolitan nobleman, and wife Dona Maria de Noronha, a Portuguese noblewoman of the House of Pereira Senhores dos Lagares de El-Rei and Senhores de Paiva, Baltar e Cabeceiras de Basto.
He was mentored by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, his relative, who resigned the see of Chieti (Latin Theate) in his favour. Under the direction of Pope Leo X, he was ambassador to England and then papal nuncio in Spain, where he conceived a violent detestation of Spanish rule that affected the policies of his later papacy.
However, in 1524, Pope Clement VII allowed Carafa to resign his benefices and join the ascetic and newly founded Congregation of Clerks Regular, popularly called the Theatines, after Carafa's see of Theate. Following the sack of Rome in 1527, the order moved to Venice. But Carafa was recalled to Rome by the reform-minded Pope Paul III (1534–49), to sit on a committee of reform of the papal court, an appointment that forecast an end to a humanist papacy and a revival of scholasticism, for Carafa was a thorough disciple of Thomas Aquinas.
The Regensburg Colloquy in 1541 failed to achieve any measure of reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants in Europe, but instead saw a number of prominent Italians defect to the Protestant camp. In response, Carafa was able to persuade Pope Paul III to set up a Roman Inquisition, modelled on the Spanish Inquisition with himself as one of the Inquisitors-General. The Papal Bull was promulgated in 1542 and Carafa vowed, "Even if my own father were a heretic, I would gather the wood to burn him".
Election as pope
He was a surprise choice as pope to succeed Pope Marcellus II (1555); his severe and unbending character combined with his advanced age and Italian patriotism meant under normal circumstances he would have declined the honor. He accepted apparently because Emperor Charles V was opposed to his accession.
As pope his nationalism was a driving force; he used the office to preserve some liberties in the face of fourfold foreign occupation. Initially, he supported the marriage of Mary I of England and Prince Philip of Spain by recognizing Henry VIIIs' creation of the kingdom of Ireland and the couple's claim to France in his bull, "Ilius". However, the Habsburgs disliked Paul IV, who was in turn a great hater of Spain. This led the pope into an alliance with France, possibly against the true interests of the Papacy. He used the Holy Office to suppress the Spirituali, a Catholic group that was deemed heretical. He angered people in England by insisting on the restitution of property confiscated during the dissolution, and rejected the claim of Elizabeth I of England to the Crown.
Paul IV strongly affirmed the Catholic dogma of extra ecclesiam nulla salus ("Outside the Church there is no salvation"). The strengthening of the Inquisition continued under Paul IV, and few could consider themselves safe by virtue of position in his drive to reform the Church; even cardinals he disliked could be imprisoned. He appointed inquisitor Michele Ghislieri, the future Pope Pius V, to the unique position of Supreme Inquisitor (sometimes referred to as inquisitor-general)--despite the fact as Inquisitor of Como, Ghislieri's persecutions had inspired a citywide rebellion, forcing him to flee in (justified) fear for his life.
On 17 July 1555, Paul IV issued one of the most famous papal bulls in Church history. The bull, Cum Nimis Absurdum (the title stemmed from its opening phrase, "Since it is absurd") ordered the creation of a Jewish ghetto in Rome. The pope set its borders near the Rione Sant'Angelo, an area where large numbers of Jews already resided, and ordered it walled off from the rest of the city. A single gate, locked every day at sundown, was the only means of reaching the rest of the city. The Jews themselves were forced to pay all design and construction costs related to the project, which came to a total of roughly 300 scudi. The bull restricted Jews in other ways as well. They were forbidden to have more than one synagogue per city—leading, in Rome alone, to the destruction of seven "excess" places of worship. All Jews were forced to wear distinctive yellow hats, especially outside the ghetto, and they were forbidden to trade in everything but food and secondhand clothes. Christians of all ages were encouraged to treat the Jews as second-class citizens; for a Jew to defy a Christian in any way was to invite severe punishment, often at the hands of a mob. By the end of Paul IV's five-year reign the number of Roman Jews had dropped by half. Yet his anti-semitic legacy endured for over 300 years: the ghetto he established ceased to exist only with the dissolution of the Papal States in 1870. Its walls were torn down in 1888, though Cum Nimis Absurdum has never been formally repealed.
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...— Paul IV, Cum nimis absurdum, 1555
Paul IV was violently opposed to the liberal Giovanni Cardinal Morone whom he strongly suspected of being a hidden Protestant, so much that he had him imprisoned. In order to prevent Morone from succeeding him and imposing what he believed to be his Protestant beliefs on the Church, Pope Paul IV codified the Catholic Law excluding heretics and non-Catholics from receiving or legitimately becoming Pope, in the bull Cum ex apostolatus officio.
Like Pope Paul III, he was an enemy of the Colonna family. His treatment of Giovanna d'Aragona, who had married into that family, drew further negative comment from Venice. This because she had long been a patron of artists and writers.
As was usual with Renaissance Popes, Paul IV sought to advance the fortunes of his family as well as that of the papacy. As Cardinal-nephew, Carlo Carafa became his uncle's chief adviser and the prime mover in their plans to ally with the French to expel the Spanish from Italy. Carlo's older brother Giovanni was made commander of the papal forces and Duke of Paliano after the pro-Spanish Colonna were deprived of that town in 1556. Another nephew, Antonio, was given command of the Papal guard and made Marquis of Montebello. Their conduct became notorious in Rome. However at the conclusion of the disastrous war with Philip II of Spain in the Italian War of 1551–59 and after many scandals, in 1559 the Pope publicly disgraced his nephews and banished them from Rome.
During his papacy, censorship reached new heights. 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) (the beginning of the Vatican's Fig leaf campaign). Paul IV also introduced the Index Librorum Prohibitorum or "Index of Prohibited Books" to Venice, then an independent and prosperous trading state, in order to crack down on the growing threat of Protestantism. Under his authority, all books written by Protestants were banned, together with Italian and German translations of the Latin Bible.
Paul IV's health began to break down in May 1559. He rallied in July, holding public audiences and attending meetings of the Inquisition. But he engaged in fasting, and the heat of the summer wore him down again. He was bedridden, and on August 17 it became clear he would not live. Cardinals and other officials gathered at his bedside on August 18, where Paul IV asked them to elect a "righteous and holy" successor and to retain the Inquisition as "the very basis" of the Catholic Church's power. By 2 or 3 PM, he was close to death, and died at 5 PM.
Crowds of people, angry at tyrannical rule and the actions of the Inquisition, gathered at the Piazza del Campidoglio and began rioting even before Paul IV died. His statue, erected before the Campidoglio just months before, had a yellow hat placed on it (similar to the yellow hat Paul IV had forced Jews to wear in public). After a mock trial, the statue was decapitated. It was then thrown into the Tiber. The crowd broke into the three city jails and freed more than 400 prisoners, then broke into the offices of the Inquisition at the Palazzo dell' Inquisizone near to the Church of San Rocco. They murdered the Inquisitor, Tommaso Scotti, and freed 72 prisoners. They ransacked the palace, and then set it afire (destroying the Inquisition's records). That same day, or the next day (records are unclear), the crowd attacked the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The intercession of some local nobility dissuaded them from burning it and killing all those within. On the third day of rioting, the crowd removed the Carafa family coat of arms from all churches, monuments, and other buildings in the city.
- Carafa hated by the devil and the sky
- is buried here with his rotting corpse,
- Erebus has taken the spirit;
- he hated peace on earth, our faith he contested.
- he ruined the church and the people, men and sky offended;
- treacherous friend, suppliant with the army which was fatal to him.
- You want to know more? Pope was him and that is enough.
Such hostile views have not mellowed much with time; modern historians tend to view his papacy as an especially poor one. His policies stemmed from personal prejudices—against Spain, for example, or the Jews—rather than any overarching political or religious goals. In a time of precarious balance between Catholic and Protestant, his adversarial nature did little to slow the latter's spread across northern Europe. His anti-Spanish feelings alienated the Habsburgs, arguably the most powerful Catholic rulers in Europe, and his ascetic personal beliefs left him out of touch with the artistic and intellectual movements of his era (he often spoke of whitewashing the Sistine Ceiling). Such a reactionary attitude alienated clergy and laity alike: historian John Julius Norwich calls him "the worst pope of the 16th century."
Four or five hours after his death, Paul IV's body was taken to the Cappella Paolina chapel in the Apostolic Palace. It lay in repose, and a choir sang the Office of the Dead on the morning of August 19. Cardinals and many others then paid homage to Paul IV ("kissed the feet of the pope"). The canons of St. Peter's Basilica refused to take his body into the basilica unless they were paid the customary money and gifts. Instead, the canons sang the usual office in the Cappella del Santissimo Sacramento (Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament). Paul IV's body was taken to the Sistine Chapel in the Apostolic Palace at 6 PM.
Paul IV's nephew, Cardinal-nephew Carlo Carafa, arrived in Rome late on August 19. Worried that the rioters might break in and desecrate the pope's corpse, at 10 PM Cardinal Carafa had Pope Paul IV buried without ceremony next to the Cappella del Volto Santo (Chapel of the Holy Face) in St. Peter's. His remains stayed there until October 1566, when his successor as pope, Pius V, had them transferred to Santa Maria sopra Minerva. In the chapel founded by Paul IV's uncle and mentor, Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, a tomb was created by Pirro Ligorio and Paul IV's remains placed therein.
In the novel Q by Luther Blissett, while not appearing himself, Gian Pietro Carafa is mentioned repeatedly as the cardinal whose spy and agent provocateur, Qoelet, causes many of the disasters to befall Protestants during the Reformation and the Roman Church's response in the 16th century.
- Loughlin, James F. (1913). "Pope Paul IV". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Pope Paul IV". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 956.
- Dairmuid MacCulloch, Reformation in Europe, London, 2005
- Pope Paul IV. "Ilius per quem Reges regnant". 7 June 1555. (Latin)
- Will Durant (1953). The Renaissance. Chapter XXXIX: The Popes and the Council: 1517–1565.
- Norwich, John Julius (2011). Absolute Monarchs. New York: Random House. p. 316. ISBN 978-1-4000-6715-2.
- Coppa, Frank J. (2006). The Papacy, the Jews, and the Holocaust. Washington: Catholic University of America Press. p. 29. ISBN 9780813215952.
- Robin, Larsen and Levin. Encyclopedia of Women in the Renaissance. p. 24.
- Deming 2012, p. 36.
- Setton, Kenneth M. (1984). The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571. Volume IV: The Sixteenth Century. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. p. 718. ISBN 0871691140.
- Stow, Kenneth (2001). Theater of Acculturation: The Roman Ghetto in the 16th Century. Seattle: University of Washington Press. p. 41. ISBN 0295980257.
- Setton, Kenneth M. (1984). The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571. Volume IV: The Sixteenth Century. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. p. 719. ISBN 0871691140.
- Setton, Kenneth M. (1984). The Papacy and the Levant, 1204-1571. Volume IV: The Sixteenth Century. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. pp. 718–719. ISBN 0871691140.
- Claudio Rendina, I papi, p. 646
- "Prophecies of Future Popes". The Month: An Illustrated Magazine of Literature, Science and Art. June 1899. p. 572.
- Rist, Thomas (2008). Revenge Tragedy and the Drama of Commemoration in Reforming England. Aldershot, England: Ashgate. p. 121. ISBN 9780754661528.
- Garber, Jeremy (Winter 2006). "Reading the Anabaptists: Anabaptist Historiography and Luther Blissett's 'Q'". The Conrad Grebel Review 24 (1).
- Daniele Santarelli, Il papato di Paolo IV nella crisi politico-religiosa del Cinquecento, Rome, Aracne editrice, 2008
- Massimo Firpo, Inquisizione romana e Controriforma. Studi sul cardinal Giovanni Morone (1509–1580) e il suo processo d'eresia, Brescia, Morcelliana, 2005
- Alberto Aubert, Paolo IV. Politica, Inquisizione e storiografia, Firenze, Le Lettere, 1999
- Deming, David (2012). Science and technology in world history. Vol 3 The Black Death, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., Publishers. ISBN 9780786490868. Retrieved 24 October 2015.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Paulus IV.|
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Pope Paul IV
- Article "Paul IV" in Dizionario storico dell'Inquisizione (Italian)
- Dispatches of Bernardo Navagero, Venitian ambassador, and others documents about the papacy of Paul IV (Italian)
|Catholic Church titles|
|Cardinal-bishop of Albano
|Cardinal-bishop of Sabina
François de Tournon
Philippe de la Chambre
|Cardinal-bishop of Frascati
Jean du Bellay
|Cardinal-bishop of Porto
Giovanni Domenico de Cupi
|Cardinal-bishop of Ostia
23 May 1555 – 18 August 1559