Paul IV

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pope Paul IV
Portrait of Pope Paul IV in the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls
Santa Maria sopra Minerva , tomb Paul IV.

Paul IV , real name Gian Pietro Carafa OTheat (born June 28, 1476 in Capriglio , † August 18, 1559 in Rome ), was Pope from May 23, 1555 until his death.

Clerical career

Gian Pietro Carafa came from the Neapolitan noble family Carafa . His uncle and mentor Oliviero Carafa helped him to the bishopric of Chieti by giving up in 1505 . In 1518 Gian Pietro Carafa became Archbishop of Brindisi . From 1520 to 1525 he stayed in Rome, from where he had to flee to Venice in 1525 in connection with the Sacco di Roma . In 1524 he founded with Saint Cajetan the Order of Theatine . Pope Paul III elevated him to cardinal in 1536 (hence the papal name ) and gave him the title church of San Pancrazio in 1537 , then other changing title churches, including San Clemente in 1541 . The Pope appointed Carafa as a member of the newly established commission for general church reform. From 1542 he headed the reorganized Roman Inquisition and was made Archbishop of Naples in 1549 . As Cardinal Bishop Carafa successively acquired the suburbicarian dioceses of Albano (1544), Sabina (1546), Frascati (1550), Porto e Santa Rufina (1553) and finally Ostia (1553), with which he rose to the position of Dean of the College of Cardinals .


Coat of arms of Pope Paul IV.

In 1555, at the age of 79, he was elected Pope. Until then, he had kept talking about reforms. After the election, however, he practiced nepotism by making one of his nephews, the condottiere Carlo Carafa , cardinal secretary of state , and the other nephew Giovanni Carafa , an equally brutal adventurer, first captain general of the Church and then duke of Paliano .

Secular politics

After Carafa had already shown unyielding severity against the Italian Protestants as head of the Inquisition , he protested as Pope against the Peace of Augsburg on September 25, 1555. This allowed each sovereign to determine the denomination of his subjects. After Emperor Charles V had abdicated in 1556 and his brother Ferdinand I had accepted the title of "Elected Roman Emperor", Paul IV declared this invalid.

As an opponent of the Spanish- Habsburg power Paul lost in alliance with France the war against Spain and had on 12 September 1557 after the occupation of the Papal States by the Duke of Alba , the conditions of the peace of Cave Palestrina accept. On the issue of the English throne, he tried his influence against the Protestant I. Elisabeth to be asserted.

Church politics

Oil painting of Pope Paul IV in the church of Santi Michele e Gaetano in Florence

To strengthen the Roman Catholic Church , Paul expanded the powers of the “Holy Inquisition”. He made sure that the inquisitors did not allow themselves to be restrained by personal considerations. The following sentence has been passed down from him: "Even if my own father were a heretic , I would gather the wood to let him burn."

In his bull Cum nimis absurdum of July 14, 1555, he introduced the obligation for Jews to live in ghettos . A few days later, 24 Marranos , i.e. Jews who were forced to convert, were burned in Ancona . It was the only act of its kind in Italian history.

He did not continue the suspended Council of Trent because he saw the renewal of the Church as a main task of the papal curia and the college of cardinals.

As one of his last acts, in 1559 he put book censorship into effect by banning unpopular writings in the Index librorum prohibitorum and wrote the papal bull Cum ex apostolatus officio . He died faster because as a terminally ill he met the law of fasting meticulously, so that "his state of weakness increased to the extreme."

Grave monument in the Cappella Carafa

Events after his death

After his death, the citizens of Rome celebrated joyous festivals, freed the prisoners of the Roman Inquisition and set the palace of the Inquisition on fire. Members of the communal administration of Rome, who were severely restricted under the rule of Paul IV, promoted and exploited popular anger in their favor.

Ten days after the death of Paul IV, his nephew Giovanni Carafa, Duke of Paliano , had his pregnant wife murdered with the approval of his brother, Cardinal Secretary of State Carlo Carafa. Then the two brothers were tried under the new Pope Pius IV . The cardinal state secretary was strangled in Castel Sant'Angelo and the duke beheaded. Her accomplices were also executed.

Paul IV was buried in the Carafa Chapel in Santa Maria sopra Minerva .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Gaston Castella, Papstgeschichte Volume II, p. 63


Fiction depictions:

Web links

Commons : Paul IV.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Paul IV  - Quotes