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Pope Paul IV

Pope Paul IVAKA Givanni Pietro Caraffa

Born: 28-Jun-1476
Birthplace: Carpriglio, Abruzzi, Italy
Died: 18-Aug-1559
Location of death: Rome, Italy
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva Church, Rome, Italy

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Religion

Nationality: Italy
Executive summary: Roman Catholic Pope, 1555-59

Paul IV, given name Giovanni Pietro Caraffa, Roman Catholic Pope from 1555 to 1559, was born on the 28th of June 1476, of a noble Neapolitan family. His ecclesiastical preferment he owed to the influence of an uncle, Cardinal Oliviero Caraffa. Having filled the post of nuncio in England and Spain, he served successive popes as adviser in matters pertaining to heresy and reform. But he resigned his benefices, and, in conjunction with Cajetan, founded the order of the Theatines (1524) with the object of promoting personal piety and of combating heresy by preaching. In 1536 Pope Paul III made him cardinal-archbishop of Naples and a member of the reform commission. After the failure of Contarini's attempt at reconciliation with the Protestants (1541) the papacy committed itself to the reaction advocated by Caraffa; the Inquisition and censorship were set up (1542, 1543), and the extermination of heresy in Italy undertaken with vigor. Elected pope on the 23rd of May 1555, in the face of the veto of the emperor, Paul regarded his elevation as the work of God. With his defects of temper, his violent antipathies, his extravagant notion of papal prerogative, his pontificate was filled with strife. Blinded by ungovernable hatred he joined with France (1555) in order to drive the "accursed Spaniards" from Italy. But the victory of Philip II at St. Quentin (1557) and the threatening advance of Alva upon Rome forced him to come to terms and to abandon his French alliance. He denounced the peace of Augsburg as a pact with heresy; nor would he recognize the abdication of Charles V and the election of Ferdinand. By insisting upon the restitution of the confiscated church lands, assuming to regard England as a papal fief, requiring Queen Elizabeth I, whose legitimacy he aspersed, to submit her claims to him, he raised insuperable obstacles to the return of England to the Church of Rome.

Paul's attitude towards nepotism was at variance with his character as a reformer. An unworthy nephew, Carlo Caraffa, was made cardinal, and other relatives were invested with the duchies of Paliano and Montebello. It was Paul's hope in this way to acquire a support in his war with the Spaniards. But the defeat of his plans disillusioned him, and he turned to reform. A stricter life was introduced into the papal court; the regular observance of the services of the Church was enjoined; many of the grosser abuses were prohibited. These measures only increased Paul's unpopularity, so that when he died, on the 18th of August 1559, the Romans vented their hatred by demolishing his statue, liberating the prisoners of the Inquisition, and scattering its papers. Paul's want of political wisdom, and his ignorance of human nature aroused antagonisms fatal to the success of his cause.

    Roman Catholic Pope 23-May-1555 to 18-Aug-1559
    Roman Catholic Archbishop 1536, Naples
    Roman Catholic Cardinal 1536
    Papal Inquisition
    Spanish Inquisition

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