Paul IV (1476–1559)
Paul IV (1476–1559)
Pope of the Catholic Church from 1555 until 1559. A zealous reformer of the church, Paul took the Papacy in a direction away from what he saw as the dangerous humanist secularism of the Renaissance. Born as Giovanni Carafa, in the town of Capriglio in the Campagna region, he belonged to a noble family that counted cardinals and high church officials among its members. He was trained in Latin and Greek but rejected the humanist teachings of the Renaissance, instead following the philosophies of medieval Scholasticism. He was ordained as a priest in 1505 and shortly afterward made bishop of the town of Chieti. He was appointed archbishop of Brindisi, a port town on the Adriatic Sea, in 1518, and in 1536 he was appointed as a cardinal. He became the archbishop of Naples in 1549 and in 1555 was elected pope as Paul IV.
Paul was a harsh disciplinarian who had poor relations with the Catholic rulers of Europe, including the Habsburg emperors and the king of Spain. He spared little effort in enforcing a strict and sweeping reform of the church. He had monks, priests, and cardinals tried for minor infractions and sentenced to prison and to slave galleys, and banished church officials from other towns who had taken up the easy court life in the city of Rome. He was fervently opposed to the presence of Jews in Rome and decreed in 1555 the building of the city's ghetto, a walled compound where Roman Jews were forced to live and work.
To prevent opposing opinion and heretical views from spreading to the public, he established in 1559 the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or Index of Forbidden Books, a list of volumes (including all books and tracts written by Protestants) that were henceforth banned to Catholics. Paul had little regard for the work of general church councils, however, and failed to convene the Council of Trent, which still had unfinished business in the matter of reform and the reconciliation of Catholics and Protestants. When the Habsburg emperor Charles V agreed to the Peace of Augsburg that allowed Protestant princes to establish the faith of their choosing in their own domains, Paul threatened to depose the emperor and replace him with someone more loyal to the Catholic Church.
Paul carried out war against the Spanish king Philip II in 1556. The forces allied to the pope suffered a rout within a year, and the heavy burdens the war placed on the church, as well as his flagrant nepotism in appointing his relatives to high positions, made the pope widely unpopular. On his death in 1559, the people of Rome rioted to show their displeasure at his policies and burned the offices of the Roman Inquisition.
See Also: Index; Inquisition; Paul III; Reformation, Catholic
Paul IV (1476-1559) was pope from 1555 to 1559. He was one of the most energetic of the reforming popes of the 16th century. Known for his harsh and imperialistic manner, he broke many of the papal ties with the secular elements of the Renaissance.
Giampietro Carafa, who became Paul IV, was born into the Neapolitan aristocracy at Capriglio a Scala on June 28, 1476. In the household of his uncle, Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, he received a superb training in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. With his learning he combined a simple manner of life and a burning ambition for reform in the Church. Soon after his ordination as priest he was made, in 1505, the bishop of Chieti. In 1518 he became the archbishop of Brindisi. In 1524 he joined Cajetan in founding an apostolic-orientated group of priests known as the Theatines. In 1536 Pope Paul III created him a cardinal and in 1549 archbishop of Naples. On May 23, 1555, he was elected pope and took the name Paul IV.
Paul used his new powers extensively and severely to achieve reform in the Church. He sentenced to the galleys monks whom the police found absent from their monasteries. He drove bishops from Rome back to their sees. In 1559 he issued the first Index of Forbidden Books under the supervision of the Congregation of the Inquisition. Adamant in regard to the purity of the faith, he suspected two excellent cardinals, Giovanni Morone and Reginald Pole, of softness toward heresy, imprisoned Morone, and tried to have Pole return from England. In contrast to his predecessors, he declined to use the major instrument for reform, the Council of Trent, and left it suspended during his pontificate.
Paul marred his religious ambitions by nepotism and nationalism. Blind to the serious defects of his unprincipled nephew, Cardinal Carlo Carafa, he entrusted him with extensive administrative power in ecclesiastical business. Only toward the end of his pontificate did he become aware of his nephew's evil conduct and exile him. As a Neapolitan, he had a deep resentment of the Spanish control of southern Italy. This feeling led him into the ill-advised war with Philip II in November 1556. The war ended with a Spanish victory and the Peace of Cave on Sept. 12, 1557. Paul also had strained relations with the Austrian Hapsburgs, threatening to depose Charles V and refusing to recognize Ferdinand I, partly because of imperial acquiescence to the Religious Peace of Augsburg (1555) and partly because Ferdinand accepted the office of emperor without the Pope's approval.
Although Paul was himself an excellent classicist, he was not a patron of the arts. When he died on Aug. 18, 1559, the Roman populace, which intensely disliked his stern policies, rioted and destroyed his statues and the buildings of the Inquisition.
A good comprehensive study of Paul IV is Ludwig Pastor, History of the Popes, vol. 14, translated by Ralph F. Kerr (1924), which includes a full bibliography and list of sources. □