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Paul IV
Pope Paul IV.jpg
Papacy began 23 May 1555
Papacy ended 18 August 1559
Predecessor Marcellus II
Successor Pius IV
Personal details
Birth name Giovanni Pietro Carafa
Born 28 June 1476(1476-06-28)
Capriglia Irpina, Kingdom of Naples
Died 18 August 1559 (aged 83)
Rome, Papal States
Other Popes named Paul
Papal styles of
Pope Paul IV

Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg

Reference style His Holiness
Spoken style Your Holiness
Religious style Holy Father
Posthumous style None

Pope Paul IV (28 June 1476 – 18 August 1559), né Giovanni Pietro Carafa, was Pope from 23 May 1555 until his death.

Giovanni 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. His title in the Prophecy of St. Malachy is "Of the Faith of Peter." He was mentored by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa, his relative, who resigned the see of Chieti (Latin Theate) in his favor. 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. In December 1536 he was made a cardinal and then Archbishop of Naples. He reorganized the Inquisition in Italy.

He was a surprise choice as pope to succeed Pope Marcellus II (1555); his rigid, severe and unbending character combined with his age and patriotism meant 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 four-fold foreign occupation. The Habsburgs disliked Paul IV and he allied with France, possibly against the true interests of the Papacy. He used the instruments of the Inquisition to suppress the Spirituali, a group of reform-minded Catholics. Among his first acts as Pope was to cut off Michelangelo's pension, and he had fig leaves painted over the nudes of the Sistine Chapel. He also alienated Protestants in England and rejected the claim of Elizabeth I of England to the Crown.

Paul IV believed in 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.

In 1555 he issued a canon (papal law), Cum 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.

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.

Paul IV 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 Protestanism and the newly introduced printing press. Under his authority, all books written by Protestants were banned, together with Italian and German translations of the Latin Bible.

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 and after many scandals, in 1559 the Pope publicly disgraced his nephews and banished them from Rome.

He was buried in St. Peter's Basilica but was later transferred to Santa Maria sopra Minerva. His tomb at the Minerva, by Pirro Ligorio, is dated 1559. It stands in the chapel created by his kinsman Cardinal Oliviero Carafa.

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Giovanni Salviati
Cardinal-bishop of Albano
1544-1546
Succeeded by
Ennio Filonardi
Preceded by
Giovanni Salviati
Cardinal-bishop of Sabina
1546-1550
Succeeded by
François de Tournon
Preceded by
Philippe de la Chambre
Cardinal-bishop of Frascati
1550-1553
Succeeded by
Jean du Bellay
Preceded by
Giovanni Salviati
Cardinal-bishop of Porto
1553
Succeeded by
Jean du Bellay
Preceded by
Giovanni Domenico de Cupi
Cardinal-bishop of Ostia
1553-1555
Succeeded by
Jean du Bellay
Preceded by
Marcellus II
Pope
1555–1559
Succeeded by
Pius IV
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