Pope Paul IV

Pope Paul IV, C.R. (Latin: Paulus IV; 28 June 1476 – 18 August 1559), born Gian Pietro Carafa, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 23 May 1555 to his death in 1559.[1][2] While serving as papal nuncio in Spain, he developed an anti-Spanish outlook that later coloured his papacy. In response to an invasion of part of the Papal States by Spain during his papacy, he called for a French military intervention. After a defeat of the French and with Spanish troops at the edge of Rome, the Papacy and Spain reached a compromise: French and Spanish forces left the Papal States and the Pope thereafter adopted a neutral stance between France and Spain.[3]


Paul IV
Bishop of Rome
Portrait engraving of Paul IV by Phelippe Soye, published in 1568 by Antonio Lafreri
Papacy began23 May 1555
Papacy ended18 August 1559
PredecessorMarcellus II
SuccessorPius IV
Consecration18 September 1505
by Oliviero Carafa
Created cardinal22 December 1536
by Paul III
Personal details
Birth nameGian Pietro Carafa
Born28 June 1476
Capriglia Irpina, Kingdom of Naples
Died18 August 1559(1559-08-18) (aged 83)
Rome, Papal States
Previous post(s)Cardinal-Priest of San Pancrazio fouri le Mura (1536–55)
Other popes named Paul
Papal styles of
Pope Paul IV
Reference styleHis Holiness
Spoken styleYour Holiness
Religious styleHoly Father
Posthumous styleNone

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 worked to re-organize the Inquisitorial system in response to the emerging Protestant movement in Europe, any dialogue with which he opposed (the inquisition itself had been first instituted by Pope Innocent III who first regulated inquisitional procedure in the 13th century). 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. The appointment of Carlo Carafa as Cardinal Nephew damaged the papacy further, and scandals forced Paul to remove him from office. He curbed some clerical abuses in Rome, but his methods were seen as harsh. In spite of his advanced age he was a tireless reformer and issued new decrees and regulations daily, unrelenting in his determination to keep Protestants and recently immigrated Marranos from gaining influence in the Papal States. He had some hundred of the Marranos of Ancona thrown into prison; 50 were sentenced by the tribunal of the Inquisition and 25 of these were burned at the stake. Paul IV also issued the Papal bull Cum nimis absurdum which allowed the Jews to live in Rome but confined them to the neighbourhood claustro degli Ebrei ("enclosure of the Hebrews") later known as the Roman Ghetto. He died highly unpopular, to the point that his family rushed his burial to make sure his body would not be desecrated by a popular uprising.