Paul III

Paul III

a noted pope of Rome, flourished in a most critical period of the history of the Christian Church. His original name was Allessandro Farnese. He was born at Carino, in Tuscany, in 1468. He was educated at the university of the Medici at Florence, and there acquired great familiarity with the Latin and the Greek. After this he lived at Rome, largely given up to pleasure and frivolity. He kept low company, supported mistresses, became a father, and in many ways gained an unenviable notoriety. He finally, however, became more serious, and determined to enter the service of the Church. He was first employed in the apostolical chancellory, and soon gained friends by his learning and promptness in the discharge of all duties. In 1493 he was made bishop of Montefiascone, and in 1499 was created a cardinal. As such he served in important trusts, and eventually became bishop of Ostia and dean of the Sacred College.

On the death of Clement VII, in 1534, Farnese was elected pope, just at the crisis when the most urgent applications were made by the various states of Europe to Rome for the assembling of a general council, which was required by the state of the Western Church, distracted by the disavowal of the papal supremacy by Luther and Zwingli, as well as by the measures of Henry VIII of England. For a while it seemed as if the new pontiff was well adapted for the settlement of the great controversies. He showed himself favorable to the Reforming party within the Church. He made choice of discreet and honorable men for his college of cardinals. Of those to whom Paul III gave the red hat shortly after his accession were Contarini, Caraffa, Pole, Sadolet, and others, most of whom bad belonged to the Oratory of Divine Love, and some of whom were friendly to the Protestant doctrine of salvation. He also appointed commissioners of reform, whose duty it was to point out and remove the much-complained- of abuses in the Roman curia. He even entered into negotiations with the Protestants of Germany, through his nuncio, Peter Paul Vergerins, and it seemed not impossible that the concessions which he was ready to make would once more unite these and all Protestants with the Romish body. In 1537 Paul gave further expression to his desire for peace and union by his call of the council to meet in Mantua in the month of May. The German Protestants, believing the pontiff sincere in his endeavors, were encouraged to appoint Luther to draw up a clear statement of their grievances and differences of opinion, and at the meeting of the League of Smalcald (q.v.), in February, adopted the articles which Luther had written out and presented. But as they feared that their radical position about the papal and episcopal authority would not be likely to find favor with Romanists, the assembly rejected the invitation to the council, and simply placed in the hands of the papal nuncio and the imperial vice-chancellor the articles adopted. The Romanists, discouraged and maddened by the boldness of the Protestant party, now hoped to bring about by threats what they had failed to carry in kindness. They encouraged the leading Roman Catholic estates to join themselves together in Christian union, or, as they called the body, the Holy League (q.v.). The Protestants, seeing the hostile array of the Romanists, now strengthened the Smalcald leaguers, and entered into friendly relations with Switzerland. Every preparation was made on both sides for conflict, and not for peace, and yet both claimed to be preparing simply for defense. In 1540 the emperor Charles of Germany called another conference, for the purpose of effecting a religious union that might have the approval of the pope. SEE INTERIM OF RATISBON. The good feeling which prevailed at the opening of this conference at Ratisbon, in 1541, made the sanguine Contarini and his friends very hopeful; but while Bucer and Melancthon were moderate and yielding, Luther was dissatisfied with the platform adopted on account of its want of definiteness, and had no confidence in the practicableness of a union. On the Romish side, the same opposition and distrust manifested itself. Caraffa would not approve of the terms of the agreement which Contarini had sanctioned, though he conceded that there was need of practical and immediate reforms. "Caraffa stood forth as the representative and leader of those who were resolved to defend to the last the polity and dogmas of the Church against all innovation, while at the same time they aimed to infuse a spirit of strict and even ascetic purity and zeal into all its officers, from the highest to the lowest." Paul III took sides with Caraffa and his party. Some, and it seems reasonably, claim that there was jealousy of Charles V at Rome, and that the project of this conference was frustrated because it was feared that Charles V, strengthened by the destruction of the Protestant league of Smalcald, ,would prove treacherous to the papacy, like Henry VIII of England. The papal party, therefore, not only broke up the Ratisbon conference, but shortly after the papal troops which had been sent Charles were recalled, and Francis I was even induced to side with the Protestants, who were now in conflict with the imperial forces. The result was that the Protestant cause, at the moment when it was possibly on the verge of extinction, was strengthened by its worst enemies (see Fisher, p. 49, 165). A general council of the Church was indispensable, if the Protestants were ever to be gained over again to the old fold. Henry VIII had been excommunicated, and England was greatly distanced from papal interests; and the Jesuitic order, which had been sanctioned, had failed to effect a healing of the discord. In 1542, finally, the call was issued by papal will, but the war between Charles and Francis which was now waging delayed the assembling of the conference (at Trent) until 1545. These delays are also charged upon Paul, but it can hardly be doubted that much of it was due to the difficulties of the times. We need hardly add that the council, SEE TRENT, failed to bring about the much-desired result. Paul himself did not live to see the close of the council, which occurred in 1563. He died Nov. 10, 1549, and was succeeded by Julius III (q.v.). Pope Paul was devotedly attached to his own friends, and though he favored reform, he lacked boldness, and feared too much from defections, which were probably never intended, or even conceived, except in his own imagination. The charges of vacillation in his dealings with the Protestants may be true or not, but the charges of simony and selfishness which have been presented against him are not so easily answered. He was anxious to aggrandize his own family. His natural son, Pier Luigi Farnese, he made first duke of Castro, and afterwards duke of Parma and Piacenza. For his grandson Ottavio he obtained the hand of Margaret, a natural daughter of Charles V, and made him duke of Camerino. The pope subdued the people of Perugia who had revolted against him, put to death several of the leaders, and built a citadel to keep the citizens in awe. He also attacked the Colonna, the most powerful baronial family in the neighborhood of Rome, took all their strongholds, and obliged the members of that family to take refuge in the fiefs which they held in the kingdom of Naples. He received in the same year the news of the tragical death of his son Pier Luigi, who was murdered at Piacenza, where he had made him self odious by his tyranny and his lust. Overcome with grief at the news, he told his two grandsons, who were with him at the time, to take warning from their father's death, and to live in the fear of God. Pope Paul III maintained a correspondence with Erasmus and cardinal Sadolet, and also wrote some Notes to several of Cicero's letters. See Panvinius, Vita Pauli III; Querini, Imago pontifiis Pauli III; Raynaldus, Annales; Ranke, Hist. of the Papacy, 1:112 sq.; Riddle, Hist. of the Papacy, vol. i; Gieseler, Eccles. Hist. iv, ] 65; Burnet, Hist. of the Reformation, vol. iii; Fisher, Hist. of the Reformation, p. 3, 49, 165, 395, 401; Lea, Hist. of Sacerdotal Celibacy; Ffoulkes, Hist. of the Divisions of Christendom, i, § 63; Robertson, Hist. of Charles V; Zeitschrift fir historische Theologie, April, 1875, art. i; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lexikon (R. C.), 8:231.

Bible concordance for PAUL.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.