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Biography - Pope Paul V - The Papal Library

by Catherine Frakas 17 Mar 2021

Paul V 1605-1621 Camillo Borghese Paul V was born at Rome on the 17th of September, 1552, of an illustrious family of Siennese origin. After studying philosophy at Perugia and law at Padua, he became a consistorial advocate, then prelate-abbreviator, referendary of the two signatures-pardons and justice, important tribunals presided over by the pope or a cardinal-and subsequently vicar of Saint Mary Major. In i 1588 he was sent by Sixtus V to Bologna as vice-legate. Gregory XIV recalled him to employ him as auditor of the chamber, vacant by the death of his brother, Horatius Borghese. Clement VIII despatched Camillo into Spain with extraordinary powers, and created him cardinal of Saint Eusebius on the 15th of June, 1596. He was surnamed the excellent cardinal, and already spoken of as likely to become pope. The cardinals, entering into conclave May 8, showed disposition to elect Cardinal Toschi of Modena, and some proposed to go into the chapel and adore that cardinal; but Cardinal Baronius said that the election of Toschi was not for the good of the Church. Toschi, according to Tiraboschi, retained from his early education and associations some low words and expressions, which, to the severe Baronius, seemed unbecoming in a vicar of Christ. This unexpected declaration diverted the votes from Toschi, and thirty-two cardinals declared for Baronius. The latter was justified in excluding Toschi, who had been a servant to John Baptist Brugnolo, auditor of Monsignor Archinto, the pope's vicar. Toschi's rise had been rapid, for at an early age he was governor of Rome, and, purity of language apart, all admitted him to be a man of courage, an able jurisconsult, and the author of useful works. But Baronius, in excluding his colleague for good reasons, did not expect to be himself declared pope. He wished one chosen who would govern the Church well, but he did not wish to be the one. The great cardinal did not remain neutral, as in the election of Leo XI, but felt obliged to oppose his new friends: he proposed Bellarmine, who employed the same eloquence to prove that another choice would be preferable. Such rare and sublime modesty deserves the highest eulogy of history. A Baronius and a Bellarmine, two eminent men, on this occasion set an example of admirable magnanimity; and the more they depreciated themselves, the more their greatness is to be admired. Cardinals Montalto and Aldobrandini were next mentioned, the heads of the two parties who divided the power in the conclave. The French cardinals had not as yet pronounced their opinion; but, seeing that Montalto sincerely supported Borghese, they joined with the Montaltists, and Borghese was named pope on the evening of the 16th of May, 1605, at the age of fifty-five, though he appeared to be scarcely forty. On the 29th of May he was crowned under the name of Paul V, and on the 6th of November he took possession of Saint John Lateran. Before the latter date he had already created cardinals, issued many bulls, and performed all other acts of the supreme dignity. This shows the incorrectness and inconsistency of those who maintain that the pope possesses the papal authority only when he has received the two keys in Saint John Lateran. One of the first cares of Paul V was to publish a special jubilee, to obtain from the divine mercy a prosperous government of the Universal Church. He then ordered his vicar, Cardinal Pamphili, to notify all bishops then in Rome to return to their dioceses. He at first abstained from distributing favors, saying that asking and giving inconsiderately were both too easy at such times. The early months of the reign of Gregory XIII prove how judicious these words are. In the month of August, 1605, Henry IV sent D'Halincourt, Marquis de Villeroy, as ambassador extraordinary to compliment Pope Paul V. D'Ossat was no longer in the Eternal City. Paul V, in order to put an end to the controversy on grace that was carried on between the Dominicans and the Jesuits, once more revived the congregations de Auxiliis, instituted by Clement VIII, and finally permitted each party to maintain its own opinion. On the 18th of July of the same year, Paul raised to the purple Scipio Caffarelli Borghese, a noble Roman and his maternal nephew, who, by his direction, dropped the name of Caffarelli. This selection, it may be remarked, pleased the whole city of Rome. Scipio was distinguished for such gentle and kindly manners that he was called Delizia di Roma. He built the magnificent villa the Pinciana Borghese, where, notwithstanding losses and sales of many of the statues, a large number of most costly objects are still to be seen. At this time there arose a dispute between the pontiff and the republic of Venice. Two causes are assigned for that serious quarrel. Two ecclesiastics had been accused before the Council of Ten of crime, rapine, and even of homicide. The two accused, Scipio Saraceni, canon of Vicenza, and Brandolino Valmarino, a native of Forli and abbot of Narvesa, had been tried and imprisoned, in 1606, without any notice of the facts being given to the Roman court. The other cause was the publication of two decrees of the senate, one of which forbade the founding of hospitals or monasteries, the institution of new religious orders, the building of churches, or the establishment of confraternities without the permission of the senate. The second decree forbade, throughout the whole republic (what had been forbidden as to the city and duchy of Venice under Paul III), to leave by will, or to alienate by sale or otherwise, any real estate of the Church for more than two years, and equally forbade the purchase or other acquisition of such real estate, without the consent of the senate. Paul, a zealous defender of ecclesiastical immunities, seeing them attacked and menaced with annihilation by this decree, ordered his nephew Horace Mattis to demand the liberty of the two prisoners and the revocation of the decrees in question. He himself, in an audience which he gave the Chevalier Nani, the Venetian ambassador, complained warmly of this conduct; and he hoped to bring Venice to reason, as he had done Genoa. Venice, however, would yield. The Holy Father then held a consistory embracing forty cardinals, all those at Rome, with the exception of one, who, as a subject of the republic, very properly abstained from voting. It was there determined to issue a monition to the republic of Venice, and if, within twenty-four days, the doge and the republic should not obey the Holy Father, the doge and the senate were to be excommunicated; and, three days later, the same punishment was to be inflicted upon all the subjects of the republic. The Venetian government forbade all obedience to the interdict, on pain of exile. The nuncio quitted Venice. The Jesuits instantly submitted to the pontifical order, departed in formal procession, and were declared to be perpetually banished from the State. The Theatines and Capuchins represented to the government that they were prepared to keep their churches open for foreign priests, and at the same time prayed that they might be allowed to perform their offices in private; and this being refused, they also departed into exile. The Capuchins in the territory of Brescia and Bergamo continued in their convents, because they had not observed the interdict. Many writings appeared on both sides. It was said that the cause of the Venetians was that of all princes, who would all be gainers by a victory over the Holy See. Among the writers who defended the Venetians were Fra Paolo Sarpi, and Brother Fulgentius, his worthy rival, who poured forth a torrent of bold invective against the Roman court. But the cause of the court was eloquently defended by Baronius and Bellarmine, those two men of glory and of genius who could not be persuaded to accept the tiara, but never ceased to be the boldest defenders of the Church. A war seemed imminent between Venice and the Holy See, when the Catholic king, Philip III, offered to the pope the troops stationed in the Milanese, and promised to reduce the Venetians to obedience. At the same time that prince secretly encouraged the Venetians to resist. Henry IV, sincerely attached to the Holy See, offered his mediation to the two powers, and really desired to restore peace to Italy, where, as everywhere, it was much needed. Cardinal de Joyeuse, dean of the Sacred College, was sent to Venice to treat in the name of the pope and of the king. Returning to Rome on the 22nd of March, 1607, he obtained the pope's fuIl authority to absolve the Venetians from the censures which they had incurred, to raise the interdict, and conclude a definitive peace with the republic. The two parties were in the first place to discontinue hostilities. The interdict was revoked, and the two decrees were declared void. In this negotiation Cardinal Joyeuse displayed remarkable ability and zeal. On the 21st of April, the Venetians having given up the two prisoners, Scipio Saraceni and Brandolino Valmarino, peace was restored. The Venetians promised to send to Rome an ambassador to thank the pope for restoring them to his affection, but they sought to avoid all mention of absolution. The great soul of Paul was displayed on that occasion. After having shown a just pride, he reverted to feelings of conciliation, as so often had been done by his august predecessors, who feared to lose too much by insisting upon a false point of honor. The Holy See and the republic of Venice expressed in several letters their gratitude to Henry IV. However, there was one point upon which the Venetians, when the execution of the treaty was in question, would not yield. All the exiled religious returned to their houses except the Jesuits, who were not readmitted until 1657, Pope Alexander VII. On the 29th of March, 1608, the pope terminated the process of the canonization of Saint Frances, a Roman lady, born in 1384, founder of the Oblates of Saint Benedict, of the congregation of Mont' Olivetole, commonly called the ladies of the Tor' de Specchi. Henry IV had instituted, in opposition to the heretics, the military order of Saint Mary of Carmel. The pope, approving the step, on the 31st of October, 1608, united the order to that of the Knights of Saint Lazarus. The order was to bear, for the future, both names, as regarded the French, and the name of Saints Maurice and Lazarus was reserved for the Savoyards and the Italians. The knights of the order were subsequently limited, by order of Louis XV, to one hundred. Eight of these might be ecclesiastics, and all must be thirty years of age and be able to prove four degrees of paternal nobility. The armies of the King of Spain, commanded by the Archduke Albert, in Flanders, were often defeated by the Dutch, who would listen to no proposals of peace, nor consent to lay down their arms, except on the recognition of their independence, and other conditions very unpalatable to Spain, but to which she had to submit. The pope, learning that at Madrid frequent councils of state were held in order to conclude the desired accommodation, lost no time in exhorting King Philip to demand, as one of the conditions of the treaty, the free exercise of the Catholic religion in Holland. This the Protestant provinces constantly opposed; and then the Spaniards, unable to continue the war, concluded a peace of twelve years, and thus abandoned the interests of religion, notwithstanding the bitter complaints of the pope. Philip, though unable at this juncture to save the interests of religion in the crash of politics, sought to retain the good will of the Holy Father. The Moors still continued to occupy the kingdoms of Valencia and Castile. They conspired against the king, and sought in every direction for supporters in their revolt. They sent agents into France to obtain alliances; they disturbed the king even upon his throne in Madrid, not far distant from the headquarters of those insurrectionary plots. Those attempts had prevented the prosecution of the war in Holland. The King of Spain, after mature deliberation, ordered the Moors to be simultaneously expelled from the kingdom which they inhabited on the Spanish peninsula. Spain sought praise for this as zeal for religion; but Muratori and Spondanus attribute it to motives purely political. At the same time, the Duke of Savoy, Charles Emmanuel, made another attempt to surprise Geneva; but the enterprise was discovered, and the partisans of the duke had to seek safety in flight. The pope was greatly afflicted by the death of Henry IV, whose assassination plunged the pontiff into a profound grief and depression. He assembled a consistory, to which he expressed the agonies that had been inflicted upon him by tidings so sad to Catholicism. Then he addressed to the queen regent letters in which, after showing the pain and difficulty of the Holy See, he exhorted her to defend the faith, and to rear her son in love for religion, which had lost in Henry so powerful a protector. Paul V, attentive and vigilant, incessantly endeavored to maintain Mary de' Medici in religious feelings favorable to the Holy See; and when he did not find his efforts resisted by her insatiable domestic ambition, he had reason to hope that he should see her a faithful friend of the Roman court. Morover, the Bishop of Lucon (Richelieu) kept Mary well in inclined to the Holy See. She had always been accustomed to honor and respect Rome and its ministers; and we shall see clearer marks of her feelings in 1625, when that queen gave her daughter Henrietta in marriage to the Prince of Wales, afterwards King Charles I. On the 1st of November,1610, the pope canonized Saint Charles Borromeo, born at Arma, a fief of his family, on the 2nd of October, 1538, the son of Ghiberto Borromeo and Margaret de' Medici, sister of Pius IV. Clement VIII, in 1601, had commenced the preliminaries of that canonization, and in 1604 had beatified Charles. Benedict XIII, on the 14th of July, 1724, granted a plenary indulgence to all who, on the day of that saint, visit a church of the religious of Saint John of God. Meantime Pope Paul V effected peace between France and Spain. The treaty was published at Rome amid public rejoicings. Paul had also the satisfaction of settling the disputes which had arisen between the Emperor Rudolph and the Archduke Matthias, who was crowned at Prague as King of Bohemia. Cardinal Mellini, Paul's legate, had obtained from the two contestants all that the Holy Father required. Paul approved the order of the Ursulines, which had been established at Paris by Marie d'Huillier. It followed the rule of Saint Augustine, with special statutes, and devoted itself to the education and training of girls. The Ursuline order, originating at Brescia in 1527, had been approved by Gregory XIII on the 24th of November, 1572. It spread in France, and extended to Flanders and Germany, whither the Ursulines were invited by the Empress Eleanor, mother of Leopold I; and it afterwards extended to Canada, Louisiana, Hungary, and finally to Rome. Paul V also showed his love of the arts and his desire to adorn the capital of the Christian world. The Vatican Basilica, commenced by Julius II, and extended by his successors, especially by Gregory XIII and Sixtus V, was not yet completed. It was not sufficient for the majesty of the sacred ashes of the numerous saints that it contained, notwithstanding the vast idea conceived by Bramante and improved by Michelangelo Buonarroti. Paul endeavored to perfect the basilica. He continued the buildings from the Gregorian Chapel to the facade; he erected some chapels, the choir, the lower portico adjoining, a church, and the upper portico for the papal benediction. In the interior of the first portico were representations of the acts of Saint Peter. On the upper portico were placed thirteen statues, that of the Redeemer and those of the twelve apostles. In the middle of that august temple Paul opened the sacred confession in which repose the bodies of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. Subsequently His Holiness turned his attention to the subterranean church. The palace of the Vatican was next enlarged and rendered still more magnificent. The Vatican Library and secretariate were made such as we now see them. No less beautiful embellishments were bestowed upon Saint Mary Major. The Borghese Chapel there is worthy of admiration. In order to avoid the unhealthy summer air of the Vatican, the popes in warm weather usually remove to the Quirinal; but that palace not being large enough for the pope's household, the Rota, and other tribunals, Paul, looking to the public wants, brought the Quirinal to its actual elegance. The pope took up his residence there on the 14th of January, 1614. Bulls issued here are dated from Saint Mary Major, because that is the nearest basilica. Formerly they were dated from Saint Mark's, but St. Mark's is not a basilica. Paul erected a lighthouse at Civita Vecchia, and added new works to the fortress. He brought to Rome the water called Paola; the same which, under Trajan, was known as the Alsietina. That Paola water was at that time one of the great benefits of Rome. It is impossible to enumerate all the works of Paul, who so well followed the example of Sixtus V. And he still imitated him when, after so many gigantic and expensive enterprises, he left in the Castle of Sant' Angelo a treasure which rendered it for the time unnecessary to touch that of Sixtus. At the instance of Mary de' Medici, Queen of France, the Holy Father, on the 10th of May, 1613, approved the congregation of the Oratory of Christ, instituted in France on the 4th of November, 1611, by Peter de Berulle, a priest of Paris (afterwards made cardinal by Urban VIII), in memory of the prayers offered by Jesus Christ while he deigned to dwell among men in the flesh. Until the revolutions in France, that congregation formed a body of priests under the jurisdiction of the bishops, and it had been admitted only on that condition. It is altogether distinct from the congregation of the Oratory, founded by Saint Philip Neri and approved by Gregory XIII. The care of Paul extended over the world, and embraced all questions, even those relating to the customs of various countries. In the empire of China, for instance, it is deemed indecent and significant of great irreverence to have the head uncovered. Paul V, therefore, granted to the missionaries to that empire leave to wear a cap while saying Mass, provided that it should be a different one from that worn at other time and place. The Chinese neophytes had a new kind of biretta made on purpose for Mass, and different from the ordinary one. The same missionaries asked and obtained from the Holy Father yet another grace. He issued a decree permitting the divine service to be celebrated and the Mass to be said in the Chinese language. But the decree was not sent to those missionaries who had solicited it. In 1658, the same request being made to Alexander VII, a congregation was assembled, but came to no decision. In 1681 a missal was translated into the Chinese language. Father Couplet, procurator-general of the mission, went to Rome to solicit an approbation and authority to use it, but did not succeed. By a bull of the 30th of August, 1617, Paul V renewed the constitution of Sixtus IV upon the Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, to terminate the dispute that had arisen between the Spanish Dominicans and the Franciscans. The Holy Father was then urged to make the mystery of the conception an article of faith; but he merely forbade the public teaching of the contrary. The same pope, in 1618, approved the order of the Visitation, instituted in 1610, in, the city of Annecy, in Savoy, by Saint Jane Frances Fremyot, widow of Christopher de Rabutin, Baron de Chantal. The name was given to the order on account of the visits which, previous to being subjected to the cloister, those religious made to the poor and the sick in memory of the visitation of the Blessed Virgin to Saint Elizabeth. Saint Francis de Sales, who had chiefly contributed to the foundation of the institute, gave it a rule closely following that of Saint Augustine, which was afterwards confirmed, in 1626, by Urban VIII. To draw up those statutes the holy Bishop of Geneva studied those of all the other religious orders, and finally fixed upon those of the Jesuits, which he admired for their wisdom and exactitude. He especially did justice to the admirable foresight which provided for everything calculated to maintain piety in the bosom of an order occupied with the salvation of others in so many and diverse duties. The congregation of the Visitation, erected into a religious order by Paul V, began to extend so rapidly that the holy foundress had the happiness of seeing eighty-seven houses founded in France and Savoy, whence the order extended into Germany and Poland. At the end of the eighteenth century there were six thousand six hundred nuns, in a hundred and fifty monasteries, who had lost none of their original fervor. It was to those nuns, who were under the direction of the bishops, that the King of Spain, in 1757, intrusted a community after the model of the illustrious house of Saint Cyr, in France. They daily recited the office of the Blessed Virgin; and as, after entering the cloister, they could no longer render to the poor the services rendered in their former visitations, they are bound to admit into their convents young women of delicate health, widows and old women, and women generally incapable of being admitted into other orders. In 1520 the congregation of the Reformed Camaldolensian Hermits, called of Monte Corona, had been founded by the venerable Paul Giustiniani, a Venetian, who died at fifty-two years of age, in 1528. The Holy Father granted them a convenient site at Frascati to erect a monastery. This congregation is a reform of the Camaldolensians, so called from the first monastery founded in 1022, by Saint Romualdo, a nobleman of Ravenna, at the hermitage of Campo Maldolo, situated in the Apennines, near Arezzo, and following the rule of Saint Benedict. To that order, confirmed by the pontiffs Leo IX, Nicholas II, and Alexander II, is united another congregation, of the Hermits of Fontevellana, founded at the same period in Umbria. This latter congregation owes a portion of its renown to Saint Peter Damian, who was its abbot. On the 16th of March, 1618, the pope made a promotion of two cardinals-a Frenchman, Cardinal Henri de Gondi, uncle of the famous Cardinal de Retz, Paul de Gondi; and a Spaniard, Cardinal Francis Rojas de Sandoval, of the family of the dukes of Lerma, the famous minister of Philip III. By this promotion Paul showed his desire to do honor at the same time to France and to Spain. The Emperor Matthias, dying, was succeeded in the States of Austria and in the kingdoms of Hungary and Bohemia by Ferdinand II, his cousin. A party in Bohemia, however, sought to wrest the imperial crown from the house of Austria, offering it to the Duke of Savoy, if he would support them in their rebellion; but Ferdinand II was crowned nevertheless. On the 29th. August, 1619, the Bohemians declared him deprived of the throne, which they proffered to several princes; none whom would attempt to ascend it, except Frederic, the elector palatine, an ambitious young man, stimulated to the enterprise by his wife, who, being the daughter of James, King of England, repined at not wearing also a royal crown. That prince was solemnly proclaimed King of Bohemia. Pope Paul was opposed to Frederic, a Protestant prince, and ordered his nuncio to recognize Ferdinand II, emperor, as legitimate successor to Matthias. The arms of Ferdinand prospered, and the celebrated victory of Prague gave him Bohemia, which could then freely return to the Catholic faith. But the term assigned as limit of the life of Paul had arrived; and on the January, 1621, he died, after reciting the creed, at the age of sixty-nine years. He had governed the Church fifteen years, seven months, and thirteen days. He was interred at the Vatican. Paul was tall and majestic. Everything in his gait and bearing, as well as his countenance, prepossessed people in his favor; but his virtues more especially recommended him to those who came into immediate contact with him. He filled with gospel laborers all heathen countries that solicited missionaries. Paul used to say that he gained two advantages by embellishing and improving Rome: in the first place, he rendered the city more august; and in the next place, he gave employment to a host of artisans, who, but for him, would have been destitute. This pope always showed great affection for the Jesuits. He protested against the condemnation of a work of Suarez by the Parliament of Paris, and after long debates the sentence was suspended. And he protested against the book of Richer, a doctor of the Sorbonne, who spoke disrespectfully of the rights of the Holy See. The work was censured, and the pope was appeased. As to the opinions of Galileo, which began to circulate under Paul V, Guicciardini, ambassador from the Grand Duke of Tuscany, in a despatch of the 4th of March, 1616, wrote thus to his master: "Galileo insisted on obtaining from the pope and the Holy Office a declaration that the system of Copernicus was founded on the Scriptures. He haunted the antechambers of the court and the palaces of the cardinals; he composed memorial after memorial. Galileo thought more of his own opinions than of those of his friends. After having persecuted and wearied many other cardinals, he at length won over Cardinal Orsini. The latter, with more warmth than prudence, urged His Holiness to favor the wishes of Galileo. The pope, tiring of the conversation, broke it off. Galileo carried into all these proceedings an extreme heat, which he had neither the strength nor the prudence to control. He might throw us all into great embarrassment, and I cannot see what he is likely to gain by a longer stay here."

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