Paul V

(Camillo Borghese; r. 1605-1621)
   Paul V was of Sienese origin. He studied law in Perugia and Padua and received the cardinalate in 1596 after a successful mission to Spain. In 1603, he was appointed vicar of Rome and inquisitor. As pope, Paul's out-moded views on papal supremacy led to collisions with Savoy, Genoa, Venice, and Naples. Venice imposed severe restrictions on the Church's acquisition of land and construction of new ecclesiastic buildings in its territory and brought two priests to trial to which the pope responded by excommunicating all of the Venetian senate and by placing the city under an interdict (suspension of public worship and withdrawal of the Church's sacraments). In return, Venice declared the interdict invalid and expelled the Jesuits. The issue was not settled until 1607 when France mediated between the papacy and Venice, though the Jesuits were not allowed to return and the whole episode proved to be a major moral defeat for the pope. Paul's relations with England were also difficult. In 1605, he sent a letter to James I of England urging him to exonerate British Catholics from persecution resulting from the failed Gunpowder Plot carried out against the king and members of Parliament. When in the following year Parliament demanded from Catholics an oath denying the pope's right to depose princes, Paul forbade them to take it. This move caused the British Catholics to become divided as their archpriest, George Blackwell, urged them to ignore the pope's prohibition and swear as demanded by Parliament.
   Paul was responsible for the canonization of St. Charles Borromeo and the beatification of Sts. Ignatius of Loyola, Philip Neri, Theresa of Avila, and Francis Xavier. He is also the one to have censured Galileo Galilei for teaching the heliocentric theory of the universe. Paul's pet art project was the Cappella Paolina in Santa Maria Maggiore where Giovanni Baglione and others were involved in its decoration (1611-1612). Giovanni Lanfranco worked for the pope in the Sala Reggia of the Palazzo Quirinale, Rome (c. 1616), and Carlo Maderno added the transept and façade to St. Peter's (1606-1612) under his patronage. It was Paul who, along with his nephew Scipione Borghese, acted as the protector of the young Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and the one to have pardoned Caravaggio for the murder charges levied against him.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

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