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The Papacy - A Historical Perspective

1605-1644 A.D.


Paul V
: 1605-1621 A.D.

233. Born in Rome. Elected May 29, 1605 - died January 28, 1621.

He had relations with Michael Romanoff of Russia (The first Romanoff of the dynasty which came to an end with the communist takeover in russia). Paul IV asked for the help of civilised nations to stop the prosecution of Christians in Japan and China.

He was in favour of astronomy but he let Copernicus be condemned.

He cared about Roman waters and fountains and reactivated the ancient aqueduct, which brought water from Bracciano lake to Trastevere, dating back to the period of Emperor Trajan.

He ordered that priests must have a book containing the names of the baptised, the confirmed, the married and the state of souls.

Paul V was the first to introduce the agricultural credit, with "motuproprio" dated October 19th 1611.

He beatified S. Filippo Neri and Ignazio of Loyola and canonized Francesca Romana and Carlo Borromeo.

He introduced the Office of St. Casimiro into the Breviary.

He established the feast of Sts. Guardian Angels.

He was a great patron of the arts. Among his protected, it is worth mentioning Guido Reni, who was granted the privilege of keeping his hat on in presence of the Pope.

He is buried in S. Maria Maggiore. His pontificate lasted about 15 years and 8 months.


Gregory XV
: 1621-1623 A.D.

234. Born in Bologna. Elected February 14, 1621 - died July 8, 1623.

During his brief pontificate, he encouraged Irish people and favoured the Catholic re-establishment in France.

He cared about missions for which he set up the Congregation of "Propaganda fide".

The famous Heidelberg Library, which is now called the Palatine Library, was donated to him by Maximilian of Bavaria.

Gregory is responsible for the definitive legislation of the conclave, which was used till the election of John Paul I in 1978.

Later Paul VI, adapted it in order to make it more flexible to current times and with the Bull" Aeterni Patris Filius", he reaffirmed, among other things, the secrecy of the conclave.

He is buried in the Roman church of San Ignazio. His pontificate lasted 2 years and 5 months.


Urban VIII
: 1623-1644 A.D.

235. Born in Florence. Elected September 29,1623 - died July 29, 1644.

He worked on Holy Texts: Pontifical, Breviary, Ritual, Martyrology.

When he was condemned, Galileo said "and yet it moves".

He celebrated the 13th Jubilee Year (1625).

He had his summer residence built in Castel Gandolfo (Rome).

During the Consistory held on June 10th 1630, Urban VIII ordered that the cardinals had to be addressed using the words "His Eminence" instead of "distinguished".

He ordered the restoration of the Pantheon and took about 150,000 kilos of bronze from the bronze trussing of its portico to build the wonderful spiral columns of the baldachin of the papal altar in St. Peter's, made by Bernini, as well as for the cannons at Castel S. Angelo.

He is buried in the Basilica of St. Peter. His pontificate was very long: 20 years and 11 months.


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