A cardinal-nephew was a cardinal elevated by a pope who was that cardinal’s relative. The practice of creating cardinal- nephews originated in the Middle Ages, and reached its apex during the 16th and 17th centuries. The word nepotism originally referred specifically to this practice, when it appeared in the English language about 1669.
About Cardinal-nephew in brief
A cardinal-nephew was a cardinal elevated by a pope who was that cardinal’s relative. The practice of creating cardinal- nephews originated in the Middle Ages, and reached its apex during the 16th and 17th centuries. The word nepotism originally referred specifically to this practice, when it appeared in the English language about 1669. From 1566 until 1692, a cardinal-Nephew held the curial office of the Superintendent of the Ecclesiastical State, known as the Cardinal Nephew, and thus the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Pope Clement VI created more cardinal-mephews than any other pontiff, including six on September 20, 1342, the greatest number of cardinal-papal relatives elevated at one time. The curialoffice of the Cardinal Nepalhew as well as the institution of the cardinal- Nephew declined as the power of Cardinal Secretary of State increased and the temporal power of popes decreased in the 17th and 18th centuries, according to historian John Bargrave. The list of cardinalnephews includes at least fifteen, and possibly as many as nineteen popes ; one antipope ; and two or three saints. The first known cardinal nephew after 1059 is Anselm of Lucca, the nephew or brother of Pope Alexander II, although until the end of the 12th the majority of alleged cases of such appointments are dubious, either because the relationship between the Pope and cardinal is not proven, or because the cardinalate of the papal kinsman is uncertain.
Pope Promeo IV drew up more than 350,000 scudi to his relatives between 1561 and 1565. Pope Paul IV was said to have fallen almost completely under the influence of one of his nephews, Carlo Carafa, in his old age. Paul IV’s Cardinal-n Nephew was accused in a Theatine seducing a Roman noble woman, who had come into possession of anordinate amount of money and jewelry, but the accusations were dismissed by the pontiff. Following the Council of Trent of Trent, Pope Pius V drew up the secretarius of secretarius, which came to be sometimes known as secretarius maiorus, which ensured the subordination of his relatives to the Pope. The last cardinal-sons of Pope Paul III held 64 benefices simultaneously in addition to the vice-chancellorship, and the practice was abolished in 1692. In 1514, the Fifth Council of the Lateran declared in 1514 that the care of relatives was to be commended, and it was often recommended or justified based on the need to care for indigent family members. It is beyond doubt that the promotions of papal relatives to College of Cardinals were common in the 13th century. The number of cardinals was not to be above 24, and not any nephew of the Pope or of any cardinal was toBe to be of that number. The capitulation of the 1464 papal conclave limited the Pope it elected to appointing one cardinal-nsephew.
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