The Office of Kardinalnepoten was an established church in the State of the Renaissance and Baroque position. In this relative of the reigning Pope, usually his nephew, elevated to the rank cardinal to then act as "right hand" of the Pope. This was firmly circumscribed and institutionalized role of Kardinalnepoten in the system of the Roman Catholic Church by Paul III. established during whose pontificate from 1534 to 1549. Innocent XII. managed this office 1692 again. The concept of nepotism ( nephews, nepotism ) has its origin in this office.

Functions of Kardinalnepoten

The connected to the office " nepotism " was out of view at that time considered a useful for display of power and retaining power of the Popes device, since in the not yet sufficiently developed administrative bureaucracy key positions and important orders only by closest confidants, ie preferably from relatives, are staffed and run could. In this context, the nephew had to complete important missions on behalf of the Pope, but had usually mainly representative and of protocol tasks such as signing the diplomatic post and fulfill the occurrence at receptions. Real power had a nephew, however, rare.

Since Innocent X were the political functions from 1644 gradually transferred to the Cardinal Secretary of State.

However, the Office of the Kardinalnepoten also served to anchor the Pope's family over the pontificate addition, the nobility and economically secure. For this purpose, funds from commercial offices, estates for the benefit of the Church, etc., were provided to the nephews available. In order for the social advancement could be secured both the family fortune, as well as through patronage and festivals are ensured. Due to this fact, the Kardinalnepoten were public rather poorly regarded.

For biographies of Kardinalnepoten

  • Pope Eugenius IV (1383-1447) was one of four nephews. Gregory XII were elevated to cardinals to strengthen its power base during the Great Western Schism.
  • Cardinal Carlo Carafa (1517-1561) was a nephew of Paul IV First soldier, his uncle made ​​him a cardinal and entrusted him with considerable powers. After the beginning of the pontificate of Pius IV, he was sentenced to death and executed.
  • Cardinal Innocenzo del Monte Ciocchi (1532-1577), adopted nephew of Julius III.
  • Cardinal Charles Borromeo, nephew of Pius IV He gave his influential role as Kardinalnepot at the Curia voluntarily to reform as Archbishop of Milan, the rundown diocese of Milan. As a major counter- reformer he was canonized.
  • Cardinal Pietro Aldobrandini, nephew of Clement VIII
  • Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI. He was transferred back at his own request by his father in the secular state.
  • Scipione Caffarelli Borghese (1576-1633), Kardinalnepot of Paul V. and founder of the art collection at the Villa Borghese.