Born at Venice, 1417; elected 30 August, 1464; died 26 July, 1471; son of Niccolo Barbo and Polixena Condulmer, sister of Eugene IV. Although he studied for a business career he received an excellent religious education and, at the elevation of his uncle to the papacy, entered the ecclesiastical state. He became Archdeacon of Bologna, Bishop of Cervia and of Vicenza, and in 1440 cardinal-deacon. Noted for his generosity and imposing appearance, the Cardinal of Venice, as he was called, was very influential under Eugene IV, Nicholas V, and Calixtus III, less so under Pius II. He became the latter's successor, and owed his election partly to the dissatisfaction of some of the cardinals with the policy of his predecessor. To this could be traced the oath which Barbo swore to at the conclave, but which he rightfully set aside after election, since it was opposed to the monarchial constitution of the Church. Paul II delighted in display. He introduced splendid carnival festivities, built the palace of S. Marco (now di Venezia), revised the municipal statutes of Rome, organized relief work among the poor, granted pensions to some cardinals, and to all the privilege of wearing the red biretta. His suppression in 1466 of the college of abbreviators aroused much opposition, intensified by a similar measure against the Roman Academy. Platina, a member of both organizations, who had been repeatedly imprisoned, retaliated by writing a calumnious biography of Paul II.
That Paul II was not opposed to Humanistic studies, as such, is evidenced by the fact that he protected universities, encouraged the art of printing, and was himself a collector of works of ancient art. The suppression of the Roman Academy was justified by the moral degeneracy and pagan attitude which it fostered. On the other hand the charge of immorality brought against Paul II by Gregory of Heimburg is untenable. The pope punished the Fraticelli in the Papal States, prosecuted heretics in France and Germany, decreed in 1470 the observance of the jubilee every twenty-five years, and made an unsuccessful attempt at uniting Russia with the Church. The Turkish question received his earnest attention, particularly after the fall of Negropont (1470). Financial assistance was granted to Hungary and the Albanian leader Scanderbeg. No general results were obtained, however, owing to the lack of co-operation among the Christian powers; to disturbances in the Papal States, where Paul II suppressed the robber knights of Anguillara, and perhaps chiefly to the conflict between the papacy and King George Podiebrad of Bohemia.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online