A cardinal-nephew (Latin: cardinalis nepos; Italian: cardinale nipote;) was a pope's relative -- a nephew -- who was raised to the rank of cardinal. The practice of creating cardinal-nephews originated in the Middle Ages.
The pope's cardinal-nephew was his chief assistant and confident. The man in this role was expected to act as if he were a relative of the pope; and sometimes -- often, he was in fact a member of the pope's extended family.
This role and function is now filled by the Vatican's Secretary of State.
List of cardinal-nephews [change]
Notable cardinal-nephews include many who would later become popes:
- Gregory IX
- Alexander IV
- Adrian V
- Gregory XI
- Boniface IX
- Innocent VII
- Eugene IV
- Paul II
- Alexander VI
- Pius III
- Julius II
- Leo X
- Clement VII
- Benedict XIII
- Pius VII
- Cardinale, Hyginus Eugene. (1976). The Holy See and the International Order, p. 133.
- Burckhardt, Jacob et al. 1892. The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy,p. 107.
- The word nepotism comes from this practice; see Oxford English Dictionary citing Leti, Gregorio. (1673). Il Nipotismo di Roma, or, The History of the Popes Nephews: from the time of Sixtus IV, anno 1471, to the death of the late Pope Alexander VII, anno 1667
- "Roman Curia", Catholic Encyclopedia (2009); retrieved 2011-11-22.
- Cardinale, p. 134.