Romanum decet pontificem

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Not to be confused with Decet Romanum Pontificem.
Pope Innocent XII issued Romanum decet pontificem on June 22, 1692

Romanum decet Pontificem (named for its Latin incipit: "it befits the Roman Pontiff") is a papal bull issued by Pope Innocent XII (1691—1700) on June 22, 1692, banning the office of cardinal-nephew, limiting his successors to elevating only one cardinal relative,[1] eliminating various sinecures traditionally reserved for cardinal-nephews and capping the stipend or endowment the nephew of a pope could receive to 12,000 scudi.[2][3][4]

Romanum decet Pontificem was later incorporated into the Code of Canon Law of 1917 in canons 240, 2; 1414, 4; and 1432, 1.[5] In 1694, Innocent XII's series of reforms was capped off with an expensive campaign to eliminate the venality of offices while reimbursing their current holders.[6]

However, following Romanum decet Pontificem, only three of the eight popes of the 18th century did not make a nephew or brother cardinal, and two of the three were members of monastic orders, that is without a family in the proper sense.[7]

The bull is available in Latin here: Innocentius XII, Papa. 1870. “Romanum decet Pontificem [...] Dat. die 22 iunii 1692, pontif. anno 1.” In Bullarium romanum (Volume 20): Bullarum diplomatum et privilegiorum santorum romanorum pontificum - taurinensis editio locupletior facta collectione novissima plurium brevium, epistolarum, decretorum actorumque S. Sedis a S. Leone Magnus usque ad praesens, edited by Francesco Gaude, Luigi Tomassetti, Charles Cocquelines, and Luigi Bilio, 441–6. Augustae Taurinorum: Seb. Franco et Henrico Dalmazzo editoribus.[8]


  1. ^ Salvator, Miranda. 1998. "Consistory of September 1, 1681 (I)."
  2. ^ Standen, Edith A. 1981. "Tapestries for a Cardinal-Nephew: A Roman Set Illustrating Tasso's "Gerusalemme Liberata." Metropolitan Museum Journal. 16: 147-164.
  3. ^ Chadwick, Owen. 1981. The Popes and European Revolution. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-826919-6. p. 305.
  4. ^ Ed. Philippe Levillain. 2002. "Nepotism." The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92228-3. p. 1032.
  5. ^ Miranda, Salvator. 1998. "Guide to documents and events (76-2005)."
  6. ^ Levillain, 2002, p. 468.
  7. ^ Chadwick, 1981, p. 304.
  8. ^

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