Pope Paul IV  

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The Index Librorum Prohibitorum ("List of Prohibited Books") is a list of publications which the Catholic Church censored for being a danger to itself and the faith of its members. Almost every modern Western philosopher was, or is, included on the list — even those that believed in God, such as Descartes, Kant, Berkeley, Malebranche, Lamennais and Gioberti. That some atheists, such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, are not included is due to the general (Tridentine) rule that heretical works (i.e., works that contradict Catholic dogma) are ipso facto forbidden. Some important works are absent simply because nobody bothered to denounce them.
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The Index Librorum Prohibitorum ("List of Prohibited Books") is a list of publications which the Catholic Church censored for being a danger to itself and the faith of its members. Almost every modern Western philosopher was, or is, included on the list — even those that believed in God, such as Descartes, Kant, Berkeley, Malebranche, Lamennais and Gioberti. That some atheists, such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, are not included is due to the general (Tridentine) rule that heretical works (i.e., works that contradict Catholic dogma) are ipso facto forbidden. Some important works are absent simply because nobody bothered to denounce them.

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Pope Paul IV (June 28, 1476 – August 18, 1559), né Giovanni Pietro Carafa, was Pope from May 23, 1555 until his death. Paul IV introduced the Index Librorum Prohibitorum or "Index of Prohibited Books" to Venice, then an independent and prosperous trading state, in order to crack down on the growing threat of Protestanism and the newly introduced printing press. Under his authority, all books written by Protestants were banned, together with Italian and German translations of the Latin Bible.

Among his first acts as Pope was to cut off Michelangelo's pension, and he ordered the nudes of The Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel be painted more modestly (a request that Michelangelo ignored).



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