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Romanum decet pontificem

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Not to be confused with Decet Romanum Pontificem.
Pope Innocent XII

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 Romanun decet pontificem, only three of the eight popes of the 18th century did not make a nephew or brother cardinal.[7]


  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 0198269196. p. 305.
  4. Ed. Philippe Levillain. 2002. "Nepotism." The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 0415922283. p. 1032.
  5. Miranda, Salvator. 1998. "Guide to documents and events (76-2005)."
  6. Levillain, 2002, p. 468.
  7. Chadwick, 1981, p. 304.
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