What was the major characteristic of the Renaissance papacy?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major characteristic of the Renaissance papacy was that the office moved away from being concerned mainly with spiritual affairs and moved towards being mainly concerned with temporal, worldly, affairs.

In those days, the popes had both spiritual and temporal authority.  They were, for example, the rulers of the Papal States.  As such, they were constantly trying to increase their power and that of their state.  A perfect example of this was Julius II, who was pope from 1503 to 1513.  He personally led armies into battle, trying to expand the power of the Papal States.

This desire for power also led to corrpution in the papacy.  This was a time of great nepotism in the papacy.  A good example of this was Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503).  He was a member of the Borgia family and he put his sons (which a pope shouldn't have in the first place) and other relatives into positions of power.  For example, he made a son, a nephew, and his mistress's brother cardinals.

These types of things show that the papacy in this time was more concerned with temporal power than with spiritual issues.