Papal Controller

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This article is accurate for the latest versions of EU3, Napoleon’s Ambition, In Nomine, Heir to the Throne and Divine Wind.

Holy See in Divine Wind 5.1b. The crusade target is the Ottoman Empire, with their emblem at the upper right. The player's (France's) cardinals are in green, and the countries with the next most likely chance of getting a cardinal are at the upper right.

The Papal Controller is the ruler with the best influence in the Papal Curia. The player can influence the cardinals to ensure their support with the Pope. The Papal Controller gets these bonuses:

Divine Wind

Each controlled Cardinal contributes with 0.2% Prestige/year and reduce -0.1 Infamy/year.

It allows one to break a Royal Marriage (Break Royal Ties) without a stability hit.

Previous versions:

  • -20% Stability Cost Modifier
  • +1 Diplomat/year
  • -0.25 Badboy points/year
  • +1% Prestige/year

Each controlled cardinal also contributes 0.2% prestige/year on top of this; if you have a full house, you receive 4% total prestige/year from the Papacy.

New cardinals are randomly chosen from Catholic same-continent provinces. The more you own, the better the chances that a new cardinal will come from your nation. Because they must be on the same continent, it doesn't help to have a huge colonial empire. But keeping your home provinces Catholic will. The National ideas of Deus Vult (Unam Sanctum in DW) and Divine Supremacy can also assist, because they prevent the spread of Protestantism (and Divine Supremacy gives you more missionaries to convert those blasphemous heretics). Getting one of these Ideas early (when reformation occurs) can save quite a bit of headache. Because Protestantism spreads from adjoining provinces, it can sometimes be a mini-game to try to block its advance at key places.

Changes as of Heir To The Throne

Papal Influence

You now have a stat that displays the level of influence you have over the Pope. It is directly affected by your relations with the Papal States, your Infamy and some of your National Ideas. This affects the chance of obtaining a cardinal of your own nation. Every time a cardinal of your nation is chosen to replace a dead cardinal you lose half of your Influence, and when the Pope dies all nations' Papal Influence is reduced to 0.

Cardinal Chance

This number displays the likelihood of the next Cardinal coming from your country. It is affected by your Papal Influence and the number of Catholic provinces you have in your empire. Note that the total Cardinal Chance, is the sum of the Cardinal Chance of all the Catholic nations, so you can't have a 100% chance unless you are the only existent Catholic nation. The Papal States can also have cardinals, and its influence is nearly always 100%.

Influencing Cardinals

This option has been disabled in Heir To The Throne, so now the only way to become Papal Controller is to have as many Catholic provinces as possible (colonies are suggested, since they are Catholic and don't require a war to acquire them), have good relations with the Papal State and hope that, once one foreign Cardinal dies, it will be replaced by one of yours.

Changes as of In Nomine

The Holy See in In Nomine

As of In Nomine many changes were done to the way the Papal Controller now works. Two new abilities and changes to the mechanics of bribing cardinals.


The Papal Controller can now launch a Crusade on any non-Christian country. They last 50 years and another cannot be launched until either then or at the targets annexation. Nations that declare war on the target also receive the Crusader modifier, giving a Manpower, Tax, Prestige and Land Morale bonus. Crusades cannot be called after 1650.

There is a distance limit for declaring a crusade, which prevents the Papal Controller for declaring such a crusade on a distant target.


The papal controller can now also excommunicate another Catholic ruler. This removes the Religious Penalty stability hit, and the No Causus Belli stability Hit. It's like having a Causus Belli on a Different Religion Group country so you only get the Reputation hit of DoW with a Causus Belli: 1BB. Excommunication is not possible after 1650.

It lasts as long as the ruler is alive or is lifted by the papal controller. If that ruler rules a Personal Union all countries in it are affected, and the union is dissolved at death. You cannot use the ability if the pope has good relations with the target. It will also take a long time for another country to forgive you for excommunicating their ruler.

Influencing Cardinals

With In Nomine controlling the Curia has become a lot harder. When a Cardinal is bribed it, another bribery cannot be attempted again for 3 months. This now means control over the Curia is harder to achieve and it takes longer to reach that goal.

See also