Il volume offre un panorama assai ampio e innovativo su cosa abbia significato e come si sia sviluppata la politica internazionale del papato in età moderna. Oltre a precisare le istituzioni e gli uomini che ne furono i protagonisti, i saggi qui riuniti mettono a fuoco gli obiettivi che il papato si propose rispetto al mondo cattolico, al mondo riformato, ai cristiani delle zone di frontiere con il mondo russo-ortodosso e in Medio Oriente e rispetto agli “infedeli” in Asia e in America.
Tutta la complessità del rapporto papato/politica internazionale è qui fotografata, esaminata, spiegata, compreso il suo essere determinata tanto dal carattere multiplo della sovranità papale e dall’evoluzione dei dibattiti intorno ad essa, quanto dal mutare della concezione della sovranità degli Stati e dalla trasformazione dei rapporti di forza internazionali.
The essay is mainly a general presentation of the goals and methods of the PRIN Research Group (Progetti di rilevante interesse scientifico nazionale) which since 2008 has been studying the theme “The International Policy of the Papacy in the Modern Age”. The project’s final phase also includes a presence of eminent historians of the modern Papacy outside the group. M.A. Visceglia in her article brings together two approaches. On the one hand, she aims to review the scholarship that deals with the structures and men of the Roman curia who were players and institutional resources for the Papacy’s international policy. At the same time she attempts to link, within a single interpretative framework, studies on the curia focusing on Rome with research on the expansion of Catholicism throughout the world, also in light of the new categories and suggestions that have come to us from World History. The essay’s chronology does not start with the Council of Trent, nor does it end with the Treaty of Westphalia, but intentionally dwells on the complexity, continuities and discontinuities of the Papacy’s international policy from the beginnings of the transoceanic expansion in the Fifteenth century down to the first half of the Eighteenth century. During this long period papal foreign policies evolved continuously in relation to changes in the concept of the pope’s dual sovereignty, to shifts in power balance among the European states ( reflected in the concordats of the Fifteenth centuries and in those of the Eighteenth centuries) and to the growing impulse to evangelize – above all from the Papacy of Gregory XIII – the four corners of the earth. Italianità and Universalism, Peace and War , Space and Communication are the key concepts found in the essay.
Il Rinascimento come stagione della politica concordataria
The early Renaissance was a period of rediscovery of the concordat as a way of healing the increasing clashes between popes and princes in Church affairs. After the Great Schism, the Papacy started to rebuild the monarchical pattern of Church government. Since many ecclesiastical prerogatives had fallen into the hands of secular rulers, the popes were confronted with a situation that they judged difficult but not impossible to accept. This perception led them to share their ruling powers with princes, through an act of self-limitation – that was a concordat. On the part of the secular authorities, a right of supervision on local Churches was claimed on the ground of a special care for the moral and intellectual quality of clergy against “corrupted” candidates supported by Rome. In fact, the power of selection was exploited in order to expand the patronage of kings and princes. As early as 1418, pope Martin V set out to strike a balance between Church and State in Europe and signed pacts with the main Western “nations” (nationes). The French concordat had a short duration and was replaced by the Pragmatic Sanction for many decades, whereas an agreement between the Apostolic See and the German world was easier to find. This led to the double concordat of 1447 and 1448, which lasted in the Austrian Empire until the XIX century. After a long quarrel, also the French crown found it expedient to come to a settlement and signed the concordat of 1516, which represented a milestone in the formation of the socio-institutional system of the Ancien Régime in France.
On the basis of Paolo Prodi’s well-known interpretation of the Early Modern History of the Papacy as an expression of a two-souls-status of the papal prince, the paper analyses the role played by the popes within the Early Modern system of power states in three steps: 1) the fundamental challenge to the pope’s claims to secular power launched by Luther beginning in the 1520s; 2) the pope’s offensive reaction to Luther’s theological de-legitimization of his double sovereignty; 3) the consequences for the scope of papal action in international affairs, in which the real dimensions of the pontiffs’ political and diplomatic actions, let alone their military ones, declined dramatically from the middle of the Seventeenth century, notwithstanding the impressive re-emergence of the theory of the popes’ dual nature and the effective symbolic representation of their universal program.
The Papacy of the Catholic Reformation sought to present itself as mediator among the princes who remained faithful to Rome. While this policy was not always successful, it did lead to the development of a sort of pontifical expertise in the area of peace missions. The ideal of mediation traces a line of continuity during the Papacies of Paul III and Julius III, when it was held mainly by the spirituali, and the second half of the Sixteenth century, when it became more intransigent but also oriented more toward pastoral concerns.
Uomini e apparati della politica internazionale del papato
During the last decades, studies have researched the principal decision making processes of the Roman Curia prevalent in the Early Modern Era. Identified as heading the process, there are the pope, the cardinal nephew and the secretary of state, with their respective associates serving in diverse secretariats and bound together in a dynamic relationship. Placed at a lower level, there are the permanent and temporary congregations of cardinals, whose functions are in continuous evolution but are also directly linked to the fact that the most prestigious cardinals were often members of several institutions. The continuity of government is assured by leading officials, mostly by secretaries and external consultants, whose activity developed in associated areas and extended over successive pontificates. Consequently, within the Curia’s dialectic, although the arrival of a new pope brought with it changes and even at times opposition to established norms, it is possible to identify political strategies that are followed in the long term.
This article examines the difficulties which the Papacy had to overcome to found the congregation and impose Propaganda as a curial organ with spiritual jurisdiction over the world. In addition it considers the ways in which Propaganda construed a complex image for itself, even if this was not always exact, of the “four corners of the globe” where it had to operate. Thanks to a vast network which collected information, it was able to be acquainted with the communities to evangelize according to the concepts of natio, language, religion (missionary geopolitics). Ultimately, the article takes up the problem of the stabilization of the missions and the implementation of Tridentine orthodoxy through the foundation of missionary dioceses which depended on Propaganda. This policy of plantatio ecclesiae entered into conflict with the double difficulty of having to act out of the “Tridentine space” and undergo the claims of control of bishops on the part of Catholic colonial powers in virtue of the ius patronatus. Within the limits of a spiritual jurisdiction and with a general scarcity of human and economic resources, Propaganda constituted an instrument of Pontifical universalism in the context of a global missionary geopolitical strategy. The elements which constitute this universalist approach (the peoples, cultures and methods of communication) remained at the basis of Propaganda’s missionary doctrine in the course of the Early Modern period.
After the political-military clashes that drew in the European powers during the first two decades of the Eighteenth century and which altered the political and territorial configuration of the Italian peninsula, the Holy See gradually recognized the need for a series of concordats in order to lay the new foundations for its relations with different States . Inconclusive attempts by Benedict XIII and Clement XII were followed by more effective negotiating strategies on the part of Benedict XIV resulting in a series of concordats with the kingdom of Sardinia (1741), with the kingdom of Naples (1741) and with Portugal (1745), Spain (1753) and Austrian Lombardy (1757). While the concordats with Spain and Portugal reinforced the prerogatives of the Iberian monarchies in the area of ecclesiastical institutions, the concordat with Sardinia seamlessly consolidated the absolutism of the Savoias. In the case of Naples and Austrian Lombardy the very terms of the concordats allowed Bourbon and, above all, Josephine reform movements to adopt policies that supported the general social changes underway during the second half of the century . These policies were aimed at drastically reducing or eliminating the privileges of the Catholic Church, with the result that the modern and secular aspects of the State institutions were enhanced.
After the age of St Charles Borromeo, from the beginning of the XVII century, the people of Milan found themselves involved once again in a particularly intense series of events of both religious and political nature. This article aims to reconstruct the climate of mobilization in the city, which persisted till the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659), and the content of these spectacular events as interpreted by local people. The focus is on propaganda, preaching and the celebration of memorable military achievements, trying to understand the level of awareness regarding the continental strategy of the Spanish Monarchy and the directives of the Counter-Reformation.
For the Papacy, Switzerland at the beginning of the Seventeenth century was a key area, being partly a Catholic bulwark and partly a field of mission. This article examines the plurality of actors involved, both in Switzerland and in Rome; it shows the pragmatism of local Church leaders, as well as the shift towards a more realistic policy operated by the Papacy in the second half of the century.
From the late Sixteenth century on, the Catholic reconquest of “heretic” European lands, especially in the Holy Roman Empire, was the prominent aim of papal politics. This goal is fully evident in the Instructions (Istruzioni) for papal nuncios at imperial courts and for missionaries such as Jesuits and Capucins, but it also appears in the rich correspondence between nuncios and Roman congregations such as the Holy Office and the Propaganda Fide. This rich documentation allows us to underline the gap between the Roman instructions and the local realities that nuncios and missionaries had to face and to analyse the different conversion strategies related to imperial and local politics, privileges of nobility, resistence of the local clergy, and other difficulties. It was sometimes impossible to apply the Roman directives when they were not supported by the Emperor and the local nobilities. Nevertheless, during the Thirty Years’ War, conversions, especially of German princes, noblemen and evangelic clergymen, took on a clear political and symbolic meaning, which was instrumented by the Catholic and imperial propaganda. The paper not only focuses on the conversions of noblemen and princes, but also analyses the attitudes of “common people” in the face of conversion attempts. As the most recent historiography underlines, confessional boundaries were often crossed in everyday life. This becomes evident in the devotional practice, in the use of the Bible, of songs and prayers that appeared suspect to the Catholic Church and were therefore forbidden. The usage of prohibited devotional practices was a critical problem for the local Catholic clergy and the Roman congregations alike.
The king of Bohemia was essential to control the election of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation. In fact, the ruler of a Slav kingdom was the balance between the three ecclesiastical electors and three lay voters. In addition, the crown of Bohemia was not hereditary, but essentially elective. Therefore the whole of Europe was interested in keeping on the throne of Bohemia a ruler who could get a general consensus or acceptance, without threatening to overly strengthen imperial power. The role of the kingdom of Bohemia became even more important as a result of the Protestant Reformation. For the Catholic side it was essential to maintain a Catholic kingdom of Bohemia, both to ensure the imperial election, and to keep Central and Eastern Europe united against the threat of the Ottoman Empire. The policy of the Roman Papacy was extremely alert, as early as the mid-Sixteenth century, towards what happened in the kingdom of Bohemia. It was necessary to keep the kingdom under the House of Austria, with the contribution of Spain and other Catholic powers. Besides the presence of the papal nuncio a decisive role was entrusted to the Society of Jesus. The Catholic victory at White Mountain (November 1620) had the effect of keeping the kingdom of Bohemia under the house of Austria. For this purpose the Jesuits offered a contribution of absolute importance. The research follows the story of the Jesuit participation in the maintenance of the Bohemian kingdom in the Catholic front, from the mid-Sixteenth century to the beginnings of the Thirty Years’ War, drawing on contributions from Czech authors and contemporary documentation of the Society of Jesus.
This essay examines the diplomatic relations between Rome and the British Isles in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth centuries, focusing especially on the missions of Gregorio Panzani, George Conn and Carlo Rossetti. The author emphasizes the complexity and multifaceted nature of Roman politics and the function of Rome as a major node in the network through which political information on Britain spread throughout Catholic Europe.
The border of the western Mediterranean was decisive for geopolitical history of Spain and Europe. From the Middle Ages, the Iberian kingdoms remained a singular characteristic, the feeling of being “fronteros” (fronting) to the Muslim world. Always being on the periphery of the West. Africa, not Jerusalem, was always present in his ideals of Crusade. The Spanish felt that the Papacy did not understand the situation. The popes always wanted to lead the Crusade to Levant and the Spanish always complained of their incomprehension to Maghrib problems.
Since the Fifteenth century, the pope had been seeking from the Eastern Church the recognition of his primacy. At first he tried to obtain it at time of the Council of Florence (1431-39). Later he propose the marriage of Ivan III with Zoe Paleologina (1472), and once more he failed. During the Sixteenth century, the Reformation and the expansion of the Ottoman Empire pointed up the need to reconquer the lost ground. Papal diplomacy centred hopes on an alliance with Poland and Russia, but Ivan IV refused every religious article. So the pope decided to obtain it by force. However, the success of the Brest Union (1596) and the conquest of Moscow (1606) during the crisis of the Russian kingdom made impossible every chance of religious or political agreement with the pope.
This study examines the history of missions, an important part of the history of the Papacy in the Sixteenth-Seventeenth centuries from a new point of view. The author points out that, apart from the Roman offices and mission institutions, attention should also be paid to structures ensuring contact, to apostolic nuncios, as well as to the local agents of the congregation of Propaganda Fide. The study examines two cities serving as “connecting bridges”: Ragusa (Dubrovnik, Croatia) and Cattaro (Kotor, Montenegro). First, the author describes briefly the role of the Church institutions of Ragusa and Cattaro. Then he characterizes the activity of the agents working in these cities. In Ragusa, the mission congregation was represented by the archbishops and then by a local priest Francesco Ricciardi, whereas in Cattaro the same was done by the members of the Bolizza family who ran the postal service of Venice in the Balkans. The different political and strategic situation of the two cities resulted in performing different tasks and having different geographic reach. The stability and commercial prosperity of Ragusa depended almost absolutely on having a balanced relationship with the Ottomans, whereas in Cattaro, besieged by the Turks several times and considered the last eastern stronghold of the Venetian Republic, the idea of anti-Ottoman struggle and the concept of Antemurale Christianitatis were obviously very popular. One of the most important points of the study is the demonstration of the fact that the diplomatic network of the Papacy was complemented by the network of local agents, without which the Holy See would not have been able to perform international activities.
Il mare amaro. Uomini e istituzioni della Chiesa tra Puglia e Albania (XVI-XVII secc.)
This essay focuses on the religious relationships between Albania, Rome and Apulia during the Sixteenth and the Seventeenth centuries. Albanian Catholics, banished to small mountain villages after being conquered by the Turks, hosted Franciscan friars in the north and Basilian monks in the South. These last attempted to preserve and grow their faith, which, in Rome, represented the strongest identity sign of a community which valiantly resisted the Turks, preventing Mohammed II from occupying Italy. The Holy See gave great importance to Albania, a sort of Italian Great wall against the Turks, who had almost reached its nearby coasts, especially the province of Terra d’Otranto, from which many missionaries used to depart. Place of birth and education for many people, this province of Apulia also represented a back line for those who had already been to Albania and who had taken part to activities in Greek-Albanian parishes on the place. Since missions used to happen in hard condition, they did not result in a successful achievement, so at the beginning of Eighteenth century friars and monks requested Propaganda Fide to terminate them. They started again in the mid of Nineteenth century, and, even in this case, Apulia was (and still is) the place from which ecclesiastics departed and crossed the Otranto Channel to support the Catholics of Albania, and also to establish a Roman-Catholic, Latin and Italian Albania.
Alessandro VI fra Carlo VIII e Bayezid
The relations between pope Alexander VI and sultan Bayezid II at the time of the arrival in Italy of Charles VIII of France in 1494 show, once again, that manipulated news can strongly affect the dynamic of history. In light of the distinction formulated by G.B. Vico between what is true and what is real, the epistles among the sovereigns of Rome and of Constantinople will be overall accepted, not expecting to solve definitely the philological debate about the authenticity of these documents. However, referring to authenticity, I will introduce some new topic of philological and extra-philological nature, which will bring about the idea that the documents were not entirely fake. All these complications come from the fact that the issue at stake is a scandalous episode: the help demanded by the Vicar of Christ to the sultan, the Antichrist incarnation, to halt the Most Christian King and his projects of crusade.
Travellers, missionaries and European scholars agreed in deploring the decline of Eastern Christianity, schismatics and heretics under the yoke of the Muslims for nearly ten centuries. The gravity of this situation justified the maintenance of a call to the crusade and especially the requirement of the reform of the Eastern Christianity by the Catholic mission. Roman politics was facilitated by this tension, by the desire to show its proximity with the Christianity of the Holy Land, as well as by the desire to reform these Oriental Churches, mainly by submitting them to the authority of the Roman pontiff. Weapons, books and missionary preaching are the three means deployed by Rome, often in a situation of rivalry with protestants but also with other Catholic states such as France, to “help” the Eastern Christians.
“Missiology”, as a branch of theological studies, is a relatively young discipline, but since the late Middle Ages there have been numerous attempts to conceptualize, from both a theoretical and operational point of view, the missionary task of the Church. In the general historical context of the era of geographical discoveries and the beginning of modern colonialism and also of the peculiar development of Catholic theological science as a result of the Protestant schisms, this essay intends to trace the ways in which the culture of the Catholic Counter-Reformation developed the concept of mission. It examines the clash between the progressive affirmation of Papal prerogatives of management and control of the missionary expansion and the privileges that the Iberian monarchies had earned in this particular field thanks to the Patronage regimes bestowed by the Holy See between the late Fifteenth century and the beginning of the Sixteenth. The analysis is based on the treatises written by three authors: the Jesuit José de Acosta, the Discalced Carmelite Tomás de Jesús, and the Conventual Franciscan (and cardinal) Lorenzo Brancati di Lauria.
Il papato, la Spagna e il Nuovo Mondo
In 1553, a letter sent to pope Julius III by a number of caciques of the New Kingdom of Granada established a group of indigenous chiefs as unexpected interlocutors of Rome in the delicate and controversial question of the naming of an apostolic envoy to the Americas. The New World, offering itself to the evangelizing mission of the Catholic Church, opened a new scenario wherein the teleological-juridical debate around the legitimacy of Spanish titles of possession through Alexander VI’s bulls of concession was intertwined with that of the temporal and spiritual power of the Roman pontificate and its rights of jurisdiction over the American territories and native peoples. The emphatic defense by the Spanish crown of the Patronato Regio over the American Church and recurring attempts to impose the primacy of spiritual objectives and ecclesiastical government by the Papacy constituted a area of continual dispute between the Spanish monarchy and the Holy See, in time rendering insoluble the problem of the institution of an American nunciature.
Around 1600, several European courts, among them the court of Madrid and the Roman Curia, began to consider Safavid Persia as a potential ally against the Ottomans and, at the same time, as a missionary field. Portuguese Augustinians as well as Discalced Carmelites of the italian congregation were sent to the court of Abbas I as diplomatic agents of the courts of Madrid and Rome and as missionaries. Later on, they were followed by Capuchins, Jesuits and Dominicans; as well as by some priests of the Mission étrangères de Paris. However, the missions neither resulted in an alliance against the Ottomans nor in a significant number of conversions. Muslim converts were almost inexistent, and the catholic Armenian community of New Djulfa remained extremely small. The missions to Persia offer a fascinating example of the problems faced by decision makers in Europe who totally depended on the reports of their local informants, which they interpreted following their own preconceptions. Possibly, the most important role of the missionaries in Isfahan and some other towns of the Safavid Empire consisted in offering a shelter to European travellers, who independently of their origin and confession appreciated to find European style forms of sociability, medical aid or the local knowledge of the missionaries and their capacity to act as intermediaries. Those missionaries most familiar with the society and culture of the Safavid Empire helped to feed a European knowledge about Persia which, together with the knowledge on other non-European lands, contributed from the end of the Seventeenth century to the transformation of the European mind.
This paper focuses on the origins of a long-standing narrative in which China and the New World play a leading role in the expansion of the world that leads Europe to rethink its own history - a cultural and political process that has not yet come to a conclusion; in fact it is all the more vital. The paper brings together a host of scattered sources in order to show evidence of the presence of China in the flourishing world of printing in Rome between the end of the Cinquecento and the beginning of the Seventeenth century. In so doing, the paper argues that, in spite of her being confined, by traditional historiography, at the margins of the intellectual trends that shape modern Europe, Rome is indeed a centre of cultural diversity, responsible for the production and dissemination of a knowledge of Chinese civilization that contributes to lay the foundations, in a way that so far has not been ascertained, of modern sinology.
The papal legations to Beijing in 1705-06 (legate Carlo Tommaso Maillard de Tournon) and 1720-21 (legate Carlo Ambrogio Mezzabarba), organized at the order of Clement XI, have so far been mainly examined as incidents in cultural and theological misunderstanding. This essay shifts the analytical terms of the question from the doctrinal/jurisdictional to the career/bureaucratic field, integrating the Chinese point of view, and presenting the legations as a clash of two very distinct “court cultures.” The first part of the essay offers a short introduction to the system of international relations of the chinese empire, followed by a description of the role of the Jesuits at the Qing imperial court, both as “courtiers” and bureaucrats integrated in the administrative machinery. The essay’s longer part focuses on the legations’ preparations in Rome, and the process of selection of personnel, the professional and religious curricula of the legates and of some key members of the legations, and the financial aspects of these expeditions. Although the Holy See and the congregation de Propaganda Fide refined their preparatory process between the first and the second legation, objective limitations in the system of recruitment and in the level of religious, cultural, and professional formation of the candidates strongly diminished the efficacy of these diplomatic initiatives. The epilogue offers a reflection on the two concepts of “curia” (court) that clashed in Beijing in the Eighteenth century, briefly describing, with the help of some primary documentation, the level of comprehension of the Chinese court gained in Rome, and how the differences between the two court structures, and the specific historical juncture, played a relevant role in the failure of both negotiations.