The Italian States in Contrast with the Counter-Reformation Part I

All this gives a good light to this phase of Italian life, which follows the wars of dominance and conquest. For many Italian states, it is a phase of industrious youth, of enlightened constructive activity; also for the Spanish government in its Italian provinces, it is the best time. Sicilian historians consider the time of Philip II to be good for the island, when the impetus was given to public civil and military works, for a more effective defense from the Turks, and the establishment of educational institutions was favored. Sardinia itself, although made almost foreign to Italy – unlike Sicily which was more closely linked to Italy – praised Philip II. The activity of the princes and governments, both Italian and foreign, also took place in another direction. With the internal forces of opposition to the principality now bent, even a minimum of freedom ensured in the face of Spain, there was still an opposition, which was internal and external, local and international, to face; still a freedom to defend: the opposition of the Church, freedom from the Church, which has also been reconstituted, once again armed with all its claims. The Italian governments have partly made the program of the Counter-Reformation their own, they have accepted the moral and dogmatic part of it; also because they want, in exchange, to use the Church for political ends, to consider it and use it as the opposition of the Church, freedom from the Church, also reconstituted, armed again with all its claims. The Italian governments have partly made the program of the Counter-Reformation their own, they have accepted the moral and dogmatic part of it; also because they want, in exchange, to use the Church for political ends, to consider it and use it as instrumentum regni. They do not pose great obstacles to the overwhelming growth of clerics and friars and religious congregations. If they want the Church as an instrument of the state, they are also willing to put the arm of the state at the disposal of the Church or to look at its initiatives with broad tolerance. It is not just an outward approach, based on a calculation. There is now a political doctrine that seeks to temper the crude realism of reason of state, subordinating it to moral and religious reasons or reconciling it with them. Just as, ten centuries earlier, the barbarian kingdoms had opened up to the influence of the Church, so now the states that emerged from the first unscrupulous construction phase and the travail of wars, during which the iron law of force had reigned and the “reason of state “Had served to justify every act, not only practiced but also placed on the altars. An Italian political thinker who, now, represents this attempt at conciliation, this effort by the Church to morally permeate the State, respecting its needs, is Giovanni Botero, a certain man of the Counter-Reformation, but also a man of this age of state reconstruction, active secretary of Carlo Borromeo, spectator of the work of Emanuele Filiberto, proud of his Piedmont, “propugnacolo” or “bastion of Italy”.

But there is another part of the Counter-Reformation program that governments are not equally willing to accept in its entirety, namely the civil and political demands of church supremacy over state powers, of full exercise of ecclesiastical freedoms, of interference in life. of the laity: requirements that some of the popes try to assert, sometimes with the meticulousness of jurists, as it was with Paul V, similar in this to the great predecessors of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries; especially in Italy, which was and should have remained the firm base of the papacy, the means necessary for its worldwide action.

According to timedictionary.com, the more or less energetic and constant reactions, more or less successful. Needs of public order and justice, financial needs, reasons of prestige imposed restrictions on the activity of the ecclesiastical forum on the laity, intervention of civil courts against ecclesiastics and for ecclesiastical causes, supervision of the increase in ecclesiastical properties, limits on tax exemptions, controls to the court of the inquisition, consent of governments to the execution of papal orders in the territory of the state. Thus, in the time of Pius V, Gregory XIII, Sixtus V, Clement VIII, many municipalities reacted; and memoranda was the resistance of the Milanese senate to its archbishop Carlo Borromeo, before the Spanish governor took over the direction of the struggle. Spain reacted, and in the Milanese and in the kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, where it was an ancient tradition against ecclesiastical jurisdiction.

The Italian States in Contrast with the Counter-Reformation 1

About the author