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The ecclesiastical and political history of the popes of Rome during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Volume 2) online

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Thus were the claims and the theory of the
church boldly met by the claims and the theory of
the state. The tendencies of the conflicting powers
are expressed in these opposite systems. The blend-
ing of temporal and spiritual interests in the states
of Europe is so intimate, that a wide field of action
lies open on the ground where both meet and min-

* Difesa di Giovanni Alarsilio a favore della risposta delle
otto propositioni, contro la quale ha scritto Fill™" e rev'"" Sr,
CI. Bellarmino, Venezia, 1G06, explains in the following mannei*
the meaning of its author, who has expressed himself somewhat
obscurely ; the explanation is at least authentic, as it comes from
the same side : " Dice 1' autore due cose : la prima si e che le
persone ecclesiastiche non siano esente dalla potesta secolare ne
meno i beni di esse, intendendo in quelle cose alle quali la detta
potesta si estende (i. e. not to the purely spiritual) : la seconda
che r esentione ch' hanno li detti ecclesiastici non ^ de jure di-
vine, ma de jure humano." (p. G2.)


gle. This entire field has long been claimed by the
church, and to this day she is continually renewing
her pretensions to its exclusive possession. The
state, on the other hand, has occasionally set up a
similar claim ; but perhaps never so boldly and so
systematically as in Venice at the time we are speak-
ing of. It was impossible that these conflicting
claims could ever be adjusted legally and politic-
ally, it was only practicable by means of mutual
concessions ; whenever these were refused, there
was no other arbiter but force. Each side had
then to try its strength ; in a struggle for the right
to obedience, there was nothing to be done but to
prove which party was strong enough to enforce it.
On the 17th of April, 1606, pope Paul V., with
all the rigid and imposing forms of the early ages of
the papacy, and with express reference to so omni-
potent a predecessor as Innocent III., pronounced
sentence of excommunication on the doge, the se-
nate, and all the constituted authorities of Venice,
and in a more especial manner on the Consultores.
He granted them only the shortest possible intervals
for recantation, three of eight and one of three days.
After the lapse of these, all the churches of the Ve-
netian territory, convent churches and private cha-
pels not excepted, lay under interdict, viz. prohibi-
tion to perform divine service. The clergy were
imperatively enjoined to announce this brief of
anathema to the assembled congregations, and to
fix it on the church doors*. The whole body, from

* " Mentre in esse si trovera adunata maggior moltitudine di
popolo per sentir li divini ofiicj ". . . .which had occurred at Ferrara
VOL. II. 2 A


the patriarch to the parish priest, were commanded
to do this on peril of heavy chastisement from the
hand of justice, human and divine.

Such was the attack ; the defence was not
equally vigorous.

It was proposed in the Collegium of Venice to
enter a solemn protest, as had been done in former
times ; but this was not carried, on the ground that
the pope's sentence was null and void, and had not
so much as a show of justice. In a short procla-
mation contained in one quarto page, Leonardo
Donato announced to the clergy the determination
of the republic to uphold and maintain the sove-
reign authority, ' ' which in temporal things acknow-
ledged no superior but God;" adding, "that her
faithful clergy would of themselves recognise the
nullity of the censure uttered against them, and
would go on uninterruptedly in the performance of
their sacred functions — the cure of souls and the
worship of God." There was not the smallest ex-
pression either of fear or of menace ; it was a sim-
ple declaration of confidence. Probably however
something more was done orally^.

The question of claim and of right was thus di-
rectly transformed into a question of might and of
possession. Enjoined to obedience by the conflicting

with such serious consequences. Breve di censure et interdetto
della Sta di N. S'^ P. Paolo V. contra li S" Venetiani 1606.

* This proclamation, issued on the 6th of May, 1606, is
printed by Rampazetto, stampator ducale. On the title-page is
the Evangelist St. Mark with the Gospel and drawn sword. In
the senate, according to Priuli, they investigated " le nullita
molte e notorie" of the papal letter.


commands of their two superiors, the pope and the
repubhc, the Venetian clergy had now to decide to
which of the two they would render it.

They did not hesitate ; — they belonged to the re-
public. Not one single copy of the pope's brief
was fixed up*. The time granted by the pope for
recantation expired. The service of God every-
where went on in its accustomed manner, and the
regular clergy acted in perfect unison with the se-

The new orders, who were the especial representa-
tives of the ecclesiastical restoration, i.e. the Jesuits,
theatines, and capuchins, afforded the only excep-
tion. The Jesuits were not entirely resolved within
themselves ; they first consulted their provincial in
Ferrara, and then their general in Rome, who ap-
plied to the pope himself: Paul's answer was, that
they must either obey the interdict, or shake off the
dust from their feet and leave Venice; — doubtless
a hard sentence, since they were distinctly in-
formed that they would never be permitted to re-
turn : but the principle on which the society was
founded, left them no choice ; and, embarking in
their own boats, they sought refuge in the papal
territory!. Their example infected the other orders
with a similar spirit |. The theatines proposed a
middle course, which however the Venetians would

* P. Sarpi, Historia particolare, lib. ii. p. 55, asserts that cer-
tain people who had attempted to fix up copies of the bulls were
arrested by the inhabitants themselves.

t Juvencius, Hist. Soc. Jesu, v. ii. p. 93.

X V. Sandi (vi. 1110) continues to speak of " i reformat! di
S, Francesco ;" but this error, although shared by many other



not listen to ; they would suffer no division in their
land ; their subjects must obey, or void the coun-
try. The deserted churches were readily supplied
with other priests, and it was carefully contrived
that no trace of a deficiency should be discernible.
The following Corpus Christi day was celebrated
with peculiar pomp and an unusually numerous

Here then was a complete and open schism.

The pope was amazed; the realities of things
stood in the most abrupt contrast to his exagge-
rated notions ; — were there any means of mastering
them ?

Paul V. thought at times of trying the force of
arms, and the warlike spirit was on one occasion
so far predominant in the congregations, that car-
dinal Sauli exclaimed that they would chastise the
Venetians ; and legates were actually commissioned
and troops armed. But at bottom they dared not go
to war. They must have known that Venice would
probably call in protestant assistance, and would
throw Italy, nay, the whole catholic world, into the
most perilous agitation.

An adjustment of the question of the rights of
the church must eventually be attempted, now as
heretofore, by political means; only that now these
could not be resorted to by the contending parties,
between whom animosity had arisen to too high a

authors, is attributable merely to the fact, that the capuchins are
in truth reformed franciscans, and are mentioned as such on
this occasion by A. Morosini.

* A Maurocenus, Historia Ven., torn. iii. p. 350.


pitch, but fell to the mediation of the two great
powers — Spain and France. The particular inter-
ests of those countries were of course consulted in
this negotiation. In each there existed a party
desirous of an open rupture.

In Spain, it consisted of the zealous catholics,
who hoped once more to enchain the see of Rome
to the monarchy; the governors of the Italian pro-
vinces, whose power would be enhanced by war ;
and the ambassador Viglienna, who thought that
his house would acquire spiritual dignities.

In France, on the contrary, the war-party was
composed of the zealous protestants. Sully and
his followers would have gladly seen a war in Italy,
as a diversion in favour of the Netherlands which
were just then pressed by Spinola.

The parties at length came to demonstrations of
hostility. The king of Spain sent a letter to the
pope, in which he promised him assistance, at least
in general terms. In France, the Venetian ambas-
sador received so many offers from considerable
men, that he was of opinion he could have raised
an army of fifteen thousand Frenchmen in a month.
These movements however led to nothing. The
most influential ministers, Lerma in Spain and
Villeroi in France, sincerely desired to maintain
peace. The reputation of the former mainly rested
on the establishment of peace ; the latter was a
strict catholic, and w^ould never have consented to
make France a party to an attack on the pope*.

* Relatione di Pietro Priuli ritornato di Francia 4. Sett. 1608,
contains a detailed exjoosition of the part taken by the French in
these transactions. Villeroi declares, " esser questa opportunis-


The sovereigns were of the same opinion. Henry IV.
justly remarked, that by drawing his sword for the
repubhc, he should risk his reputation as a good
catholic. Philip III. despatched a second letter to
the pope, explanatory of the first, in which he said
that he would support his holiness, but not unless
he was secure of indemnity for the cost ; and added
that he would stand by him for good, but not for

Thus vanished all possibility of a war. Both the
great powers now strove which should contribute
the most to bring about a peace, as a means of
strengthening its own interests ; to this end,
Francisco de Castro, Lerma's nephew, was sent by
Spain, and cardinal Joyeuse by France, to Venice.

I have neither the inclination nor the power to
explain the whole course of their negotiations ; it
is sufficient for the present purpose to mark its
most important points. The first difficulty was,

sima e propria occasione di guadagnare I'animo del papa. — II re,
assicurato dal suo ambasciatore presso la republica che V. S^ non
metteria in mano d' altri questo negotio che della Mä S., ebbe
mira di guadagnare et obligarsi con questa occasione 1' animo del

* Francesco Priuli, Relatione di Spagna, 20 Ag. 1608. " Venne
il contestabile a trovarmi a casa, e mi disse constantemente che
gli ordini dell' ammassar genti non erano per altro se non per non
star in otio mentre tutte potenze del mondo si armavano, ma che
pero non s' erano proveduti di danaro : raccomando la pace d' Ita-
lia non potendo perder la republica nell' esser liberale di j^arole

ossequenti, per haver in efFetto quello che desiderava In

quel tempo che il duca di Lerma delle forze da amassarsi parlo
iperbolicamente all' ambasciator d' Inghilterra, .... scrissono al
papa che S. M^ gli aveva ben promesso d' ajutarlo ma che cio
s' intendeva al bene e non al male, .... che il cominciar le guerre
stava in mano degli uomini et il finire in quelle di die."


that the poj^e demanded, as an indispensable con-
dition, the suspension of the Venetian laws which
had given him so much offence, and rendered the
suspension of his ecclesiastical censures depend-
ent upon it.

On the other hand, the Venetians, with a certain
republican self-complacency, were w^ont to regard
their own laws as something sacred and invio-
lable. When therefore in January 1607, the affair
came under discussion, it was rejected in the se-
nate, though not absolutely in the Collegium*.
The French^ who had promised the pope to bring
it forward again, could not even succeed in obtain-
ing a hearing for it till the following March. Of
the four opponents in the Collegium, one at least
then withdrew his opposition ; and the senate, af-
ter the matter had been a second time thoroughly
debated (though even now it could not be brought

* Ger. Priuli, Cronica Veneta, 20 Zener, 1606 (1607): "Dopo
lunga disputa di otto giomi e varie pendentie di giudicio deli-
bero il senato rispondere agli ambasciatori di Francia e di Spagna
che il devenir a qualsivoglia forma di sospensione non si puo ac-
comodar la republica, essendo cosa di perpetuo pregiudicio : il
che fu proposto da S. Bembo et AI. Zorzi savj del consilio et A.
Mula et S. Venier savj della terra ferma." Others were for a
more moderate decision. Nor was it improbable that they would
caiTy their point. In the mean time came the news that there
was nothing to fear from Spanish arms, in consequence of the
disturbances at Naples. " E fu percio preso la total negativa di
sospensione." With ninety-nine against seventy- eight, they had
a majority of twenty-one voices. On the 9th of March how-
ever Bembo himself retired from the commission. On the 14th
of March, the more moderate decision was taken, in opposition to
Zorzi and in spite of Mula and Veuier.


to a formal and express suspension of the laws),
passed a resolution to the effect ' ' that the republic
would conduct itself with its accustomed piety."
Dim and vague as these w^ords appear, the ambas-
sador and the pope thought they perceived in them
the fulfilment of their wishes, and the pope accord-
ingly suspended his censures.

But another most unlooked-for obstacle imme-
diately arose. The Venetians refused to re-admit
the Jesuits, who, after their voluntary departure,
had been excluded from the dominions of the re-
l^ublic by a solemn decree. Was it possible for the
jDope to abandon his faithful sons, who had been
guilty of no crime but implicit obedience and unal-
terable attachment to him, in such a strait?

He tried every means to change the determina-
tion of the Venetians. The French too espoused
the cause of the Jesuits, who had secured the king's
good will in this exigency by a special mission, and
had also interested Joyeuse in their favour. The
Venetians remained inflexible*.

The most remarkable thing was, that the
Spaniards declared against the order, and not, as
might have been expected, for it. The dominican
interest was paramount in Spain ; Lerma did not
love the Jesuits, and thought it wrong, on general

* Pietro Priuli, Relatione di Francia, adds to this : " Sola-
mente 1' ufficio dell' ambasciatore ritenne la dispositione che
aveva S. M^, eccitata dall' efficaci instanze che furono fatte da un
padre Barisoni Padoano mandato in Francia es])ressamente dalla
sua congregatione con pensicro d' ottener di interessarsi accioc-
che fussero di nuovo ricevuti."


grounds, that a state should be forced to receive
back such disobedient subjects; in short, Francisco
di Castro at first avoided all discussion concerning
the Jesuits, and at length set himself in direct op-
position to the steps taken by the French in their

This phenomenon, though originating in the
situation of things, was so striking, that the pope
himself was startled by it, and suspecting that it
proceeded from some mysterious source, ceased to
press for the restoration of the jesuitsf .

This resolution, however, must have cost him
dear. For an insignificant law or two, he had
seemed prepared to set the world in commotion ;
he now acquiesced in the perpetual exile of his
faithful adherents from a catholic, an Italian terri-

The republic, on the other hand, consented to
deliver up the two priests who had been impri-

She however claimed the right to enter a protest,

* Francesco Priuli, Relatione di Spagna : " Sentendo (i Spa-
gnuoli) che Franciosi insistevano nell' introduzione de' Gesuiti,
scrissero a Roma et a Venezia che non trattassero di cio, dando
ragione alia republica di non voler capitolare con gente suddita
che I'aveva si gravemente oflfesa."

t Francesco Priuli : " Venuto 1' avviso dell' intiero accomoda-
mento, desisterono dalprocurare che si trattasse di loro con la S*^
v., non solo per non aver voluto parlar di loro, maper essersi attra-
versati alii gagliardi ufficj di Francesi : che fece dubitare il j^apa
di qualche recondlto mistero, e non vi volse insistere con che esei
non sapevano che dire."

J Ger. Priuli: " Peso molto a S. S*^ questa cosa de' Gesuiti,
non per loro ma per la sua propria riputatione."


of which the pope absolutely refused to hear any-
thing. The expedient on which the parties at
length determined is very curious*. The secretary
of the Venetian senate led the prisoners into the
palace of the French ambassador and delivered them
up to him, " out of consideration," said he, " for his
Most Christian Majesty, and with the previous re-
servation that the rights of the republic to judge
her own clergy shall not be in any degree infringed
or diminished by this act."

" So I receive them," said the ambassador; and
led them to the cardinal, who was walking up and
down in a loggia. " These are the prisoners," said
he, " who are to be delivered up to the pope:"
— without the smallest allusion to the reservation.
The cardinal, without adding a word, then gave
them in charge to the papal commissary, who re-
ceived them, making a sign of the cross.

It is evident how far the hostile parties were as
yet from anything like a good understanding. Their
only object was to make a show of reconcihation ;
and to efiect this, it was still necessary that the
pope should revoke the censures and grant absolu-

But even on these points the Venetians had ob-
jections to ofler ; they persisted in maintaining that
the censures had been null and void in se, and had

* Joyeuse thus mentions it as a condition : " che levandosi le
censure siano consignati li due prigioni a chi li riceve in nome di
S. Santita, li quali, se bene S. Serenita (Venice) dice di darli in
gratificatione di S. M. Chr"^^ si dovessero consignare senza dir


never touched them, and that consequently they
stood in no need of absolution. Joyeuse declared to
them that he could not alter the forms of the church.
At length it was agreed that the absolution should
not be pronounced with the customary publicity ;
Joyeuse presented himself in the Collegium, and
pronounced it as it were privatim. The Venetians
have always imagined that they had thus got off
entirely without absolution, nor indeed was it
granted in all its forms * ; but granted it unques-
tionably was.

It is evident that, on the whole, the disputed
points were not settled so entirely in favour of the
Venetians as is generally affirmed.

The laws of which the pope complained were
suspended ; the priests whom he demanded were
delivered up to him ; even the absolution was, in
fact, accepted. Yet all these points were carried
under the most extraordinary qualifications. The
Venetians proceeded, as in an affair of honour,
with the most anxious sohcitude about their repu-
tation, and surrounded every concession with as
many reservations as possible. The pope, on the
other hand, was at a disadvantage, inasmuch as he
was constrained to make a more obvious and less
. honourable concession than those he obtained, and
one which excited the notice of the whole world.

From that time the relations between Rome and

* Daru, at the end of his 29th book, gives Joyeuse's letter,
which is unquestionably the only thing of importance he brings
forward in reference to this affair; but he makes some objections
to it which appear to me very untenable.


Venice fell, at least to appearance, into the old
track. On receiving the first ambassador from
Venice, Paul exclaimed that old things were put
away, — that all was new; he sometimes complained
that Venice would not forget what he had for-
gotten, and showed a temper as mild and indul-
gent as any of his predecessors*.

But the only real result was. that fresh dissen-
sions were avoided ; the latent discords still sub-
sisted, nor indeed was it possible for genuine con-
fidence to be so easily restored.


In a similar, that is to say, in as imperfect a
manner, was the dispute between the Jesuits and
the dominicans terminated.

Clement died, as we have seen, before he had
pronounced judgement. Paul V., who entered upon
the affair with all the zeal which distinguished the
early part of his administration, (as a proof of
which we find that between September 1605 and
February 1606, no less than seventeen meetings
were held in his presence) was not less inclined to
the old system, of which the dominican party were
the representatives, than his predecessors. In Oc-
tober and November, 1606, assemblies were even

* Relatione di Mocenigo, 1612. The pope declared, " che
conveniva per servitio d' Italia che fosse sempre buona intelli-
genza fra quella sede e questa republica."


held for the purpose of settUng the form in which
condemnation was to be pronounced on the Jesuit-
ical doctrines, and the dominicans thought the vic-
tory was ah'eady in their hands*.

It was just at this time that the disputes with
Venice had been adjusted in the manner wliich we
have related above ; the Jesuits had given a proof of
attachment to the see of Rome far exceeding any
exhibited by the other orders, and for this Venice
made them suffer.

Under these circumstances it would have ap-
peared an act of cruelty on the part of the Roman
see to visit these its most faithful servants with a
decree of condemnation. Accordingly, when all
was prepared for its publication, the pope paused.
For a while he allowed the affair to rest ; at length,
on the 29th of August, 1607, he issued a declaration
by which Disputatores and Consultores were dis-
missed to their several homes ; the decision was to
be made known in due time ; meanwhile it was
his holiness's most earnest desire that neither party
should censure or reproach the other f.

In this manner the Jesuits had a compensation
for the loss they had sustained in Venice. It was
a great gain for them that their controverted doc-
trines, although not confirmed, were not rejected.

* Serry, Historia congregationum de auxiliis, p. 562 and fur-
ther, gives the documents relating to the matter. " Gratite vic-
trici," he says himself, "jam canebatur ' Jo triumphe.'"

t Coronelli, secretary to the congregations, in Serry, p. 589 :
" Tra tanto ha ordinato (S. S^) molto seriamente che nel trat-
tare di queste materie nessuno ardisca di qualificare e censurare
I'altra parte."


They even boasted of victory. With the prejudice
of orthodoxy in their favour, they once more pur-
sued, with persevering zeal, that doctrinal path
upon which they had entered.

The only question now was, whether they would
also succeed in perfectly appeasing their internal

The society was still in a state of the most vio-
lent fermentation. The changes in its constitution
proved to be inadequate, and the Spanish opposi-
tion, with a view to its own ends, was unwearied in
its endeavours to get rid of Aquaviva, At length
the procurators of all the provinces declared a ge-
neral congregation to be necessary — a measure
never attempted before; in the year 1607 they met,
and radical and sweeping changes Vv^ere once more

We have frequently remarked the close connex^
ion which subsisted between the society and France,
and the favour which Henry IV. had shown it.
He even took an interest in the internal divisions
of the order, and was a warm partisan of Aquaviva.
In a letter written with that express object, he not
only assured him of his good-will, but also gave the
congregation to understand his wish that no alter-
ation should be attempted in the constitution of
the society*.

Aquaviva knew how to make excellent use of so
powerful a protector.

* Literse christianisslmi regis ad congregatos patres, iv. Kal.
Dec. 1607, in Juvencius, v. ii. lib, ix. n. 108 : " Vosque horta-
mur ad retinendam instituti vestri integritatem et splendorem."


The opposition he had to encounter had its seat
chiefly in the provincial congregations. He now
passed a law, in virtue of which, first, no proposi-
tion should be regarded as agreed to in a provincial

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