Italy, The Catholic Church in
ITALY, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN
Located in southern Europe, the Italian Republic is a peninsular region, bordered on the north by Switzerland and Austria, on the northeast by Slovakia, on the east by the Adriatic Sea, on the south by the Ionian Sea, on the west by the Mediterranean Sea and on the northwest by France. Several islands, among them Sicily, Sardinia, Elba, Capri and Ischia, are scattered along its long coast. The region is traversed by the Apennines mountain range, and mountains also form its northern boundaries. Moving southward from greater Europe, the mountains level to a great plain cut by the Po River as well as several large lakes. The southern part of the country is hot and dry, while an alpine climate characterizes the far north. Natural resources include mercury, marble, some natural gas and petroleum and coal; agricultural products consist of fruits, vegetables, grapes, potatoes, sugar beets, soybeans, grains and olives.
The area that comprises the modern state of Italy never formed a political unit during the first 15 centuries of Christianity, and for many centuries the region was ruled by petty states. Napoleon formed the Kingdom of Italy in 1805, and by 1870 the region had attained its modern political boundaries. Following World War I, the fascist leader Benito Mussolini seized control, and the region entered World War II as an ally of Germany. In 1946 it became a republic, and joined NATO as a charter member in 1949. Italy has been a major force in the political and economic unification of Europe as part of the European Economic Community (EEC) and adopted the euro in 1999. Northern Italy is more industrialized, and hence more affluent, than the agricultural south, which is troubled by organized crime, corruption and unemployment, which reached 20 percent by 2000.
The following essay is divided into three parts: the beginnings of Christianity to 1500, from 1500 to 1789 and from 1789 to the present.
EARLY HISTORY TO 1500
Christianity penetrated Italy soon after the death of Christ. A Christian community existed in Rome before the middle of the 1st century and served as the principal center for the dissemination of the new faith in Italy under the roman empire. Christianity faced greater obstacles in Italy than in lands to the east, for in the West both the government and the aristocracy, wedded to the state religion as part of the Roman way of life, regarded it as a debased superstition. The rural classes clung to local cults, some of which would survive as late as the 6th century, and the Oriental mystery religions rivaled Christianity in attractive power among those who sought spiritual salvation.
The primary area of diffusion for Christianity during the first two centuries was central and southern Italy, where it was irradiated from Rome and from other towns that had Eastern connections and contained Greek, Jewish or Syrian colonies. In Rome itself the Christian Church was for several generations an immigrant church, composed largely of people from the Greek-speaking Levant. In fact, Greek was the official language of the Church in Rome until the end of the 2d century, when Latin members gained predominance and the Latin language replaced Greek [see latin (in the church)]. While by 250 the Roman community probably exceeded 25,000 members, outside the city Christian communities were small. In northern Italy, as distinguished from peninsular Italy, Christianity spread much more slowly.
During the first two centuries Italian Christians encountered sporadic attacks from hostile Jews and pagans, but the Roman government was generally tolerant. The
earliest known persecution by the government—in Rome after the great fire in 64—was only temporary. From that time on the profession of Christianity was a criminal offense, the definition and prosecution of which was left to the magistrates. Not until the 3d century were persecutions instituted by the emperors. Then in the throes of a military crisis, the government tried to rally its subjects by demanding loyalty tests in the form of general sacrifices
to the gods on behalf of the emperor. The refusal of Christians to comply led to a succession of empire-wide persecutions, the most violent being those under Emperors decius (250–251), valerian (257–259) and diocletian (303–304). The Roman Church, as the leading Christian community in the West, suffered severely; a list of martyrs from the 5th century records 275 martyrs for peninsular Italy and the islands (Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica) and 30 for northern Italy. The failure of Diocletian's persecution prompted Emperor galerius to issue an edict of toleration in 311. The more inclusive policy of toleration agreed upon by Emperor constantine i and Licinius at Milan in 312 and generalized throughout the empire in 313 established the Peace of the Church [see milan, edict (agreement) of]. Christianity now entered upon a period of rapid growth.
Creation of the Diocese . By the end of the 2d century the main outlines of episcopal diocesan organization in peninsular Italy had been clearly drawn, although in the north only three dioceses—Milan, aquileia and ravenna—have been dated before 314, although others
such as Parenzo (modern Poreč, Yugoslavia), Verona and Brescia may also have originated earlier. Because the northern bishoprics were much larger than those of central and southern Italy, when Italy's diocesan organization had been largely mapped out, c. 600, there were only 53 bishoprics in the entire north as contrasted with at least 197 in the south and center. The bishop of Rome was the metropolitan for peninsular Italy, but three metropolitan jurisdictions had been established in the north by the 5th century: Milan for Liguria, Aquileia for Venetia and Istria, and Ravenna for Emilia.
In accordance with ancient custom, Italian bishops were elected by the clergy and people of their dioceses, the rank and file of the laity participating through accla mation. In the disorders caused by the decay of the em pire in the West and the influx of the Barbarian Nations, the bishops assumed a position of leadership in their re gion. They protected people against the barbarians, organized public services to aid the poor and helped ransom captives. Many public functions passed into their hands, and in 554 the Pragmatic Sanction issued by Emperor justinian
i legalized the governmental functions that the Italian bishops had assumed.
Italy's ecclesiastical organization was finished by the 8th century. With rural parishes now in existence, Christianity ceased to be primarily a city religion. The first parishes formed part of a closely regulated hierarchical structure subject to the bishops as their founders.
The Early Middle Ages: 500–1000 . The main challenge of the medieval Church was to incorporate barbarian immigrants into the existing Church structure. The establishment of Germanic kingdoms in Italy during the 5th and 6th centuries created a heretical Arian church (see arianism) alongside the older Catholic organization. Arian Ostrogoth king theodoric the great (493–526) regarded his rule as a continuation of the Roman Empire; he allowed the existing Catholic establishment to remain, thus causing a belated flowering of Romano-Christian literature through such Christian scholars as boethius, cassiodorus and ennodius of Pavia. Under his successors the Gothic power in Italy was destroyed by Emperor Justinian in a long and devastating war (535–554). This Byzantine restoration proved ephemeral, however, for in 568 Italy was invaded by the Germanic lombards. Recent converts to Arianism, the Lombards treated Italians and their clergy harshly, destroying or exiling much of the Catholic hierarchy. They established a kingdom in northern Italy with its capital at Pavia, to which were connected the Lombard duchies of Spoleto and Benevento. The Duchy of Rome, including part of Tuscany and the Exarchate of Ravenna, together with the Duchy of Naples, the extreme south and Sicily, remained Byzantine.
Relations between the papacy and the Lombards improved under Lombard Queen Theudelinda. An anti-Catholic reaction followed, but in the course of the 7th century both the monarchy and people embraced Catholicism. Even after conversion the Lombard kings did not collaborate closely with the Church, nor did they include churchmen in their government. Furthermore, faced by the possibility of another Byzantine reconquest, the Lombards continually encroached upon the Exarchate of Ravenna and threatened Rome. The Byzantine government, absorbed in problems in the East, did not furnish adequate military protection, making the papacy under Gregory I and his successors the effective leaders of the Italo-Romans against any extension of Lombard power into the south.
The 8th century witnessed the culmination of longstanding tensions between the papacy and the Byzantine emperors (see byzantine church), regarded as "Caesaropapists" who claimed the right to ratify papal elections and to intervene in doctrinal matters. Emperor Justinian had compelled Pope vigilius to sanction the condemnation of the three chapters by the fifth ecumenical council, constantinople ii (553), thus precipitating a schism in Italy, where the measure was deemed heretical. Emperors heraclius in 638 and constans ii in 648 supported the heresy of monothelitism and Constans arrested and exiled Pope martin i to the Crimea when he condemned the imperial decree typos. The Isaurian emperors of the 8th century espoused iconoclasm, driving thousands of Greek monks to southern Italy and Rome. Popes gregory ii (715–731) and gregory iii (731–741) opposed the iconoclastic decrees of Emperor leo iii, who retaliated by confiscating papal estates in Calabria and Sicily. When Gregory III called a synod in Rome (731) that excluded image-breakers from the Church, he was supported by the people of central Italy.
The crisis came in 751, when Lombard King Aistulf captured Ravenna and threatened the Duchy of Rome. Byzantine military power in central Italy collapsed, and without protection against the Lombards the papacy turned to the rising power of the franks in the north. In 754 Pope stephen ii crossed the Alps and made a personal appeal to Frankish King pepin iii the Short, conferring upon him and his sons the title of patricius romanorum, which carried the responsibility of defending Rome. In campaigns in 754–755 and 756 Pepin regained the territory of the exarchate, which he conferred upon the papacy, thus creating the states of the church.
The Franco-papal alliance was consummated in the reign of Pepin's son charlemagne. In 774 he intervened
in Italy on an appeal from Pope adrian i (772–795) against Lombard King desiderius. Defeating and dethroning Desiderius, Charlemagne conquered the Lombard kingdom and assumed the title of King of the Lombards, bestowing it upon his infant son in 781. His coronation as Roman emperor by Pope leo iii in 800 gave a firm basis to Carolingian protection of the Church and at the same time permanently liberated the papacy from Byzantine control. For the next five centuries the destinies of Italy were bound up with the Carolingian kings and their successors in Germany.
Carolingian Italy . The Frankish semitheocratic conception of royal power was now transplanted to Italy, where it transformed Church-State relations. The assembly at Pavia came to include bishops as well as lay magnates. The royal right to confirm any episcopal election in the Lombard kingdom was established, together with the principle that a bishopric was in part a royal office involving obligations to the State, and that the bishop-elect must be the king's faithful servitor (fidelis ). By the Roman edict of 824, lothair i, co-emperor with Louis I the Pious, affirmed the right of the emperor to confirm papal elections as well.
Various Frankish reforms were also introduced by the Carolingians, such as the civil enforcement of ecclesiastical tithes and their assignment to the parish churches. Some Italian bishops voluntarily adopted for their cathedral clergy the communal life that chrodegang of metz had designed for his episcopal family and that had become the norm in Frankish cathedrals. A general capitulary issued by Louis the Pious in 817 made the Benedictine Rule binding upon all monasteries in his empire and demanded the observance of the vita canonica by all cathedral chapters.
Although by no means fruitless, these reforms would be largely negated by the growth of feudalism, which together with a new wave of invasions contributed to the
collapse of the empire after 850. Many bishoprics and abbeys benefited from royal grants of immunity, which freed them from the authority of local state officials and in their more positive form granted the churches judicial and taxing powers over their tenants and serfs. During the course of the 9th century the more destructive aspects of feudalism became visible. Bishops acquired bodies of vassals in order to fulfill their obligations to the State, and carved benefices for these vassals out of church property. By the close of the century even parish churches and tithes were being infeudated in this manner.
The Kingdom of Italy: 889–962 . Family feuds and internecine wars caused the demise of the Carolingian Empire. In 888, following the deposition of Emperor Charles III the Fat, Italy was detached from the empire and formed a separate kingdom, but it was a kingdom devoid of national character. The large number of Frankish and Alemannian soldiers and officials who had immigrated to Italy during the 9th century had often been appointed counts, and some of them had become founders of principalities in Italy. The struggles of the kings of Italy from 889 to 962 were mere contests for personal power. Furthermore, the region's growing anarchy was intensified by Muslim and Hungarian invasions. Saracens conquered Sicily in the 9th century, and southern Italy was also threatened. A Saracen attack on the suburbs of Rome in 843 later prompted Pope leo iv to build the Leonine Wall, and under his leadership the maritime towns of Naples, Gaeta and Amalfi combined their navies and inflicted a crushing defeat on the Saracens off Ostia (849). Emperor Louis II (d. 875) devoted his life to campaigning against the Saracens in the south. The Hungarian invasions (c. 899–950), reaching as far south as Otranto, were equally devastating. Without a central government capable of defending the country, Italy became increasingly fragmented and feudalized as bishops and abbots as well as lay magnates built castles or strengthened existing walls.
By the end of the 9th century the papacy had become an almost purely local institution, the tool of Roman factions who dominated the elections (see crescentii; tusculani). Attempts on the part of individual popes to secure foreign protection or to carry out needed reforms produced no lasting results, and the north Italian episcopate was increasingly immersed in political struggles. As royal nominees, the bishops were in effect assimilated to the status of royal vassals, although a few prelates, such as ratherius of Verona and atto of Vercelli, still demanded the enforcement of canonical rules.
The Ottonian Period: German Intervention and Rule . The intervention of German King otto i (936–973) in Italian politics and his assumption of the Lombard crown in 951 after defeating King Berengar II meant that there was once again a strong Germanic power in Italy. In 962 Otto intervened in Rome to protect Pope john xii against the continued encroachments of Berengar and was crowned Roman emperor by the pope, thus reviving the empire of Charlemagne and establishing the personal union between Germany and Italy later known as the holy roman empire.
Under Otto I, Italy was annexed to the German monarchy. The Ottonian (or Saxon) emperors used the Church as their principal instrument of government. Royal control of episcopal elections, already practiced in northern Italy, was now extended to the Romano-Ravennate territory. Otto forced Roman electors to recognize his right of approval and to choose two successive popes of his designation. He regularly nominated aristocratic bishops to Italian sees; some he made counts as well, thus conveying to them full political as well as spiritual authority over their cities and districts; from all he demanded the customary feudal services, including the furnishing of military contingents to his army. Similar measures were applied to the great Benedictine abbeys.
The reign of Emperor otto ii (973–983) witnessed the growing power of the lesser feudatories (secundi milites or vavasors), many of whom were Church vassals. The emperor's efforts were devoted to resisting the Saracens, who defeated him at Cortona in 982.
The spiritual climate changed radically under Emperor otto iii (983–1002). Influenced by Byzantine ideas, Otto wished to make Rome the capital of a Christian Roman Empire, a universal state ruled by an emperor who as "servant of the apostles" exercised priestly functions. Otto's ideals were shared and probably in part inspired by his teacher Gerbert of Aurillac, successively abbot of Bobbio, archbishop of Ravenna, and finally pope sylvester ii (999–1003). Otto was aided also by leo of Vercelli, who received from him a strategic bishopric in northern Italy. Practical statesmen, these men realized that their goals could be realized only through German power and Church personnel. Unlike his predecessors, Otto appointed German bishops to Italian sees. In granting central Italian territory to the pope, he reserved rights
assuring a firm line of military communication between Ravenna and Rome. He supported the pope in the program of practical Church reform suggested by Gerbert's experience at Bobbio. An imperial edict of 998 limited all leases of church property to the lifetime of the conceding bishop or abbot, thus striking a blow at the secundi milites. Otto's premature death was followed by an uprising of the secundi milites under Arduin of Ivrea, who briefly held the crown of Italy before being defeated by Emperor henry ii of Germany with the help of Leo of Vercelli, a loyal "bishop of the empire." The last of the Saxon emperors, Henry presided in 1022 at a reforming council at Pavia that condemned marriage of the clergy (see celibacy, clerical history of).
Revolution and the Cluniac Reform: 1000–1300 . The middle centuries of the medieval period witnessed a religious revolution that began in the monasteries but was soon communicated to all classes of society. The cluniac reform movement gained ground late in the 10th century, and many monasteries came under its influence. But the strongest impulsion to reform came from Italian eremitical monasticism, represented by the three very different figures of romuald from Ravenna, john gualbert and peter damian. Romuald founded groups of hermit communities at camaldoli and elsewhere, from which he preached against the abuse of simony. John Gualbert (d. 1073), while a young monk at San Miniato, went into the streets of Florence to incite the people against simoniac churchmen, and after becoming abbot of vallombrosa in 1039 he mobilized his monks to campaign throughout Tuscany against simony and clerical concubinage. The noblest representative of monastic reform was Peter Damian (1007–72), who taught that the monastic ideal should be the model for all Christians and urged the secular clergy also to adopt the common life (vita communis ). This early phase of the reforming movement, stressing the moral regeneration of the clergy, was favored by the second Franconian emperor,
or, henry iii (1039–56), under whom imperial power over the papacy reached its height. Between 1046 and 1054, when he set aside three rival popes, Henry designated four German popes, of whom the third in succession, leo ix (1048–1054), assumed the leadership of the reform movement.
The 1054 marriage of Beatrice of Tuscany with Duke Godfrey of Lorraine created a strong power in central Italy that supported the reforming cause via Florence. The Lotharingian bishop of Florence was elected by the reformers in 1058 and installed in Rome by Godfrey of Lorraine as Pope nicholas ii (1058–61). The Roman synod held by Nicholas in 1059 called for the moral reformation of the clergy, condemned simony, and, by a significant innovation set forth in the papal election decree (1059), vested control of papal elections in the cardinals with only a vague reference to the right of the young Henry IV.
The influence Hildebrand exercised even before he became pope was especially evident from 1057 to 1059. Northern resentment against the clergy had by then erupted into violence, particularly in the Lombard towns. In Milan in 1057 Hildebrand gave encouragement and support to the leaders of the patarines, a revolutionary religious group that demanded "free elections" of bishops and repudiated the married clergy. The wrath of the pattari (ragpickers, peddlers) was directed against the upper clergy of Milan, connected by marriage and economic interests with the lay aristocracy. In 1059 the archbishop of Milan was forced to submit to the papal legate and accept the decrees of the Roman synod.
When Hildebrand became pope as gregory vii (1073–85), measures were taken against the married clergy, but the focus of the gregorian reform was on lay investiture. Prohibited by a Roman synodal decree of 1075, lay investiture had come to represent the close symbiosis of Church and State that had destroyed the autonomy of the Church and caused the moral evils by which she was afflicted. Emperor henry iv's defiance of the decree of 1075, his insistence upon appointing his own candidate to the See of Milan and the candidate being invested with the ring and the staff precipitated the investiture struggle, which divided Italy for half a century. The Concordat of worms (1122) ended the investiture struggle by providing that the consecration of a newly elected bishop or abbot must precede his investiture with temporalities by the emperor. A victory for the Church through its reestablishment of the principle of canonical election, this was in reality a victory for the towns which had bargained with the contending parties in order to establish their own independence under elected consuls.
Southern Italy and Sicily: The Norman Kingdom . The south did not form part of the Carolingian Empire and therefore pursued an entirely different course of development from that of northern and central Italy. Disputed in the early Middle Ages between Lombards and Byzantines, ravaged by Saracen invasions and raids, the south had become a political vacuum that was conquered by Norman adventurers in the 11th century. Relations between the normans and the papacy were at first hostile, but Pope Nicholas II recognized the Norman conquest as an accomplished fact and conceded Apulia, Calabria and Sicily as a fief to the Norman freebooter robert guiscard in 1059. Robert rescued Gregory VII when Henry IV captured Rome in 1081, and Gregory died in exile at Salerno in the Norman kingdom. In 1091 Count roger of Sicily, Guiscard's brother, completed the 30-year conquest of sicily from the Muslims and in 1098 he received from Pope urban ii a hereditary papal legateship over Sicily, later called the monarchia sicula, which gave him control over the religious establishment of the island. The Norman rulers favored the introduction of Latin monasticism into their dominions as a means of consolidating their power. While the Greek rite and Muslim religious practices were tolerated, most members of these groups gradually passed over to the Latin rite. The Norman monarchy attained its height under King Roger II of Sicily (1130–54), under whom Sicily and the mainland of southern Italy were united.
The Hohenstaufen Emperors . During the investiture struggle many imperial rights (regalia) had been taken over by the emergent communes in Italy. Hohenstaufen Emperor frederick i barbarossa (1152–90) determined to make imperial power preeminent in Italy. At the same time his exalted conception of his position involved him in a series of ideological conflicts with the papacy. Attempting to force his direct administration upon the north Italian communes, he met the military resistance
of the lombard league in alliance with Pope alexander iii. In the fifth of six campaigns in Italy, Frederick was defeated by the League at Legnano (1176). Reconciled with the pope at Venice a year later, he concluded the Peace of Constance (1183), conceeding the communes de facto self-government but reserving extensive rights of overlordship. The marriage of his son and successor, Emperor henry vi (1190–97), with Constance of Sicily and his assumption of the Norman crown at Palermo (1194) created a Hohenstaufen empire in Italy that encircled the Papal States and again threatened the communes. A new crisis was averted only by Henry's death and the division of his empire between his brother, Philip of Swabia, and his infant son by Constance, Emperor frederick ii (1212–50), who ruled over only the Regno (southern Italy and Sicily) until his coronation as emperor in 1220.
In the papacy-empire conflict both sides drew ideological support from a revival of legal studies that was centered at the University of bologna. In the 12th century the renewed study of canon law succeeded in translating papal authority into legal terms. The Gregorian reformers had initially promoted such study, and c. 1140 at Bologna the Camaldolese monk Gratian published his magisterial Decretum (see gratian, decretum of), which succeeded in placing canon law on a scientific basis. After 1150 the principles of the Decretum were applied and expanded by a succession of canonist popes, including Alexander III and innocent iii. By Innocent's time the structure of the Church had become monarchical and bureaucratic, operating through a staff of trained lawyers
in the papal curia. Meanwhile, on the imperial side there was a similar but slower development. In 1158, for example, at the Diet of Roncaglia, Frederick I appealed to Bolognese experts in civil or Roman law to define the regalia. In 1224 Frederick II founded the University of Naples for the special purpose of providing himself with lawyers, and he consciously imitated the Code of Justinian in his Constitutions of Melfi, which he promulgated in 1231 as a code of law for the Regno.
Under Frederick II the triangular struggle between papacy, Hohenstaufens and communes was renewed with unprecedented bitterness (see guelfs and ghibellines). After establishing a bureaucratic secular state in the Regno, Frederick directed his activities toward two goals: the unification of Italy and its reentrance into the Holy Roman Empire. To achieve this policy he would have to crush the northern communes and reannex the Papal States. He defeated the army of the Lombard League at Cortenuova in 1237, though resistance continued, led by popes gregory ix (1227–41) and innocent iv (1243–54). Innocent excommunicated and deposed Frederick at the Council of lyons i (1245) and finally proclaimed a crusade against him. Frederick's fortunes subsequently crumbled, but the outcome of the struggle was still in doubt at his death in 1250.
The struggle continued against Frederick's heirs in Italy, namely Conrad IV, who died prematurely in 1254 and Manfred, who ruled as regent in southern Italy and from 1258 as king of Sicily and Naples. In 1263 the French Pope urban iv offered the crown of the Regno to the French Prince Charles of Anjou. Charles's army defeated and killed Manfred at Benevento (1266), and Charles established Angevin rule in Naples and Sicily, also receiving the title of imperial vicar in Tuscany, from Pope Clement IV. The support given by several popes to the Angevin domination aroused suspicion among the other powers of Europe, and the expulsion of the French from Sicily in 1282 by the popular uprising known as the Sicilian Vespers was a mortal blow to papal prestige.
The terms "Guelfs" and "Ghibellines" originated in the course of these struggles between the popes and Hohenstaufens to describe the adherents of papacy and empire, respectively. However, without entirely losing their original significance, these names soon tended to become masks for the internal conflicts of the communes and petty despots who were now the real powers in Italy.
The Communes and the Church . In the era of the Crusades (c. 1100–1300) the Italian maritime republics of Venice, Genoa and Pisa and the great inland cities of Lombardy and Tuscany were at the forefront of economic advances taking place in western Europe. The expansion of trade and industry was most marked in the larger centers, but it affected all Italy to some extent, leading to a more diversified social structure and conflicts of interest among the various groups.
During most of the 12th century the communes were governed by oligarchies composed of landowners and more prosperous merchants with the communal governments quietly absorbing most of the political powers formerly exercised by the bishops. Toward the end of the century guilds of artisans and small merchants began to gain power, and during the 13th century a federation of guilds and other local groups took over the government in many towns. In this period of middle-class rule there were open conflicts between Church and State (represented by the communes) caused by the efforts of the communal governments to curtail or abolish clerical privileges and immunities and to subject the clergy to municipal taxation and the jurisdiction of the municipal courts. The wealth and the worldly lives of the cathedral clergy were constant targets of criticism. The outbursts of anti-clericalism that manifested themselves during these jurisdictional struggles were nourished by the religious unrest that flourished especially among the poorer classes of the population.
Heresy and Evangelical Movements . Heresy began to spread in Italy in the 11th century. About 1030 Monforte in Piedmont is known to have harbored an organized community of cathari, which was forcibly repressed by the local authorities. Temporarily extinguished, or perhaps absorbed by the patarines, Catharism revived after 1150, and a Catharistic church was organized in the north with branches in many Lombard towns (including Milan, Brescia, Verona and Vicenza) and in Florence. Moreover, Catharism was only one stream in a proliferation of heresies, e.g., the followers of arnold of Brescia, the waldenses and the Poor Men of Lombardy, all difficult to distinguish clearly because the name "Patarene" (Patarinus, originally meaning a member of the Patarines) was often applied indiscriminately to any heretic. In 1184 Pope lucius iii and Frederick Barbarossa published an edict at Verona establishing an inquisition against Italian heretics, but it failed to accomplish its purpose. Cathari were widespread and held municipal offices in some towns. In 1215 Milan was known to be a "sink of heretics," and in 1250 there were still six Catharistic churches in Verona.
Side by side with the heresies, various evangelical movements arose, their followers drawing inspiration from the apostolic age of the Church and exalting poverty as a Christian ideal. This poverty movement drew most of its adherents from the poorer urban classes, such as the wool workers of Lombardy who formed a sect called the humiliati whose members accepted and idealized poverty as an ennobling virtue. The cult of poverty, central to such extremist movements, may have been, in part, a protest by the urban poor against a rudimentary capitalism, but in the spiritual climate of the 12th century the religious motive of the movement must be considered to have been the dominant one.
Monasticism and the Mendicant Orders . In the 4th century, monasticism entered Italy from the East (see monasticism, 1). The ascetic life was preached and practiced in Rome by athanasius (c. 340) and by jerome (c. 375–385). Both ambrose (d. 397) and eusebius of vercelli (d. 371) lent their support to monastic institutions. But the most decisive influence came from St. benedict (d. 543), first at subiaco and later at monte cassino, where he formulated the famous rule for a monastic community for his disciples (c. 529–534). The ben edictine rule provided a model not only for the spiritual life but also for the economic organization of all the great Benedictine monasteries [farfa, nonantola, Novalesa, la cava (Saints Trinità) and others] that were founded in Italy after the 7th century. In Apulia c. 540 cassiodo rus founded two monasteries at Vivarium, where Roman classical culture was fused with the monastic life. gregory i the Great, a disciple of Benedict, founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estates (c. 576) and another in Rome on the Caelian, from which he was drawn by
popular acclamation to become pope (590). A little later, the Irish monk columban, in flight from Gaul, was received in Italy by the Lombard King Agilulf, an Arian, and his Catholic wife, Theudelinda, and in 614 established the Abbey of bobbio in the Apennines. Sometimes called the Monte Cassino of the north, Bobbio was a center for the evangelization of northwestern Italy. Like other Celtic monasteries it soon adopted the Benedictine Rule.
By the Middle Ages, traditional monasticism could no longer provide leadership for the spiritual crisis facing the urban communities. The newly founded cistercians began to expand throughout Italy after 1120, but their basic ideal called for withdrawal from society. The most influential of the Cistercians was the Calabrian Abbot jo achim of Fiore (d. 1202), who prophesied the coming of a new age to be heralded by the arrival of mendicant monks.
The ascetic spirit of monasticism was transformed and given social direction by the mendicant orders, the Franciscans and Dominicans, early in the 13th century. The dominicans, or Preaching Friars, recognized by Pope Innocent III in 1206, established their headquarters in Bologna, but the decisive influence lay with the fran ciscans. francis of assisi (1182–1226) and his Friars
Minor were the bearers of a spiritual revolution that had far-reaching effects on Italian civilization. The Franciscan ideal incorporated the spiritual aspirations of the earlier evangelical movements—the appealing concept of the apostolic life and the cult of poverty—but with the imprint of Francis's creative personality. The early Franciscans were a highly mobile group, replacing the hermit preachers and the wandering evangelists and addressing their message to town-dwellers. Their success was immediate and overwhelming; they filled the gap between the secular clergy and the people and guided back to the Church many who would have drifted into heresy. The controversy over the holding of property by the order, which divided the Franciscans into Conventual francis cans and franciscan spirituals, and the emergence of the dissident heretical fraticelli, active chiefly in southern Italy, disrupted the unity of the order but did not really prevent the Franciscans from fulfilling their mission. By 1250 heresy in Italy had begun to diminish. Less than 100 years later it had become virtually extinct. The Franciscans, furthermore, brought a more personal religion to many who had never known it before, and through the Tertiaries, or Third Order, permitted laymen to share their ideal.
The Later Middle Ages: 1300–1500 . The years coinciding with the lifetime of dante alighieri (1265–1321) constituted the close of the Middle Ages as a distinct cultural epoch. In the next two centuries medieval ideas and institutions merged imperceptibly with those of the Italian Renaissance.
After 1300 northern and central Italy still formed part of the Holy Roman Empire, but except for the futile expedition of Emperor henry vii (1310–13), the emperors made no attempt to assert effective control. In the south Pope boniface viii and Charles II of Anjou finally ended the 20-year war of the Sicilian Vespers in 1302, by recognizing a prince of the house of Aragon as ruler of Sicily. The Guelf-Ghibelline wars raging in northern Italy after the death of Emperor Frederick II had favored the rise of military leaders who seized every opportunity to establish themselves as city tyrants (signori ). In the 14th century the more ruthless of these tyrants expanded their states through consolidation and conquest. Of the dozen or more principalities into which Italy was eventually divided, the most important were the Duchy of Milan, the republics of Venice and Florence, the States of the Church and the kingdom of Naples, all of whose shifting alliances and alignments in the 15th century were aimed at maintaining a balance of power.
For the papacy the later Middle Ages was a period of humiliation and division, as its very identification with Rome was broken during the 70-plus years of the avi gnon papacy in France, and its prestige was shattered by the western schism. The long residence of the popes at avignon (1309–78) was due in part to the anarchical conditions that made Rome unsafe and the Papal States almost ungovernable, and the new fiscal system of the Avignon papacy was developed to meet the needs not only of an expensive court but also to restore the pope's authority over the Papal States. Papal taxation came to rest very heavily upon the churches and monasteries, and papal control over the episcopate was tightened by increased use of reservations. Yet the economic condition of the Church in Italy steadily deteriorated. The northern Church had been impoverished by 1500 largely as a result of the passage of its property into the hands of land speculators and tenants whose rents had remained stationary despite general inflation. Nevertheless the great prelates, in true Renaissance style, carried out expensive building and artistic programs.
Historians no longer regard the Italian Renaissance as predominantly pagan and antireligious in character, although these elements certainly did exist within its structure. The 14th century especially was a great age of religion; the plague epidemics at mid-century were followed by a wave of religious feeling among all classes that was vividly reflected in the art of the time. Great religious leaders of the period included the Dominican James Passavanti (d. 1357) of S. Maria Novella in Florence, John dalle Celle of Vallombrosa (d. 1394–1400), john colombini, the founder of a new lay congregation, the jesuati and catherine of siena, a Dominican tertiary. In 1334 Franciscan Spiritual John della Valle founded the
order of the Osservanti, or Observant Franciscans. In the following century antoninus of Florence and bernardine of siena, vicar-general of the Observants, preached to rapt crowds. The savonarola episode is well known. The Florentine humanists of the Medici circle had a form of religion in neoplatonism, by no means incompatible with the Christian tradition. Other noteworthy religious aspects of the Renaissance would include the turbulence of the Western Schism, the union of the Byzantine and Roman Churches temporarily achieved at the Council of florence in 1439, and the reorganization of the Italian benedictines into the Congregation of Santa Giustina of Padua by Pope eugene iv in 1432–35. Furthermore, accounts of the secular activities of the Renaissance popes as rulers of an Italian state, and of their patronage of humanists and artists do not constitute a full history of the Church; coexisting with the secular mood and style of the Renaissance was a profound religious consciousness. But any tendency toward the needed religious reformation in the 15th century was thwarted by the prevailing political disunity and lack of leadership. The French invasion of 1494 plunged Italy into an era of protracted warfare as a battleground for the monarchies of France and Spain. The seat of the most advanced civilization in Europe, Italy entered the modern age without having established her national identity.
Bibliography: g. forchielli, La pieve rurale (Rome 1931). c. e. boyd, Tithes and Parishes in Medieval Italy (Ithaca, NY 1952). Storia di Milano (Milan 1953–) v.1–8. g. penco, Storia del monachesimo in Italia dalle origini alla fine del medio evo (Rome 1961). w. ullmann, The Growth of Papal Government in the Middle Ages (2d ed. New York 1962). g. la piana, Foreign Groups in Rome during the First Centuries of the Empire (Cambridge, MA 1928). f. lanzoni, Le diocesi d'Italia dalle origini dal principio del secolo VII, 2 v. (2d ed. Faenza 1927). s. mochi-onory, Vescovi e città (Bologna 1933). o. bertolini, Roma di fronte a Bisanzio e ai Longobardi (Bologna 1941). t. hodgkin, Italy and Her Invaders, 8 v. in 9 (Oxford 1892–99). c. g. mor, L'età feudale, 2 v. (Milan 1952–53). c. magni, Richerche sopra le elezioni episcopali in Italia durante l'alto medio evo (Rome 1928). Studi gregoriani, ed. g.b. borino (Rome 1947–). c. vÌolante, La pataria milanese e la riforma ecclesiastica (Rome 1955–) v.1 Le premesse, 1054–1057. l. t. white, Latin Monasticism in Norman Sicily (Cambridge, MA 1938). l. salvatorelli, L'Italia comunale (Milan 1940). É. jordan, L'Allemagne et l'Italie aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles (Paris 1939). s. runciman, The Sicilian Vespers (Cambridge, Eng. 1958). É. delaruelle et al., "Movimenti religiosi popolari ed eresie del medioevo," Relazioni del X congresso internazionale di scienze storiche, v.3 (Florence 1955) 307–541. a. dondaine, "La Hiérarchie cathare en Italie," Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, 20 (1950) 234–324. h. grundmann, Religiöse Bewegungen im Mittelalter (2d ed. Hildesheim 1961). e. s. davison, Forerunners of Saint Francis and Other Studies, ed. g. r. b. richards (Boston 1927). a. frugoni, Arnoldo da Brescia nelle fonti del secolo XII (Rome 1954). p. sabatier, Vie de Saint François d'Assise (édition définitive; Paris 1931), Eng. tr. of 1st ed., The Life of Saint Francis of Assisi (New York 1920). gratien de paris (e. badin) Histoire de la fondation et de l'évolution de l'Ordre des Frères Mineurs au XIIIe siècle (Paris 1928). d. l. douie, The Nature and the Effect of the Heresy of the Fraticelli (Manchester, Eng. 1932). e. r. labande, L'Italie de la Renaissance: Duecento, Trecento, Quattrocento: Évolution d'une société (Paris 1954). g. mollat, The Popes at Avignon, 1305–1378, tr. j. love (New York 1963). c. angeleri, Il problema religioso del Rinascimento (Florence 1952). c. cipolla, "Une Crise ignoré. Comment s'est perdue la propriété ecclésiastique dans l'Italie du nord entre le XIe et le XVIe siècle," Annales: Économies, sociétés, civilizations, 2 (1947) 317–327. r. fawtier, Saint Catherine de Sienne (Paris 1921). r. ridolfi, Life of Girolamo Savonarola, tr. c. grayson (New York 1959).
[c. e. boyd]
1500 TO 1789
In the second half of the 15th century Italy was at the height of the renaissance and of her economic and commercial prosperity. While culturally she was exercising a profound influence on all of Western Europe, politically she was on the eve of disaster, and her regions—the major states of Venice, Milan, Florence, the states of the church and the kingdom of Naples, as well as the minor states of Ferrara, Mantua, Modena and Savoy—could hardly be less united. The city-states prided themselves on their individuality and independence, engaged in petty wars and played the dangerous game of balance of power politics, a game that inevitably led to appeals for help to outsiders only too willing to intervene. Even after the first great invasion, the Italian city-states could not perceive that the sun of their independence had set. For several centuries they were to become the victims of the rival political ambitions of powerful French, Spanish and Austrian monarchs.
The French in Italy: 1494–1559 . In 1492 Florence and Naples made a secret alliance to attack Milan. As their intentions gradually became known, Ludovico sforza, Regent of Milan, who was faced with internal opposition to his rule, appealed to Charles VIII, King of France (1483–98). The young French ruler, motivated by a desire to enforce the Angevin claim on Naples, decided against his advisers to aid Ludovico, and he invaded Italy in 1494. Florence at first offered no resistance, then expelled Piero de' medici for his support of the French king. Shortly thereafter, Charles entered Florence and was hailed as savonarola's man sent by God to regenerate Italy. From this time to 1512, Florence was practically a vassal state of France.
Early in 1495 Charles arrived at Rome, where he received permission to pass through papal territory on his march south. Alfonso of Naples could offer no effective opposition, and Charles entered the city on Feb. 22, 1495. The fury of the sacking of those areas that resisted and the redistribution of lands and offices to Frenchmen alienated support for Charles. Revolts broke out even before he was forced to leave Naples to meet the coalition—consisting of Milan, Venice, Emperor Maximilian, Pope alexander vi and Ferdinand V of Aragon, king of Castile—that had been rapidly formed against him. The army of the coalition, under the command of Francesco gon zaga, fought well against Charles at the battle of Fornova (July 6, 1495) and captured his baggage train, but could not cut off his northward march and return to France. Naples recovered its independence, and the French lost practically all that they had won. However, the inclusion of Emperor Maximilian and King Ferdinand of Aragon in the coalition against the French was a clear sign that henceforth outsiders were going to play a decisive role in Italian affairs.
King Louis XII (1498–1515) of the house of Valois pressed the French claim to Milan, and the Venetians promised their support provided that they would get Cremona. Louis invaded Italy and pushed into Milan on Sept. 14, 1499. Regent Ludovico Sforza, who had escaped to Germany, returned the next year with an army of German mercenaries and drove out the French. But his forces disintegrated, the French reentered Milan, and Ludovico spent his remaining years as a prisoner in France.
By the Treaty of Granada (Nov. 11, 1500), Ferdinand of Aragon supported the French claim to Naples with the understanding that the French and Spaniards would divide that kingdom between them. In 1501–02, the allies took over Naples and then fell out over the division of the spoils. Spanish victories over the French at Cerignola in April of 1503 and at Garigliano eight months later were decisive, and the former kingdom of Naples became a Spanish possession. As the Spanish already had Sicily, they now became masters of southern Italy.
In December of 1508 a new coalition, the League of Cambrai, was formed to seize the mainland possessions of Venice. The original coalition of Louis XII and Emperor Maximilian was soon joined by Ferdinand of Aragon and Pope julius ii. Following the defeat of the Venetians at the battle of Agnadello in May 1509, there was a division of Venetian possessions between France and its allies. However, the Venetians soon recovered Padua, and Vicenza revolted against Maximilian. Julius II (1503–13) then decided to abandon the League of Cambrai and join the Venetians with the double purpose of driving the French from Italy and strengthening his own political position in the peninsula. In 1512 Ferdinand of Aragon, King henry viii of England, Emperor Maximilian and the Swiss Confederation all joined the coalition against France, which suffered a heavy defeat at Novara the next year. The peace that followed, however, could hardly be more than temporary.
The new French king, Francis I (1515–47), resolved to invade Italy in force. He formed an alliance with Henry VIII of England and Venice against Emperor Maximilian d. 1519), Pope leo x (1513–21), Ferdinand of Aragon (d. 1516), Milan (under the restored Maximilian Sforza), Florence (under the restored Lorenzo de' Medici) and the Swiss Confederation. The French won a great victory at Marignano in a two-day battle in September 1516 that marked the end of the Swiss venture in Italian politics and also the end of the legend of the invincibility of the Swiss infantry. They recovered Milan, and the peace that followed favored their position in Italy, but again peace was to be of very short duration.
European politics entered a new epoch in 1516 with the accession of Charles I as king of Spain; three years later he became charles v, Holy Roman Emperor, as successor to Emperor Maximilian and heir of the vast hapsburg dominions. It was inevitable that the rivalry between the Valois and Hapsburgs should have an Italian phase—and an important one.
Pope leo x and Henry VIII supported Charles V against Francis I. In 1522 the French lost Milan, Parma, Piacenza and Genoa, but, returning in force in 1524, they recaptured Milan. On Feb. 24, 1525 the Spanish army under the command of Duke Charles de Bourbon (who had entered the Spanish service) and the Marquis de Pescara inflicted an overwhelming defeat on Francis I at Pavia. The French king was captured and taken as a prisoner to Madrid. Despite the Treaty of Madrid (January 1526) in which, among other things, he agreed to abandon all claims to Italy, Francis formed a new coalition, the League of Cognac, against Charles V a few months later. This coalition included Pope clement vii (1523–34), Milan, Venice and Florence. The pope's involvement in the League of Cognac, which failed to have any success, led to the terrible sack of Rome by the Spanish and German mercenaries of Emperor Charles in May of 1527. Clement himself for a time was a virtual prisoner in the castel sant' angelo. By the 1529 Treaty of Barcelona the emperor agreed that the Papal States should be restored to the pope and that the Medici should again rule Florence. Shortly thereafter the Treaty of Cambrai held that France again give up her claims to Italy, Venice had to return her conquests, Francesco Sforza received Milan and Alessandro de' Medici was confirmed as hereditary ruler for life. Charles V was solemnly crowned by the pope as emperor and king of Italy on Feb. 23, 1530.
A French invasion of Italy following the death of Sforza (1535) had very limited success, although the French captured Turin and retained two-thirds of Piedmont. By the Treaty of Crépy in September 1544, however, Piedmont and Savoy were returned to the Duke of Savoy, their traditional ruler. In 1556 Pope paul iv (1555–59), who wished to free Naples from Spanish rule, formed an alliance with King Henry II of France (1547–59), but the French had to withdraw from Italy after their defeat at Saint-Quentin in northern France in August 1557 by the Spanish under Philip II's general, Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy. By the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559), France agreed to give up all possessions in the peninsula except Turin, Saluzzo and Pinerolo. The new significance of Savoy at this time was reflected in the marriage of Duke Emmanuel Philibert to Margaret, the daughter of Francis I, in 1559.
A Disunited Italy: 1559–1701 . By the mid-16th century large areas of Italy were directly under foreign control; states that had enjoyed nominal independence were reduced to a passive role in European politics, their fortunes often determined by battles fought by armies of great foreign powers on battlefields outside of Italy. Italy no longer played a major role in European trade and commerce, although the 18th century would see a resurgence of Italian intellectual life and achievement. The largest state in Italy during this period was that ruled by the popes; of the other states, which were at least nominally independent, the most important were Venice, Genoa and Savoy.
With the loss of most of her Far Eastern trade to the Portuguese, Dutch and English, Venice began a slow but steady decline. While domestically she adopted a policy of peace and neutrality, she continued to fight the otto man turks for her possessions in the eastern Mediterranean. Despite the brave defense of Famagusta on cyprus by Venetian Governor Marcantonio Bragadino, the city surrendered on Aug. 6, 1571, and Cyprus was lost. In violation of the terms of capitulation, Bragadino was flayed alive, his stuffed skin sent as a trophy to Constantinople. Two months later the Venetians had a major share in the great Christian naval victory over the Turks at lepanto. Further naval victories were won against them in the Candian War (1645–69). However, after a long and heroic defense of Candia (Herakleion), Francesco morosini had to surrender both fortress and city, and the whole island of Candia (Crete) was lost. In 1684 Venice joined Austria and Poland in the Holy League against the Turks, and Morosini conquered the Peloponnesus (Morea, 1685–87). The Treaty of Karlowitz (Jan. 26, 1699) allowed Venice to keep the Morea, but the Turks recovered the area in 1716.
The Genoese Republic, likewise in decline, was constantly in fear of losing its independence to Savoy, France or Austria. Florence likewise declined rapidly. Cosimo de' Medici I (1519–74) became duke of Florence in 1537, and with the seizure and incorporation of Siena (1555), grand duke of Tuscany (1569). He was an energetic ruler, but absolutely ruthless and without scruple in attaining his ends—a living example of Machiavelli's Prince. The successors of Cosimo I, with the exception of Ferdinando I (1589–1609), were all relatively weak rulers, the line becoming extinct with Gian Gastone (1723–37). During this whole century and a half Naples and Milan were under Spanish rule.
With his reinstatement, Duke Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy (d. 1580) reorganized his duchy and made it into a prosperous and powerful state. His son and successor, Charles Emmanuel I (1580–1630), by his over ambitious attempts to seize territory and by his involvement in struggles with the French and Spanish, all but lost the duchy in his last years and left his territories in poor economic condition. His son Victor Amadeus I (1630–37), was able to recover most of his lost possessions through his wife, Christina, a daughter of King henry iv of France. Charles's second son and successor, Charles Emmanuel II (1638–75), was only a small child, and his mother, Christina, assumed the regency. A civil war broke out in Savoy in which Spain and France were invited to support the respective factions and in which Savoy suffered severely from the fighting in its territory, but Charles Emmanuel succeeded in taking over the government personally in 1648, although Christina continued to have a strong influence over his policy until her death in 1663. It was under his rule that harsh measures, including numerous executions, were taken against the waldenses; this occasioned vehement protests in Protestant Europe—as expressed, for example, in Milton's famous Sonnet 18, "On the Late Massacre in Piedmont."
Charles Emmanuel was succeeded by his son Victor Amadeus II (1675–1730), who because of his age could not assume control of the state until 1684. Meantime his mother, the ambitious Jeanne de Savoie-Nemours, was regent. He married Anne, daughter of Philip of Orléans and niece of King louis xiv of France. Under pressure of the latter, he renewed the persecution of the Waldenses (1685). When Louis demanded that he surrender Turin and Verona, however, Victor joined the coalition of Austria, Spain and Venice against him (1690), but six years later, with some justification, he deserted his allies and made a peace with Louis that was confirmed a year later by the Treaty of Ryswick (Sept. 30, 1697).
The War of the Spanish Succession to Napoleon: 1701–96 . The Wars of Succession produced major changes in foreign domination in Italy, and in the fortunes of the independent Italian states. Politically, there was no essential change in the Papal States, but on the religious side this was a difficult period in the internal history of the Church (see states of the church; jan senism; josephinism; enlightenment; and the individual articles on the popes of this period).
Savoy. In keeping with his policy of supporting Louis XIV, Victor Amadeus, at the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–13), permitted the French to seize Milan and Mantua. But two years later, irked by the insolent attitude of Louis XIV toward him, Victor joined the Grand Alliance (1703). The French invaded Savoy, but the great general of the imperial forces, Prince Eugene of Savoy, drove them out in 1705 and again in 1706. Savoy and the imperial forces occupied Milan (Sept. 24, 1706), bringing the war in Italy to an end. By the Treaty of Utrecht (April 11, 1713), Victor Amadeus received Sicily and took the royal title. Following the seizure of Sicily and Sardinia by King Philip V of Spain (1717–18), a new peace was made whereby Victor Amadeus gave Sicily to Austria and received Sardinia in exchange, assuming the title king of Sardinia. His successor, Charles Emmanuel III (1730–73), joined France and Spain against Austria in the War of the Polish Succession (1733–38). The Austrians were not driven out of Italy, but his own possessions were left intact by the Treaty of Vienna (1735). In the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48), however, he supported Maria Theresa of Austria, and by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (Oct.1748) he received as his reward a part of the Duchy of Milan. Victor Amadeus III (1773–96), a very conservative ruler, supported Austria against France in 1792 in spite of the French promise of Lombardy, but with the coming of Napoleon in 1796, independent action on his part quickly ended.
Naples and Venice. By the Peace of Utrecht, Sicily passed from the Spanish to Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, then back to Spain (1718), and, two years later, to Austria. Following the War of the Polish Succession, Naples and Sicily were given to the Spanish Bourbons (1735). Don Carlos, son of Philip V of Spain, took over Naples and Sicily as Charles IV (1735–59), assuming the title of King of the Two Sicilies in 1738. With the help of the Tuscan Bernardo tanucci, he carried through a reorganization of his government in the spirit of the Enlightenment. Conflict with the Church over secularization of church property was settled by the Concordat of 1741 with Pope benedict xiv. On his abdication to become Charles III of Spain (1759–88), Don Carlos was succeeded by his third son, Ferdinand I (1759–1825). Tanucci served as regent until Ferdinand attained his majority (1767). In the following year Ferdinand married the dominating Maria Carolina, daughter of Maria Theresa of Austria. Under her influence and that of the Englishman Sir John Acton, who replaced Tanucci after Tanucci's dismissal in 1771, as chief adviser, Ferdinand was led to adopt a pro-Austrian policy. The 18th century was a golden age of artistic and intellectual activity at Naples.
The Venetians, by the Treaty of Passarowitz (July 1718), lost the Morea, their last possession in the eastern Mediterranean, and they were left with only their possessions on the Dalmatian coast. The continuance of their archaic aristocratic constitution reflected their political stagnation. In the arts, however, Venice remained one of the chief centers of Europe.
Other States. Mantua became a part of the Duchy of Milan after the death of the last Gonzaga (1701), and, by the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), Milan itself passed to the Hapsburgs. Following the death of the last farnese (1731), Parma and Piacenza were given to Don Carlos, son of Philip V of Spain, and passed back and forth from Spanish to Hapsburg control twice more before the coming of Napoleon. Genoa succeeded in maintaining its independence, although it was gravely threatened in the War of the Austrian Succession. Genoa asked France for aid in quelling the revolt of Corsica, which began in 1730, and eventually ceded the island to the French (1768). After the death of Gian Gastone, the last Medici (1737), Tuscany passed to Francis of Lorraine, the husband of Maria Theresa of Austria. He gave up his ancestral Duchy of Lorraine to become grand duke of Tuscany. After his election as Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor (1745–65), his second son, Leopold I (1745–65), was made administrator and then, after his father's death, grand duke of Tuscany.
Under Austrian administration in the last half of the 18th century, Lombardy and Tuscany enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity and benefited from numerous reforms in agriculture, taxation, criminal law and education. However, in these areas, as in Savoy and elsewhere in Italy outside the Papal States, abolition of clerical privileges, suppression of monasteries, and secularization of other forms of Church property all revealed the spread of Enlightenment policy and its influence on government, especially after Emperor joseph ii (1780–90) replaced Maria Theresa on the throne of Austria. The ideas of the French philosophers also were spreading in Italy, and a national patriotism distinct from the local patriotism of the past was beginning to develop.
Bibliography: e. rota, Le origini del Risorgimento, 1700–1800, 2 v. (2d ed. Milan 1948). n. valeri, L'Italia nell'età dei principati, dal 1343 al 1516 (Milan 1949). r. aubenas and r. richard, L'Église et la renaissance, 1449–1517 (Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, eds., a. fliche and v. martin, 15; 1951). h. s. lucas, The Renaissance and the Reformation (2d ed. New York 1960). a. visconti, L'Italia nell'epoca della controriforma dal 1516 al 1713, rev. f. curato (Milan 1958).
[m. r. p. mcguire]
MODERN ITALY: 1789 TO THE PRESENT
By 1789, when the french revolution began, the enlightenment had infiltrated from France into Italy by means of Freemasonry, whose lodges, during the first French domination of the peninsula (1796–99), were converted into Jacobin clubs favorable to the overthrow of the absolute regimes in the several Italian states and to the establishment of republics. The Church underwent a severe structural crisis during these years because many of its economic privileges were abolished, much of its property was seized, and its religious orders were suppressed. Fortunately the labors of St. alphonsus de lig uori, the Amicizie Cristiane of Nikolaus Diessbach, SJ (1732–98), Pio lanteri and the St. Thomas academies checked jansenism, which seemed on the point of making greater advances, thanks to the Synod of pistoia convoked by Scipione de' ricci. A reaction (Sept. 1798–Oct.1799) caused anti-French uprisings, the most energetic being that of the sanfedists led by Cardinal Fabrizio ruffo. The second period of French domination (1800–14) saw groups of patriots, who favored conciliating Jacobinism with Catholicism, support of the first Italian republic, and also witnessed the negotiations for the Italian concordat of 1803, modeled on the French concordat of 1801. Among the most important consequences of the French rule were the capture and exile of pius vi and pius vii and the suppression of the papal temporal power with the seizure of the states of the church (1797, 1808).
The Fall of Napoleon: 1815 to 1915 . The Congress of vienna returned Italy substantially to the political conditions of the ancien régime. Papal temporal power and the Church's rights and privileges were restored, thanks to the diplomatic accomplishments of Cardinal Ercole consalvi. The Austrian hapsburgs, the real masters of the peninsula until the accession of napoleon iii (1852), smothered with bloodshed every ideal of constitutional and national liberty; they were faithful disciples of the jurisdictional principles of josephinism and utilized for political purposes whatever benefits they conceded to the Church. To attenuate the results of the union of throne and altar, popes from Pius VII to Pius IX promoted with scant success a policy of concordats. Between 1818 and 1855 they concluded agreements with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1818, 1834), the Kingdom of Sardinia (1836), the Duchy of Lucca (1841, 1846, 1856), the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (1848, 1851) and Austria (1855).
In this milieu developed the risorgimento, a movement working toward liberty, political independence and unity. It utilized the carbonari and other secret societies that organized revolutions (1820–21, 1830–31) to cast aside the yoke of absolutism and special privilege. Austria came to the rescue of the absolutist Italian states in the severe repressions of these revolts. Thereby it began the long catalogue of patriotic martyrs that included Silvio Pellico (1789–1854), Federico Confalonieri (1785–1846) and other citizens whose sentiments were sincerely Christian. Giuseppe Mazzini, a theist and a convinced patriot, joined the revolutionary movement and organized Young Italy, whose radical program for uniting Italy as a republic aimed to destroy the union of throne and altar as a preliminary to the liberation of all oppressed peoples.
In opposition to Mazzinian extremism Vincenzo gioberti, Cesare Balbo, Massimo Taparelli d'Azeglio and others promoted neo-guelfism, and advocated a federation of Italian states under a monarch and reforms enacted in legal fashion on state initiative, thus exalting the fatherland and religion as inseparable. For some time in 1848 this program appeared to unite all the patriotic groups whose common goal was independence and war against Austria. But the allocation of pius ix (Apr. 29, 1848) and the diplomatic and military failures of Piedmont ruined the neo-Guelf projects, causing a break in patriotic ranks over politics that had profound repercussions on the religious level. The Piedmontese champions of liberalism, with Camillo Benso di cavour at their head, now took charge of the national movement. Capitalizing on the antagonisms between European governments and aided by Giuseppe garibaldi and other patriots, annexations and plebiscites, they gradually succeeded in proclaiming a unified kingdom of Italy with a constitutional monarch under the house of Savoy (March 14, 1861). Rome was declared the capital and actually became so in the autumn of 1870 after its capture.
While vatican council i (1869–70) defined the papal spiritual prerogatives of primacy and infallibility, the final loss of the States of the Church at this time terminated effectively the pope's political power. Pius IX sent the zouaves to battle the Piedmontese troops in a vain attempt to defend Rome. When the Italian government proposed the Law of guarantees (1871) as its solution of the roman question, the pope rejected it as a unilateral agreement that failed to ensure independence for the pope as pastor of the universal Church. The pope also appealed to all Catholics not to recognize the new state of Italy. Successive Italian governments, whether rightist (to 1876) or leftist (1876–1914), refused to recognize a territorial political sovereignty of the Holy See within the confines of the Kingdom of Italy. Although Italy spurned such examples of 18th-century jurisdictionalism as the monarchia sicula and the exequatur and placet, it introduced separatism by a series of laws injurious to the Church's rights and privileges. In the economic area these enactments decreed seizures and taxation of ecclesiastical properties and secularizations of charitable organizations; in the jurisdictional field, the abrogation of concordats, dissolution of religious orders, abolition of the privilege of the forum, introduction of obligatory military service by clerics, prohibition of religious instruction in schools, suppression of theological faculties in state universities (1873) and inauguration of civil marriages. Influencing public opinion, the state tolerated and even urged attacks against religion and propaganda hostile to the papacy and the clergy (see anticlericalism). On the institutional level the government secularized education and public institutions and favored the views of the extreme left and of the Freemasons, especially in the schools and in the army.
Religious Congregations. In the face of the radical subversiveness of the 19th century, the Church demonstrated its vitality by resisting corrosive elements of a structural and doctrinal type, and by making adjustments to the changed situation. During the Risorgimento the two most outstanding developments in the Church were the remarkable growth of religious congregations and the development of the modern Catholic movement. More than 300 religious congregations of women were founded in Italy between 1815 and 1915, besides many institutes for men. Like the vast majority of modern congregations, most of these dedicated themselves to the active apostolate through education, charitable and social services or missionary endeavors. The most phenomenal growth was experienced by the salesians, founded by St. John bosco, and the salesian sisters, started by him in conjunction with St. Maria mazzarello; together these two groups spread throughout the world.
Church Enters Social Sphere. Catholics were eager to end the strained relations between Church and State, but not all agreed on the same solution. Conciliation was favored by Gino Capponi, the writer; Cesare Cantù, the historian; Niccolò Tommaseo, the patriot; Giacomo Zanella, the poet; Antonio rosmini-serbati, the philosopher; Massimo d'Azeglio, the statesman; and above all by Luigi tosti, OSB, Cardinal Alfonso capecelatro and Bishop Geremia bonomelli. To others conciliation seemed inopportune; they demanded the restoration of all the Church's rights and privileges, including the return of the papal temporal power.
A third group abided by the view of Pius IX, who was influenced by Cardinal Giacomo antonelli and who condemned the usurpations as iniquitous. This group created organizations that rejected the political unification of Italy and the selection of Rome as capital. They also advocated active and passive abstention from parliamentary life. To these ends Giambattista Casoni (d. 1919) started an association for the defense of the Church (1865) in Bologna. Mario Fani (1845–69) and Giovanni Acquaderni (1838–1922) created the Society of Italian Catholic Youth (1867).
In conjunction with Giovanni Battista Paganuzzi (1841–1923), Acquaderni stabilized in 1875 the Opera dei Congressi e dei Comitati Cattolici in Italia as a lay association in order that Catholic laymen might combat the dechristianizing work of agnostics. The Opera dei Congressi, the principal organization of Italian Catholics, became also a hierarchal association because its Catholic leaders repulsed all democratic principles, and a papal one, since it was in the service of the Holy See. On religious questions the Opera was intransigent, in conformity with the rigid interpretations of quanta cura and the syllabus of errors (1864). In political matters also its outlook shared the intransigence of the Holy See as expressed in the non expedit policy. The Opera dei Congressi promoted, among other things, national, regional and diocesan congresses, action committees, aggressive journals, protest petitions, pilgrimages to Rome and festivals in honor of the pope. The purpose behind these measures was to keep Catholics continually aware of the Roman Question.
Within the Catholic movement one group formulated its static intransigent outlook in the phrase, Nè eletti nè elettori (neither elected nor electors); another group coined the more dynamic but yet intransigent motto, Preparazione nell' astensione (preparation by abstention). Some Catholics urged their coreligionists to resist the state until it collapsed. Giuseppe toniolo and others preferred to exert their influence in the fields of education, public opinion, labor and provincial and communal administration. With others, Toniolo originated the Catholic social movement, resulting in the Union for Social Studies and the Rivista internazionale di scienze sociali e affini. Catholics in this circle accepted Thomistic ideas concerning property and the state as expressed by the Jesuits Carlo Curci (d. 1891), Matteo liberatore and Luigi Taparelli d'Azeglio. Besides reforms in the corporative sense previous to Rerum novarum (1891), they developed a program of democratic syndicalism. In addition they established numerous economic institutions, such as Catholic banks, credit unions and cooperatives, as well as social and charitable associations. Their interest in education moved the intransigent Catholics to hold meetings and circulate petitions to limit the secularizing process in the school and to promote Catholic schools on the parochial and diocesan levels. In 1921 they saw the opening of a Catholic university in Milan. A federation of educational institutions dependent on ecclesiastical authority was created in 1945 to coordinate the work of Italy's Catholic schools. Sacred Heart University in Milan and the Pontifical Salesian Athenaeum became centers of Catholic thought.
modernism had one of its main centers in Italy early in the 20th century. Political Modernism, led by Romola murri, organized the Lega democratica nazionale. Theological Modernism, whose chief representatives were Ernesto buonaiuti and Salvatore Minocchi (d. 1943), caused a check in the development of the democratic movement by eliciting the condemnations of Modernism by Pius X and the disciplinary action taken against high ecclesiastics such as Cardinals Andrea Ferrari of Milan, Pietro Maffi of Pisa and Giacomo della Chiesa of Bologna (later Pope Benedict XV). Pius X disbanded the Opera dei Congressi in 1904 and reorganized the Catholic social movement along the lines of the German Volksverein. Christian syndicalism revived on a nationwide scale in 1918 under the leadership of Achille Grande, Luigi sturzo and the Partito Popolare Italiano (1919). The Gentilone Pact (1913) provided Catholic conservatives and clerical moderates with a basic charter politically and socially; it also signified the triumph of the ideas of men such as Toniolo over those of Murri.
Upheavals of the 20th Century . During World War I the understanding between Church and State culminated in the Unione Sacra (1916), whereby the government instituted military chaplains and abandoned anticlerical polemics, while the hierarchy appealed for solidarity behind the endangered fatherland. After 1918, Catholic forces, organized in party and in syndicate, could not create an alternative of the right or left to the classes then directing the nation's life. Fascism ended all democratic liberties (1922–26), but it made peace with the Church and papacy in the lateran pacts (1929), which established Catholicism as the state religion, and in later agreements (1931,1939). Benito Mussolini, the Duce of Italy until 1943, conceded privileges and favors to the Church in order to have its leaders support his dictatorial and imperialistic policies, although among the laity dissension arose over problems of liberty and racism. After Mussolini's downfall in 1943 many Catholics participated in the resistance movement in committees of liberation and joined the Christian Democratic Party. Among these was Father Giuseppe Dossetti (d. 1996), who would serve in the country's first national assembly before going on to found the Small Family of the Annunciation in 1954.
In 1946 Italy, defeated in World War II, became a republic. Its new constitution, dated Jan. 1, 1948, declared that Church-State relations would continue to be regulated by the Lateran Pacts, which could be modified only by bilateral agreements. The Christian Democratic Party, which headed the new government, attempted reconstruction and education of the masses while battling political parties and syndicates ranging from the extreme right (Movimento Sociale Italiano) to the Communist extreme left. Under the new constitution, the state was prohibited from funding private schools. After the death of Alcide De gasperi (1958) there arose the problem of agreements with leftist and rightist groups (dirigismo or liberalismo ) to obtain agrarian, fiscal, and social reforms. The more liberal of these parties were increasingly influential during the 1970s and 1980s.
Influenced by the increasingly liberalized morals of the 20th century, Italians began to stray from Church doctrine in the late 20th century. 1971 saw the legalization of divorce. In 1978 the government passed legislation legalizing abortion, and a Church-led referendum on the new law three years later was unsuccessful in its efforts to preserve the sanctity of human life. Concerns over declining enrollments at Church-run schools became cause for concern beginning in the 1960s; by 2000 Catholic schools educated approximately a third of all Italian children, despite the government's repeated unwillingness to extend subsidies to parents.
In part because of the influence of a radicalized liberal party within the government, the role of the Church in the 1980s and 1990s became increasingly subdued relative to its former influential position within both society and politics. In 1984, while preserving the recognition of the state of Vatican City as an independent, sovereign entity extended under the Lateran Pacts, a secularized Italy and the Vatican updated several provisions of the 1929 accords, diminishing a number of privileges formerly granted to the church and ending the status of Roman Catholicism as the religion of the Italian state. Under an intesa, the state extended certain financial and other privileges to not just the Catholic Church but to each of Italy's recognized faiths, although it remained unwilling to help fund parochial education. The increasing secularization of the country resulted in the demand for the removal of crucifixes and other symbols that had been displayed in courtrooms, government offices and other public places for many years.
Into the 21st Century . By 2000 there were 25,806 parishes tended by 36,566 diocesan and 18,930 religions priests. Other religious included 4,100 brothers and 115,775 sisters. In response to the Church's shifting demographic, a new seminary, opened in September of 1999 in Salerno, was intended in part to provide a new home for some of the country's aging priests. Despite the many social, educational and humanitarian efforts that continued to occupy Church members, calls for drug legalization, euthanasia and stem cell research required vigilance and outspokenness on the part of Italian bishops, as well as the pope. Church leaders also aggressively spoke out against agitation on the part of the Lombard League for the secession of Northern Italy as a consequence of discontent over increasing crime and corruption in the south, as well as the economic burden caused by the influx of illegal immigrants such as Muslim refugees from Albania and North Africa. A push by the European Parliament to grant homosexual couples the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples sparked a vigorous opposition by Church leaders, who also viewed the steadily declining birthrate in Italy with alarm. The Church was more successful in its efforts to curtail artificial insemination, after a 1999 law banned cloning and restricted previously unconstrained fertility procedures in the country.
Bibliography: j. leflon, La Crise révolutionnaire, 1789–1846 (Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, eds., a. fliche and v. martin, 20; 1949). r. aubert, Le Pontificat de Pie IX, 1846–1878 (Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'à nos jours, eds., a. fliche and v. martin, 21; 2d ed. 1964). k. bhilmeyer and h. tÜchle, Kirchengeschichte, 3 v. g. f. h. and j. berkeley, Italy in the Making, 1815–1848, 3 v. (Cambridge, Eng. 1932–40). s. jacini, La politica ecclesiastica italiana da Villa-franca a Porta Pia (Bari 1938). r. albrecht-carriÉ, Italy from Napoleon to Mussolini (New York 1950). d. mack smith, Italy: A Modern History (Ann Arbor 1959). s. w. halperin, Italy and the Vatican at War (Chicago 1939). k. s. latourette, Christianity in a Revolutionary Age: A History of Christianity in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, 5 v. (New York 1958–62) v.1, 2, 4. g. mollat, La Question romaine de Pie VI à Pie IX (2d ed. Paris 1932). a. c. jemolo, Chiesa e stato in Italia negli ultimi cento anni (Turin 1948); Church and State in Italy, 1850–1950, tr. from Italian by d. moore (Oxford 1960). g. spadolini, L'opposizione cattolica da Porta Pia al '98 (4th ed. Florence 1961). f. fonzi, I cattolici e la società italiana dopo l'unità (2d ed. Rome 1960). e. rota "Gli svolgimenti storici di due forze costruttive: Liberalismo e nazionalità," in Questioni di storia contemporanea, v.2 (Milan 1955). p. scoppola, Dal neoguelfismo alla Democrazia cristiana (Rome 1958). r. f. esposito, La massoneria e l'Italia dal 1800 ai nostri giorni (2d ed. Rome 1959). Chiesa e stato nell'ottocento: Miscellanea in onore di P. Pirri, ed. r. aubert et al., 2 v. (Padua 1962). g. de rosa, Storia del movimento cattolico in Italia (Bari 1966) v.2. f. magri, La democrazia cristiana in Italia, 2 v. (Rome 1956). a. gambasin, Il movimento sociale nell'opera dei congressi cattolici in Italia, 1874–1904 (Rome 1958). t. ortolan, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50) 8.1:118–242. a. piolanti, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50) Tables générales 2338–67. j. michl et al., Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2, eds., j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 5:811–821. Bilan du Monde. Encyclopédie catholique du monde chrétien, 2 v. (2d ed. Tournai 1964). 2: 511–531. Annuario Pontificio has annual data on all dioceses. Rivista di storia della Chiesa in Italia has full annual bibliog.