Info

Within Italy, a long-standing leadership role in the city of Rome and the papal states was expanded through the assumption of primatial authority throughout the peninsula. Papal determination to assert metropolitan jurisdiction in the Roman province was underlined by the summoning of a Provincial council to Rome in 1725. In Catholic Europe as a whole, the Holy Father was still honoured as the patriarch of the west, the 'bishop of the universal Church'. He enjoyed continuing rights of ecclesiastical patronage on a scale unknown to any secular ruler even though the exercising of those rights occasionally generated controversy. Thus the refusal to make Alberoni Archbishop of Seville in 1720 blew up a diplomatic crisis with Philip V that resulted in the expulsion of the nuncio. The unwillingness of a pope to recognize a ruler could have lasting repercussions. Neither Innocent X nor Alexander VII would countenance the Braganza claimant, John IV of Portugal (1640-56), nor fill sees with his nominees. John's response was to leave them unfilled, appropriate their incomes, and even contemplate setting up a national church. It was not until Portuguese independence was conceded by Spain in 1668 that the situation was stabilized. Issues such as preferment, regalian rights, clerical immunities and suzerainty over papal fiefs could also provoke conflicts.

In addition, the pope had unique responsibilities in securing the boundaries of Catholic Europe against Muslim encroachment and encouraging Christian monarchs, principally the emperor, to recover lands lost to the infidel. Alexander VII in the 1660s tried to organize a league of European powers against the Ottomans but was thwarted by the minimal help extended by France. Clement X (1670-76) gave financial aid to John Sobieski who defeated the Turks at the Dniester and later led the army that broke the siege of Vienna in 1683. A Holy League was put together by Innocent XI in 1684, consisting of the empire, Venice and Poland, and the pope deployed a military contingent until the close of campaigning in 1687. The results were spectacular: Hungary was liberated in 1686 and Belgrade recovered two years later. Clement XI's preoccupations brought the crusading ideal down into the siècle des lumières, and the Peace of Passowitz (1718) would be a landmark in the expansion of Christendom. By the 1740s, however, Catholic-Ottoman relations had stabilized much as Catholic-Protestant ones had a century earlier. Benedict XIV enjoyed such amicable diplomatic relations with Othman II that he dubbed him, 'The Good Turk'. Another aspect of papal pastoral concern was for the Uniate churches of eastern Europe which acknowledged Petrine primacy in general terms. Their vulnerability to Orthodox pressures rose sharply after the first Partition of Poland in 1773 when Catherine II of Russia promised to

0 0

Post a comment