to the creation of an overly large secular clergy, who were mostly uninvolved in the parish ministry, but it also obstructed the pastoral work of the post-Tridentine prelates. The bishops of the different Italian states in the second half of the seventeenth century sought less to reduce the number of ordinations, than to reorder the clergy and guide clerics towards the major orders. This process was facilitated by pastoral policies under the pontificates of Innocent XI and Innocent XII, which broke new ground for the Catholic Church in Italy, by defining the public face of secular ecclesiastical institutions and religious life in the peninsula for at least the first fifty years of the eighteenth century.

Throughout these years, the age of Muratori and Benedict XIV, a spirit of reform continued to permeate ecclesiastical structures from top to bottom. But in the second half of the century this process was interrupted, or at least greatly slowed by the church's hardening position in the face of Enlightenment culture and the beginnings of Enlightened reforms. Political authorities took increasingly radical initiatives against the institutions of the church, in particular with the Habsburg reformism of Joseph II and his brother Peter Leopold (the future emperor Leopold II). Within the framework of these reforms, the number of secular clergymen was dramatically reduced. In Austrian Lom-bardy, which was one of the territories where Josephism was put to the test, the clergy as a whole experienced a massive reduction of 57 per cent between 1772 and 1792. Although less drastic than Josephism, the policies of Peter Leopold also made considerable modifications to the regular and secular ecclesiastical institutions in Tuscany, leading to an 8 per cent reduction in the ecclesiastical population between 1765 and 1782.

At the other end of the peninsula in the Kingdom of Naples, the Bourbon ecclesiastical reforms, like those of the Habsburgs, did not set the problem of clerical training and the definition of a new clerical profile as the first priority. Nonetheless, the Bourbons did institute policies to control the numbers ofthe secular clergy, which underwent a gradual but notable reduction from about 56,000 to 36,000 between 1765-66 and 1801, a 35 per cent reduction in a little less than forty years.

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