The Baroque Papacy (1600–1700)

Péter Tusor

This volume, entitled The Baroque Papacy (16001700), originally contains the material of the early modern European history seminar held by the author at the Péter Pázmány Catholic University. In the Foreword, the author provides a brief review of the paradigm of confessionalisation. The Introduction (I) summarises the impressive achievements of the reform papacy, the main characteristics of the less dynamic baroque papacy and the gradual change in the relationship of the papal Curia with nation states. The first large chapter (II) examines the role played by the Apostolic See in the European political stage. The focus is on the accelerating loss of pontifical power under Pope Urban V III and on the temporary reversal of this trend due to the organization of the Holy League by Pope Innocent XI, which liberated Hungary from 150 years of Turkish rule.Next, the author analyses the social, economic and financial structures of the State of the Church (III). A separate subchapter deals with the college of cardinals, the pope’s court and Roman society, as well as the the papal financial system and its institutions, the sources, types, sums and the balance of revenues and expenditures. Key processes are best modelled by the rise and fall of papal nepotism (IV). The portrayal of the changes in social and economic structures is followed by a presentation of the Curia’s pioneering decision-making system (V), which, however, became increasingly complicated and, at the end of the 17th century, underwent comprehensive reforms. In the course of this is chapter, the author discusses dicasteriums, which originate in the Middle Ages, but focuses on the expanding network of congregations, their operation, structure and competence, and finally examines the network of nunciatures and especially the development of the pontifical State Secretariate. The aim of these three chapters (III–V) is not only to understand the shifts in pontifical policy in the Early Modern Era, but also to shed light on the changes of Roman church administration and church policy as well as the changing relationship between Rome and local church organisations. The last large chapter (VI) contains a summary of the latter two, including precedent cases, key ordinances, legal frameworks, a summary of the technical and organisational problems of maintaining contacts with Rome and finally an analysis of Spanish, French and German church relations as a sample. In the end, the book contains an Outlook on the 18th century, an Appendix with the archontology of popes and chief curial magistrates.