The paper is dedicated to a depiction of the role played by confraternities within Italian society during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and in particular to the contribution they made to both the ideal and concrete constructions of the civic community. Some examples relevant to the wide context of central and northern Italy, show how the confraternities fitted a model designed by ecclesiastical authorities and religious orders, and were at the same time an intrinsic part of an educational project mediated by urban intellectuals, both lay and clerical, and strictly linked first to the Communal society, and later to the Signoria.
Thanks to a fragment of the correspondence between Tommaso Bozio (1548-1610) and Ludovico Gonzaga Duke of Nevers (1539-1595) discovered at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, this paper throws light on the point of view of the Oratorian theologian with regard to the request for the papal absolution of Henry IV. This matter inspired the legation of the Duke of Nevers at Rome in November 1593 and dominated the diplomatic relations between France and the Holy See during the following two years. The correspondence shows that Bozio, as Filippo Neri and Cesare Baronio, was in favor of Henry’s forgiveness and, by means of Gonzaga, was promoter of those clear signa penitentiae of the French king that would have persuaded Clement VIII to take him back into the womb of the Church.
The Republic of Letters was an international network of scholarly communication which transcended religious and political interests. This network functioned as a means of circulating knowledge, above all bibliographical, historical and antiquarian news. This article probes the way in which the Republic of Letters connected two distinct confessional areas, the Calvinist Dutch Republic and Catholic Italy (mainly Tuscany and Rome), in a period when confessional boundary lines had taken more or less definite shape, around 1700. It will become clear that there was a lively scholarly exchange between these two regions, but confessional interests dictated the choices which scholars made. Three case studies will show the limits of religious impartiality. They constantly had to negotiate tensions between religious interests and intellectual virtuosity.
On the occasion of the sixth centenary of the canonization of Thomas Aquinas the Evangelical press developed an enquiry on the value and limits of Thomas’s fi gure in his time, and moreover a quite critique analysis of Thomism as the basic element of the neo-scholastic philosophy. This is a statement of the fact that not only the idealistic philosophers (Croce and Gentile), but also the writers of protestant area opposed the Neo-scholasticism. The contribution examines three article: the first one, published on the Waldensian journal «La Luce» and signed by Italicus, listed the main doctrines of Aquinas opposed by the Reformation; the second and third articles were published on «Conscientia» by Piero Chiminelli, at that time a Baptist pastor, and by Giuseppe Gangale, a critical neo-Calvinist intellectual.
The State Archive of Naples keeps a small nucleus of parchments which is improperly known as ‘Fond’, coming from Penne, nowadays within the province of Pescara. Currently we don’t know how these documents (1324-1650) reached the Archives of Naples, but if we carefully analyze the notes on the back of the papers and we compare them with those on the verso of the Historic Archive of the Archdiocese of Pescara-Penne’ documents, we can clearly see that they come from that Archive. Reading them it is possible to fi nd news about the territory of the ancient province of Abruzzo Ultra, as well as specific unknown historical issues of Penne. Moreover, it is particularly interesting the act dated 1324, that concerns the episcopacy of ‘fra Matteo’, archbishop of Durazzo from 1320 to 1334, and it is also useful because it mentions for the first time ‘fra Francesco’, the most ancient bishop of the diocese «Vregen al.Wregen s. Wergen» in Epirus, suffragan of Durazzo.
In 1823, after four years of vacancy, because of a process of territorial restructuring of the Sicilian Church which began in 1778, the Archdiocese of Messina, greatly reduced in size, had a new archbishop, namely Francesco di Paola Villadicani. A member of the local noblesse, the new archbishop owed his promotion mainly to some political influences than to his own qualities. Nevertheless, he held his offi ce for thirty-eight years, without any particular distinction as far as his pastoral action and capacity of government. After his appointment as a Cardinal (1843), he became an opponent of the policy adopted by the Neapolitan Government and soon after left the leadership of the archdiocese to ‘next of kin’. At last, because of some complaints about some serious abuses Villadicani introduced in his diocesan curia, the Neapolitan Government and the Roman Curia decided jointly to proceed to the unusual appointment of an apostolic administrator to restore order in the archdiocese.