Italy: Roman ‘tyranny’ and radical Catholic opposition

S. J. Barnett

in The Enlightenment and Religion

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780719067402
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700518 | DOI:
Italy: Roman ‘tyranny’ and radical Catholic opposition

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This chapter discusses a case study that provides a different context of the Enlightenment. The experience of Catholic dissidents in the Italian peninsula provides some similarities with the struggles in France. The chapter illustrates that broad politico-religious struggle, rather than the actions of the philosophes, provides the most significant challenge to the status quo of Enlightenment Europe. It sheds light on the nature of the polemical challenge that radical Catholics–Jansenists advanced against Roman theocracy and Church jurisdiction in the independent states of the Italian peninsula. In the practical absence of the voices of deists and philosophes, the broad Catholic forces opposed the ‘tyranny’ of Rome in very forceful terms remarkably similar to those of dissenting Protestants. This chapter also demonstrates how politics and religion were intertwined, and that the broad politicisation of religion is really the key to understanding religious change in the Enlightenment.

Keywords: Enlightenment; tyranny; Roman theocracy; Catholic forces; Jansenists; politicisation; religious change

Chapter.  13209 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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