Responsible Staff

Dr. Benedetta Albani
Benedetta Albani
Head of a Max Planck Research Group

Phone: +49 (69) 789 78 - 158
Fax: +49 (69) 789 78 - 169

External project collaborators

Giovanni Pizzorusso

Università “G. d’Annunzio”, Chieti-Pescara

Sub-projects

Related Research

Research Project | Max Planck Research Group

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A new look at the Patronato Regio

The Roman Curia and the Government of the Ibero-American Church in the Early Modern Period

The role of the Papacy in the history of the Church in Hispanic America can best be understood by reconsidering the importance of the Patronato Regio in the panorama of church-state relationships. The historiography has tended to confine the Roman influence within the narrow limits of the Patronato Regio, attributing to the Crown an almost complete control over religious matters thanks to the concession of the papal bulls dating from the beginning of the sixteenth century, which tasked the monarchy with the organization of the Church and the oversight of missionary initiatives in the New World. It has typically been assumed that, although they might demonstrate some characteristics of the contemporaneous processes of confessionalization in Europe, the development of the Church and religious life in the vast expanses of the Spanish Americas in the end took place in processes completely removed from papal jurisdiction, perhaps even outside of its knowledge. It is further necessary to remark upon how this topic has been taken up in only a partial manner by the historiography due to a certain rigidity with existing interpretative frameworks that has failed to stimulate the search for new sources and new interpretations.

Recently, a small group of researchers expert in the history of the Papacy and the Roman Curia has begun to examine with renewed interest the relationships between the Holy See and the Americas, focusing on the fundamental question of whether the system of government constructed by the Patronato Regio represented the entire spectrum of relations between the Holy See and the Ibero-American Church, or whether some jurisdictional areas existed, in which the Papacy could intervene directly and independently from the accords of the Patronato. Reconsidering this issue provides the opportunity to question certain assumptions of the historiography that, in light of a more devoted analysis of papal sources, now seem at best partial.

This research project dedicates particular attention to three problematic issues. First of all, the moments in which the Papacy attempted to create discussion about the status quo - for example in the case of the controversy over the creation of a nunziatura indiana in the Indies (16th century) or the foundation of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide (beginning of the 17th century) - have always been considered as exceptional moments, rather than moments of intensification within a permanent, ongoing relationship characterized, without a doubt, by elements of conflict but also by a division of labor and responsibility. Secondly, it appears that the royal prerogative to review and withhold papal documents sent to the Americas has only been considered by the historiography as an affirmation of royal power within the vein of anti-Roman sentiment. Doing so, the content of the pontifical dispositions and their juridical consequences for the American Church has been neglected face to the political meaning of a bureaucratic act of the Monarchy. Finally, it is worth to be remembered that also the Holy See, much like the Spanish Crown, referred rhetorically to the Patronato as an impenetrable barrier between two worlds as an argumentative device meant to affirm its right to intervene in the Americas. This preponderance of rhetorical argumentation had as a consequence that for many years the image of the Spanish Americas in the Roman Curia remained static, out-of-date, and tied to a specifically anti-Spanish politics.

Research on the Patronato Regio has traditionally focused on a very limited number of general documents, such as the collections of papal documents for the Indies, often not even consulted in their original versions. In this light, it seems necessary to take into consideration all of those documents that might speak to Roman jurisdictional praxis vis-à-vis the Ibero-American Church and the Holy See’s information gathering efforts in the Indies. After the Council of Trent and the Sistine reform of 1588, the papal system of government was reorganized into stable Congregations of Cardinals and permanent Nunciatures. The archives of these entities hold numerous documents relative to the Americas, which until now have not even marginally been considered by the historiography. Concrete examples constitute the source base upon which our analytical conclusions rest. It is important to emphasize that some of these sources are already known. Nevertheless, they have always been presented as unique instances, without ever highlighting the systemic exchange of information between Rome and the Indies or Roman intervention in American matters, especially concerning questions regarding canon law. These issues stemmed from petitions sent by laymen, friars, missionaries, and bishops in the Americas to Roman dicasteries in order to obtain dispensations, licenses, authorizations, and pardons. Such petitions testify to the lively and indissoluble relationship between the Catholic believers and the Holy See.

This project proposes to offer a renewed theoretical and historiographical frame as well as new tools for understanding the complex relationship between the Apostolic See and the Spanish Crown, especially as concerns the development of the Church in the Americas. The reevaluation of the Patronato Regio that this project proposes, a product of many years of collaboration, is founded upon extensive research in numerous papal archives. Its objective is not to replace the well-established historiographical tradition, but rather to offer a complementary perspective that promises to enrich discussion and to furnish insights fundamental for understanding the complex relationships between the Holy See and the Americas in the early modern period, whose impact remain visible to our day.


Picture: José de la Mota, Alegoría del Nuevo Mundo. Cristo entregando al mundo al emperador Carlos V y al Papa, 1721

Lectures

Benedetta Albani

„Die Römische Kurie und die Neue Welt im 16. Jahrhundert“
Die Zeit der Reformation aus anderem Blickwinckel. Eine lateinamerikanish-ökumenisch Perspektive
Magdeburg, Roncalli Haus, 30 Juni – 2 Juli 2017


Constanza López Lamerain

“Instaurando la Iglesia al fin del mundo: Los obispos de Chile y el real patronato (1561-1630)”
International Conference Una nueva mirada sobre el Patronato Regio: la Curia Romana y el gobierno de la Iglesia Ibero-Americana en la edad moderna
Frankfurt, MPIeR, 15-16 Dezember 2016


Giovanni Pizzorusso

“La Congregazione de Propaganda Fide e l’America spagnola: le missioni come interstizio per una penetrazione nel Patronato?”
International Conference Una nueva mirada sobre el Patronato Regio: la Curia Romana y el gobierno de la Iglesia Ibero-Americana en la edad moderna
Frankfurt, MPIeR, 15-16 Dezember 2016


Benedetta Albani

“Las congregaciones cardenalicias y el gobierno de la Iglesia Ibero-Americana”
International Conference Una nueva mirada sobre el Patronato Regio: la Curia Romana y el gobierno de la Iglesia Ibero-Americana en la edad moderna
Frankfurt, MPIeR, 15-16 Dezember 2016


Constanza López Lamerain

“Las Relationes dioecesium de los obispos chilenos en el siglo XVII: presentando los desafíos del gobierno diocesano anta la Santa Sede”
Seminario internacional La visita episcopal en la América hispánica: gobierno de la diócesis y ejercicio de la justicia entre Roma y Madrid
Vitoria, Universidad del País Vasco, 12-13 Dezember 2016


Benedetta Albani

“Las visitas ad Limina de las diócesis americanas como elemento del sistema de comunicación y gobierno entre la Sede Apostólica y el Nuevo Mundo”
Seminario internacional La visita episcopal en la América hispánica: gobierno de la diócesis y ejercicio de la justicia entre Roma y Madrid
Vitoria, Universidad del País Vasco, 12-13 Dezember 2016


Benedetta Albani und Giovanni Pizzorusso

“Regimes of knowledge and the Roman Curia”
Research Colloquium Wintersemester 2016-2017 Knowledge and information regimes in early modern times
Frankfurt, MPIeR, 29 November 2016


Benedetta Albani und Giovanni Pizzorusso

“Una nueva mirada sobre el Patronato Regio: la Curia Romana y el gobierno de la Iglesia Ibero-Americana en la Edad Moderna”
XIX Congreso del Instituto Internacional de Historia del Derecho Indiano
Berlin, Harnack Haus, 29 August – 2 September 2016


Benedetta Albani

“¿Para qué tenemos papa en Roma, si no para que a él acudan todos? Le congregazioni di diritto comune e le chiese locali americane: il ruolo della Congregazione del Concilio”
International Seminar La Congregazione de Propaganda Fide e la Spagna nel secolo XVII
Rome, Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueología, 23 Juni 2016


Giovanni Pizzorusso

“La Congregazione de Propaganda Fide e l'impero coloniale spagnolo tra spazio missionario e spazio tridentino”
International Seminar La Congregazione de Propaganda Fide e la Spagna nel secolo XVII
Rome, Escuela Española de Historia y Arqueología, 23 Juni 2016


Benedetta Albani and Giovanni Pizzorusso

“Una nueva mirada sobre el Patronato Regio. La Curia Romana y el gobierno de la Iglesia Ibero-Americana en la Edad Moderna”
Research Colloquium Sommersemester 2016
Frankfurt, MPIeR, 26 April 2016


Benedetta Albani

“Appointment of Bishops in the Ibero-American World as a Governance Tool Between the Spanish Crown and the Holy See”
Becoming a Bishop – Diachronic Perspectives
Mainz, Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, 16-17 März 2016


Benedetta Albani

“Gobernar la Iglesia después del Concilio de Trento: la Sede Apostólica, la Congregación del Concilio e Hispanoamérica. Nuevas perspectivas de investigación desde los archivos vaticanos”
Primer encuentro internacional Seminario de Historia judicial y de la justicia en la Hispanoamérica virreinal
Mexico City, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, UNAM, 20-21 August 2015

Activities

International Conference “Una nueva mirada sobre el Patronato Regio: la Curia Romana y el gobierno de la Iglesia Ibero-Americana en la edad moderna”
Wissenschaftliche Organisation: Benedetta Albani and Giovanni Pizzorusso
Frankfurt, MPIeR, 15-16 Dezember 2016

 
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