Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Correspondance Du Nonce En France: Gasparo Silingardi, ÉVêque De Modène (1599-1601)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Correspondance Du Nonce En France: Gasparo Silingardi, ÉVêque De Modène (1599-1601)

Article excerpt

Correspondance du Nonce en France: Gasparo Silingardi, Évêque de Modène (1599-1601). Edited by Bertrand Haan. [Acta Nuntiaturae Gallicae, 17.] (Rome: École française de Rome and Université Pontificale Grégorienne. 2002. Pp. xxxvii, 598. Paperback.)

In the study of papal diplomacy in early Bourbon France, Gasparo Silingardi's brief tenure as papal nuncio between 1599 and 1601 has been overshadowed by that of his contemporary Cardinal Roberto Ubaldini. Nevertheless, Silingardi's presence coincided with a critical juncture for the Bourbon monarchy and the Catholic Church in France. In 1598 Henry TV's nearly decade-long campaign to secure political and military control of his kingdom paid important dividends when the last major unreconciled Leaguer noble, the duc de Mercoeur, submitted to his authority and the Peace of Vervins brought to a conclusion open hostilities with Spain. In the same year Henry also took an important step toward securing religious peace in his kingdom through the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes. These developments, along with the absolution of Henry IV by Pope Clement VIII in 1596, stabilized the kingdom and set the stage for a more lasting religious and political peace.

Silingardi's correspondence provides critical and sustained commentary on the efforts of Henry and his ministers to build on the political successes of 1598. Silingardi is especially revealing on the evolving religious settlement that the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes inaugurated. Thus, his correspondence provides detailed coverage of the controversies, including that surrounding Du Plessis-Mornay's tract L'Institution de l'Eucharistie and the related conference at Fontainebleau, through which the French monarchy sought to arbitrate a more lasting peace. His correspondence also provides the best single source for the examination of papal religious policy in France during this period. In his dispatches Silingardi reveals the sustained papal effort to secure confirmation and publication of the decrees of the Council of Trent, Clement VIII's unsuccessful attempts to organize an international crusade against the Turks, and, on a more successful note, papal efforts to lay the groundwork for the rehabilitation of the Society of Jesus in France. …

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