Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Germans and the Papal Penitentiary: Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Germans and the Papal Penitentiary: Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum

Article excerpt

THE GERMANS AND THE PAPAL PENITENTIARY: REPERTORIUM POENITENTIARIAE GERMANICUM Verzeichnis der in den Supplikenregistern der Pönitentiarie Eugens IV.vorkommenden Personen, Kirchen und Orte des Deutschen Reiches 1431-1447. Edited by Ludwig Schmugge with Paolo Ostinelli and Hans Braun. [Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum I.] (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 1998. Pp. xxv, 166. euro28.63.)

Verzeichnis der in den Supplikenregistern der Pönitentiarie Nikolaus's V. vorkommenden Personen, Kirchen und Orte des Deutschen Reiches 1447-1455. Edited by Ludwig Schmugge with Krystyna Bukowska and Alessandra Mo sciatti. [Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum II.] (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 1999. Pp. xxix, 364. euro56.00.)

Verzeichnis der in den Supplikenregistern der Pönitentiarie Calikts III. vorkommenden Personen, Kirchen und Orte des Deutschen Reiches 1455-1458. Edited by Ludwig Schmugge and Wolfgang Müller. [Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum III.] (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 2001. Pp. xxiii, 354. euro54.00.)

Verzeichnis der in den Supplikenregistern der Pönitentiarie Pius' II vorkommenden Personen, Kirchen und Orte des Deutschen Reiches 1458-1464. Edited by Ludwig Schmugge, Patrick Herperger, and Béatrice Wiggenhauser. [Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum IV.] (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 1996. Pp. xxxvi, 534. euro79.00.)

Verzeichnis der in den Supplikenregistern der Pönitentiarie Pauls II. vorkommenden Personen, Kirchen und Orte des DeutschenReiches 1464-1471. Edited by Ludwig Schmugge, Peter Clarke, Alessandra Mosciatti, Hildegard Schneider-Schmugge, and Wolfgang Müller. [Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum V.] (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 1996. Pp. xxxvi, 534. euro122.00.)

Verzeichnis der in den Supplikenregistern der Pönitentiarie Sixtus' IV. vorkommenden Personen, Kirchen und Orte des Deutschen Reiches 1464-1471. Edited by Ludwig Schmugge, Michael Marsch, and Wolf gang Müller. [Repertorium Poenitentiariae Germanicum VI.] (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag. 2005. 2 vols. Pp. xxxvii, 948 and vii, 468. euro198.00.)

German relations with the Roman Curia in the fifteenth century most often are considered in terms of proposals for reform of the Church in "head and members" together with the related issue of papal versus conciliar power.These issues are political, large scale, and easy to document. Other approaches, however, are possible.The German community in Rome, which included some of Italy's earliest printers, has been studied.1 More recently, Ludwig Schmugge and his several colleagues have opened up a rich vein of material, the Supplication Registers of the Papal Penitentiary, found in the Vatican Archives.2 This series of repertoria for successive pontificates gives us insights not found in the negotiations of princes or the writings of theologians, canonists, or humanists. The work done by Schmugge and his associates fits into a more general pattern of study of the Penitentiary, including the work of scholars such as Filippo Tamburini, David d'Avray Wolfgang Müller, Peter D. Clarke, and Patrick Zutschi.3

The Penitentiary dealt with such mundane concerns as marriage dispensations, the effects of illegitimacy, and absolution of excommunication and other censures. These favors or graces affected large numbers across all of Western Europe, from Iceland to the eastern borders of Poland.4 A broader spectrum of the population of any region was affected by these supplications and their curial responses than happened with almost any other branch of the Curia. Consequently anyone from the humblest Christian to one of the best-known musicians of the Renaissance may appear as a suppliant seeking a dispensation or pardon.5 (The registers are particularly useful for the study of medieval women of lesser social status.6) The Penitentiary was also a sensitive agency when reforms were proposed. Fees or "taxes" paid for documents received might be regarded as simoniacal. …

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