New PDF release: Catholicism and History: The Opening of the Vatican Archives

By Owen Chadwick

Continuous and infrequently heated curiosity is proven within the keep an eye on by means of governments over records of their ownership, and within the time in which entry to them is denied - and never in basic terms at the a part of the historians to whom the records are of leading challenge. Professor Chadwick summarises the slow institution of the papal files right down to the start of the 19th century, once they have been carried off to Paris at the orders of Napolean. Their go back (for the main half) to Rome and the following heritage of the connection among their guardians and would-be clients supply a full of life narrative of human in addition to historic curiosity. the writer exhibits how an issue constructed in the Vatican itself among the statesmen who wanted rigourously to limit what used to be published to the general public and the historians who sought after loose entry. this crucial research of ways new attitudes and methods of background affected the Church relies upon the author's Herbert Hensley Henson Lectures in Oxford 1976, and should curiosity documentalists and normal readers in addition to ecclesiastical and normal historians.

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In the Galileo documents were texts which malevolent men could use. The past agents of the Church had not behaved well in the Galileo affair. But in an age of science versus religion, where the truth about Galileo mattered, it would be a worse calamity if the present agents of the Church were seen to be suppressing, or were suspected of suppressing, documents which they were known to have under lock and key; and worse still, if scandals were widely believed and could be reduced by disclosing the authentic papers.

But the diligence of Silvestro Gherardi could not find them. In March 1850 Pope Pius IX returned from his exile. He was in very conservative mood. He had a new Secretary of State, Cardinal Antonelli, who was also very conservative and was not interested in scholarship. On 8 May 1850 he visited the Vatican Archives. Into the hands of Monsignor Marino Marini he gave the missing Galileo papers. Thus these papers,22 formerly part of the archives of the Inquisition, became part of the Vatican Secret Archives proper.

Since the Counter-Reformation the city of Rome was no longer a key to the politics of Europe. In compensation the popes of the eighteenth century made the city the centre of European art and archaeology. Now the Curia realized that it was also a centre of European scholarship in an age when scholarship became powerful. 23 CATHOLICISM AND HISTORY The Vatican Library was an institution distinct from the Vatican Archives. But the two institutions were housed in the same block of buildings, and outsiders were not always aware that they were different.

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