1618-1660 History of Italy 1700-1730

Papal State and Papacy, 1660-1700

Pope Alexander VII. (Fabio Chigi) ruled from 1655 to 1667; he was succeeded by Clement IX. (1667-1669, Guilio Rospigiosi), Clement X. (1670-1676, Emilio Altieri), Innocent XI. (1676-1689), Alexander VIII. (1689-1691, Pietro Ottoboni) and Innocent XII. (1691-1700, Antonio Pignatelli).
The year 1660 marks the beginning of the era of absolutism. The offense of the French emissary in Rome by papal nepotes, and the killing of some of his men in an ensuing quarrel resulted in countermeasures by King Louis XIV. of France. The papal nuntio was banned from the country, Avignon and the Venaissin temporarily occupied by the French; French troops marched on Rome. Pope Alexander VII. had to sign a humiliating peace treaty (Treaty of Pisa, 1664). The French regarded Alexander's successor, Clement IX., as "their candidate". He mediated in the negotiations ending the War of Devolution (1667-1668). In 1668 Pope Clement IX. formally recognized Portugal's independence.
Popes Clement IX. and X. and Innocent XI. were concerned about the Ottoman threat; the Turks hat taken Crete (Candia) in 1669, the Polish province of Podolia in 1672. When Vienna was besieged by an Ottoman army in 1683, papal diplomact succeeded in merging an alliance between Poland and Austria. Poland hitherto had been a French ally and thus a potential Austrian enemy. The allied Poles, Austrians and Imperial German forces defeated the Ottoman army in the Battle of Kahlenberg 1683; the allies were joined by the Republic of Venice in 1684. The Poles regained Podolia, the Austrians liberated Hungary and Transylvania, the Venetians occupied the Morea (i.e. the Peloponnese); the Pope saw the event as a great victory for Catholic christianity. Relations between the pope and the French crown, except for a brief period under Clement IX., were poor.
Alexander VII. and Clement IX. condemned Jansenism, and the French church, after some hesitation, accepted the papal decision. However, a synod of French bishops assembled in 1682, postulated the "Liberties of the Gallican Church", which de facto meant a declaration of independence from Rome. Pope Innocent XI. immediately declared these decisions for invalid and excommunicated those who were responsible.
King Louis XIV. of France declared himself the Protector of Catholicism; in 1685 he cancelled the Edict of Nantes, causing tenthousands of Huguenots to emigrate. In 1686 French troops cleansed Alpine valleys within France and across the border in Savoy of Waldensian communities. These measures did not appease Pope Innocent; the King of France and Pope Innocent supported opposing candidates for the Archbishop of Cologne, the candidate with papal support, Joseph Clemens of Wittelsbach, succeeding.

In 1679, Alexander VII. took position against Quietism as propagated by Spanish mystic Miguel Molinos.
Innocent XI., by curbing expenses, balanced the budget. He terminated the practice of simony (sale of church offices) and refrained from nepotism, which unfortunately had been common practice among his predecessors.

Biography of Alexander VII., from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907 edition
Biography of Clement IX., from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition
Biography of Clement X., from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition
Biography of Alexander VIII., from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907 edition
Biography of Innocent XI., from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910 edition
Biography of Innocent XII., from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910 edition
Article Jansenism, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910 edition
Biography of Miguel de Molinos, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition
Article Quietism, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition
Article Gallicanism, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1909 edition
Les Quatre Articles, 1682, from gallican.org, in French
DOCUMENTS Encyclicals of Innocent XI., from Papal Encyclicals Online
REFERENCE Book Reviews : Papal State, from History Book Reviews

Franz Xaver Seppelt, Georg Schwaiger, Geschichte der Päpste (History of the Popes), München : Kösel 1964, 572 pp., in German [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on September 3rd 2002, last revised on March 29th 2006

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