1660-1700 History of Italy 1730-1758

Papal State and Papacy, 1700-1730

In 1700, Clement XI. (-1721, Gian Francesco Albani) succeeded Innocent XII. After Clement XI. followed Innocent XIII. (1721-1724, Michelangelo dei Conti) and Benedict XIII. (1724-1730, Pietro Francesco Orsini).
In 1701 the War of Spanish Succession broke out. Pope Clement XI., lord paramount of the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily, was asked by both Philip of Anjou (Bourbon) and by Leopold of Habsburg (Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I.), rivals for the Spanish throne, to invest the applicant with the crown. Pope Clement XI, whose sympathizes lay with the Bourbon dynasty, crowned Philip IV. King of Naples and Sicily (= Philip V. of Spain). Clement XI. did not recognize the elevation of Duke-Elector Frederick III. of Brandenburg to King Frederick I. in Prussia, as done by Emperor, because he still did not recognize the secularization of the territory of the Teutonic Order in 1525 (since then the Duchy in Prussia).
After the French forces were defeated in northern Italy, the Austrians focussed on the conquest of Naples. In order to achieve that object, Austrian forces had to cross the Papal State. The fortress of Comacchio, within the Papal State, was occupied by forces of Modena (1708, held by the Austrians until 1724). Papal troops, ill-equipped, were unable to stop the Austrians and their allies; in 1709 the pope had to accept a peace under Austrian conditions. Joseph I., Emperor since 1705, already in 1707 had himself crowned King of Naples; the Treaties of Utrecht (1713) and of Rastatt (1714) confirmed him in the possession of Naples. Militarily the war had shown that the Papal State no longer was capable of defending itself.
For centuries the popes claimed sovereignty paramount over the islands; previous popes had granted the Monarchia Sicula, special privileges for the King of Sicily; Pope Clement XI. cancelled it (1715); the cancellation was ignored by a succession of rulers of the island.
In 1705 Clement XI. published the bull "Vineam Domini", directed against Jansenism. The center of Jansenism in France, the monastery at Port Royal outside Paris, was destroyed (1709), the publications of the leading Jansenist of the time, Pasquier Quesnel, forbidden (1703/1708). The bull "UNIGENITUS" of 1713 condemned numerous statements made by Quesnel. However, French supporters of Jansenism refused to give in. While Jansenism gradually lost upport in France, the Dutch Jansenists in 1723 formally broke with the Catholic church.
The Jesuit missionaries active in China had stressed the similarity of Confucian and christian ethics and suggested to permit to conduct holy mass in Chinese rites; in 1715 Pope Clement XI. forbade this ("Ex illa die"). Chinese Emperor Kangxi (Kang Hsi) responded in 1721 by forbidding christian mission in China. The debate continued; only severe orders by Benedict XIV. ended it in 1742/1744.
The years under Innocent XIII. and Benedict XIII. were rather uneventful.

Biography of Clement XI., from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition
Biography of Innocent XIII., from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910 edition
Biography of Benedict XIII., from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1907 edition
Biography of Pasquier Quesnel, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911 edition
Article Jansenism, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910 edition
Article Monarchia Sicula, from Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition
DOCUMENTS Encyclicals of Clement XI., from Papal Encyclicals Online
The Chinese Rites Controversy, 1715, from Modern History Sourcebook
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]

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First posted on September 3rd 2002, last revised on March 29th 2006

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