The Pulpit and the Press in Reformation Italy

The Pulpit and the Press in Reformation Italy

Emily Michelson
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Harvard University Press
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Pulpit and the Press in Reformation Italy
    Book Description:

    Italian sermons tell a story of the Reformation that credits preachers with using the pulpit, pen, and printing press to keep Italy Catholic when the region's violent religious wars made the future uncertain, and with fashioning a post-Reformation Catholicism that would survive the competition and religious choice of their own time and ours.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-07529-0
    Subjects: History, Religion, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[x])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-14)

    With this apology, Francesco Panigarola, the most celebrated Italian preacher of the sixteenth century, identified a potent mixture: reading books, preaching sermons, understanding scripture, and making personal choices. According to those in his profession, it was this recipe, poorly handled, that had brought their era to religious catastrophe.

    This book follows Italian preachers like Panigarola as they found themselves on the front lines of a more desperate war than anything they had ever imagined. The war—the splintering of western Christendom into conflicting sects during the Reformation—was physically but also spiritually violent. Throughout the uncertainty, preachers had to keep...

  4. 1 Where Sermons Mattered
    (pp. 15-53)

    When two confessed Protestants in Milan sought to repent of their heresy, their return to Catholic society was chaperoned by Angelo Castiglione, a Carmelite monk and preacher. In October 1553, before a large crowd at the cathedral of Milan, Castiglione preached a sermon inviting the heretics to atone in a public ceremony.¹ “Until now,” he proclaimed, the two men had held “heretical, Lutheran, and sacramentarian opinions, but now, illuminated with the truth by the grace of God, they have retreated from their errors, and have come to despise them in their very souls. This morning, in plain view in this...

  5. 2 Mendicant Preachers
    (pp. 54-86)

    Cornelio Musso, who preached up and down the Italian peninsula for many decades, was convinced that Protestants were on the verge of taking over Italy:

    This gangrene, this plague does not infect just a finger or a fingernail: it occupies hands, arms, legs, entire bodies, cities, peoples, countries, nations, realms . . . it has penetrated through the city, the castle, the villa, every class, every state, every sex. Don’t you see that even boys and girls are heretics today? And how many schoolteachers? And young men? And great princes? And, woe is me to have to say it, how...

  6. 3 Sermons and Diocesan Reform
    (pp. 87-111)

    Complaints about absentee bishops were common among reformers of all stripes, as they had been for centuries. Absenteeism, along with its companions simony, nepotism, and plural benefice holding, were among the best known and most criticized abuses of the late medieval church. But by the middle of the sixteenth century, the criticisms had begun to sink in; roles and expectations for bishops had been raised. In 1537, Pope Paul III commissioned suggestions for reform from some of Italy’s most prominent cardinals and prelates, including Gasparo Contarini, the English expatriate Reginald Pole, and the future Paul IV, Gian Pietro Carafa. The...

  7. 4 Treatises for Laypeople
    (pp. 112-139)

    Like many of his fellow priests, Ippolito Chizzola feared that deceitful Protestants had commandeered pulpits throughout Italy, avoiding detection through evasive tactics. These Protestant preachers made equivocal statements such as, “I believe in purgatory as much as I believe in papal authority,” and they nicknamed their friends “Holy Roman Church,” so that if questioned, they could honestly say, “I believe only what Holy Roman Church believes.” Chizzola, a preacher himself and a Lateran canon, worried about the effect of such slippery equivocation on innocent, ignorant laypeople. How could they distinguish a true preacher, filled with the divine spirit, from a...

  8. 5 The Generation after Trent
    (pp. 140-171)

    The Dominican preacher, theologian, and hagiographer Serafino Razzi, writing in 1590, wanted to make very sure that nobody underestimated a preacher. His volume ofpredicabili,model sermons or preachable conceits, included a special preface called “How very excellent is the office of preaching the word of God and the sacred Gospel.”¹

    The office of preaching the gospel is perhaps the most noble position in the Christian Church . . . useful, productive preachers are especially favored by God, which is why they are often granted especially long life . . . They are greatly honored on earth, and even more...

  9. Epilogue: Sermons and Their Reception
    (pp. 172-182)

    I.The sermons and treatisesreviewed in this study tell a story in large part about fear. They show Catholic clergymen fearing Protestants, fearing changes within their own leadership, fearing their own laity, and fearing above all the end of the world as they knew it—the devastation of both the spiritual and the temporal realms. For preachers, the fear was also specific: the problem of scripture. Protestants appeared not merely to offer the laity direct access to scripture but also to sanctify the act of their reading it. Naturally, this offer threatened to undermine the importance of all clerical...

  10. Appendix: Key Preachers in Italy
    (pp. 183-184)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 185-250)
  12. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 251-254)
  13. Index
    (pp. 255-262)