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Pope Clement VIII and Confessional Conflict: International Papal Politics and Diplomacy (1598–1605)

SCHNEIDER, CHRISTIAN (2016) Pope Clement VIII and Confessional Conflict: International Papal Politics and Diplomacy (1598–1605). Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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In the early modern period the Holy See refused to mediate between Catholic and Protestant sovereign powers by formal diplomatic peace missions. As a consequence, scholarly research on the early modern papacy as a peacemaking force tends to concentrate on peace negotiations between Catholic powers. This doctoral thesis, in contrast, analyses the attitude of the Holy See towards political reconciliation across confessional boundaries in a case study of Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini (r. 1592–1605). It places papal politics and diplomacy at the centre of three conflicts which had a confessional dimension: the war of the Catholic Spanish Habsburgs with Protestant England, the Spanish attempts to suppress the rebellion of the predominantly Calvinist United Provinces in the Low Countries and the power struggle between the Catholic king of Sweden and his Lutheran uncle, Duke Charles of Södermanland.
This doctoral research analyses the role which Clement VIII's contemporaries expected the pontiff to fulfil in transconfessional peace processes and how far Clement VIII complied with such expectations. It sheds new light on the pope's interpretation of his traditional duties as the spiritual head of the respublica christiana to protect Christendom against those whom the papacy regarded as 'heretics', 'schismatics' and 'infidels'. This study will argue that Clement VIII followed a flexible religious policy and that, if necessary, the Aldobrandini pontiff was willing to promote the idea of a reconciliation between Catholic and Protestant powers. The transnational approach of this thesis will demonstrate that the response of the Holy See to regional and confessional conflicts needs to be understood as part of a wider strategy of the papacy which aimed at retaining the Catholic religion in the short-term and at restoring it throughout Christendom in the long-term.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Papacy, pope, Clement VIII, confessional conflict, war, peace, peacemaking, politics, diplomacy, Aldobrandini, England, Spain, France, Flanders, Low Countries, Poland, Sweden, Holy See, Italy, Ottoman empire
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 Jun 2016 08:25

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