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Title: Pope Clement VIII and confessional conflict : international papal politics and diplomacy (1598-1605)
Author: Schneider, Christian
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 5859
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2016
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available