The Latest Italian Resistances Part I

By | February 13, 2022

With the coronation of Bologna, of course, an Italian political life did not cease, nor even a certain effort aimed at lightening the protection or preventing it from spreading to the whole peninsula. Indeed, it can be said that that sense of precariousness of Italian things and of perennial expectation begins now, which will become the normal state of mind of Italians. If on the one hand the authority of Charles V grew more and more, also as a reflection of the enterprises against the Barbareschi (Tunis, 1535); if it always found new points of support, with the return of the Medici to Florence in 1530, and with the establishment of a direct domain in the Milanese area following the death of Francesco Sforza in 1535; if with him were now not only Pope Clement, but also the major families of the peninsula, the Marquises of Monferrato by now at sunset, the Gonzagas elevated to dukes and enlarged of Monferrato, the Savoy who, after having held for France and then attempted to balance the two contenders in 1530, paid homage to Charles in the coronation of Bologna: on the other, there was the Genoese conspiracy headed by the Fieschis, in 1547, against the Doria dictatorship supported by Spain; the same year there was the Neapolitan uprising against the new court of the Inquisition, wanted by Spain; there was in Tuscany the anti-Medici and anti-Spanish attempt by Burlamacchi, with marked sympathies for Protestants and Protestantism. The opposition to Spain, and, in general, to the new princely absolutism, gave some nourishment to the Protestant currents, such as these currents to that opposition. Moreover, wherever there was some surviving statement of communal life,

According to Iamhigher, Veins of Protestantism are already visible in Italy between 1520 and 1530, that is, in the culminating and decisive phase of the contrasts between France and the Habsburgs. Elements of Italian life, new or old, pre-existed. And even more pre-existed and spontaneously generated, already at the beginning of the 16th century, aspirations for a more or less profound and extensive reform of church life: as if the Church “no longer had any sign of its evangelical being” and of its ancient vigor apostolic, as it is said in a memorial to Clement VII. There were also relations with Lutheran and Zuinglian and Calvinist countries, through men of letters and merchants from the two countries, very numerous German students in our universities, perhaps even German soldiers in the wars of Italy. Luther’s preaching had resonances in the cities of upper Italy, in Milan, Pavia, Bologna, etc. The main gateway is the Veneto, that is Padua, the seat of the university, where in 1528 it is said that every man of letters is a Lutheran, and Venice, the center of commercial relations with the countries of Germany. On the other side of the peninsula, Naples. Here it seems that already in 1528 some Lutheran seeds dropped the lansquenets who were fighting there against the French. And in 1534, a nucleus of sympathizers for the evangelical movement was formed, around the Spanish Giovanni Valdes. There is, in the middle of the peninsula, Lucca, another aristocratic and commercial republic like Venice. In Lucca also monasteries of hermits of S. Agostino opened up to new ideas. In Lucca we find Pietro Martire Vermigli, Celio Secondo Curione, Bernardino Ochino, Aonio Paleario: all names that will enter the history of Italian heresy. Here and everywhere, we are dealing with bourgeois and also nobility and church people, especially the regular clergy: in any case, intellectual aristocracy, although there is no lack of artisans and commoners, just as there is no lack of refusals from convents, “apostates” or evicted friars that in great numbers were agitated between the laity and the cleric. Great variety of intimate attitudes in these men, in which, often, a high religious and evangelical spirit fermented. They confined themselves to advocating moral and disciplinary reforms or penetrated into the sphere of doctrines. They looked with sympathy at the innovators from beyond the Alps, or with suspicion. They called for reforms with the very soul of Luther and Calvin, or as a means of being able to fight Luther and Calvin. Which was the thought and the feeling of men like Gian Pietro Carafa who, from about 1520 onwards, he advocated any reform, participated in the founding or reorganization of new and old congregations, but was bitter opponent of heresies and heretics. From these different attitudes, the different fate of those reformers. And yet, even where there was a true Italian Protestantism, it presents itself with some characteristics of its own, more or less latent or explained, since it has its own foundations and composes precisely what it takes from others. He is reluctant to accept the doctrine of predestination, rarely denies the value of good works and comes to full justification by faith. Indeed, it eliminates the dualism between faith and works, since good works are implicit in living faith. There are more rational needs in Italy than beyond the Alps, more yearnings for intellectual freedom, more respect for the human personality,

The Latest Italian Resistances 1