Confessione dei peccati e confessori nell’Italia della Controriforma: cosa dire del Seicento?
N. 4, OTTOBRE-DICEMBRE
The sacrament of confession and confessors in Counter-Reformation Italy: what can be said about the seventeenth century?
The sacrament of confession is emblematic of the successes of the Counter-Reformation, and its transformations during the sixteenth century have often been emphasized in recent historiography. The gradual implantation of the Jesuit model of frequent confession and the assistance that confessors gave to inquisitors are only two of the most well-known aspects of the sacrament’s ability to create a lasting hold over Catholic society. But the case of Italy in the seventeenth century raises some questions. Evidence regarding the relationship with the Holy Office and the ordinary government of the sacrament by bishops and by the Roman congregations paints a much less rosy picture. Resistance, exploitations, and the slow weakening of the rigid Tridentine standards created a much more uncertain situation, despite the special interest that Roman authorities had in the Italian peninsula.