Università degli Studi di Milano, 2013-04-16

Mandatory clerical celibacy for all clergy within catholic countries in the Ancien Régime has been discussed since the beginning of the Christian church. During the eighteenth century, this aspect of ecclesiastical discipline was increasingly taken into consideration from a political rather than strictly theological point of view. The purpose of this thesis is to reconstruct the creation, development and dissemination in Europe of a new way - secular and lay – of considering the obligation of the clergy to be unmarried that arose from the "crisis of the European conscience" and developed thanks to radical Enlightenment. Through the research, analysis and study of philosophical and political literature, with particular regard to France and Italy, this thesis reconstructs the debate on clerical celibacy which arose within the European Republic of Letters from the late seventeenth century up until the French Revolution, when the secularization of marriage, among many other consequences, also allowed secular and regular clergy, women and men to get married. This approach has made it possible to account for the complexity of a debate that underlies the problem of the relationship between church and state and the articulation of the different ideological positions: from radical critics denouncing celibacy as a political instrument to preserve the priestly power to moderate criticism focused on negative economic and demographic consequences arising from celibacy; from the approach of observers inside the church – clerics or experts in canon law - who proposed cautious reforms to the complete refusal of the conservatives who saw celibacy as an undeniable cornerstone of the ecclesiastical order. This dialectic developed around two major themes. The policy approach encompassed problems such as the role of the clergy in society, the economic and social consequences of ecclesiastical discipline, the powers of the sovereign on celibacy. But secularization of the celibacy issue was also the result of the demystification of the moral superiority of chastity: next to the political point of view, there was also a discourse on the relationship between chastity and human body, between discipline and the rights of nature. The accusations levelled against chastity and celibacy by revolutionaries, the issue concerning "married priests" and many criticisms that still invest ecclesiastical celibacy have their roots in the eighteenth-century debate and the secular emancipation of the critical perspective from which radical Enlightenment started to consider the church and its rules.

diritti: info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess
coordinatore: P. Vismara ; tutor: E. Brambilla ; co-tutor: C. Peyrard
Settore M-STO/02 - - Storia Moderna

Tesi di dottorato. | Lingua: Italiano. | Paese: | BID: TD16001261