Processus Inquisitionis super vita et moribus promovendi. Die Informativprozesse an der Wiener Nuntiatur als grundlegendes Verwaltungsinstrument der katholischen Erneuerung (1675–1689)

Zusammenfassung / Abstract

Processus Inquisitionis super vita et moribus promovendi: The Informative Processes at the Viennese Nunciature as a Fundamental Administrative Instrument of the Catholic Renewal (1675–1689)” – On the basis of council provisions and Apostolic Constitutions of the popes from the 16th and the first half of the 17th century, the Roman Curia created a complex system of conferring episcopal dignities. The consistent implementation of informative processes, whereby the leaders of the Catholic Church received not only relevant biographical data about the candidate for a bishopric or abbey but also important information about the territories and dioceses of the orbis catholicus, became one of the most important instruments of the pope’s reform towards the local dioceses. This paper analyses the way in which the Roman Curia developed the concept and structure of the informative processes from the late Middle Ages to the end of the 17th century. Such procedures took place at the seat of the Apostolic Nunciature and concerned the candidature of bishops or abbots who fell under the jurisdiction of the nuncio. Focusing mainly on the Nunciature of Vienna in the second half of the 17th century and specially on Francesco Buonvisi (1626–1700), who 1675–1689 held the position of apostolic nuncio at the imperial court of Leopold I, we can explore the processi canonici (informative processes) as a rich source of information about the episcopal candidate and the system of attaining episcopal dignity in the period observed. The Apostolic Nuncio demonstrates to be an indispensable tool in the procedures for obtaining and handling information in this multi-layered process of electing suitable candidates. It serves as the basis for the examination and evaluation of the candidate’s case in the Secret Consistory in Rome. Looking differentially at the interaction between the Roman Curia and the local dioceses, the informative process not only proves to be an important element in appointing suitable bishop candidates, but also a fundamental administrative instrument of the Roman Curia and the Apostolic Nunciature of Vienna to act in accordance with the reform decrees of the Council of Trent on a local level.

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