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Cardinal Giovanni Battista De Luca: Nepotism in the Seventeenth-century Catholic Church and De Luca's Efforts to Prohibit the Practice

Description: This dissertation examines the role of Cardinal Giovanni Battista de Luca in the reform of nepotism in the seventeenth-century Catholic Church. Popes gave very large amounts of money to their relatives and the burden of nepotism on the Catholic Church was very onerous. The Catholic Church was crippled by nepotism and unable to carry out its traditional functions. Although Cardinal de Luca and Pope Innocent XI worked tirelessly to end nepotism, they were thwarted in their attempts by apprehension among the Cardinals concerning conciliarism and concerning the use of reform measures from the Council of Trent; by Gallicanism and the attempts of the French King to exercise power over the French Church; and by the entrenchment of nepotism and its long acceptance within the Church. Cardinal de Luca and Innocent XI were not able to push through reforms during their lifetimes but Pope Innocent XII was able to complete this reform and pass a reform Bull. This dissertation has two complementary themes. First, a confluence of circumstances allowed for the unfettered growth of nepotism in the seventeenth-century Church to the point of threatening the well-being of the Catholic Church. Reform was not undertaken until the threat to Church finances was severe. Secondly, two upstanding and honest reformers arose in the Catholic Church to correct the problem, de Luca and Innocent XI. The achievements of Cardinal de Luca, also an important reformer of the Canon Law, are almost unknown to an English-speaking audience.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Cowan, H. Lee

Reclaiming the Flock: Innocent Iii, the 1215 Canon and the Role of the Sacraments in Reforming the Catholic Church

Description: This thesis traces the changes in the sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist from 400-1215 and posits that Innocent III’s Fourth Lateran Council solidified and clarified these sacraments from diversified practices and customs to a single Catholic orthodoxy in order to reclaim centralized papal power to the Roman Catholic Church. Tracing the history of the Catholic Church’s baptismal and Eucharistic rites encounters a number of logistical obstacles because they were not administered by means of a Western Church-prescribed ritual until the early thirteenth century, primarily because such a prescription did not exist. Even after the First Council of Nicaea where Christian doctrine was better defined, an allowable margin of license remained within Latin orthodoxy, specifically when it came to the practice and administration of the sacraments. Before the establishment of a finite canon the sacramental procedures of the Western Church relied heavily on the local bishops and monks who openly adopted their own preferential liturgies and ritual practices. This fragmentation took the power away from the Holy See in Rome and instead fostered the idea that regional practices were superior. The foundation of their varied interpretations can be traced back to a number of theologians ranging from the early second century tracts of Justin Martyr to Augustine in the late fourth century. Upon the inauguration of Pope Innocent III in 1198, however, the Church adopted a policy of zero tolerance for practices, rituals and individuals that it deemed heretical. Through a series of papal bulls that even began in the first months of Innocent’s reign, he initiated an attempt to eradicate regional inconsistencies and to create a more streamlined orthodoxy. This movement was fully realized in the year before Innocent’s death with the creation of the 1215 Canon in which Catholic Church leaders from around the world defined, explained and ...
Date: December 2013
Creator: Villarreal-Thaggard, Kimberly