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Reviewed by:
  • The Papacy: An Encyclopedia
  • Nelson H. Minnich
The Papacy: An Encyclopedia. General editor Philippe Levillain, English language edition editor John W. O'Malley, translated by Deborah Blaz et al.3 vols. (New York/London: Routledge, 2002. Pp. xxxvi, 614; xiv, 615-1266; xiv, 1267-1780.)

Originally published in 1994 as Dictionnaire historique de la papauté, the English edition updates the bibliography and some of the articles and adds several new entries. As evident from its French title, the emphasis in the articles is historical. It was designed for use in libraries.

The topics covered range from biographies of the popes acknowledged by the Vatican and of most of the antipopes in brackets, to a vast array of themes related to the papacy. Separate entries are devoted to papal conclaves, simony, habemus papam, onomastics (naming of the new pope), coronation, possesso, titles, residences, allocutions, benedictions, canonizations, patronage, offenses against, travels, sickness, deposition, resignation, death and tomb, and vacant or impeded see. Items associated with the pope are also treated such as regalia, tiara, vestments, keys, fisherman's ring, pavilion (sunshade), coins, medallions, banners, chair of St. Peter, sedia gestatoria(litter), ferula(ceremonial rod), flabellum(feather fan), and floreria(warehouse of papal paraphernalia). The papal chapel is described in entries on the Sistine Chapel, ceremonials, liturgy, castrati, and breviary, while one has to consult various entries for the music used there.

The papal court is described in entries dedicated to such topics as the papal palace, garb, gentlemen, diplomatic corps, nuncios, and legates. Various papal officials are delineated in the entries on the papal family and household and its prefecture, on almoner, barber, caudatary, chancellor, chaplain, chef, collector, cursor, datary, sacristan, and secretary. Cardinals receive extensive treatment: their appointment (e.g., in petto), garb (e.g., cappa[mantle up to seven meters long], mozzetta[ermine cape], and biretta), offices (e.g., papal nephew, protector, and legate), and titles.

To help understand the organization of the papal bureaucracy, there are separate entries on the consistory, secretariats (e.g., of State, of the Roman Curia, of Briefs, etc.), congregations (e.g., Holy Office, Index, Penitentiary, Signature of Grace, Propaganda Fide, Index, etc.), and tribunals (e.g., Rota and Apostolic Signature)—an organizational flow chart would have been helpful, but is missing. The Roman Curia is also studied by entries on its officials (e.g., chancellor, camerlengo, abbreviator, minutante, and scriptor), on its style ( bollatica), fees (common and small services, annates), documents (recorded in registers, differences among bulls, briefs, constitutions, and encyclicals), forgeries, and practices (provisions, petitions, expectatives, reservations, and ad liminavisits).

Papal teaching authority can be studied through the entries on magisterium, Holy Office, master of the sacred palace, infallibility, ex cathedra, heresies, anathema, and social teachings. Papal law is treated under various headings such as code, Decretum, decretals, exemptions, and reserved cases and causes. [End Page 285]

The Papal States and Vatican City State are treated in long articles with separate entries for such items as the superintendent of the ecclesiastical state, annona(a provision of grain), passports, labor unions, library, secret archives, gardens, museums, observatory, postage stamps, railway station, press office, Osservatore romano, radio, television, and telephone. The state's defense is described in entries on the gendarmes, papal navy, Swiss Guards, Palatine Guards, and zouaves. Papal finances receive an appropriately long entry, plus separate studies of banking, tax, and tithes. The city of Rome is given a substantial entry. It can be further studied under such headings as its images in literature, traveler's views of, its Senate, its famous buildings (e.g., Colosseum, Pantheon, and Quirinal), its basilicas (major and minor, St. Peter's [its fabric and excavations], St. John Lateran, St. Paul Outside the Walls, and St. Mary Major), obelisks, sackings, confraternities, nobility, feasts, the diocese of, and its suburbicarian dioceses.

Relations with secular states can be found in such entries as the Roman Empire, Donation of Constantine, barbarians (with separate entries for the Franks and Lombards), Holy Roman Empire, investiture controversy, concordat, crusades, holy helmet and sword, golden rose, consecrated swaddling clothes (a papal gift on the birth of a princely heir), wars of Italy, Italian unity, and the world wars.

Papal relations to other...


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