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106BOOK REVIEWS gans of the state power, and the poUcy of control, sometimes too suffocating, exercised by the Roman Curia over the synodal activity of the individual ecclesiastical provinces. It should be noted that with the passing of time a certain skepticism developed within the circles of the Roman Curia regarding the usefulness of councUs for the purposes of an effective work of reform, also in consideration of the numerous clashes (between metropoUtans and suffragans, between ecclesiastical and lay authorities) to which the holding of councUs gave rise. Consequently, from the middle of the seventeenth century on, Rome, which until then had not ceased to put pressure on the metropoUtans not fulfilling this duty to convoke provincial councUs, ceased aU urging in this regard. According to the testimony of Cardinal Giovanni Battista de Luca, the Roman authorities in the second half of the century radically changed their attitude and imposed on metropolitans who intended to convoke a provincial councU the obligation of requesting the previous consent of the competent dicastery, which was the Congregation of the CouncU.This radical reversal of route Ln curial policy was inspired, stiU according to Cardinal de Luca, by the desire to avoid the arousal of controversies in the sphere of the local ecclesial structure. It is instead the author's opinion that the decline of the synodal institute was linked to deeper reasons, namely, to a progressive consciousness on the part of the Holy See of the inadequacy of provincial councUs in solving the problems of religious society in a historical period in which the post-Tridentine Church had to face the chaUenges of the modern state. This is a stimulating hypothesis, which, however, must be judged in the light offurther research. Pietro Caiazza in these dense pages has displayed his gifts of a patient researcher, his analytical abUity, and his critical acumen. Nothing remains then but to express the hope that he wiU employ these quaUties in pursuing an investigation that he has begun with such fruitful results. Agostino Borromeo Université di Roma "La Sapienza" Die Provinzialkonzilien Süditaliens in der Neuzeit. By Michèle Miele. [KonziUengeschichte , Reihe A: DarsteUungen.] (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh . 1996 Pp. xxii, 586. DM 128,-.) Michèle Miele, the author of numerous articles on the history of the Church in the early modern ItaUan South,had produced now a large study ofthe provincial councUs held by the archbishops of the Mezzogiorno between the CouncU ofTrent and the end ofthe old regime.The CouncU ofTrent required aU bishops to hold regular synods in their dioceses, and aU archbishops to hold regular councUs with their suffragan bishops. Miele's book covers all of the latter assemblies , of which there were forty-two between 1565 and 1729, with the aim of exploring this crucial (and mostiy neglected) link between central impulses for reform and local reaUties. BOOK REVIEWS107 The work is primarily an institutional examination ofthe councUs.While synods are somewhat better known and documented, Miele has pieced together the records (at times meager or of difficult access) of aU councUs, plus sources such as letters and episcopal reports to Rome. He provides a briefhistory ofthe circumstances and developments that led to the summoning of each councU, discusses the bishops and other clerics in attendance, and offers a brief assessment of each assembly's success. Miele also discusses several faUed tempts by archbishops to hold councUs, and analyzes the general climate and context in which the councUs took place.The study is organized primarily in chronological order. The first five chapters survey aU the councUs, from the one held in 1565 by Archbishop del Fosso of Reggio (the first council in Italy, preceding even Carlo Borromeo's in Milan) to the only eighteenth-century councU, held in Benevento under the leadership of its former archbishop Vincenzo Maria Orsini, by then Pope Benedict XIII. The councUs were especiaUy numerous in the forty years after Trent, when zealous prelates tried to reform the clergy and faithful of their dioceses and archdioceses.Thirty-four councUs were held in fifteen archdioceses until 1603, whUe only another eight councUs (three of them held by Orsini in Benevento) foUowed, as difficulties of aU sorts became harder to...


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