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A History of Spain by Charles E. Chapman

Sidenote The case of Cardinal Borja


The case of Cardinal Borja.]

[Sidenote: Interference of Charles I and Philip II in matters of church reform.]

The successors of Philip II were equally insistent upon the royal prerogative in their relations with the church. One of the most curious incidents in the disputes of the kings and the popes occurred in the reign of Philip IV. Cardinal Borja and several other Spanish cardinals were sent to Rome to present the king's grievances against the pontiff arising out of matters connected with the wars against the Protestants. Borja was roughly handled on making his protest; it is said that Cardinal San Onofre punched him in the face by direction of the pope. When this event was reported in Spain a general meeting of royal councillors was held, in which it was even discussed whether it would be lawful to challenge the pope to settle the matter by means of a duel! In this and other matters there was talk of an appeal from the pope to a church council. As the royalist attitude toward the popes was often defended in books, many of them by churchmen, a practice sprang up at Rome of placing such works in the _Index_ as writings which the faithful were forbidden to read, but these volumes did not appear in the _Index_ of the Spanish Inquisition. Finally the attitude of superiority on the part of the monarchs made itself evident, as already indicated, in questions of the reform of the church. Charles and Philip II labored

to establish their views at the Council of Trent not only in matters of administration but also in those of doctrine. Indeed, many Catholics believed that it was the duty of the kings to remedy the evils of the church. With the conclusion of the Council of Trent, Philip II hesitated for a year before publishing its decisions, because of his belief that some of the provisions of the council diminished, or might diminish, his royal authority. When he at length did publish them, he did so with the reservation that they were not to be considered as introducing any variation from the usual jurisdiction of the king. Consequently, various canons of the council remained without effect in Spain and her possessions.

[Sidenote: Royal restrictions on the powers of papal nuncios and the nunciature.]

The same conflict of authority between the church and the monarch manifested itself in the relations of the kings with papal nuncios, who in the reign of Charles I began to reside at the Spanish court as permanent ambassadors. In 1537 Charles I obtained a license from the pope for the creation of the tribunal of the nunciature, or court of the papal embassy in Spain. This court, composed in part at least of Spanish officials, was to hear the numerous cases in ecclesiastical law which had customarily been settled at Rome. At the same time, the nuncio was empowered to grant the benefices which formerly lay within the jurisdiction of the popes. The nuncio also collected

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