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Philip II and the Papacy

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1 Philip II and the Papacy
Richard Fitzsimmons Strathallan School

2 Relations with the Papacy …
Philip’s relations with the Papacy were often stormy … Philip’s control of the Spanish Church worried the Papacy, particularly his determination to keep Papal influence to a minimum Philip was unwilling to relinquish rights and privileges he had inherited from Charles, and the earlier Catholic monarchs (Ferdinand and Isabella) For Philip, royal control of the Church had led to victories over both Jews and Moors, and also preventing heresy in the Spanish mainland – accordingly he was reluctant to allow the Papacy influence over the Spanish church The Papacy had not exactly been forthcoming with much support in putting down heresy in the Low Countries, nor had its support been significant in the struggle against the Ottomans in the Mediterranean The Papacy saw Philip’s control over the Spanish church as a challenge to its authority and, in the wake of the Council of Trent, wanted to emphasise the primacy of the Papacy over all secular rulers …

3 Tensions over … the Spanish church
Both Philip and Pope Pius IV clashed over a dispute involving Archbishop Bartolomé Carranza from Toledo (Spain’s religious capital) Carranza was arrested and suspended in 1559 on charges of heresy – he was accused of being a Protestant because of statements made in his book on the Catechism He was kept in prison for 7 years before being sent to Rome. The case dragged on for another 9 years before he was acquitted of being a heretic, though condemned for putting forward some ‘highly suspect’ propositions The Inquisition played a large part in bringing Carranza down Pius IV had insisted that the case be referred to Rome 1563, Philip withdrew his ambassador to Rome so Pius refused to renew the servicio on the Spanish Church When the case went to Rome, Philip’s representatives (members of the Inquisition) stalled the case No other appeals to Rome were allowed in Philip’s reign Pius V issued an edict in 1567 against bull-fighting, but Philip and his bishops ignored the decree

4 Tensions over … Foreign Policy
Both Philip’s, and Papal, foreign policy were constantly in conflict, except for the brief period of the Holy League … , Pope Paul IV was allied with the French against Philip – he had in fact also excommunicated Philip Papacy was alarmed at growing Spanish influence in Italy, and tried to counteract this by backing Spain’s enemies. e.g. when Henri of Navarre looked as if he would inherit the French throne, Pope Sixtus V and Clement VIII initially said he could not, then they realised that the next in line was Philip’s daughter; so, in 1595, Clement VIII officially recognised Henri IV as king of France Philip blocked efforts by Pius IV to excommunicate Elizabeth (1561, 1563). Even in 1570 he tried to prevent the Bull of excommunication, hoping for an anti-French alliance As the heir to the English throne was Mary Queen of Scots, and likely to have a French alliance, Philip resisted calls from the Papacy in the 1570s to invade England When, in 1588, Philip did get round to invading England, Sixtus V was constantly complaining at Philip’s slowness.

5 Why were relations so bad ?
Power politics played an important part in relations – Popes played Spain off against other Catholic powers, e.g. France But, as Spain was the most powerful nation in Europe, the Papacy resented having to rely on Spanish arms for its security against both the Ottoman and the Protestant threat Even though Philip exercised significant control over the Church in Spain, and he often exploited this financial benefit, he was also conscientious in maintaining and seeking to improve religious standards Philip saw himself as God’s representative on earth, not as an agent of the Pope – although both had the same objectives, they had different priorities Philip believed that the council of Trent had not done enough to tackle the growing Calvinist threat, and had instead sought to loosen his control over the Spanish Church. This later caused disagreements, but Philip still issued the canons of the Trent Council after 1563.

6 What historians think …
G. Woodward, ‘Spanish-papal relations had been at best uneasy, and at times hostile … The Papacy believed Philip had confused what was best for the Church with what was best for Spain’. Pope Sixtus V (1589), ‘The King of Spain, as a temporal sovereign, is anxious above all to safeguard and to increase his dominions...The preservation of the Catholic religion which is the principal aim of the Pope is only a pretext for His majesty whose principal aim is the security and aggrandisement of his dominions.’ C. Pendrill, ‘From the papacy’s point of view, Philip’s control over the Church in Spain was seen as an affront to the power of the papacy. In this period of Counter-reformation, the papacy liked to emphasise the supremacy of the Pope above all other earthly powers.’ D. McKinnon-Bell, ‘The reality was that the Papacy feared a triumphant Spain which would be dominant in Europe, and therefore trod a delicate line between supporting Europe’s most ardent defender of Catholicism whilst avoiding becoming a Spanish client.’ J. Lynch, ‘The conflict between Philip and the papacy over France summarises the essential issue between the two. Philip believed he had the right to tell the Pope what was best for the Church. The Pope believed that Philip was confusing what was best for the Church with what was best for Spanish interests.’

7 Exercise … Why were relations between Philip II and Papacy so difficult ? Make notes under the following headings, then answer the above essay question: - tensions over the Spanish Church - tensions over foreign policy, particularly with reference to England & France - disagreements over priorities - power politics - personal animosity between Philip and individual Popes

8 Suggested Reading … H. Kamen, Spain 1469-1714: A Society of Conflict.
H. Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition. J. Kilsby, Spain: Rise and Decline, J. Lynch, Spain ; From Nation State to World Empire. pp D. McKinnon-Bell, Philip II. pp D. McKinnon-Bell, ‘Philip II: the champion of Catholicism.’ History Review I. A. A. Thompson, War and Society in Hapsburg Spain. G.Woodward, Philip II. pp.55-57 A. D. Wright, Catholicism and Spanish Society under the Reign of Philip II, and Philip III,

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