“Hispanic Conciliarism and the Imperial Politics of Reform on the Eve of the Council of Trent,” by Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Xavier Tubau, appears in the fall issue of Renaissance Quarterly.
The article challenges studies of Spain’s 16th-century religious reform movements that have centered principally on analyzing doctrines that were persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition. Tubau said the leading assumption of these studies is the widespread account of the intolerant, reactionary nature of early modern Spanish Catholicism—an account that persists today, especially in English-speaking countries.
Tubau examined the Treatise on the general council, published in 1536 by Alfonso Álvarez Guerrero, a Spanish jurist serving in the imperial administration in the Kingdom of Naples.
An attempt to endorse deep reform of the relationship between papal power and imperial power by means of canon law, the Treatise defends two ideas that went against papal legislation—the convening of the council by the emperor and the inferiority of the pope with respect to the general council. It was conceived in order to justify the legality of Emperor Charles V taking unilateral action with respect to calling a general council.
Through his analysis of the Treatise, Tubau shows the diverse, vibrant nature of Spanish Catholicism and breaks new ground in our understanding of Catholic Reform in early modern Spain.
The leading American journal of Renaissance studies, Renaissance Quarterly is the official journal of the Renaissance Society of America.