The Synod of Pistoia
Looking back on the events of twenty years before, Ricci wrote that Leopold urged him to celebrate a Synod because he felt sure that “if this succeeded, it would then be possible, with this as a basis, to combat and destroy more easily in the course of time the Papal monarchy.1 Coming from an Italian Bishop in the eighteenth century these words seem remarkable unless we remember how much the ideas at Pistoia derived from French Gallicanism, from a desire to return to antiquity, inspired by a century of scholarship in France, Italy, and the Netherlands, and finally from the ecclesiastical policy of Joseph II and the eighteenth century Bourbons. Ricci’s theological position as regards the Papacy may be summed up in the words written by him of another: “He believed that the Romans would be discreet and would be satisfied with the Primacy as it was given by Jesus Christ to St. Peter; he did not know that they wanted the Totality and a universal earthly monarchy such as Christ always renounced, having taught us that Regnum meum non est de hoc mundo.” (My kingdom is not of this world).2
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