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The Maltese Catholic Enlightenment

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Chapter Summary

This chapter seeks to analyze whether religious discussion on the island of Malta was closely related to that in other European countries. The Maltese in the second half of the eighteenth century were practically strangers to this movement of religious piety. It will be argued in this chapter that in Malta the grand masters performed this task only in part. There were two motivating forces behind these most incisive reforms in the relationship between civil and religious society. First, it has been argued convincingly that the success of Protestant countries like Prussia and England made Catholic states examine their ecclesiastical policies. Secondly, it should be remembered that Reform Catholicism was influenced not only by the political situation of the time but also by general political theories and intellectual developments. To conclude, as in Spain, the skeptical Enlightenment of the philosophes had no place in Catholic Malta.

Keywords: Catholic Enlightenment; eighteenth century; Malta



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