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7 The Roman Inquisition at Novara in the Century of Enlightenment

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Chapter Summary

The surviving records for the inquisition in Novara are patchy, but this chapter uses letters, records of incomes and catalogues of cases from the eighteenth century surviving in the Congregation archive in Rome to illuminate some issues. It shows how a local tribunal was financed. Catalogues of cases indicate the continuing problems of various superstitious beliefs, though the outcomes of cases are seldom known. The inquisition and episcopal tribunals are shown as working “at arm’s length,” alternating between rivalry and cooperation, with the latter mainly left to combat clerical immorality, though inquisitors also punished solicitation in confessionals. Though both tribunals now concentrated on moral issues, Bishop Balbis Bertone joined the inquisitor in seeking to control Enlightenment ideas from the later 1770s.



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