Bartolomé Carranza (1503 – May 2, 1576), Spanish priest of the Dominican Order, theologian and Archbishop of Toledo, sometimes called de Miranda or de Carranza y Miranda, who spent much of his later life imprisoned on (eventually disproven) charges of heresy.
The younger son of Pedro Carranza, a man of noble family, Bartolomé Carranza was born at Miranda de Arga, Kingdom of Navarre, in 1503. As a young man, he bore witness to the Spanish conquest of his home country, Navarre. The ensuing institutional takeover brought about deep changes to church structures of Navarre, such as a redesign of ecclesiastic boundaries and an attempt to prevent European influences from entering Navarre and Spain altogether.
At Valladolid he was teacher of theology beginning in 1527. No Spaniard save Melchior Cano rivalled him in learning; students from all parts of Spain flocked to hear him. In 1530 he was denounced to the Inquisition as limiting the papal power and leaning to the opinions of Erasmus, but the process failed; he was made professor of philosophy and regent in theology (1533 to 1539).
In 1539, as representative to the chapter-general of his order he visited Rome; here he was made doctor of theology at the studium generale of the Dominican Order at the Convent of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the progenitor of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum. While he mixed with the liberal circle associated with Juan de Valdés, he had also the confidence of Pope Paul III. Returning to Valladolid, he acted as censor (cualificador) of books (including versions of the Bible) for the Inquisition. In 1540 he was nominated to the sees of the Canary Islands and of Cusco, Peru, but declined both. Charles V chose him as envoy to the Council of Trent in 1546.
He insisted on the imperative duty of bishops and clergy to reside in their benefices, publishing at Venice (1547) his discourse to the council, De necessaria residentia personali, which he treated as juris divini. His Lenten sermon to the Council, on justification, caused much remark. He was made provincial general of his order for Castile.
Charles sent him to England in 1554 with his son Philip on the occasion of the marriage with Mary. He became Mary's confessor, and laboured earnestly for the re-establishment of the old religion, especially in Oxford.
In 1557 Philip appointed him to the archbishopric of Toledo; he accepted with reluctance, and was consecrated at Brussels on 27 February 1558. He was at the deathbed of Charles V (on 21 September) and gave him extreme unction; then raised a curious controversy as to whether Charles, in his last moments, had been influenced by Lutheranism.
The same year he was again denounced to the Inquisition, on the ground of his Comentarios sobre el Catechismo (Antwerp, 1558), which in 1563, however, was approved by a commission of the Council of Trent. He had evidently lost favour with Philip, by whose order he was arrested at Torrelaguna in 1559 and imprisoned for nearly eight years, and the book was placed on the Index. The process dragged on. Carranza appealed to Rome, was taken there in December 1566, and confined for ten years in the castle of St. Angelo.
The final judgment found no proof of heresy, but compelled him to abjure sixteen errors, from his writings, suspended him from his see for five years, and secluded him to the Dominican cloister of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. He died seven days after his abjuration. He was succeeded in his see by the inquisitor general, Gaspar Quiroga.
Yet the Spanish people honoured him as a saint; Pope Gregory XIII placed a laudatory inscription on his tomb in the church of Santa Maria. Though he may have been unconscious of his "errors", after the study of J. Ignacio Tellechea Idígoras (Melanchton y Carranza: préstamos y afinidades, Salamanca, Universidad Pontificia, Centro de Estudios Orientales y Ecuménicos Juan XXIII, 1979) there is no doubt that he was influenced by the doctrine of the Lutheran Philipp Melanchthon.
His Summa Conciliorum et Pontificum (Venice, 1546) has been often reprinted, and has long been widely respected.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- Catholic Encyclopedia article