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Anticurialism refers to a juridical and philosophical line of thought that conglomerates a group of theories and political positions which appeared in Naples after the Council of Trent and which lasted until the modern day and led to the suppression of the feudal, juridical, and fiscal privileges of the clergy.


After the Council of Trent many Catholic nations, among which Spain, adopted the Inquisition as a means of controlling religious movements and of the re-conversion to Roman orthodoxy of all the dioceses which they administered. Even in the Kingdom of Naples, at that time subject to the Spanish crown (see List of viceroys of Naples), more than once an ecclesiastical tribune of inquisition was proposed, though the proposals were always rejected by the local aristocracy and by the local population. The first rebellion against the attempt of establishing the Inquisition came about under the rule of Pedro Álvarez de Toledo in 1547.

The Neapolitan aristocracy therefore, finding that its interests were in agreement with the requests of the rebels, began their defence from some of the measures taken by the Council of Trent, such as the inquisition, opposing on a juridical scale the propositions of the party that sustained the tridentine principles and retaining that many of the new ecclesiastical authorities were incompatible with the supreme sovereignty of the king and of the state officials. The juridical theses of the aristocrats were accepted by Viceroy Pedro Afán de Ribera, who was excommunicated by Pope Pius V.

The anticurialist doctrines were also accepted by a number of philosophers, historians and economists such as Pietro Giannone, Costantino Grimaldi and Antonio Genovesi, let alone by a number of Catholic archbishops. In this juridical anticurialism took root the cartesian and atomist philosophy of Tommaso Cornelio, as also some of the Neapolitan Jansenist, royalist and jurisdictionalist lines of thought during the second Neapolitan Republic.


  • AA.VV., Riformatori napoletani, a cura di F. Venturini. Classici Ricciardi, tomo III, 1962.
  • De Giovanni G., Il Giansenismo a Napoli nel sec. XVIII, Asprenas I, 1954.
  • Giannone P., Storia civile del Regno di Napoli, 1723.
  • Croce B., Storia del Regno di Napoli, Adelphi ed., Milano 1992

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