Blog Template Theology of the Body: Who were the Spirituali?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Who were the Spirituali?

Hope springs eternal:

The Spirituali were members of a Catholic reform movement from about 1510 to the 1560s.

Among them were Cardinals Gasparo Contarini(1483-1542), Giovanni Pietro Carafa, Jacopo Sadoleto, and Reginald Pole. These "Italian evangelicals" proposed to reform the Catholic church through a spiritual renewal and the internalisation of faith by each individual. Intense study of scripture and emphasis on justification by faith were seen as the means to that end.

The Spirituali took many of their ideas from older Catholic texts, but they were certainly inspired by the Protestant Reformation, especially Calvinism. The most notable expression of Spirituali doctrine was the text Beneficio di Cristo, written in a first version by the Benedictine monk Benedetto Fontanini 1543 and later revised by the poet and humanist Marcantonio Flaminio.

Although Spirituali occupied positions of high power within the church hierarchy, they failed to achieve much change, and more "fundamentalist" currents, such as the Jesuits, bore out the reforms of the Council of Trent. Ultimately, the Spirituali hoped for Church reform without a challenge to Catholic authority; that is to say, for a peaceful renewal from within...