Models of Sanctity and Governmental Hierarchy at the Roman Curia

Models of Sanctity and Governmental Hierarchy at the Roman Curia

Renaissance Society of America
United States
Vom - Bis
02.04.2020 - 04.04.2020
Arnold Witte

Models of Sanctity and Governmental Hierarchy at the Roman Curia
Call for Papers – RSA Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, 2-4 April 2020.

The Catholic Reformation is often studied most characteristically through its saints, who reflected a new ideal for the Catholic Church as a whole. And yet, emergent models of sanctity elsewhere often seem to have had little impact on life within the Roman curia. There is a paradox between the new Catholic ideal and the Roman court’s ongoing realities: members of the Curia obtained the status of saint – but was it thanks to, or despite, their hierarchical position? Curial life, the cardinal’s administrative duties, and his organizational responsibilities would all seem to have constrained or reshaped the new model of holiness. Moreover, though curial life provided opportunities for displaying conspicuous piety, that piety also needed to be reconciled with a parallel imperative to display magnificence.

This Call for Papers is open to research on popes, cardinals, and other prelates resident in Rome, and active in the papal administration, during the period 1500-1750 and invites submissions which consider the following:

- How individual Cardinals and other prelates projected an image of personal piety in relation to their ecclesiastical, administrative functions
- Hagiographic vitae of popes or cardinals from the period, including about motivations for their composition or publication and/or changes to their quality over time
- General models of conduct, piety, or the vita contemplativa produced for or at the Roman curia, either visual or textual
- Commentaries on the spiritual condition of the Roman curia and its members, either from Rome or outside
- Canonisation processes of curial figures, successful or unsuccessful, or the specific involvement of cardinals in the canonisation processes of others
- The veneration of relics of popes, cardinals, and other curial prelates, inside Rome or beyond

Please send a half-page curriculum vitae, a title (15 words max) and an abstract of the proposed presentation (150 words max) to Arnold Witte ( In addition, please set out any A/V requirements that you might have.

Deadline: August 5, 2019.

All presenters must become members of the Renaissance Society of America, be committed to attending the conference in Philadelphia, and make their own travel arrangements.
For more information about the RSA, please see the conference website: or



Arnold Witte

University of Amsterdam

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