A Case of Conscience at the Council of Trent, 1562-63
The nature of the episcopacy underlay many debates at the Council of Trent (1545–63) but exploded to the surface during the crisis over episcopal residency in the winter of 1562/1563. Pope Pius IV had previously called on Cosimo I, Duke of Florence, to instruct the bishops from his territory to vote against residency by divine right and for residency by papal authority. Cosimo wrote to those bishops, but not everyone complied. Pietro Camaiani, the Bishop of Fiesole and Cosimo’s former secretary, defied his patron’s call and was one of the few Italian bishops to vote for episcopal residency iure divino. He justified himself to Cosimo, citing his liberty of conscience, knowing well that such defiance spelled the end of his rapport with the Duke and his tenure as Bishop of Fiesole. This paper attempts to explain why Camaiani would vote for residency by divine right and explores the significance of the larger debate.
J. G. Amato is a PhD candidate in early modern European history at Stanford University.