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Pietro Sforza Pallavicino

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A cardinal, born 28 Nov., 1607; died 5 June, 1667. Descended from the line of Parma of the ancient and noble house of the Marchese, Pallavicini, the first-born of his family, he renounced the right of primogeniture and resolved to enter the priesthood. He obtained the doctorate in philosophy in 1625, theology in 1628 (the theses, printed in the years mentioned, being extant). Pope Urban VIII (1623-44) appointed him referendarius utriusque signaturœ and member of several congregations. He was highly esteemed in the literary circles of Rome. When his friend Giovanni Ciampoli, the secretary of briefs, fell into disfavour, Pallavicino's standing at the papal court was also seriously affected. He was sent in 1632 as governatore to Jesi, Orvieto, and Camerino, where he remained for a considerable time. In spite of his father's opposition, he entered the Society of Jesus on 21 June, 1637. After the two years' novitiate he became, 1639, professor of philosophy at the Collegium Romanum. In 1643, when John de Lugo was made cardinal, Pallavicino became his successor in the chair of theology, a position he occupied until 1651. At the same time he was frequently employed by Innocent X in matters of importance. In this way he became a member of the commission appointed to examine the writings of Jansenius. He was furthermore commissioned to examine the writings of M. de Barcos, two of which were condemned in 1647.

Before his entrance into the Jesuit Order he had published orations and poems. Of his great poem "I fasti sacri", which was to have been completed in fourteen cantos, he had published one part (Rome, 1636); but upon his entrance into the novitiate he gave up its further publication. His first considerable literary work as Jesuit was a tragedy, "Ermenegildo martire" (Rome, 1644). In the same year there appeared "Del bene libri quattro" (Rome 1644 and often reprinted). He began editing the works of his former friend Giovanni Ciampoli; of these the "Rime" appeared in Rome (1648) and the "Prose" (1667 and 1676). In rebuttal of the numerous accusations raised against the Society of Jesus, Pallavicino composed a circumstantial refutation, "Vindicationes Societatis Jesu, quibus multorum accusationes in eius institutum, leges, gymnasia, mores refelluntur" (Rome, 1649). In the same year he began the publication of his great dogmatic work in conjunction with his theological lectures, "Assertiones theologicæ". The complete work treats the entire field of dogma in nine books. The first five books appeared in three volumes (Rome, 1649), the remaining four books are included in volumes IV-VIII (Rome, 1650-1652). Immediately after this he began the publication of disputations on the second part of the "Summa theologica" of St. Thomas, "R. P. Sfortiæ Pallavicini* . . . Disputationum in Iam IIæ d. Thomæ tomus I" (Lyons, 1653). However, only this first volume of the work appeared, for in the meantime Pallavicino had been directed by the pope to write a refutation of Sarpi's History of the Council of Trent.

The odious and hostile account of the Council of Trent by Sarpi had appeared as early as 1619 under a fictitious name ("Historia del Concilio Tridentino, nella quale si scoprono tutti gli artifici della corte di Roma . . . di Pietro Soave Pollano", London, 1619). Several Catholic scholars had already begun to collect the material for a refutation of this work, but none had been able to finish the gigantic undertaking. Felix Contelorio and the Jesuit, Ter. Alciati, in particular had collected a rich mass of material. The latter, moreover, had already begun with the compilation, when he died suddenly in 1651. Pallavicino by order of the pope was now to take up the work anew. Accordingly he resigned his professorship at the Collegium Romanum, to devote himself exclusively to this prodigious task. He utilized all the available material previously gathered by Contelorio and Alciati, and added much that was new from Roman and non-Roman archives. The reports of the council in the secret archives of the Vatican were at his unrestricted disposal (cf. Ehses, in "Römische Quartalschrift", 1902, p. 296 sqq.). He was thus able to bring out the work as early as 1656 and 1657 in two folio volumes under the title, "Istoria del Concilio di Trento, scritta dal P. Sforza Pallavicino, della Comp. di Giesù ove insieme rifiutasi con auterevoli testimonianze un Istoria falsa divolgata nello stesso argomento sotto nome di Petro Soave Polano" (first part, Rome, 1656; second part, Rome, 1657). The author himself was able to bring out a new edition in three volumes (Rome, 1664). With the assistance of his secretary Cataloni, he made an abridgement in which the polemical portions are omitted (Rome, 1666). Until within very recent years Pallavicino's History of the Council of Trent was the principal work on this important ecclesiastical assembly. Reprints of it have appeared frequently, and Antonio Zaccaria published an annotated edition (Rome, 1733, 4 vols.), which has been reprinted three times. The work was also translated into Latin by a Jesuit, Giattini (Antwerp, 1670); into German by Klitsche (Augsburg, 1835-1837); into French (Migne series, Paris, 1844-1845); and into Spanish. Pallavicino's work is more copious, more conscientious, and more in accordance with the truth than that of his adversary Sarpi. But it is an apologetic treatise, and for that reason not free from partiality as it is not without errors [cf. "Concilium Tridentinum, Diariorum pars prima", ed. Seb. Merkle (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1901), p. xiii]. In any case, however, Pallavicino did not purposely falsify the history of the council, and he has reported much that proves his frankness and objectivity in the recital.

Pallavicino received due recognition from his friend, Alexander VII (1655-67). On 19 April, 1657, he was created cardinal in petto; on 10 Nov., 1659, his elevation to the cardinalate was published. Nevertheless he continued his simple, pious way of living. The pope often consulted him in matters of importance. He attended to his diverse tasks with the greatest conscientiousness. His income was in a large measure employed in supporting scientific endeavours. His own work in literature was likewise continued, as is proved by the new edition of his History of the Council of Trent and the edition of the "Prose" of Ciampoli. A work of ascetic character, "Arte della perfezione cristiana, divisa in tre libri", appeared in 1665 (Rome). Several of his works were not printed until later; others are still in manuscript. After becoming cardinal, Pallavicino continued loyal to the Jesuit Order and was its protector and patron. He died during the vacancy of the Holy See in 1667.

In the year after his death his former secretary, Giambattista Galli Pavarelli, published a collection of his letters, "Lettere dettate dal card. Sforza Pallavicino" (Rome, 1668). Other collections appeared in Bologna (1669), in Venice (1825), in Rome (4 vols., 1848). An opinion which he had written on the question whether it was most appropriate that the pope live in Rome at St. Peter's, was printed together with a discussion of the same question by Lucas Holstenius, in Rome (1676). Larger collections of various works of Pallavicino were brought out as late as the nineteenth century. The following editions of his "Opera" are to be noted as the most important: Rome, 1834 (in 2 volumes); Rome, 1844-48 (in 33 volumes); and a collection of other works in five volumes published at the same time by Ottavio Gilgi.


Sources

AFFÒ, Biography of Pallavicino in Raccolta di opuscoli scientifici e letteraij di autori italiani, V (Ferrara, 1780), 1-64 [this account is printed with additions in the ed. of the Istoria del Concilio by ZACCARIA (Faenza, 1792)]; SOMMERVOGEL, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, VI, Bibliography (new edition, Brussels, 1895), 120-143; HURTER. Nomenclator literarius, IV (Innsbruck, 1910), 192; GIORDANI, Opera inedita del P. S. Pallavicino in Vita di Aless. VII, I (Prato, 1839), 3 sqq.

About this page

APA citation. Kirsch, J.P. (1911). Pietro Sforza Pallavicino. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11426a.htm

MLA citation. Kirsch, Johann Peter. "Pietro Sforza Pallavicino." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11426a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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