Pistoja, Synod of
Pistoja, Synod of in 1786, marks one of the many reformatory movements in the Roman Catholic Church which remained without any effect. Leopold of Tuscany (q.v.), actuated by the same sense in which his brother Joseph II of Austria acted, tried to ameliorate the affairs of the Catholic Church in his country. For this purpose he issued Jan. 26, 1786, a circular-address to his bishops, containing fifty-seven articles of his reformatory plan, which he wished them to examine respectively, and carry out. The most important points for consideration were,
1. The necessity of holding annual synods in each diocese; 2. The restitution of the episcopal power; 3. A scientific training of the clergy, and a religious education of the people.
This circular address was prepared by the grand duke himself, who was well versed in theological literature. He gave his bishops six months' time for consideration, but after this time he expected them to answer in a frank and categorical manner. Almost all the bishops opposed; among those who favored the plan was the bishop of Pistoja, Scipio Ricci, who, having high notions of religious purity, attempted other reforms. In September, 1786, Ricci assembled a diocesan council at Pistoja, which was opened Sept. 18 in the church of St. Leopold. Two hundred and thirty-four clergymen were present, among whom was the greatest unanimity. Among the passed resolutions we find several that aimed to enlighten the people as to the proper limits of image-worship and the invocation of the saints; suppression of certain relics which gave occasion to superstitious practices; encouragement to spread religious works, especially the Gospel, among the flock. Besides advocating the use of the liturgy in the oral language of the country, and exposing the abuse of indulgences, the spiritual independence of the bishops was maintained, and the four propositions of the Gallican Church of 1682 (comp. the art. SEE GALLICAN CHURCH, 3, 725, of this Cyclop.) were adopted. The synod also recommended that the ecclesiastical law of marriage should be subject to the law of the country. The minutest attention was paid to the reform of monachism-all orders should be united into one, and perpetual vows should be restricted or abolished-and Church discipline, and to carry this out the convocation of a national synod was expressed as very desirable. The grand duke, who welcomed these resolutions with great joy, convoked a council at Florence of the bishops of Tuscany, April 23, 1787, and proposed to them fifty- seven articles concerning the reform of ecclesiastical discipline. The result was, that all articles were either laid aside or so modified as to lose their importance. The government did not abandon its reformatory plans, and allowed every bishop to do in his diocese what he pleased. Leopold's successor abandoned all these plans, and suffered a papal bull, Auctorem fidei, dated Aug. 28, 1794, to condemn the eighty-five propositions of the Synod of Pistoja. Comp. Attie decreti del concilio dimcesano di Pistoja a. 1786, edited by Bracali and translated into Latin: Acta et decreta synodi diceces. Pistoriensis (1791, 2 vols.). The proceedings, published at the expense of the grand-duke, and prepared by C. Cambiagi in 7 vols., were also translated into Latin: Acta congregationis archiepiscoporum et episcoporum Hetruriae Florentiae anno 1787 celebrate, Ex Italico translata a J. Schwarzel (Bamb. 1790-1794); Vie de Scipion de Ricci, par de Potter (Bruss. 1825, 3 vols.), German transl. 4 vols. (Stuttg. 1826); Wolf, Geschichte der rom — kathol. Kirche unter Pius VI (Leips. 1796); Minch, Leopold von Oesterreich, in his Denkwürdigkeiten, p. 303 sq.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.; Theologisches Universal- Lexikon, s.v.; H. B. Smith, History of the Church of Christ in Chronological Tables, p. 619; Kurtz, Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte, § 164, p. 9; Niedner, Lehrbuch der christl. Kirchengeschichte, p. 846; Hagenbach-Hurst, History of the
Church in the 18th and 19th Centuries, 2, 433; Evangelische Kirchenzeitung (1820), p. 270 sq.; Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum et definitionum (4th ed. 1865), p. 388 sq., "Prcapositiones 85 Synodi diaecesanae Pistoriensis damnatae a Pio VI per constitutionem 'Auctorem fidei' Aug. 28, 1794; Ranke, in Zeitschrift für historische Theologie, 1871, 3, art. 2. (B. P.)