9 “Tacitly denied”

Inquisition, Heresy and Dissimulation in the Kingdom of Naples

in The Roman Inquisition
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This chapter focuses on a notable inquisition investigation (processo) in the mid 1560s against the bishop of Policastro, Nicola Francesco Missanelli. The examination of a wealth of previously unpublished documentation throws light on the spread of Protestant heresy in the Kingdom of Naples and the reaction of the Roman Inquisition. Analysis of trial documentation provides evidence of the dense network of relations built up over the years by Bishop Missanelli, as well as the clear Valdesian matrix of doctrines circulating in the Policastro diocese and more generally in the Kingdom of Naples. Moreover, the discovery of a manual for confessors in the Roman Congregation Archive (ACDF), which was drafted by the heretic Scipione Lentolo and widely circulated within the diocese by Missanelli, reveals both the skilful Nicodemite strategy employed by those involved in the distribution campaign to escape inquisitorial control and the pervasive spread of the teachings of Juan de Valdés well beyond the confines of the restricted circle of Neapolitan aristocrats.

The Roman Inquisition

Centre versus Peripheries