The opening of the archives of the Roman Inquisition and of the Index of Prohibited Books, in January 1998, enables us to think afresh about the history of two organisations more notorious than understood. Both have been considered, almost exclusively, from the perspective of their victims, such as Galileo Galilei. This book uses hitherto secret sources of the Inquisition and Index to reconstruct the history of Roman censorship in its first, formative years from the standpoint of Galileo's judge.
Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621) was a censor for the Index and a consultor to the Holy Office, before becoming cardinal-inquisitor and (three centuries after his death) a saint and Doctor of the Church. His career provides a paradigm of how an intellectual could make his way to the top in Counter-Reformation Rome. Censored by Pope Sixtus V, Bellarmine responded by supressing the pontiff's version of the Vulgate and by repressing the Sistine Index of Prohibited Books. A new interpretation - including a revaluation of Galileo's first "trial"- of Roman censorship is offered in this book. Based on unpublished sources from the archives, which it edits and interprets for the first time, The Saint as Censor will alter our understanding of the Roman Inquisition and the Index.