Example of Congregation of the Index Correspondence
The following translation quoted from _The Prosecution of Heresy_, John Tedeschi, is a good example of correspondence between Congregation members and local Inquisitors and Church administrators.
This letter shows that while the Congregation of the Index exhibited great zeal in its efforts to limit the printing of Protestant literature, this was not always shared by the local authorities in charge of implementing the policy.
Reverend Father. These most illustrious and most reverend cardinal
general inquisitors, my colleagues, deeming essential any diligence that
can be exerted over printed material, as we learn from our experience ev-
ery day, have commissioned me to communicate this to your reverence.
Be vigilant and apply every possible care, yourself and through learned,
zealous, and pious persons, in the censorship of books, booklets, and the
small histories which from day to day are printed there, so that they will
not contain prohibited things in line with the Rules of the Index. And
do not issue permits to print them before they are examined with all pos-
sible accuracy. Do not fail, then, to perform your duty and to pass on
this communication to your officals in the towns where printing takes
place, asking them to preserve the originals which have been examined
and passed on to the printers. This will permit us to determine if any
changes at all were made. It should also be clearly stated who examined
and gave his approval to the works printed. By your unswerving obser-
vance of the present order you will be providing for the public good, and
no sort of indifference or neglect will be imputed to you. In case of the
opposite, in addition to great dissatisfaction, there would also be the oc-
caison for resentment to the the detriment of your honor.
Rome, 29 April 1605.
Of your reverence, fraternally.
The Cardinal Borghese
Most Reverend Father. These illustrious lordships of the Congrega-
tion of the Index are astounded to see the negligence being shown in regard
to the printing of books, especially since they have written on so many
occaisons to employ every diligence and to keep vigilant. In spite of this,
a Giardino de Madrigali by Maurito Moro, printed in Rimini has appeared,
which has been prohibited by express order of His Holiness because it
contains many obscenities; and also a Praxi Episcopale by Monsignor
Thomasso Zerola, Bishop of Minori, printed in Venice. Since it contains
some grievous errors, it is prohibited and is not to be sold or read until
its expurgations have been published. Therefore your reverence shall not
fail to promulgate the prohibitions of both books, exert greater vigilance
over the printing of new books as well as those which come from out-
side, and communicate what errors you discover in them. I close by com-
mending myself to your prayers.
Rome, 20 December 1602.
Of your most reverend paternity, benevolently,
The Cardinal of Terranova
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