Copy of decree given against Bellarmine's Tractatus de potestate Summi Pontificis, ca. 1610.


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CITATION:  France King (1601-1643: Louis XIII) Copy of decree given against Bellarmine’s Tractatus de potestate Summi Pontificis, MSS 267, Archives and Manuscripts Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University. 

 Biographical Note

Born in Fontainebleau on Sept. 16, 1601, Louis XIII was the eldest of the six children of Henry IV and Marie de Médicis. Louis was not yet 9 years old when his father was stabbed to death and he became King.

Louis XIII was king of France from 1610 to 1643. A soldier and an austere, active Catholic, he was intent on securing the majesty of his crown, rendering justice, and protecting his subjects. The King pursued the policy of reducing the military and political independence of the Protestants, although continuing to allow protestant worship.

Louis died, apparently of complications of intestinal tuberculosis, on May 14, 1643, in the Louvre.

Robert Francis Romolus Bellarmine was born October 4, 1542 in Montepulciano, Italy. Bellarmine was an Italian theologian, a cardinal, and advisor to popes, and a strong defender of the Roman Catholic position in the controversies stemming from the Protestant Reformation. He is most famous for his work “Debates on the Controversies of Christian Faith”, which point by point refutes the various Protestant professions of faith. It is three volumes long (1586, 1588, 1593) and was considered the most important Catholic answer to Protestant theologians in the sixteenth century. Bellarmine served as a respected papal counselor from 1605 until his death on September 16, 1621. During this time, it was the 75-year-old cardinal’s task to tell Galileo that the Office of the Inquisition had found his theories opposed to the Bible.  

In 1930 Robert Bellarmine was canonized a saint of the Roman Catholic Church.

Scope and Content Note

This item is a copy of the decree given by the Louis XIII, King of France, on a decision of Parliament against Cardinal Bellarmine’s work Tractatus de potestate Summi Pontificis in rebus temporalibus adversus Gulielmum Barclaeum. The issue at hand concerns the authority of the Pope to depose civil rulers. It is seven printed pages, and is dated ca. 1610.

Last Modified: 01/02/2004