Benedikt XIV. und die Reform des Buchzensurverfahrens

© Ferdinand Schöningh

In the Age of Enlightenment, the Roman Index aroused widespread indignation. The proceedings behind the bans were perceived as inscrutable and unjust. Pope Benedict XIV sought to address this in 1753. To this end he fixed the rules of censorship in writing in the constitution "Sollicita ac provida". In this volume, Hubert Wolf and Bernward Schmidt present an annotated edition of the constitution itself, alongside other important documents about its creation and impact.

The "Sollicita ac provida" authoritatively influenced the work of the Roman Inquisition and the Congregation of the Index until the Index of Forbidden Books was brought to a close. However, did the constitution actually bring something new to the table or did it merely codify the tried and tested practices? Did Pope Benedict XIV, a respected historian and canonist, grant new liberties to Catholic scholars? Did he perhaps challenge the very principle of censorship? How modern were the processes of eighteenth-century Roman book censorship?

As the Archives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were opened in 1998, these questions can now be thoroughly examined. During their long-term project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), Hubert Wolf and his staff have developed a foundational tool for researching individual censorship cases.

Hubert WOLF and Bernward SCHMIDT, Benedikt XIV. und die Reform des Buchzensurverfahrens. Zur Geschichte und Rezeption von „Sollicita ac provida“, Paderborn et alibi 2010, 273 pages, hardcover, ISBN-13: 978-3506767561.