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Durham University

Department of History


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Publication details

2017 Reinhardt, Nicole 'Hernando de Mendoça (1562–1617), General Acquaviva and the Controversy over Confession, Counsel, and Obedience', Journal of Jesuit Studies 4, pp. 209-229

Author(s) from Durham


This article examines the clash between Superior General Claudio Acquaviva and the Spanish Jesuit Hernando de Mendoça, briefly confessor to the viceroy of Naples count of Lemos (1599–1601). It argues that Mendoça’s activities in Naples and the scandal that followed were an important influence on Acquaviva’s determination to formalize and push forward the regulations for princely confessors in 1602. It situates the confrontation within the context of the discontent amongst Spanish Jesuits, and their criticism of Acquaviva’s generalate. While Jesuit historiography has generally considered Mendoça’s case as an example of individual folly and disobedience, the essay elucidates the significance of his agency by taking into account his overlooked writings, which offer new insights into the controversy over the role of confession for just government within and without the Society of Jesus.

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