Skip to main content

Rethinking the sacred and secular divide: Accounting and accountability practices in the Diocese of Ferrara (1431-1457)

Bigoni, M., Deidda Gagliardo, Enrico, Funnell, Warwick N. (2013) Rethinking the sacred and secular divide: Accounting and accountability practices in the Diocese of Ferrara (1431-1457). Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 26 (4). pp. 567-594. ISSN 0951-3574. (doi:10.1108/09513571311327462) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:57267)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09513571311327462

Abstract

Purpose

– Informed by the work of Laughlin and Booth, this paper aims to analyze the role of accounting and accountability practices within the fifteenth century Roman Catholic Church, more specifically within the Diocese of Ferrara (northern Italy), in order to determine the presence of a sacred?secular dichotomy. Pope Eugenius IV had embarked on a comprehensive reform of the Church to counter the spreading moral corruption within the clergy and the subsequent disaffection with the Church by many believers. The reforms were notable not only for the Pope's determination to restore the moral authority and power of the Church, but also for the essential contributions of “profane” financial and accounting practices to the success of the reforms.

Design/methodology/approach

– Original fifteenth century Latin documents and account books of the Diocese of Ferrara are used to highlight the link between the new sacred values imposed by Pope Eugenius IV's reforms and accounting and accountability practices.

Findings

– The documents reveal that secular accounting and accountability practices were not regarded as necessarily antithetical to religious values, as would be expected by Laughlin and Booth. Instead, they were seen to assume a role which was complementary to the Church's religious mission. Indeed, they were essential to its sacred mission during a period in which the Pope sought to arrest the moral decay of the clergy and reinstate the Church's authority.

Research limitations/implications

– The paper shows that the sacred?secular dichotomy cannot be considered as a priori valid in space and time. There is also scope for examining other Italian dioceses where there was little evidence of Pope Eugenius' reforms.

Originality/value

– The paper presents a critique of the sacred?secular divide paradigm by considering an under?researched period and a non?Anglo Saxon context.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1108/09513571311327462
Uncontrolled keywords: Sacred?secular divide, Roman Catholic Church, Religion, Pastoral visit, Accounting and accountability practices, Management accountability, Accounting
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Accounting and Finance
Depositing User: Michele Bigoni
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2016 11:56 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2021 14:36 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/57267 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bigoni, M.: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5803-249X
Funnell, Warwick N.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3089-0908
  • Depositors only (login required):