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Voices of ConscienceRoyal Confessors and Political Counsel in Seventeenth-Century Spain and France$
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Nicole Reinhardt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198703686

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198703686.001.0001

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Acceptio personarum: Justice, Favours, and Merit

Acceptio personarum: Justice, Favours, and Merit

(p.136) 7 Acceptio personarum: Justice, Favours, and Merit
Voices of Conscience

Nicole Reinhardt

Oxford University Press

Acceptio personarum (‘respect of person’), a sin against distributive justice, was one of the most controversially debated royal sins around 1600. The concept as developed by Thomas of Aquinas had mainly addressed the distribution of church benefices, but in the sixteenth century the debate shifted towards the distribution of offices in the state. Most Dominicans understood offices to be the property of the res publica and subject to strict criteria of merit and virtue. Jesuit authors favoured examinations as an exact measurement of merit. Some, like Gabriel Vázquez argued that monarchs owned the offices, wherefore they were in the domain of princely liberality and unbound by the principles of acceptio. Despite these differences all called for a restriction of venality as contrary to justice as it undermined the common good and end of good government.

Keywords:   acceptio personarum, respect of person, distributive justice, office, venality, merit, honour

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