Alison Forrestal
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The most perfect state
French clerical reformers and episcopal status

This chapter focuses on the work of French clerical reformers concerning episcopal status. Throughout the seventeenth century, these reformers produced important contributions to the related issues of the nature and functions of episcopacy and the character of French episcopal reform. They principally concentrated on the hierarchical authority of bishops, and it was as a function of this that they treated the perfection of the episcopal state, its power to perfect and its obligation of personal sanctity. The chapter suggests that Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle and his disciples made crucial contributions to the development of seventeenth-century episcopal ideology through their emphasis on the superb theological character and hierarchical authority of episcopacy.

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Fathers, pastors and kings

Visions of episcopacy in seventeenth-century France


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