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French clerical reformers and episcopal status

principles of hierarchy and authority. The church had always possessed its leaders and its followers; that was both a practical necessity and God’s plan. Both had to be accommodated in permanent rules that would preserve the church until the end of time. While this projection of episcopal leadership was to provoke opposition from some quarters, many reformers rose to the challenges that it had identified by building on its platforms of hierarchy and reform. Leading theologians and reformers embarked on extended explorations of what ‘reform’ meant and how it could be

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. Episcopal jurisdiction was, therefore, not directly derived from him. Unlike the Council of Trent, the French theologian had no difficulty in confirming that bishops held their jurisdiction according to droit divin.52 Cardinal de Lorraine affirmed his faithfulness to this heritage when he commented in 1563 that ‘I am French, nourished in the University of Paris, which holds the authority of a council above the pope, and which censured as heretics those who hold the contrary view.’53 Although he and his fellows were fundamentally in favour of the Council of Trent,54 they

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containing the pope and the episcopate and the chap 4 22/3/04 110 12:53 pm Page 110 FATHERS, PASTORS AND KINGS other housing the pope and the regulars. Jean-Pierre Camus certainly recognised the consequences of that possibility, and pointed it out to his fellow bishops in treatises that he wrote specifically to defend their authority. If the regulars were exempt from episcopal jurisdiction in their hierarchical functions, he observed, then two fragmented hierarchies existed in the church. That was an intolerable situation if the interests of ecclesiastical order and

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Religion and power in the Frankish Kingdoms: studies in honour of Mayke de Jong

This book, written in honour of Mayke De Jong, offers twenty-five essays focused upon the importance of religion to Frankish politics. It deals with religious discourse and political polemic in studies that take up the themes of identity, and the creative deployment of the language of the Old Testament within Frankish society. The book explores how the use of ethnic rhetoric in a Christian context shaped medieval perceptions of community. It shows that the Carolingian way of dealing with the Adoptionist challenge was to allow a conversation between the Spanish bishops and their Frankish opponents to take place. Charlemagne's role in the Vita Alcuini as a guardian of orthodoxy who sought to settle a controversy by organising and supervising a theological debate was striking. The book also discusses the admonition of an abbot of Frankish origin who came from southern France and made his monastic career in southern Italy. It showcases three letter manuscripts that share certain features but are different in other aspects. The first manuscript is a collection of the Moral Letters from Seneca to his pupil Lucilius , Paris , BnF, lat. 8658A. The book demonstrates that the lists of amici, viventes et defuncti reflected how the royal monastery was interacting with ruling elites, at different levels, and how such interactions were an essential part of its identity. It also examines the context of Monte Cassino's fading into the background, in the conviction that both political and religious concerns were at play.

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its instigators made significant and widely adopted contributions. While their primary interest was the improvement of standards among the lower clergy, their teachings could not but influence contemporary conceptions of episcopal authority and hierarchical status. Ideas on episcopacy were disseminated in both oral and written form, through informal conversation, oratory, correspondence and reflections as well as through published texts. Obviously, bishops like Camus and Godeau were in the best possible position to express their opinions on, for example, episcopal

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. In this particular case, the canons justified their resistance to the bishop’s jurisdiction by pointing to a papal bull of 1458 which, they claimed, exempted them from episcopal jurisdiction. When the bishops’ masons arrived to dispose of the altar, the canons imprisoned them in the cathedral until Sourdis, in a grand gesture of episcopal authority, swept into the church, denounced the canons, released the masons and personally oversaw the altar’s destruction.9 This episode was unusual, however, for two reasons. In the first place, the chapter pointed to a papal

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preferred to blame his ambitious and deceitful servants and to lambaste them for their criminal attempts to undermine episcopal and ecclesiastical authority. Alternatively, they attacked the state in abstract, carefully avoiding any suggestion that they might harbour treasonous sentiments. This was an attitude befitting an episcopate that played a major role in the perpetuation of the theory of divine right; in fact, one of its chap 5 22/3/04 148 12:53 pm Page 148 FATHERS, PASTORS AND KINGS most famous members, Bishop Bossuet, produced the ultimate vindication of

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sophisticated political and theological principles that shaped its view of papal and episcopal power. In doing so, it quickly becomes apparent that these Articles were not just a politically motivated betrayal of papal authority, but a legitimate articulation of the episcopate’s ideology of ecclesiastical hierarchy and government. Of course, the relationship between ideas and actions is complex and difficult to unravel; for this reason, scholars, who prefer to examine either one or the other, frequently ignore the symbiotic relationship linking them. Yet they then tell only

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Mirrors of French ideals?

represent the dignity of those who hold the first rank in the Hierarchy’. He proceeded then to describe the ecclesiastical hierarchy in straightforwardly Dionysian terms: bishops were ‘vicars of God . . . who burn with love of God, . . . the image of the living God, his lieutenant under heaven . . . Can one conceive anything more eminent?’9 Around the same date, Nicolas Lescalopier, a royal prédicateur, also emphasised the perfection of the episcopal state and the function of bishops to draw others to perfection, through their governmental authority and powers of order

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the right of episcopal, archidiaconal, or other clerical authority (read: spiritual, disciplinary, and administrative interference). Furthermore, entry into the monastery’s enclosure was strictly forbidden, unless the bishop was asked to celebrate the mass, in which case he was not supposed to be granted any measure of hospitality beyond the nourishment of a simple meal. The rationale for imposing these regulations was so that the monks could ‘enjoy perfect tranquillity for all time, with God’s guidance, and, living under the holy Rule and following the life of the

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