Info

state. Leopold I of Austria, the main defender of Christendom against the Turkish threat, was still furious that Louis had sent a derisory French force to join in the relief of Vienna in 1683. Pope Innocent XI remained at loggerheads with Louis over the king's insistence on extending crown rights to draw income from certain vacant bishoprics (the régale) as well as his aggressive policy in the Rhineland and elsewhere on the German frontier. Papal opposition to Louis' candidate for the vacant electoral diocese of Cologne had prompted the occupation of Avignon, the detention of the French nuncio and the king's raising the conciliarist threat. The wrangling got worse before it got better when Innocent in 1687 refused to accept the new French ambassador and, in December 1688, secretly excommunicated Louis and his ministers.

After Innocent's death in 1689, relations between Versailles and Rome slowly improved. Louis was ageing, and he wanted to enlist papal support of his grandson Anjou to the Spanish succession and, above all, to eliminate Jansenism. There was no necessary reason for Jansenists to constitute a threat to royal power in the 1690s, but the king's insensitive conduct quickly pushed them to adopt the conciliarism that was classically Gallican and at odds with the pro-pontifical policy of convenience that Louis pursued in the quarter century before his death. He was convinced that unless Jansenism was authoritatively and comprehensively condemned before his death it could threaten the continuation of the dynasty that was to be bequeathed to his three-year-old great-grandson. In fact, the king's reckless policy of extracting Unigenitus from a very reluctant Clement XI in 1713 would greatly destabilize French politics after his death.

Cardinal Fleury's long ministry (1726-42) saw a firm, resourceful handling of theJansenist question by one who in his own person embodied the institutional overlap between church and state in eighteenth-century France. Fleury in the 1730s, having declared Unigenitus a law of the French state, relied primarily on patronage to install moderates of his own cast into key vacancies in the church. The policy restored a degree of harmony to church-state relations that lasted beyond his death. But in the 1750s the Archbishop of Paris, Christophe de Beaumont, provoked a constitutional clash with the Paris parlement over Jansenism that had profound implications for the entire polity and damaged the public standing of the First Estate (the clergy). The crown turned out to be an unreliable ally for the majority party in the church. Louis XV was not ready to defend its claims unconditionally and its vulnerability to pressure from anticlericalists in the sovereign courts was apparent to all. Only on the issue of direct taxation had the church been able to preserve its immunities, seeing off the attempt of the Controller-General, Orry, to impose the vingtième

0 0

Post a comment