French episcopate aimed to assert itselfinboththe 'national' and the European contexts: confronting, on the one hand, the Calvinists, who had remained in France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes; and on the other, the non-believers and proponents of the Enlightenment. These efforts would become decisive after 1770, as the bishops attempted to consolidate traditional Catholic forces in defence of the Christian faith and the political order, both of which were thought to be under threat. However, the bishops continued to have little regard during the century for the economic conditions of the lower clergy, a situation that would lead to an accumulation of hostility which exploded at the time of the Revolution.

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