revocation of the Edict of Nantes confirmed that the Bourbon monarchy's toleration of the religion prétendue réformée was a tactical gambit rather than a principled commitment.

France reverted to a pattern of official denominational exclusiveness that was very much the European norm in 1700. It took another well-publicized measure of anti-Protestant repression, the expulsion of Pietists from the archbishopric of Salzburg in the early 1730s, to bring about a gradual European reaction in favour of toleration. After the Salzburg affair, European advocates of limited toleration were constantly alert to the sort of cause célebre that would call for passionate prose, and they found Enlightened absolutists like Frederick II of Prussia ready to listen on the grounds of state construction. However, less-enlightened rulers long continued to use coercion as a means of obtaining religious uniformity. In Portugal, John V was still persecuting heretics through the Inquisition with fifty-one individuals burnt between 1734 and 1743.

Catholic kings were commonly the combined de facto and de iure heads of their state churches. Indeed, the theology and traditions of the Roman faith were at least as respectful of the deference required for rulers as were any of the Protestant communions. In the post-Tridentine era, absolutist tendencies, the powers vested in bishops for instance, were as fashionable within the church as in the state. Rulers were easily convinced that Catholicism was the natural prop of authority; that Protestantism was born in disobedience with a propensity to republicanism. There was nothing more likely to sanction and uphold royal powers than the Catholic Church, for kingship itself was inconceivable without the blessing of the church. Little wonder that as many as fifty-one German princes converted to Catholicism during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Even when the Catholic Stuarts lost their throne in England and Scotland in 1688-89 and in Ireland in 1690-91, the church could continue to recognize their family right to appoint to sees in the Irish Catholic bishoprics. This recognition dignified decades of exile, and its withdrawal in 1766 by Clement XIII was a reminder of the supreme legitimating power reposing in the hands of the hierarchy. Though the throne-altar 'alliance' was increasingly weighted in favour of the former, the advantage was not wholly one-way. Churches were highly privileged corporations with rights guaranteed by sovereigns at their coronation, and their leaders took precedence over their counterparts within the nobility.

Of course, though state and church had a clear idea of each other's distinctive roles and of where they could be mutually supportive, there were still frequent conflicts in most decades and in most states about the prerogatives properly belonging to both. By the 1760s, monarchies were adamant that the church

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment