constitutionalists, the movement's elision with Gallicanism further recommended the Jansenist cause to the parlement of Paris, which - long the chief obstacle to the acceptance of Trent in France - hardened its defence of the antipapal aspects of Gallicanism in proportion as an anti-Jansenist monarchy grew soft on them. It was within the judicial milieu generally and the parlement of Paris in particular where Jansenism acquired its most politically potent 'party', just as it was the parlements alone (besides stray Jansenist bishops here and there) that afforded Jansenists a degree of protection against the combined assaults of monarchy and episcopate during the refusal of sacraments controversy Not unpredictably, Jansenist barristers and publicists became the most influential advocates of the parlement's putative place in the historical 'constitution'. In relation to the monarchy, this role resided chiefly in the right freely to 'register' the crown's legislative initiatives and to resist them in the name of the 'nation' if they did not conform to the parliamentary version of constitutional or 'fundamental' law
Not the least of the paradoxes of eighteenth-century French 'political' Jansenism is that the same claims that made Jansenists into anti-absolutist constitutionalists in relation to the monarchy as well as the papacy also made them into advocates of the state's 'absolute' power in relation to the church. Because, as interpreted by the parlements, the Gallican liberties that protected the French church from papal domination also empowered the king's judges to make good the crown's (that is, the state's) rights over all public and external aspects of the church - even against the king if he failed to defend these rights. It was in this paradoxical role as vindicators of regalian rights over the church in spite of and even in opposition to the king that the royal judges claimed the right to intervene in so 'spiritual' a matter as the public refusal of sacraments to Jansenists. The same rationale would justify the secular courts' decision to dissolve a religious society despite the solemn vows taken by its members before God.
Although both Gallicanism and the parlements' constitutionalism antedate the appearance of Jansenism, Jansenists so monopolized and inflected these traditions in the course of the century that it is hard to understand them without reference to the religious conflict. And although hostility towards the Jesuits also predated Jansenism, it was the Jansenists who shaped the Jesuit into a coherent image of all that stood opposed to things free, French, and constitutional as well as to the truths of efficacious grace and the predestination of the elect. Eighteenth-century Jansenism's crowning touch to this image was that of the Jesuit as the simultaneously slavish and domineering embodiment of'despotism', not only on account ofthe untrammelledpowerthat he allowed
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