the Jesuits in France, dying laymen and women found themselves the targets of the public refusal of the sacraments of the viaticum and extreme unction along with nuns and clergymen who had appealed the bull Unigenitus to a future general council.

It goes without saying that this campaign was far from the work of Jesuits alone. Yet this consideration does not suffice to efface the conspicuousness of Jesuits at all stages of the process of condemnation and persecution, from the influence of Etienne Dechamps and Francois Annat in the coming of Cum occasione to the role of Louis XlV's confessor Le Tellier in the promulgation of Unigenitus and the destruction of Port-Royal. When, in the 1750s, the government of Louis XV finally tried to back away from the Archbishop of Paris's campaign to deny Jansenists the last sacraments, the Paris lieutenant of police sent observers to stake out the archiepiscopal palace and found to no great surprise that Jesuits were most prominent among his visitors. The perception of the Jesuits as the movers and shakers in the condemnation ofJansenism reinforced their image as un-French agents of a 'foreign' power, overshadowing their well-deserved reputation as educators and missionaries.

Although largely assembled by Jansenists, the elements in this image are of diverse derivation, reflecting the changing character ofJansenism itself. As early as the 1630s, Saint-Cyan had embraced the cause of episcopal authority in Protestant countries like England where a largely Jesuit 'missionary' clergy took its orders from Rome and tended to undermine the jurisdiction of the 'ordinaries'. In the 1650s, Pascal and Arnauld used their campaign against Jesuit casuistry to extend this stance in favour of the secular clergy to Parisian priests -another of Jansenism's mainstays - in competition with the Jesuit chapels for their parishioners. While claiming fidelity to the spirit of Trent, which had similarly aspired to make the parish the centre of worship, Jansenists also thereby took up position in favour of the 'liberties' of the Gallican clergy, liberties that had always stood in the way ofthe full acceptance ofthe Tridentine decrees in France. For the pro-papal aspect of a few of Trent's ecclesiastical decrees contradicted the Gallican liberties, which, as laid down by the General Assembly of the Clergy as recently as 1682, were held to include the right of the Gallican clergy to concur with the doctrinal judgements of Rome as well as of the entire church to decide doctrine, even against Rome if need be.

The principle of the superiority of the general council over the papacy in defining dogma became more important for Jansenism as condemnation followed condemnation, especially after four Jansenist bishops and most of the Parisian clergy formally appealed Unigenitus to a future general council in 1717-20. Making Jansenists into 'appellants' and anti-papal ecclesiastical

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment