Status in the state and local community

Depending upon the precise balance of power within confessional lands, the clergy were often part of the apparatus of the state which was reinforced by their educational attainments and family links with the secular elite. In central Europe, scholars have argued that there was a 'bureaucratization' of the Lutheran office from the seventeenth century, a process that produced a type of clergyman who became 'in effect yet another middle-ranking official'.4 By his Church Law of 1688, Charles XI of Sweden stripped the clergy of their independence, reducing them in the exercise of church discipline to, in the judgement of Michael Roberts, 'the mere agents of the state in a matter of public policy' and paving the way for the dominance of lay control over the church in the eighteenth century. There can be no question that the clergy adopted various administrative and judicial functions on behalf of the state and in some cases became indistinguishable from secular authority. Yet there

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