NEW CONTROVERSIES AND ERRORS
The centralisation movement, that began in the fifteenth century, and that tended to increase the power of the sovereign at the expense of the lesser nobles and of the people, was strengthened and developed by the religious revolt. The Protestant reformers appealed to the civil rulers for assistance against the ecclesiastical authorities, and in return for the aid given to them so generously they were willing to concede to the king all power in civil and ecclesiastical matters. Thenceforth the princes were to be so supreme in spirituals as well as in temporals that their right to determine the religion of their subjects was recognised as a first principle of government. During the days of the Counter-Reformation, when religious enthusiasm was aroused to its highest pitch, the Catholic sovereigns of Europe fought not so much for the aggrandisement of their own power as for the unity of their kingdoms and the defence of the religion of their fathers, threatened as it was with complete overthrow.
But once the first fervour had passed away, and once it was recognised that religious harmony could not be secured by the sword, Catholic sovereigns began to understand that the Protestant theory of state supremacy meant an increase of power to the crown, and might be utilised to reduce the only partially independent institution in their kingdoms to a state of slavery. Hence they increased their demands, interfered more and more in ecclesiastical matters, set themselves to diminish the jurisdiction of the Pope by means of the /Royal Placet/ and other such legal contrivances, and asserted for themselves as much authority as could be reconciled with Catholic principles interpreted in their most liberal sense. They urged the bishops to assert their independence against the Holy See, and the bishops, forgetful of the fact that freedom from Rome meant enslavement by the State, co-operated willingly in carrying out the programme of their royal masters. Men like Bossuet, carried away by the new theories of the divine right of kings, aimed at reducing the power of Rome to a shadow. They were more anxious to be considered national patriots than good Catholics. They understood only when it was too late that in their close union with the Holy See lay their only hope of resisting state aggression, and that by weakening the authority of the Pope they were weakening the one power that could defend their own rights and the rights of the Church. Their whole policy tended to the realisation of the system of national churches, and were it not for the divine protection guaranteed by Christ to the society that He Himself had founded, their policy might have been crowned with success.
The principle, too, of individual judgment introduced by the Reformers was soon pushed to its logical conclusions. If by means of this principle Luther and his disciples could reject certain doctrines and practices that had been followed for centuries by the whole Catholic Church, why could not others, imitating the example that had been given to them, set aside many of the dogmas retained by Luther as being only the inventions of men, and why could their successors not go further still, and question the very foundation of Christianity itself? The results of this unbridled liberty of thought made themselves felt in religion, in philosophy, in politics, in literature, and in art. Rationalism became fashionable in educated circles, at the courts, and at the universities. Even Catholics who still remained loyal to the Church were not uninfluenced by the spirit of religious indifference. It seemed to them that many of the dogmas and devotions of the Church were too old-fashioned, and required to be modernised. The courts in many cases favoured the spread of these anti-religious views because they meant the weakening of the power of the Church. They joined with the apostles of rationalism in attacking the Society of Jesus, because the rationalists realised that the Jesuits were their strongest opponents, while the politicians believed them to be the most strenuous supporters of the jurisdiction of Rome. It was only when the storm of revolution was about to burst over Europe that the civil rulers understood fully the dangerous tendency of the movement which they had encouraged. They began to open their eyes to the fact that war against Christianity meant war against established authority, and that the unbridled liberty of thought and speech which had been tolerated was likely to prove more dangerous to the cause of monarchy than to the cause of religion.
Richer, /De ecclesiastica et politica potestate/, 1611. Puyol, /Edm. Richer, Etude sur la renovation du gallicanisme au XVIIe siecle/, 2 vols., 1877. Lavisse, /Histoire de France/ (vii.), 1905. Bossuet, /Defensio declarationis cleri gallicani/ (ed.1885). Gerin, /Recherches historiques sur l'assemblee de 1682/, 1878. De Maistre, /De L'Eglise gallicane/, 1821. Gerin, /Louis XIV. et le Saint-Siege/, 1894. Mention, /Documents relatifs au rapport du clerge avec la royaute de 1682 a 1705/, 1893. Picot, /Memoires pour servir a l'histoire ecclesiastique pendan le XVIIIe siecle/, 7 vols., 1853-57.
For centuries France had been the zealous defender of the Church and of the Holy See. From the days of Clovis the French nation had never wavered in its allegiance to the successors of Saint Peter, many of whom had been obliged to seek refuge on the soil of France. In return for this support given ungrudgingly in many a dangerous crisis, several important privileges were conferred by the Popes on the French rulers, in which privileges moderate supporters of Gallicanism were inclined to seek the origin and best explanation of the so-called Gallican Liberties. But the extreme Gallicans, realising that such a defence could avail but little against the Pope, who could recall what his predecessors had granted, maintained that the Gallican Liberties were but the survival of the liberty possessed by individual churches in the early centuries, that these liberties had been restricted gradually by the Holy See, which succeeded in reducing the national churches to servitude, and that the French Church alone had withstood these assaults, and had maintained intact the discipline and constitution of the apostolic age. The rulers of France, well aware that every restriction upon the authority of the Church meant an increase of the power of the Crown, gladly fostered this movement, while the French bishops, unconscious of the fact that independence of Rome meant servitude to the king, allowed themselves to be used as tools in carrying out the programme of state absolutism.
The Pragmatic Sanction of Louis IX., referred to by many writers as the first indication of Gallicanism, is admitted by all scholars to be a forgery. The exorbitant demands formulated by Philip the Fair during his quarrel with Boniface VIII. are the first clear indication of the Gallican theory that confronts the historian. The principles laid down by the rulers of France during this quarrel were amplified considerably in the writings of William of Occam, Jean of Jandun, and Marsilius of Padua, and were reduced to definite form in the time of the Great Western Schism. At that time, mainly owing to the influence of Gerson, D'Ailly, and other French leaders, the doctrine of the superiority of a General Council over the Pope was accepted, and received official confirmation in the decrees of the fourth and fifth sessions of the Council of Constance (1414-17), and in the Council of Basle (1431-6). The decrees passed by the Synod of Bourges (1438) were strongly anti-papal, and despite of the efforts of Nicholas V. and his successors to procure their withdrawal most of them remained in force till the Concordat of 1516. Partly owing to this Concordat, by which the right of nomination to all bishoprics and abbacies in France was secured to the Crown, and partly to the strong feeling aroused in France during the conflict with Calvinism, little was heard of Gallicanism during the sixteenth century. It was mainly, however, as a result of the opposition of the French bishops that the decree of the Council of Florence regarding papal supremacy was not renewed at the Council of Trent, and it was in great measure due to the influence of Gallican principles that the decrees of the Council of Trent were not received in France for years.
Gallicanism was renewed in the beginning of the seventeenth century by Edmund Richer (1559-1631), syndic of the Paris University and editor of the works of Gerson. He was a man who held novel views about the constitution both of Church and State, and who professed his sincere admiration for Gerson's exposition of the relations that should exist between a General Council and the Pope. In 1610 one of the Dominican students undertook to defend publicly the supremacy and infallibility of the Pope, whereupon a violent controversy broke out, but it was settled for a time by the prudent intervention of Cardinal Du Perron. The Parliament of Paris, however, undertook the defence of Richer and of the work that he published in explanation of his theories. In this book, /De Ecclesiastica et Politica Potestate/ (1611) he laid it down that the Church was a limited not an absolute monarchy; that the whole legislative power rested in the hands of the hierarchy, composed according to him of both bishops and parish priests; that this legislative power should be exercised in a General Council, which as representing the entire hierarchy was the repository of infallibility, and was not subject to the Pope; that the power of executing the decrees of General Councils and of carrying on the administration of the Church rested in the hands of the Pope, who could not act contrary to the canons; that neither Pope nor hierarchy could undertake to enforce ecclesiastical decrees by any other means except persuasion; and that if force were required it could be exercised only by the head of the State, who was the natural protector of the Church, and responsible to God for the due observance of the canons.
This book was condemned by the provincial Synod of Sens, held under the presidency of Cardinal Du Perron in 1612, by the provincial Synod of Aix, by the Bishop of Paris, and by the Pope. The Parliament of Paris, however, supported Richer, who lodged an appeal with the civil authorities against the action of the bishops, and sought to secure for his theories the support of the Sorbonne. Though forced by the king to resign his office at the University he continued to defend his views stubbornly till 1629, when for political rather than for religious reasons he was called upon by Cardinal Richelieu to sign a complete recantation. Shortly before his death in 1631 he declared in the presence of several witnesses that this submission was made freely and from conviction, but some papers written by him and discovered after his death make it very difficult to believe that these protestations were sincere.
The writings of Pithou, Richer, and Dupuy, and above all the rising influence of the Jansenist party helped to spread the Gallican teaching among the French clergy, and to make them more willing to yield obedience to the king than to the Pope. The Abbot of St. Cyran attacked the authority of the Holy See, but fortunately the extreme nature of his views, and the need felt by both the priests and the bishops of France for the intervention of the Holy See against the Jansenists, served to restrain the anti-papal feeling, and to keep the leading theological writers, like Duval, Du Perron, Ysambert and Abelly, free from any Gallican bias. The accession of Louis XIV. (1661) marked a new era in the history of the Gallican Liberties. He was young, headstrong, anxious to extend the territories of France, and determined to assert his own supreme authority at all costs. With Louis XIV. firmly seated on the French throne, and with the Jansenist party intriguing in the Parliament of Paris, which had shown itself hostile to papal claims, it was not difficult to predict that the relations with the Holy See were likely to become unfriendly. The Duke of Crequi, Louis XIV.'s ambassador at Rome, set himself deliberately to bring about a complete rupture. Owing to an attack made by some Corsicans of the papal guard on the French embassy, the ambassador refused to accept any apology and left Rome, while Louis XIV. dismissed the nuncio at Paris, occupied the papal territories of Avignon and Venaissin, and despatched an army against the Papal States. Alexander VII. was obliged to yield to force, and to accept the very humiliating terms imposed upon him by the Peace of Pisa (1664).
The Jansenist party and the enemies of the Holy See took advantage of the policy of Louis XIV. to push forward their designs. A violent clamour was raised in 1661 against a thesis defended in the Jesuit schools (/Thesis Claromontana/) in favour of papal infallibility, and a still more violent clamour ensued when it was maintained in a public defence at the Sorbonne (1663) that the Pope has supreme jurisdiction over the Church, and that General Councils, though useful for the suppression of heresy, are not necessary. The Jansenist party appealed to the Parliament of Paris, which issued a prohibition against teaching or defending the doctrine of papal infallibility, but the majority of the doctors of the Sorbonne stood by their opinion, and refused to register the decree of Parliament. The opponents of the Sorbonne, hastening to avenge this first defeat, denounced the defence of a somewhat similar thesis by a Cistercian student as a violation of the prohibition. The syndic of the university was suspended from his office for six months, and the university itself was threatened with very serious reforms unless it consented to accept the Gallican theories. As a result of the interference of intermediaries a declaration satisfactory to the Parliament was issued by the doctors of the faculty (1663). In this document they announced that it was not the teaching of the university that the Pope had any authority over the king in temporal matters, that he was superior to a General Council, or that he was infallible in matters of faith without the consent of a General Council. On the contrary, they asserted that it was the teaching of the university that in temporal affairs the king was subject only to God, that his subjects could not be dispensed from their allegiance to him by any power on earth, and that the rights and liberties of the Gallican Church must be respected. This decree was signed by seventy-seven doctors, and was published by the Parliament as the teaching of the entire theological faculty and as a guide that should be followed in all theological schools. A violent agitation was begun against all who attempted to uphold the rights of the Holy See either in public disputations or in published works, an agitation that was all the more inexplicable, owing to the fact that at this time both the king and Parliament were endeavouring to persuade the Jansenists to accept as infallible the decrees by which the Pope had condemned their teaching.
Before this agitation had died away a new cause of dissension had come to the front in the shape of the /Regalia/. By the term /Regalia/ was meant the right of the King of France to hold the revenues of vacant Sees and abbacies, and to appoint to benefices during the vacancy, and until the oath of allegiance had been taken by the new bishops and had been registered. Such a privilege was undoubtedly bad for religion, and though it was tolerated for certain grave reasons by the second General Council of Lyons (1274), a decree of excommunication was levelled against anyone, prince or subject, cleric or layman, who would endeavour to introduce it or to abet its introduction into those places where it did not already exist. Many of the provinces of France had not been subject to the /Regalia/ hitherto, but in defiance of the law of the Church Louis XIV. issued a royal mandate (1673-75), claiming for himself the /Regalia/ in all dioceses of France, and commanding bishops who had not taken the oath of allegiance to take it immediately and to have it registered.
The bishops of France submitted to this decree with two exceptions. These were Pavillon, bishop of Alet, and Caulet, bishop of Pamiers, both of whom though attached to the Jansenist party were determined to maintain the rights of the Church. The king, regardless of their protests, proceeded to appoint to benefices in their dioceses on the ground that they had not registered their oath of allegiance. They replied by issuing excommunication against all those who accepted such appointments, and, when their censures were declared null and void by their respective metropolitans, they appealed to the Holy See. During the contest Pavillon of Alet died, and the whole brunt of the struggle fell upon his companion. The latter was encouraged by the active assistance of Innocent XI., who quashed the sentence of the metropolitans, encouraged the bishop and chapter to resist, and threatened the king with the censures of the Church unless he desisted from his campaign (1678-79). The bishop himself died, but the chapter showed its loyalty to his injunctions by appointing a vicar-capitular in opposition to the vicar-capitular nominated by the king. A most violent persecution was begun against the vicar-capitular and the clergy who remained loyal to him. Both on account of the important interests at stake and the courage displayed by the opponents of the king the contest was followed with great interest not only in France itself but throughout the Catholic world. While feeling was thus running high another event happened in Paris that added fuel to the flame. The Cistercian nuns at Charonne were entitled according to their constitution to elect their own superioress, but de Harlay, Archbishop of Paris, acting in conformity with the orders of Louis XIV. endeavoured to force upon the community a superioress belonging to an entirely different order. The nuns appealed to Innocent XI., who annulled the appointment and insisted upon a free canonical election (1680). The Parliament of Paris set side the papal sentence, and when this interference was rejected by the Pope, the papal document was suppressed.
In view of the difficulties that had arisen an extraordinary meeting of the bishops of France was summoned. Fifty-two of them met in Paris (March-May, 1681). The two leading men in favour of the king were Francis de Harlay, Archbishop of Paris, and Le Tellier, Archbishop of Rheims. Acting under the influence of these men the bishops agreed that it was their duty to submit to the claims of the crown in regard to the /Regalia/; they condemned the interference of the Pope in favour of the Paris community of Cistercian nuns as well as his action against the metropolitan of the Bishop of Pamiers; and they expressed the opinion that a general assembly of the clergy of France should be called to discuss the whole situation.
The General Assembly consisting of thirty-four bishops and thirty- seven priests elected to represent the entire body of the French clergy met at Paris (October 1681-July 1682). The most prominent men of the Assembly were Francis de Harlay of Paris, Le Tellier of Rheims, Colbert of Rouen, Choisseul of Tournay, and Bossuet, the recently appointed Bishop of Meaux. The latter, whose reputation as a preacher had already spread throughout France, delivered the opening address, which was moderate in tone, and not unfriendly to the rights of the Holy See though at the same time strongly pro-Gallican. Certain minor rights claimed by the king having been abandoned, the bishops gratefully accepted the /Regalia/, and despatched a letter to the Pope urging him to yield to the royal demands for the sake of peace. But the Pope, more concerned for the liberty of the French bishops than they were themselves, reminded them sharply of their duty to the Church, while at the same time he refused to follow their advice. In their reply to the Pope the bishops took occasion to praise the spirit of religious zeal shown by Louis XIV., who, according to them, was forced reluctantly to take up the gauge of battle that had been thrown at his feet by Rome. Meantime an attempt was made by the Assembly to formulate definitely the Gallican liberties. These were: --
(1) That Saint Peter and his successors have received jurisdiction only over spiritual things. Kings are not subject to them in temporal matters, nor can the subjects of kings be released from their oath of allegiance by the Pope.
(2) That the plenitude of power in spiritual things by the Holy See does not contradict the decrees of the fourth and fifth sessions of the Council of Constance, which decrees, having been passed by a General Council and approved by the Pope, were observed by the Gallican church.
(3) That the apostolic authority of the Roman Church must be exercised in accordance with the canons inspired by the Holy Ghost, and with the rules, constitutions, and customs of the Gallican Church.
(4) That though the Pope has the chief part in determining questions of faith, and though his decrees have force in the entire Church and in each particular church, yet his decisions are not irreformable, at least until they are approved by the verdict of the entire Church.
This Declaration (the Four Gallican Articles) was approved by the king, who ordered that it should be observed by all teachers and professors, and should be accepted by all candidates for theological decrees. Although the Archbishop of Paris recommended warmly the acceptance of the Gallican Articles the doctors of the Sorbonne offered strong opposition to the new royal theology, so that it was only after recourse had been had to the most violent expedients that the consent of one hundred and sixty-two doctors could be obtained, while the majority against the Gallican Articles was over five hundred. The decision of the minority was published as the decision of the faculty, and steps were taken at once to remove the opponents of the articles, and to make the Sorbonne strongly Gallican in its teaching. While protests against the articles poured in from different universities and from many of the countries of Europe the Pope kept silent; but when two priests, who took part in the Assembly of 1682, were nominated for vacant bishoprics Innocent XI. refused to appoint them until they should have expressed regret for their action. The king would not permit them to do so, nor would he allow the others who were nominated to accept their appointments from the Pope, and as a result in 1688 thirty-five of the French Sees had been left without bishops.
In this same year another incident occurred that rendered the relations between the Pope and Louis XIV. even more strained. The right of asylum possessed by various ambassadors at the papal court had become a very serious abuse. Formerly it was attached only to the residence of the ambassador, but in the course of time it was extended until it included the whole of the quarter in which the embassy was situated, with the result that it became impossible for the guardians of the peace to carry out their duties. For this reason the right of asylum was suppressed by the Pope. All the other nations submitted to such a reasonable restriction, but Louis XIV., anxious rather to provoke than to avoid a quarrel, refused to abandon the privilege. He sent as his ambassador to Rome (1687) the Marquis de Lavardin, who entered Rome at the head of a force of five hundred armed men, and whose conduct from first to last was so outrageous that Innocent XI. was obliged to excommunicate him, and to lay the Church of Saint Louis under interdict. Immediately Louis XIV. occupied Avignon and Venaissin, assembled an army in Southern France to be despatched against the Papal States, and ordered that an appeal to a future General Council should be prepared for presentation. Twenty-six of the bishops expressed their approval of this appeal, and so successful had been the dragooning of the university that nearly all the faculties adopted a similar attitude (1688).
For a time it seemed as if a schism involving the whole of the French Church was unavoidable, since neither Pope nor king seemed willing to give way. But Louis XIV. had no wish to become a second Henry VIII. The threatening condition of affairs in Europe made it impossible for him to despatch an army against Rome. At the same time the fear of civil disturbance in France in case he rejected completely the authority of the Pope, and the danger that such a step might involve for French interests abroad kept him from taking the final plunge. He recalled the obnoxious ambassador from Rome (1689), abandoned the right of asylum as attached to the quarter of the French embassy (1690), and restored Avignon and Venaissin to the Pope. Alexander VIII. demanded the withdrawal of the royal edict of March 1683 enjoining the public acceptance of the Gallican Articles. He required also a retraction from the clergy who had taken part in the Assembly, and issued a Bull denouncing the extension of the rights of the /Regalia/ and declaring the Gallican Articles null and void (1690). Louis XIV., finding that the public opinion of the Catholic world was against him, and that a reconciliation with the Papacy would be very helpful to him in carrying out his political schemes, opened friendly negotiations with Innocent XII. In the end an agreement was arrived at, whereby the clerics who had taken part in the Assembly of 1682, having expressed their regret to the Pope for their action, were appointed to the bishoprics for which they had been nominated; while the king informed the Pope (1693) that the decrees issued by him insisting on the acceptance of the Gallican Articles, would not be enforced.
But in spite of this royal assurance, Gallicanism had still a strong hold upon France. The younger men in the Sorbonne could be relied upon to support the Articles, and the influence of writers like John de Launoy (1603-1678) and of Dupin helped to spread Gallicanism among the clergy and laymen of the rising generation. Throughout the whole controversy Bossuet had shown himself too accommodating to the crown, though at the same time he was not unfriendly to the claims of the Holy See, nor inclined to favour such extreme measures as most of his episcopal colleagues. Acting on the request of the king he prepared a defence of the Gallican Articles, which was not published till long after his death. During the eighteenth century, when the crown and the Parliament of Paris interfered constantly in all religious questions, the bishops and clergy of France had good reason to regret their defence of the so-called Gallican Liberties. The Concordat concluded by Napoleon with Pius VII. and the action taken by the Pope with the approval of Napoleon for the carrying out of the Concordat dealt a staggering blow to Gallicanism, despite the attempt made to revive it by the Organic Articles. The great body of the bishops of the nineteenth century had little sympathy with Gallican principles, which disappeared entirely after the definition of Papal Infallibility at the Vatican Council.
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De Mouy, /L'ambassade du duc de Crequi/, 2 vols., 1893.
(b) Febronianism and Josephism.
Febronius, /De statu ecclesiae deque legitima potestate Romani Pontificis/, etc., 1762. Idem, /Commentarius in suam retractationem/, etc., 1781. Kuentziger, /Febronius, et le Febronianisme/, 1890. Werner, /Geschichte der Katholischen Theologie in Deutschland/, 1866. /Codex iuris ecclessiastici Josephini/, etc., 1788. Gendry, /Les debuts de Josephisme/ (/Revue des Quest. hist./, 1894). /Receuil des actes concernant le voyage du Pape Pie VI. a Vienne/, 1782. Stigloher, /Die errichtung der papstlichen Nuntiatur und der Emser Kongress/, 1867. Munch, /Geschichte des Emser Kongresses/, 1840. De Potter, /Vie de Scipion de Ricci/, 1825.
The spirit of opposition to the Holy See soon spread from France to the various states of the Holy Roman Empire. The violent onslaughts of the Reformers and the imminent danger of heresy had driven the Catholics of Germany to cling more closely to the Holy See, and had helped to extinguish the anti-Roman feeling, that had been so strong in the early years of the sixteenth century. But once the religious wars had ended without a decisive victory for either party, and once the theory of imperial neutrality had been sanctioned formally by the Peace of Westphalia (1648), the Catholic rulers of Germany, not excluding even the spiritual princes, showed more anxiety to increase their own power than to safeguard the interests of their religion. The example of the Protestant states, where the rulers were supreme in religious as in temporal affairs, could not fail to encourage Catholic sovereigns to assert for themselves greater authority over the Church in their own territories, in utter disregard of the rights of the Pope and of the constitution of the Church. Frequently during the reigns of Leopold I. (1657-1705), of Joseph I. (1705-11), and of Charles VI. (1711-40) the interference of the civil power in ecclesiastical affairs had given just cause for complaint. But it was only during the reign of Francis I. (1745-65), and more especially of Joseph II. (1765-90), that the full results of the Jansenist, Gallican, and Liberal Catholic teaching made themselves felt in the empire as a whole, and in the various states of which the empire was composed.
The most learned exponent of Gallican views on the German side of the Rhine was John Nicholas von Hontheim (1701-90), who was himself a student of Van Espen (1646-1728), the well-known Gallican and Jansenist professor of canon law in the University of Louvain. On the return of von Hontheim to his native city of Trier he was entrusted with various important offices by the Prince-bishop of Trier, by whose advice he was appointed assistant-bishop of that See (1740). He was a man of great ability, well versed especially in ecclesiastical and local history, and a close student of the writings of the Gallicans (Richer, Dupin, Thomassin, and Van Espen). At the time the hope of a reunion between the Lutherans and the Catholics in Germany was not abandoned completely. It seemed to von Hontheim that by lessening the power of the Papacy, which was regarded by the Protestants as the greatest obstacle to reconciliation, Gallicanism provided the basis for a good reunion programme, that was likely to be acceptable to moderate men of both parties in Germany. With the object therefore of promoting the cause of reunion he set himself to compose his remarkable book, /De Statu Ecclesiae et de Legitima Potestate Romani Pontificis/, published in 1762 under the assumed name of Justinus Febronius.
According to Febronius Christ entrusted the power of the keys not to the Pope nor to the hierarchy, but to the whole body of the faithful, who in turn handed over the duty of administration to the Pope and the hierarchy. All bishops according to him were equal, and all were independent of the government of their own dioceses, though at the same time, for the purpose of preserving unity, a primacy of honour should be accorded to the successor of Saint Peter. But this primacy was not necessarily the special prerogative of the Roman See; it could be separated from that Church and transferred to another diocese. In the early ages of Christianity the Roman bishops never claimed the power wielded by their successors in later times. These pretensions to supreme jurisdiction were founded upon the false decretals of Isidore and other forgeries, and constituted a corruption that should not be tolerated any longer in the Church. In reality the Pope was only the first among equals, empowered no doubt to carry on the administration of the Church, but incapable of making laws or irreformable decrees on faith or morals. He was subject to a General Council which alone enjoyed the prerogative of infallibility. Febronius called upon the Pope to abandon his untenable demands, and to be content with the position held by his predecessors in the early centuries. If he refused to do so spontaneously he should be forced to give up his usurpations, and if necessary the bishops should call upon the civil rulers to assist them in their struggle. As a means of restoring the Papacy to its rightful position, Febronius recommended the convocation of national synods and of a General Council, the proper instruction of priests and people, the judicious use of the Royal /Placet/ on papal announcements, the enforcement of the /Appelatio ab Abusu/ against papal and episcopal aggression, and, as a last resort, the refusal of obedience.
The book was in such complete accord with the absolutist tendencies of the age that it was received with applause by the civil rulers, and by the court canonists, theologians, and lawyers, who saw in it the realisation of their own dreams of a state Church subservient to the civil ruler. The book was, however, condemned by Clement XIII. (1764), who exhorted the German bishops to take vigorous measures against such dangerous theories. Many of the bishops were indifferent; others of them were favourable to von Hontheim's views; but the majority suppressed the book in their dioceses. Several treatises were published in reply to Febronius, the most notable of which were those form the pen of Ballerini and Zaccaria. New editions of the work of Febronius were called for, and translations of the whole or part of it appeared in German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. It was received with great favour in Austria, where the principles of Febronius were adopted by most of the leading court canonists. At a meeting held in Coblenz (1769) the three Prince-bishops of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne presented a catalogue of complaints (/Gravamina/) against the Roman Curia, many of which were extracted from or based upon the work of Hontheim. After repeated appeals of the Pope to the Prince-bishop of Trier to exercise his influence upon von Hontheim, the latter consented to make a retractation in 1778, but his followers alleged that the retractation having been secured by threats was valueless. This contention was supported by a commentary published by Hontheim in explanation of his retractation, in which he showed clearly enough that he had not receded an inch from his original position. Before his death in 1790 he expressed regret for the doctrine he put forward, and died in full communion with the Church.
The teaching of Febronius, paving the way as it did for the supremacy of the State in religious matters, was welcomed by the Emperor Joseph II., by the Elector of Bavaria, as well as by the spiritual princes of the Rhine provinces. In Austria, especially, violent measures were taken to assert the royal supremacy. Joseph II. was influenced largely by the Gallican and liberal tendencies of his early teachers and advisers. He dreamed of making Austria a rich, powerful, and united kingdom, and becoming himself its supreme and absolute ruler. During the reign of his mother, Maria Theresa, he was kept in check, but after her death in 1780, in conjunction with his prime minister, Kaunitz, he began to inaugurate his schemes of ecclesiastical reform. He insisted upon the Royal /Placet/ on all documents issued by the Pope or by the bishops, forbade the bishops of his territories to hold any direct communication with Rome or to ask for a renewal of their faculties, which faculties he undertook to confer by his own authority. He forbade all his subjects to seek or accept honours from the Pope, insisted upon the bishops taking the oath of allegiance to himself before their consecration, introduced a system of state- controlled education, and suppressed a number of religious houses. In order that the clergy might be instructed in the proper ecclesiastical principles, he abolished the episcopal seminaries, and established central seminaries at Vienna, Pest, Louvain, Freiburg, and Pavia for the education of the clergy in his dominions. Clerical students from Austria were forbidden to frequent the /Collegium Germanicum/ at Rome lest they should be brought under the influence of ultramontane teaching. Even the smallest details of ecclesiastical worship were determined by royal decrees. In all these reforms Joseph II. was but reducing to practice the teaching of Febronius.
By personal letters and by communications through his nuncio Pius VI. sought to induce Joseph II. to abstain from such a policy of state aggression; but, as all his representations were ineffective, he determined to undertake a journey to Vienna, in the hope that his presence might bring about a change in the policy of the Emperor, or at least stir up the bishops to defend the interests of the Church (1782). He arrived at Vienna, had frequent interviews with the Emperor and with his minister Kaunitz, and was obliged to leave without any other result, except that he had assured himself of the fact that, whatever about the Emperor or the bishops, the majority of the people of Austria were still loyal to the head of the Catholic Church. The following year (1783) Joseph II. paid a return visit to Rome, when he was induced by the representations of the Spanish ambassador to desist from his plan of a complete severance of Austria from the Holy See.
Joseph II. had, however, proceeded too quickly and too violently in his measures of reform. The people and the large body of the clergy were opposed to him as were also the Cardinal-Archbishop of Vienna, the bishops of Hungary, and the bishops of Belgium under the leadership of Cardinal Frankenberg. The state of affairs in the Austrian Netherlands became so threatening that the people rose in revolt (1789), and Joseph II. found himself obliged to turn to the Pope whom he had so maltreated and despised, in the hope that he might induce the Belgian Catholics to return to their allegiance. He promised to withdraw most of the reforms that he had introduced, but his repentance came too late to save the Austrian rule in the Netherlands. He died in 1790 with the full consciousness of the failure of all his schemes.
While Joseph II. was reducing Febronianism to practice in the Austrian territories, the Prince-bishops of Mainz, Trier, and Cologne hastened to show their anxiety for the suppression of ultramontanism in the Rhinelands. The list of grievances against Rome presented to the Emperor in 1769 indicated clearly their attachment to Gallican principles, and this feeling was not likely to be weakened by the erection of an apostolic nunciature at Munich in 1785. This step was taken by the Pope at the request of Carl Theodore, Elector of Bavaria, a great part of whose territory was under the spiritual rule of the prince-bishops. The prince-bishops of the west, together with the Prince-bishop of Salzburg, all of whom were hostile already to the papal nuncio, were greatly incensed by what they considered this new derogation of their rights, and sent representatives to a congress convoked to meet at Ems (1786). The result of the congress was the celebrated document known as the /Punctuation of Ems/, in which they declared that most of the prerogatives claimed by the Pope were unknown in the early centuries, and were based entirely on the false decretals. They insisted that there should be no longer appeals to Rome, that papal ordinances should be binding in any diocese only after they had been accepted by the bishop of the diocese, that the oath of allegiance taken by all bishops before consecration should be changed, that no quinquennial faculties should be sought as bishops already had such faculties by virtue of their office, and that religious orders should not be exempt from the authority of the ordinaries, nor be placed under the jurisdiction of foreign superiors. The /Punctuation of Ems/ reduced the primacy of the Pope to a mere primacy of honour, and had it been acted upon, it must have led inevitably to national schism.
The bishops forwarded a document to Joseph II., who, while approving of it, refused to interfere. The Elector of Bavaria opposed the action of the bishops as did also Pacca (1756-1854), the papal nuncio at Cologne. The latter issued a circular to the clergy warning them that the dispensations granted by the prince-bishops without reference to Rome were worthless. This circular gave great annoyance to the prince- bishops, particularly as they found themselves deserted by most of those on whose support they had relied. Even the Protestant ruler Frederick II. of Prussia took the part of Rome against the archbishops. In face of the unfriendly attitude of the bishops and clergy nothing remained for the prince-bishops but to withdraw from an untenable position. The Archbishop of Cologne for reasons of his own made his submission, and asked for a renewal of his quinquennial faculties (1787). The Archbishop of Trier made a similar application, not indeed as Archbishop of Trier, but as Bishop of Augsburg. But their submission was meant only to gain time. They sought to have the matter brought before the Diet at Regensburg in 1788, but the action of the Elector of Bavaria produced an unfavourable verdict. Having failed in their design, they addressed a letter to the Pope asking him to put an end to the disedifying quarrel by withdrawing the papal nuncio from Cologne, and by sending a representative to the Diet to arrange the terms of peace. The reply of Pius VI., covering as it did the whole ground of the controversy, contained a masterly defence of the papal rights and prerogatives (1789). The Archbishop of Trier publicly withdrew his adhesion to the /Punctuation/, and advised his Gallican colleagues to do likewise, but they refused, and in the election agreement of 1790 and 1792 they sought to pledge the emperors to support their policy. At last the Archbishops of Cologne and Salzburg made their submission, but the Archbishop of Mainz clung obstinately to his views, until the storm of the French Revolution broke over his city and territory, and put an end to his rule as a temporal prince.
In Tuscany where Leopold, brother of Joseph II., reigned (1765-90), a determined attempt was made to introduce Febronian principles as understood and applied in Austrian territory. Leopold was supported strongly in this attempt by Scipio Ricci, who, though a Jansenist at heart, had been appointed to the Bishopric of Pistoia at the request of the Grand-Duke. The Bishop of Pistoia set himself deliberately to introduce Jansenism and Gallicanism amongst his clergy. For this purpose he established a seminary at Pistoia, and placed it in the hands of teachers upon whom he could rely for the carrying out of his designs. In 1786 the Grand-Duke called a meeting of the bishops of the province, and explained to them in detail his programme of ecclesiastical reforms. With the exception of the Bishop of Pistoia and two others they refused to co-operate with him and his designs. This plan having failed recourse was had to other measures. A synod was summoned at Pistoia, which was presided over by Scipio Ricci, and guided in its deliberations by Tamburini the well-known Gallican professor of Pavia (1786). It was attended by over two hundred priests, some of whom belonged to the diocese, while others were total strangers. As might be expected the decrees of the synod were strongly Gallican and Jansenist. To ensure their introduction into the province of Tuscany a provincial synod of the bishops was called, but the bishops expressed their strong disapproval, and the people attacked the palace of the bishop. He was obliged to retire from his diocese, though at the same time he remained the active adviser of Leopold until the death of Joseph II. led to Leopold's election to the imperial throne (1790), and put an end to the disturbances in Tuscany. Pius VI. appointed a commission to study the decrees of Pistoia, and in 1794 he issued the Bull, /Auctorem Fidei/, in which the principal errors were condemned. The unfortunate bishop refused for years to make his submission. It was only in 1805, on the return journey of Pius VII. from the coronation of Napoleon at Paris, that he could be induced to make his peace with the Church.
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Pacca, /Memorie storiche della nunziatura di Colonia/.
Scaduto, /Stato e chiesa sotto Leopoldo I., granduca di Toscana/, 1885. Venturi, /Il vescovo de Ricci e la Corte Romana/, 1885.
See bibliography, chap. vi. (c). Bartheleray, /Le cardinal de Noailles/, 1888. Doublet, /Un prelat janseniste. F. de Caulet/, 1895. Ingold, /Rome et la France. La seconde phase du jansenisme/, etc., 1901. Le Roy, /Un janseniste en exil. Correspondance de Pasquier Quesnel/, 1900. Van Vlooten, /Esquisse historique sur l'ancienne eglise catholique des Pays-Bas/, 1861. De Bellegarde, /Coup d'oeil sur l'ancienne eglise catholique de Hollande/, etc., 1896.
The Clementine Peace, obtained as it was by trickery and fraud, was used by the Jansenists as a means of deceiving the public and of winning new recruits. They contended that Clement IX., regardless of the action of his predecessors, had accepted the Jansenist principle of respectful silence. Several who had signed the formulary of Alexander VII. withdrew their signatures, and amongst the bishops, clergy, university graduates, and religious orders, particularly amongst the Oratorians and Benedictines of St. Maur, the Jansenists gained many adherents. Though outwardly peace reigned in France, yet the Jansenist spirit made great headway, as was shown by the opposition to several popular devotions and in the spread of rigorist opinions and practices in regard to confession and communion. The controversy on the Gallican Liberties complicated the issue very considerably, and made it impossible for the Pope to exercise his authority. Even bishops like Bossuet, who were strongly opposed to Jansenism, were inclined to regard papal interference with suspicion, while Louis XIV. was precluded from enforcing the decrees of the Pope as his predecessors had enforced them. The Jansenist party became much stronger, and only a slight incident was required to precipitate a new crisis.
This incident was supplied by the publication of the /Reflexions Morales sur le Nouveau Testament/ by Pasquier Quesnel (1634-1719). The writer had been an Oratorian, but having been expelled from that society in 1684 he took refuge with Antoine Arnauld in Brussels. Upon the death of the latter in 1694, he became the recognised head or grand-prior of the Jansenist party. An earlier edition of this work had been published, bearing the approbation of Vialart, Bishop of Chalons, and though several additions had been made, this approbation was printed on the new edition side by side with the approbation of Louis Noailles, then Bishop of Chalons (1695). The following year Noailles having become Archbishop of Paris felt called upon by his new position to condemn a work closely akin in its ideas to those expressed in the /Reflexions Morales/. He was accused of inconsistency by the Jansenist party, one of whom published the /Probleme ecclesiastique/, inquiring whether people were bound to follow the opinions of Louis Noailles, Bishop of Chalons in 1695, or of Louis Noailles, Archbishop of Paris in 1696? The controversy suddenly grew embittered. When a new edition was required in 1699, Noailles requested the judgment of Bossuet, who formulated certain changes that in his opinion should be made. In the end the edition was published without the suggested changes and without the approbation of the archbishop.
While the controversy was raging round Quesnel's book, another incident occurred that tended to arouse all the old partisan feeling. A confessor submitted to the judgment of the Sorbonne the celebrated case of conscience. He asked whether a priest should absolve a penitent, who rejected the teaching set forth in the five propositions of Jansenius, but who maintained a respectful silence on the question whether or not they were to be found in the book /Augustinus/. In July 1701 forty doctors of the Sorbonne gave an affirmative reply to this question. The publication of this reply created such a storm in France that Clement XI. felt it necessary to condemn the decision of the Sorbonne (1703). The papal condemnation was supported by Louis XIV., as well as by the great body of the bishops. Two years later Clement XI. issued the bull /Vineam Domini/, confirming the constitutions of his predecessors, Innocent X. and Alexander VII., and condemned once more in an authoritative form the doctrine of respectful silence. The document was accepted by the king, by the Assembly of the Clergy, and by the majority of the bishops, though the attachment of some of the latter to Gallican principles led them to insist on certain conditions which the Pope could not accept. As the nuns of Port Royal still refused to submit, their community was broken up, the sisters being scattered through different convents in France (1709), and the following year the convent buildings were completely destroyed.
Meanwhile the controversy regarding the /Reflexions Morales/ grew more bitter. Several of the bishops condemned the book as containing much in common with the writings of Jansenius and of his followers in France. Acting upon the demand of some of the bishops Clement XI. issued a brief condemning Quesnel's book (1708). The Jansenists refused to accept the papal decision and the Parliament of Paris, then dominated to a great extent by Jansenist influence, adopted a hostile attitude. Cardinal Noailles, considering the verdict of the Pope as more or less a personal insult to himself, hesitated as to what course he should take, but at last he consented to accept the condemnation provided the Pope issued a formal sentence. On the application of Louis XIV. the Pope determined to put an end to all possibility of doubt or misunderstanding by publishing the Bull, /Unigenitus/ (1713) in which 101 propositions taken from Quesnel's book were condemned. As is usual in such documents the propositions were condemned /in globo/, some as rash, some as offensive to pious ears, and some as heretical. The Bull, /Unigenitus/, was accepted immediately by one hundred and twelve bishops of France, by the majority of the clergy, by the Sorbonne, and by the king and Parliament. The Jansenists refused to admit that it contained a final verdict on the ground that, as it did not make clear which propositions were heretical and which only rash or offensive, it was only a disciplinary enactment and not a binding doctrinal decision. Cardinal Noailles wavered for a time, but in the end he allied himself with the fourteen bishops who refused to accept the Bull /Unigenitus/. Louis XIV., though opposed strongly to the Jansenists, was unwilling to allow the Pope to take serious action against the Archbishop of Paris lest the liberties of the Gallican Church should be endangered, while the Parliament of Paris sympathised openly with those who refused to accept the papal decision.
The death of Louis XIV. (1714) and the accession of the Duke of Orleans as regent led to a great reaction in favour of Jansenism. Cardinal Noailles was honoured by a seat in the privy council, and became the principal adviser of the regent in ecclesiastical affairs. The Sorbonne withdrew its submission to the Bull /Unigenitus/ (1715), and its example was followed by the Universities of Nantes and Rheims. Many of the Jansenist chapters and priests rebelled against their bishops, and were taken under the protection of the Parliament. The Archbishop of Paris was encouraged by addresses from his chapter and clergy to stand out firmly against the tyranny of Rome. More than once the Pope remonstrated with the regent, who promised much but refused to take decisive action. The Sorbonne was punished by the Pope by the withdrawal of its power to confer theological decrees (1716), while many of the bishops refused to allow their students to attend its courses. As a last desperate expedient four of the bishops of France appealed solemnly to a General Council against the Bull /Unigenitus/ (1717), and their example was followed by large numbers. The /Appellants/ as they were called created such a disturbance in France that they appeared to be much more numerous than they really were. Less than twenty of the bishops and not more than three thousand clerics, seven hundred of whom belonged to Paris, joined the party, while more than one hundred bishops and one hundred thousand clerics remained loyal to Rome. The fact, however, that Cardinal Noailles, Archbishop of Paris, placed himself at the head of the /Appellants/ made the situation decidedly serious.
When private protests and remonstrances had failed Clement XI. issued the Bull, /Pastoralis Officii/, by which he excommunicated the /Appellants/ (1718). Undaunted by this verdict a new appeal in solemn form was lodged by Cardinal Noailles, backed by his chapter and by a large number of the Paris clergy. Negotiations were opened up with Innocent XIII. and Benedict XIII. in the hope of inducing them to withdraw the Bull /Unigenitus/, or at least to give it a milder interpretation, but the Popes refused to change the decisions that had been given by their predecessors. The Parliament of Paris espoused the cause of the /Appellants/, and refused to allow the bishops to take energetic action against them, until at last the king grew alarmed at the danger that threatened France. The energetic action taken by the provincial council of Embrun against some of the /Appellant/ bishops (1727) received the approval of the court. In the following year (1728) Cardinal Noailles was induced to make his submission, and in a short time the Sorbonne doctors by a majority imitated his example. Though these submissions were not without good results, yet they served only to embitter still more the minds of a large body of the Jansenist party, and to strengthen them in their opposition to the Bull, /Unigenitus/.
The Jansenists having failed to secure the approval of Pope or king for their heretical teaching appealed to the visible judgment of God. The deacon, Francis of Paris, who was one of the leaders of the sect, and whose sanctity was vouched for, according to his friends, by the fact that he had abstained from receiving Holy Communion for two years, died in 1727, and was buried in the cemetery of Saint Medard. Crowds flocked to pray at his tomb, and it was alleged that wonderful cures were being wrought by his intercession. One of the earliest and most striking of these miracles was investigated by the Archbishop of Paris and was proved to be without foundation, but others still more remarkable were broadcast by the party, with the result that hosts of invalids were brought from all parts of France in the hope of procuring recovery. Many, especially women, went into ecstasies and violent convulsions round the tomb, and while in this state they denounced the Pope, the bishops, and in a word all the adversaries of Jansenism. Owing to the unseemly and at times indecent scenes that took place the cemetery was closed by the civil authorities (1732), but the /Convulsionnaires/, as they were called, claimed that similar miracles were wrought in private houses, in which they assembled to pray, and to which clay taken from the tomb of the Deacon of Paris had been brought. The great body of the people ridiculed the extravagances of the sect, and many of the moderate Jansenists condemned the /Convulsionnaires/ in unsparing terms. Instead of doing Jansenism any good these so-called miracles, utterly unworthy as they were of divine wisdom and holiness, served only to injure its cause, and indeed to injure the Christian religion generally, by placing a good weapon in the hands of its rationalist adversaries.
But even though heaven had not declared in favour of the Jansenists the Parliament of Paris determined to protect them. It defended bishops who refused to accept the Bull /Unigenitus/ against the Pope, tried to prevent the orthodox bishops from suspending appellant priests, and forbade the exclusion of appellant laymen from the sacraments. The Parliament of Paris condemned the action of the clergy in refusing the last sacraments to the dying unless they could prove they had made their confession to an approved priest. Though the privy council annulled this condemnation Parliament stood by its decision, and challenged the authority of the Archbishop of Paris by punishing priests who refused the sacraments (1749-52). The bishops appealed to the king to defend the liberty of the Church, but the Parliament asserted its jurisdiction by depriving the Archbishop of Paris of his temporalities and by endeavouring to have him cited before the civil courts. Louis XIV. annulled the sentence of the Parliament, and banished some of the more violent of its members from the capital (1753). They were, however, soon recalled, and a royal mandate was issued enforcing silence on both parties. For infringing this order de Beaumont, Archbishop of Paris, was banished from his See, and several other bishops and priests were summoned before the legal tribunals.
The Assembly of the Clergy in 1755 petitioned the king to give more freedom to the Church, and to restore the exiled Archbishop of Paris to his See. A commission was established to examine the whole question of the refusal of the sacraments, and as the Commission could not arrive at any decision, the case was submitted to Benedict XIV., who decided that those who were public and notorious opponents of the Bull, /Unigenitus/, should be treated as public sinners and should be excluded from the sacraments (1756). The Parliament of Paris and some of the provincial parliaments forbade the publication of the papal decision, but a royal order was issued commanding the universal acceptance of the Bull, /Unigenitus/, even though it might not be regarded as an irreformable rule of faith. According to this mandate the regulation for allowing or refusing the administrations of the sacraments was a matter to be determined by the bishops, though any person who considered himself aggrieved by their action might appeal against the abuse of ecclesiastical power. This decree was registered by the Parliament (1757), whereupon the Archbishop of Paris was allowed to return. From that time Jansenism declined rapidly in France, but the followers of the sect united with the Gallicans of the Parliament to enslave the Church, and with the Rationalists to procure the suppression of the Jesuits, whom they regarded as their most powerful opponents.
Many of the Jansenists fled to Holland, where the Gallicans were only too willing to welcome such rebels against Rome. The old Catholic hierarchy in Holland had been overthrown, and the Pope was obliged to appoint vicars apostolic to attend to the wants of the scattered Catholic communities. One of these appointed in 1688 was an Oratorian, and as such very partial to Quesnel and the Jansenists. Owing to his public alliance with the sect he was suspended from office in 1702 and deposed in 1704, but not before he had given Jansenism a great impetus in Holland. About seventy parishes and about eighty priests refused to recognise his successor, and went over to the Jansenist party. In 1723 a body of priests calling themselves the Chapter of Utrecht elected Steenhoven as Archbishop of Utrecht, and a suspended bishop named Varlet, belonging formerly to the Society for Foreign Missions, consecrated him against the protests of the Pope. Supported by the Calvinist government the new archbishop maintained himself at Utrecht till his death, when he was succeeded by others holding similar views. Later on the Bishoprics of Haarlem (1742) and of Deventer were established as suffragan Sees to Utrecht. The Catholics of Holland refused to recognise these bishoprics as did also the Pope, whose only reply to their overtures was a sentence of excommunication and interdict. The Jansenist body of Holland, numbering at present about six thousand, have maintained their separate ecclesiastical organisation until the present day. They resisted the establishment of the hierarchy in Holland (1853), opposed the definition of Papal Infallibility, and allied themselves definitely with the old Catholic movement in Germany.
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Ingold, /Bossuet et la jansenisme/, 1904.
Denzinger, 11th edition, n.1350.
Denzinger, op. cit., nos.1351-1451.
Matthieu, /Histoire des miracles et des convulsionnaires de St. Medard/, 1864.
Molinos, /Guida spirituale/, 1681. /Oeuvres spirituelles de Madame Guyon/, 42 vols., 1713. Guerrier, /Madame Guyon/, 1881. Fenelon, /Explication des maximes des Saints sur la vie interieure/, 1697. Bossuet, /Sur les etats d'oraison/, 1696. Crousle, /Fenelon et Bossuet/, 1896. Delmont, /Fenelon et Bossuet d'apres les derniers travaux de la critique/, 1896.
Mysticism as implying the substantive union of the soul with God was the distinguishing feature of the pantheistic religious creeds of India, as it was also of some of the Greek philosophical systems. In the Middle Ages, while many of the ablest exponents of Scholasticism were also distinguished mystics, yet more than once Mysticism or the theology of the heart, unrestrained by the guiding influence of the theology of the intellect, fell into grievous errors akin to the Pantheism of the Buddhists and the Stoics. Many of these Middle Age mystics maintained that perfection consisted in the union of the soul with God by quiet contemplation, so that those who reached that state had no need of external aids to sanctity, such as good works, the sacraments, or prayer; that they were under no obligation to obey any law, ecclesiastical or divine, since their will was united to God's will; and that they need make no effort to resist carnal thoughts or desires, as these came from the devil and could not possibly stain the soul. Such, however, was not the teaching of the great Spanish authorities on mystical theology, Saint Teresa, Saint John of the Cross, and Louis of Granada, whose works on spiritual perfection and on the ways that lead to it have never been surpassed. But side by side with this school of thought, another and less orthodox form of mysticism manifested itself in Spain. Many of the sectaries, such as the Alumbrados or Illuminati, carried away by pantheistic principles, fell into error, and put forward under the guise of mystical theology not a few of the extravagances that had been condemned by the Council of Vienne (1311) and by the judgment of the universal Church.
Closely akin to the errors of this Spanish school was the doctrine known as Quietism taught by Michael de Molinos (1640-96), a Spanish priest, who having completed his studies at Valencia took up his residence in Rome. He published a work entitled /Guida Spirituale/ in 1675, the ascetical principles of which attracted so much attention that translations of the book appeared almost immediately in nearly every country of Europe. The teaching of Molinos was denounced to the Inquisition by the Jesuits and the Dominicans, and in 1687 Innocent XI. issued the Bull /Coelestis Pastor/, in which he condemned sixty-eight propositions put forward by Molinos. The author having been arrested was obliged to make a public recantation, and remained a prisoner until his death (1696).
According to Molinos perfection consists in a state of self- annihilation in which the soul remains entirely passive, absorbed completely in the contemplation and love of God. By means of this passivity or complete surrender of the human faculties to God the soul of man is transformed, and is in a sense deified. While in this condition there is no need to act or to desire to act, to think of rewards or punishments, of defects or virtues, of sanctification, penance, or good works, nor is there any necessity to resist carnal thoughts or motions since these are the works of the devil. Such a system, founded nominally on the pure love of God, and leading of necessity to the overthrow of law, morality, and religious authority, found great favour in Italy and Spain, where it required all the energies and powers of the Inquisition to secure its suppression. It was backed by the Oratorian, Petrucci, afterwards created a cardinal (1686), whose books on the spiritual life were attacked by the Jesuit, Paul Segneri, and condemned by the Inquisition.
Quietism found favour in France through the writings and teachings of Francis Malaval of Marseilles and of the Barnabite Pere Lacombe. The individual whose name is most closely identified with Quietism in France is, however, Madame Jeanne de la Mothe Guyon, a young widow who on the death of her husband gave herself up to the practice of prayer and to the study of the principles of the spiritual life. Admitting as she did the fundamental doctrine of the system of Molinos, namely, that perfection consists in a state of self-abnegation in which the soul is wrapped up completely in pure love of God, she rejected most of the absurd and immoral conclusions that seemed to follow from it. According to her, and more especially according to her principal defender, Fenelon, pure love of God without any thought of self- interest or of reward or punishment, constitutes the essence of the spiritual life, and must be the principle and motive of all deliberate and meritorious acts. This teaching constitutes what is known as Semi- Quietism. Madame Guyon published several works and gave many conferences in various cities of France. The close connexion between her teaching and the mysticism of Molinos attracted the unfriendly notice of the French authorities, particularly as Louis XIV. was a strong opponent of Quietism. As a result Madame Guyon and her spiritual director, Pere Lacombe, were arrested in Paris (1688), but owing to the interference of Madame de Maintenon, Madame Guyon was released.
Fenelon, then a priest and tutor to the Duke of Burgundy, grandson of Louis XIV. and prospective heir to the throne of France, was deeply interested in the teaching of Madame Guyon whose acquaintance he had made in Paris. Fenelon, while rejecting the false mysticism of de Molinos, agreed with Madame Guyon in believing that the state of perfection in this life is that in which all righteous acts proceed from pure love without any hope of reward or fear of punishment, and that all virtuous acts to be meritorious must proceed directly or indirectly from charity. This teaching found a strenuous opponent in Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux. A commission consisting of Bossuet, de Noailles, then Bishop of Chalons, and Tronson, superior of the Sulpicians, was appointed to examine the whole question (1695). A little later Fenelon, who had just been promoted to the Archbishopric of Cambrai, was added to the list. The conference met in the Sulpician seminary at Issy, and as a result thirty-four articles were drawn up, all of which were accepted by Madame Guyon and Pere Lacombe. The former having returned to Paris was arrested, and forced to sign another recantation of her theories and to promise that she would never again attempt to spread them. From that time till her death in 1717 she took no further part in the discussions.
But the controversy regarding Semi-Quietism was to be carried on between the two greatest churchmen and literary giants of their age, namely, Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux, and Fenelon, Archbishop of Cambrai. Bossuet, not content with the partial victory that he had secured at the Issy conference, determined to expose the dangerous tendencies of Madame Guyon's teaching by a short statement of the Catholic doctrine on perfection and the spiritual life. This he did in his book /Instructions sur les etats d'oraison/, which he submitted to Fenelon in the hope of obtaining his approval. This Fenelon refused to give, partly because he thought Madame Guyon had been punished severely enough and should not be attacked once she had made her submission, and partly also because he believed the views of Bossuet on charity and self-interest were unsound. Before Bossuet's book could be published Fenelon anticipated him in a work entitled /Explication des maximes des Saints sur la vie interieure/, in which he defended many of Madame Guyon's views. This book was submitted to the Archbishop of Paris, to Tronson, and to some of the theologians of the Sorbonne, from all of whom it received the highest commendations.
The Bishop of Meaux, annoyed at the action of Fenelon, denounced the book to Louis XIV., who appointed a commission to examine it (1697). Fenelon, fearing that a commission, one of the members of which was his rival Bossuet, would not be likely to give an impartial judgment, forwarded his book to Rome for judgment. While the Roman authorities were at work a violent controversy was carried on between Fenelon and Bossuet, which, however much it may have added to the literary reputation of the combatants, was neither edifying nor instructive. On the side of Bossuet especially it is clear that personalities played a much greater part than zeal for orthodoxy. In Rome opinion was very much divided about the orthodoxy of Fenelon's work. Louis XIV. left no stone unturned to secure its condemnation. In the end Innocent XII. condemned twenty propositions taken from the book (1699). This sentence was handed to Fenelon just as he was about to mount the pulpit in his own cathedral on the Feast of the Annunciation. After mastering its contents he preached on the submission that was due to superiors, read the condemnation for the people, and announced to them that he submitted completely to the decision of the Pope, and besought his friends earnestly neither to read his book nor to defend the views that it contained.
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Denzinger, op. cit., nos.1221-88.
In the Brief, /Cum alias/, Denzinger, op. cit., nos.1327-49.