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Gallican Church

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a name often given to the Roman Catholic Church of France. The peculiar spirit of that Church, especially with regard to its relations to Rome, is called GALLICANISM. The term is especially used with reference to the principles of the French Church, in opposition to Ultramontanism (the extreme papal view of Church polity), as embodied in the four articles of 1682 (see below). But it is historically certain that from a very early period the national Church of France had a character and spirit of freedom peculiar to itself, and that the roots of the so-called modern Gallicanism are to be traced far back into antiquity (see Bossuet's sermon at the opening of the Assembly of 1682, and his Defensio Declarationis, and our article FRANCE (See FRANCE) ). The Frankish Church, in the time of Charlemagne, assumed a form and gave evidence of a spirit marked by the national temper, and obviously different from the Italian ideal of the Church as organized under the pope. In almost every century thereafter the monarchs and bishops of France resisted what they held to be unauthorized claims on the past of Rome. Nevertheless, the Gallican spirit often yielded, and not unfrequently the French bishops were themselves, in part at least, ultramontane. The French Parliaments were generally on the side, naturally, of the Gallican spirit. Hinemar, bishop of Rheims (t 882), manfully stood by his king, Charles the Bald, when pope Adrian II attempted to drive him from the throne. Charles himself, in an epistle to Adrian, "argues respecting the distinction between the temporal and the spiritual power, and also alleges the peculiar supremacy, of the kings of France. To prove these and similar points, he refers not only to the archives of the Roman Church, but to the writings of St. Gelasius, St. Leo, St. Gregory, and even St. Augustine himself. (See Hist. Litteraire de la France, Fleury, 1, lii, s. 8, 22.) Hincmar wrote many of that king's letters, and may probably have been the author of this" (Waddington, History of the Church, chapter 14). But no formal attempt to fix the position of the Church in France on a basis of independence was made by any of the monarchs of the country before Louis IX (St. Louis, t 1270). His "Pragmatic Sanction" (A.D. 1268) was directed chiefly against the pecuniary claims and extortions of Rome. It is comprised in six articles:

1. The churches, the prelates, the patrons, and the ordinary collators of benefices, shall enjoy their rights to their full extent, and each shall be sustained in his jurisdiction.

2. The cathedral and other churches shall possess the liberties of elections,. which shall be carried into complete effect.

3. We will that simony, the pest of the Church, be wholly banished from our kingdom.

4. Promotions, collations, provisions of dispositions of prelatures, dignities, and other ecclesiastical benefices and offices, whatsoever they may be, shall be made according to the institutions of common. law, of the councils and of our ancient fathers.

5. We renew sand approve of the liberties, franchises, prerogatives, and privileges granted by the kings our predecessors, and by ourselves, to churches, monasteaties, and other places of piety, as well as to ecclesiastical persons.

6. We prohibit any one from in any manner levying and collecting the pecuniary exactions and heavy charges which the court of Rome has imposed, or may hereafter impose, upon the Church of our kingdom, and by which it has been miserably impoverished unless it be for a reasonable and very urgent cause, or by inevitable necessity, and with the free and express consent of the king and of the Church. See Ordonnances des Roys de France de la traisieme race recuillies par M. de Lasursere (Paris, 1723, folio), 1:97. In the Latin text, "the chief points are statuimus et ordinamus primo ut ecclesiarum regni nostri praleati, patroni, et beneficiorum collatores ordinarii jus suum plenarium habeant, et unicuique sua jurisdictio debite servetur. II. Item ecclesiae cathedrales et aliae regni nostri liberas electiones et earum effectum integraliter habeant. V. Item exactiones et onera gravissima pecuniarum per Curiam Romanam ecclesiae regsi nostri impositas vel imposita, quibus regnum nostrum miserabiliter depauperatum extitit, sivae etiam imponendas vel imponenda, levari aut colligi nullatenus volumus nisi duntaxat pro rationabili, pia et urgentissima causa et inevitabili necessitate, ac de spontaneo et expresso consensua nostro et ipsius ecclesiae regni nostri. The conclusion: Harum tenore universis justitiariis, officiariis et subditis nostris mandamus, quatenus omnia et singula praedicta diligenter et attente servent atque servari inviolabiliter faciant: nec aliquid in contrarium quovis modo faciant vel attentent, seu fieri vel attentari permittant: transgressores aut contra facientes tali poena plectendo, quod caeteris deinceps cedat in exemplum. The genuineness of this document, which is questioned chiefly blay P. Daniel, is shown by E. Richer, Hist. concil. general, lib. 3, page 189; Liberteas de l´ egluse Gallicane, edit. ann. 1771, t. 3 pages 633, 667; Velly, Hist. de France, t. 3, page 239" (Gieseler, Church History, per. 3, § 62).

The "liberties" of the Gallican Church, according to Bossuet, were substantially set forth in these ordinances. The Gallican spirit was also strongly shown in the disputes between Philip le Bel and Boniface VIII towards the end of the 13th century, which disputes culminated in the bull Unam Sanctam, and in the abduction and death of the pope, A.D. 13103. (See BONIFACE VIII). The questions involved in these disputes were vital ones: the authority of the pope in temporals, the royal prerogative, and the power of the episcopacy as related to the supreacacy of the pope. The Gallican writers vindicated the rights of the Church and the supremacy of councils over the pope with brilliant talents and solid learning. The Roman writers nevertheless maintained the papal claimsiunwaveringly, but with little success, in France. In 1455 the bishop of Nanites undertook to appeal from a royal ordinance to the pope, but the Parliament of Paris decided that be had violated the privileges of the French Church, as well as the fundamental laws of the kingdom. The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, called the "great bulwark of the Gallican Church against Rome," was adopted at the Synod of Bourges im 1438, and confirmed by the Parliament July 13, 1439. It involved two great principles:

1. That the pope has no authority in the kingdom of France over anything concerning temporals.

2. That, though the pope is acknowledged as sovereign lord in spirituals, his power even in these is restricted and controlled hey the canons and regulations of the ancient councils of the church received in the kingdom. (For details, (See BOURGES, PRAGMATIC SANCTION OF). ) Louis XI himself strongly repressed all ultramontane reaction against the decisions of the French assemblies, or against the immunities of the national church. The ultramontanists obtained a temporary success in the revocation of the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges in 1512 by the Council of Lateran, with the renunciation of it by Francis I (1516), with the understanding that his concordat with Leo X secured to him its substantial benefits. This act was instigated by certain private aims of the king's, and by the hope of his chancellor, Duprat, obtaining the dignity of cardinal. But this revocation gave rise to a long resistance by the Parliament and the Sorbonne, and to great anger and even turbulence of spirit among the French people. The effects of the revocation were practically insignificant, and Gallicanism only showed itself the more energetic and active afterwards. The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges was, it is true, abrogated, but the fundamental principles established at the councils of Pisa, Constance, and Basic, which inspired that sanction, remained intact as a guide for the opinions of the nation and of the clergy, while the antipathy of the Parliaments against ultramontanism became still more deeply rooted. The decrees of the Council of Trent (1545-1663) were, indeed, intended to supplant and supersede those of the earlier councils, but from among them France admitted only such as agreed with her own policy, with the privileges of the king, and with the customs and usages of her Church. Gallicanism was greatly advanced, in fact, by the issues of the Council of Trent, and by the discussions to which they gave rise. The numerous writings of Pithou (q.v.; t 1596) on the canon law gave true scientific and ecclesiastical expression to the tenets of Gallicanism. What Pithou advances in behalf of the Gallican Church in his Corpus Juris Canonici, in his Codex Canonum, and in his Gallicae Ecclesiae in schismate status, were by him collected in eighty- three articles, in 1594, in the Libertes de l'eglise gallicane (1633, 2 volumes, fol.), by the aid of which it became easy both for the laity and the clergy to see how far the questions involved were questions of order and organization, and how little they applied to religion or dogmas. Pithou himself condensed the eighty-three articles into two:

1. That the pope has no right of interference with the king's prerogative in temporals;

2. That he cannot enforce a decision in spirituals in contradiction with those of the councils received in the kingdom.

Ultramontanism, however, continued to assert its claims with the usual persistence of Rome. Cardinal Duperron, and the two succeeding cardinals and prime ministers of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, Richelieu and Mazarin, maintained the Concordat. But, in spite of the Concordat, the Sorbonne presented the six celebrated Declarationes following to the king, May 8, 1663:

1. The pope has no authority over the king's temporal power.

2. In temporals the king has no superior but God.

3. The subjects of the king cannot be released from their fealty and obedience under any pretexts whatsoever.

4. It is inconsistent with the king's prerogative, and with the freedom of the Gallican Church, that the pope should depose bishops contrary to the decrees of councils.

5. It is not the doctrine of the Church that the pope is superior to general councils.

6. It is not matter of dogma that the pope is infallible, apart from the concurrence of the Church.

As Pithou was the legal pillar of Gallicanism, so Bossuet became its ecclesiastical champion. Under his guidance, the Assemblee du clerge of 1682 asserted the Gallican liberties, in the celebrated Declaration du clerge de France, which was upheld by the monarch and by all the state authorities. It runs as follows:

"I. St. Peter and his successors, vicars of Jesus Christ, and the whole Church itself, have received power from God only over things spiritual, and which concern salvation, and not over things temporal and civil; Jesus Christ teaching us himself that his kingdom is not of this world; and in another place, that we must render to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to God the things of God; and thus that precept of St. Paul can in nothing be altered or overthrown. Let every person be subject to the higher powers, for there is no power but comes from God, and it is he who ordains those that are on the earth. He, then, who opposes himself to the powers, resists the order of God. We, in consequence, declare that kings and sovereigns are not subject to any ecclesiastical power by the order of God in temporal matters; that they cannot be deposed, directly or indirectly, by the authority of the keys of the Church; that their subjects cannot be dispensed from the submission and obedience which they owe them, and absolved from the oath of fidelity; and that this doctrine, necessary for the public peace, and not less advantageous to the Church than the state, ought to be inviolably followed, as conformable to the word of God, the tradition of the holy fathers, and the examples of the saints.

II. The plenitude of power which the holy apostolic see and the successors of St. Peter, vicars of Jesus Christ, have over spiritual is such, that nevertheless the decrees of the holy General Council of Constance, contained in the fourth and fifth sessions, approved by the holy apostolic see, confirmed by the practice of all the Church and the Roman pontiffs, and religiously observed at all times by the Gallican Church, remain in all their force and virtue; and that the Church of France does not approve the opinion of those who attack these decrees, or who enfeeble them by saying that their authority is not well established, that they are not approved, or that they are in force only in time of schism.

III. That thus the use of the apostolic power must be regulated in following the canons made by the Spirit of God, and consecrated by the general respect of all the world; that the rules, the manners, and the constitutions received in the kingdom and in the Gallican Church ought to be maintained, and the usages of our fathers remain unassailable; and that the greatness of the holy apostolic see itself requires that the laws and customs established with the consent of that respectable see and the churches remain invariable.

IV. Although the pope has the chief post in the questions of faith, and his decrees regard all the churches, and each church in particular, yet his judgment is still not unalterable, until the consent of the Church intervene. We have resolved to send to all the churches of France, and to the bishops who preside in them by the authority of the Holy Ghost, these maxims which we have received from our fathers, in order that we may all say the same thing, and that we may all be in the same mind, and that we may all follow the same doctrine."

The Declaration du clerge de France was sent to the pope, with an address from Bossuet. Alexander VIII annulled the declaration, but the clergy maintained their ground, although Louis XIV himself condescended to a step which was by some considered as a retraction. In consequence of this difficulty with Rome, the French Church found itself in 1691 with thirty-five bishoprics vacant; the king allowed the twelve signers of the declaration, whom he had nominated as bishops, but whom the pope had for ten years refused to recognize as such, to retract all which had displeased the pontiff. The king himself stated that he had given orders so that his edict of March 22, 1682, which had been promulgated in view of the then existing circumstances, should no longer have effect. But that he did not abandon the Gallican maxims is proved in his letter of July 7, 1713, directed to cardinal La Tremouille, and addressed to the See of Rome, wherein he enforced the recognition, as bishop of Beauvais, of the abbot of St. Aignan, who had defended the four propositions in a thesis in 1705. The position of the question was still more clearly defined by the decision of the Conseil de Regence of 1718, that the bishops could dispense with the papal inauguration bull, as, "the Sorbonne having so decided, the national churches could again avail themselves of the right suspended by the Concordat."

Gallicanism fell into disgrace through the political events of 1790 to 1800, and particularly through the Constitution civile du clerge which was by many considered as a revolutionary triumph of Gallicanism over Ultramontanism, and which resulted in the synods of 1795 and 1797 submitting themselves to the papal authority. Stanch Gallicuans, on the other hand, found that the concordat of 1801 did not do justice to Gallicanism, and they regretted still more the forcible rejection of the Concordat of 1813, which would have somewhat restored their position. Thislech to a fierce internals conflict during the following years, in which Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald, and Francois de Lamennais stand forth as the most prominent characters. Yet the four "principles" of 1682 have kept their authority under all the forms of government, republic, empire, and restored monarchy; they are received by the new university as they were by the old, and, whenever occasion demands it, are immediately brought forth. (See FRANCE). They were recognized as law by, the imperial ordinance of February 25, 1810, and there in no likelyhood of their being ever abrogated. In the present altered state of things there is no occasion for upholding or enforcing them, but should at any day a reactionary tendency hue manifested, the state councils would again hiring the Gallican doctrine forward as emphatically as did thee decree of 1766 (arrest du conseil d'etat du 24 Mai), which stated that the rights and privileges enjoyed by the ecclesiastical body in the kingdom "sost des concessaons des souverains dont l'Egtise ne peut faire usage sans leur autorite," which is also stated in the Constitution civile du clerge (1790).

The principles of 1682 are recognized as fundamental in the present French empire, but the majority of the French bishops are at present ultramontane. Political ultramontanism, however, is extinct, in spite of the reassertion of its antiquated formulas by papal writers. The old system of taxation at thee will of the court of Rome cannot be revived. The hierarchy is indestructible; for, so bong as papacy retains its character, and so long as the French Church remains Roman Catholic, so long must the supremacy of the papal chair be upheld; and the favorite expression "National Church" is only correct in a restricted sense, since, not being independent, it cannot really be altogether national. Only in moments of high excitement did Gallicanism entertain the idea of having a separate, particular, independent patriarch. As to liturgical and even dogmatical ultramontanize, it is complained of in periodicals and pamphlets, and even lay bishops, and the old Gallicanism is appealed to against it, but with the less success, as there is a tendency to agree with Rome in dogmas and liturgies, for fear of her still exorbitant power, and also with the general aim of unity, so dear to the Roman Catholic mind. That the French nation, its episcopate, or its clergy will ever become Italianized, is neither, to be hoped by Rome nor feared by France. Bossuet's statement to the cardinal d'Estrees is as correct now as it was when first written by him: "Trois points peuvent blesser les Romains: l'independance de la temporalite des rois; la juridiction episcopale immediatement de Jesus-Christ, et l'autorite des conciles. Vous savez bien quo sur ces trois choses on ne biaise point en France." This is the true Gallican doctrine; other issues have arisen only as the effects of the momentary excitement of conflict.

As for the ruling powers of the Church of Rome at present, they hold Gallicanism to be simply the decayed, but not defunct view of a sect within the Church. For the revival of Gallican principles in Germany, (See HONTHEIM). A good exponent of opinion is given by the fact that in Wetzer and Welte's Kirchen-Lexikon, the best Roman Catholic Cyclopedia ever issued, to which the best and most learned German Roman Catholic theologians are contributors, Gallicanism is throughout classed with Jansenism as a pernicious mode of ecclesiastical thought. The reception of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by the Church of France was a violation of the old Gallican spirit.

Literature. See, besides the voluminous writings of Pithou and Bossuet on this subject, Maimbourg, Traite historique de l´ eglise d. Rome (Paris, 1686, 4to); Hist. du droit public franc. eccles. (Lond. 1737); J. de Maistre, De l'egl. gallic. (1 volume, 8vo); Du Pape (2 volumes, 8mo): Andre Dupin, Defence de la loi organique d. concordat; Les libert. de l'eglise Gall. (Paris, 1824, 12mo); Bordas-Dumoulin, Les pouvoirs constitutifs de l'eglise (Paris, 1855; 8vo); Fr. Huet, Le Gallic. son passi. s. situation presente dans l'ordre polit. ei relig. (Paris, 1855); Fleury, Discours suer les libertes d. l'egl. gallic.; Gregoire, Essai hist. sur les libertes d. l'egl. gallic. (two editions); Frayssinous, Les vrais psinaipes de l'eglise gallic. (three editions); Clausel de Montals (a French bishop of decided Gallican views), Effets probables d. disputes sur les art. Gall. (1858); Portrait fidele Deuteronomy 1'eg1. gallic. (1854); Memoire (anonyme) sur la situation presente d. l'eglise gallic., et ses maximes vengles contre les attaques de Monsieur le Comte de Montalembert; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 4:647 sq. (from which much of this article is translated); Guette's, Histoire de l'eglise de France (12 volumes, 8vo); Guetteue's periodical journal L'Observateur Catholique; Dupin, Manuel du droit public ecclesiastique francais (Paris, 1845); Phillips, Kirchenrecht, 3:339-365; Hare, Contest with Rome (London, 1852), 209 Eq.; Westminster Review, 12:213; North British Review, 13:241; Ranke, History of the Popes (passim); Erit. and For. Evang. Review, October, 1866, art. 3; Gosselin, Power of the Popes (London, 1852, 2 volumes, 8mo). (See POPE, TEMPORAL POWER OF).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Gallican Church'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/g/gallican-church.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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