By John McManners
This is often the 1st of 2 volumes in McManner's magesterial reconstruction of the advanced hierarchical global of the Gallican Church destroyed through the French Revolution. It describes the diocesan and parochial constitution of the Church, portraying the clergy and their way of life from the palaces of the aristocratic bishops to the humblest nunnery, and, in a large number of pix, examining their motivations and feel of vocation. In an in depth fresco he provides the faith of the folks, even if centering within the parish church or in confaternities, and the observances of people faith outdoors it.
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Additional resources for Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France: Volume 1: The Clerical Establishment and its Social Ramification (Oxford History of the Christian Church)
The royal person was protected, in so far as the head of each scrofulous person was held by a doctor, and the supplicants' hands were clasped within the gloved hands of the captain of the Guard, but the day was hot and the vast assembly stank. 20 The message of the Sacre was: the king's power comes from God. His servants only open the door to the summons to attend the cathedral when the formula is used ‘whom God has given us for king’. The symbols of ofﬁce (the spurs excepted) are handed over by the ecclesiastical peers; even the sword is a gift from God.
The king recognized his insigniﬁcance and mortality by taking off his crown when the gospel was read; then the Church received him into the circle of its chosen ministry by giving him communion in both kinds, a prerogative of the clergy. As the royal procession left the cathedral, hundreds of little birds were released from their cages to ﬂutter under the vaults, and the heralds scattered commemorative medals among the people. Though the comte d'Artois and some libertine nobles had laughed and gossiped,16 the overwhelming impression was one of splendour, dignity, and rejoicing, a vast pageant of national loyalty.
The mystique of royal sovereignty was real enough, but fragile. 50 Power had a divine origin, but this did not mean that God gave it as a peculiar personal gift to the ruler; power came from God in his general activity as creator: he made man of a nature demanding life in society, and life in society demanded a ﬁnal secular authority. ’ The greatest French theologian of the century, Bergier, in his Quelle est la source de toute autorité? (1789), ridiculed theories of political contracts made among men who had sprung up from the earth as isolated individuals; in reality, God created men with reciprocal rights and duties from the beginning.