Chapter

The Coronation: Reflections on the Allegiance of the Clergy

John McManners

in Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France Volume 1: The Clerical Establishment and its Social Ramifications

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198270034
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600685 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198270038.003.0002

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 The Coronation: Reflections on the Allegiance of the Clergy

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The coronation ceremony of Louis XVI in 1775, described in detail, illustrates the sacred character of the French monarchy and the interdependence of Church and State. The multitudinous official ceremonies of the ancien régime, notably the Te Deums, celebrating victories and happy events in the royal family, and the intercessionary processions ordered by the clergy, made the same points. But the criticism of the ceremony by lawyers and anticlericals indicates the continuing debates about the role of the Church in relation to the restraints differentiating the absolute monarchy from despotism. Throughout the eighteenth century, the lawyers in the Parlements had disputed with clerical spokesmen over whether the Parlements or the Church constituted the principal intermediary power between king and people. The Church defended its rights and privileges on traditional grounds, but some writers also made unconvincing attempts to justify them with arguments based on Enlightenment principles.

Keywords: anticlericalism; coronation; Enlightenment; Gallican Church; Louis XV; Louis XVI; Parlements

Chapter.  9875 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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