The Wealth of the Church

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:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 The Wealth of the Church

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The immense wealth of the Church was based on property ownership, most important in northern France, and the tithe, which in some southern dioceses was the clergy's only means of support. Property, mostly leased out to farmers, brought with it further income in the form of seigneurial and feudal rights and dues, often bitterly resented by the peasantry. Tithe and their collection were a constant source of friction, lawsuits, and fraud, and extremely unpopular. They were attacked on historical and moral grounds by the philosophes and on economic grounds by the physiocrats. The last 20 years of the ancien regime saw a smouldering revolt against tithes across the south.

Keywords: Church; Enlightenment; physiocrats; property; tithes

Chapter.  21444 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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