The General Assemblies of the Clergy and Clerical Taxation

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 General Assemblies of the Clergy and Clerical Taxation

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The general assemblies of the clergy, dominated by the bishops, voted taxation to the crown, presented remonstrances to the king, and also (in the absence of a general council of the church) made doctrinal and disciplinary pronouncements. The assemblies effectively upheld the privileges of the clergy, aided by an efficient bureaucracy created for the collection of taxes. The occasion of granting supply allowed the presentation of the grievances of the Gallican Church arising from the complex and often unjust system of the assessment of the tax burden. Debates about taxation were endless; provinces annexed to the kingdom since 1561 enjoyed a different tax regime; arguments were constant about the array of minor taxes owed in certain circumstances; and some institutions built up heavy tax arrears. Lay complaints about clerical exemption from ‘ordinary’ taxation were constant and vocal, but overall assessments of the amount of tax paid by the Church reveals a considerable increase in the course of the century.

Keywords: bishops; feudalism; state finances; taxation

Chapter.  14576 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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