The Bishops: Fathers in God

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 Bishops: Fathers in God

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A bishop's contacts with the people of his diocese were few, only through pastoral letters and visitation tours. Visitations were often delegated to archdeacons or other subordinates, and the extent of bishops’ participation varied widely and depended on the individual. As far as relations with the lower clergy are concerned, diocesan synods died out almost completely, but more informal conférences ecclésiastiques persisted, based in the rural deaneries. Relations with curés were distant, determined by the priests’ independence and their inferior social status. Bishops were judged above all by their generosity to the poor, shown in charitable works, behaviour during plagues and fires, and provisions in their wills: most attempted to do their duty, but this fitted uneasily with the maintenance of episcopal splendour and supporting members of their family.

Keywords: bishops; charity; curés; poor relief; synods; visitations

Chapter.  15873 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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