The Revolt of the Curés

John McManners

in Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France Volume 2: The Religion of the People and the Politics of Religion

Published in print July 1999 | ISBN: 9780198270041
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600692 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 The Revolt of the Curés

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As the only members of the clerical estate in regular contact with the people, many curés throughout the eighteenth century had protested against social injustice and of the abuses of nobles, of the monopolists, and others who obstructed the proper distribution of food to the poor. They also had their own grievances within the Church, demanding a greater say in diocesan affairs, and raising issues, which by mid‐century had moved from theory to practicalities involving the persecution of Jansenists and the parlous financial condition of ordinary parish priests. In the cahiers de doléance and Estates General of 1789, radical curés joined in the attack on aristocratic privilege, and their requests for justice for themselves gained the support of lay propagandists. Curés elected to the Estates General, took a major part in debates and came to consider themselves as ‘members of the First Order where the interests of the Gallican Church were concerned, and of the Third when the interests of the nation were at stake’.

Keywords: cahiers de doléance; Church finances; curés; Estates General; French Revolution

Chapter.  18428 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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