The most perfect state: French clerical reformers and episcopal status

Alison Forrestal

in Fathers, Pastors and Kings

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780719069765
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700594 | DOI:
The most perfect state: French clerical reformers and episcopal status

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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This chapter focuses on the work of French clerical reformers concerning episcopal status. Throughout the seventeenth century, these reformers produced important contributions to the related issues of the nature and functions of episcopacy and the character of French episcopal reform. They principally concentrated on the hierarchical authority of bishops, and it was as a function of this that they treated the perfection of the episcopal state, its power to perfect and its obligation of personal sanctity. The chapter suggests that Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle and his disciples made crucial contributions to the development of seventeenth-century episcopal ideology through their emphasis on the superb theological character and hierarchical authority of episcopacy.

Keywords: French clerical reformers; episcopal reform; bishops; personal sanctity; Cardinal de Bérulle; hierarchical authority; episcopacy

Chapter.  11865 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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