Crown, Church and Episcopate Under Louis XIV


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Joseph Bergin

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This book presents an eloquent account of the power, character, and mentalité of the French church under Louis XIV and of its relationship to the crown and other elite institutions as well as its critics and congregations. Prominent historian Joseph Bergin investigates the background, recruitment, and management of the episcopate, illuminating the process of trial and error by which the king developed a flexible and effective system for appointing qualified and worthy men as bishops.
Bergin shows how bishops were appointed and promoted, how no single set of rules ever obtained, and what the inherent limitations of the system were. With balanced judgment throughout, he relates the evolution of the bishops’ selection process to a range of issues, bolstering the story with well-chosen examples and many details of human interest.

Joseph Bergin is professor of history at the University of Manchester.

"[Investigated] with assurance and great learning born of exceptional familiarity with surviving unpublished sources. . . . There is great depth of scholarship here, a feast of information. . . . This should become an indispensable volume for anyone working on Louis's reign."—Nigel Aston, American Historical Review

"Bergin presents a carefully nuanced description of the development of the French episcopate over the course of the years 1661-1715. . . . There is no doubt that Joseph Bergin is now the leader in the field of the history of the seventeenth-century French Catholic Church."—J. Michael Hayden, Canadian Journal of History 

"Splendid—and beautifully produced."—Colin Haydon, Ecclesiastical History

"A triumph of unrelenting and profound scholarship. . . . An indispensable guide to the king's policies towards the church and the men who, once installed as bishops, were by no means always easy to control."—Guy Rowlands, Journal of the Historical Association

"In this very readable book, Bergin does an excellent job of examining a particularly important chapter in the history of royal selection bishops. . . . Readers interested in episcopal appointments today will find relevant Bergin's discussion of opposition to transfers of existing  bishops to other dioceses. . . . Bergin's study does provide a fascinating window onto an apparently successful system of competent bishops, a bishop-making system in which the papal role was much smaller than it has been in more recent times."—Thomas Worcester, S.J., Theological Studies

"Well-researched, clear, and convincing work that will long serve as a model and a reference."—The Catholic Historical Review

"With this book, which covers the years 1661 to 1715, Joseph Bergin completes the project which he began with The Making of the French Episcopate, 1589-1661. . . . Taken together, these volumes make a contribution to scholarship of the highest order."—David J. Sturdy, English Historical Review
ISBN: 9780300103564
Publication Date: July 11, 2004
544 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
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