Gallican Church

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The Gallican Church was the Catholic Church in France from the time of the Declaration of the Clergy of France (1682) to that of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy (1790) during the French Revolution.

Gallicanism was the doctrine that the power of monarchs is independent of the power of popes, and that the church of each country should be under the joint control of the pope and the monarch. The opposite doctrine is known as Ultramontanism.

Under the Declaration of the Clergy of France of 1682, the following privileges were claimed, but never accepted by the Holy See:

  • Kings of France had the right to assemble church councils in their dominions.
  • Kings of France had the right to make laws and regulations touching ecclesiastical matters.
  • The pope required the king's consent to send papal legates into France.
  • Those legates required the king's consent to exercise their power within France.
  • Bishops, even when commanded by the pope, could not go out of the kingdom without the king's consent.
  • Royal officers could not be excommunicated for any act performed in the discharge of their official duties.
  • The pope could not authorize the alienation of landed church estates in France, or the diminishing of any foundations.
  • Papal bulls and letters required the pareatis of the king or his officers before they took effect within France.
  • The pope could not issue dispensations "to the prejudice of the laudable customs and statutes" of the French cathedral churches.
  • It was lawful to appeal from the Pope to a future council or to have recourse to the "appeal as from an abuse" (appel comme d'abus) against acts of the ecclesiastical power.

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