Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges

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The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges, issued by King Charles VII of France, on 7 July 1438, required a General Church Council, with authority superior to that of the papacy, to be held every ten years, required election rather than appointment to ecclesiastical offices, prohibited the pope from bestowing, and profiting from, benefices, and limited appeals to Rome. The king accepted many of the decrees of the Council of Basel without endorsing its efforts to coerce Pope Eugene IV.

The Gallican church—in the eyes of some—declared administrative independence from the church in Rome, suppressed the payment of annates to Rome, and forbade papal intervention in the appointment of French prelates. While this did result in a loss of papal power in France, the movement of conciliarists itself was divided. In 1449, the Council of Basel was dissolved and the Concilliar Movement suffered a nearly fatal blow.

The popes, especially Pius II lobbied for the repeal of the Pragmatic Sanction; and the French crown used promises of repeal as an inducement to the papacy to embrace policies favoring its interests. The Pragmatic Sanction eventually was superseded by agreements made between the French crown and Rome, especially the 1516 Concordat of Bologna.

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Further reading[edit]

  • Noël Valois, Histoire de la Pragmatique sanction de Bourges sous Charles VII

(Paris: Picard, 1906).