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The Four Gallican Articles

1682. A declaration concerning the respective authorities of the crown, papacy, and French bishops, adopted at Paris by a special assembly of the French clergy. The immediate occasion was a conflict over the regalia, involving opposing claims by Louis XIV and Innocent XI to fill vacant French bishoprics and to control their revenues. The declaration, drafted by Bishop Bossuet, was intended to avoid outright break with Rome while acknowledging the supremacy Louis XIV wanted. The crucial first article asserted that the king was not subject “in temporal things” to any ecclesiastical power, he could not be deposed, nor could his subjects be relieved from obedience to him by papal authority. The second claimed that while the pope enjoyed full spiritual authority, he was subject to general councils as decreed by the Council of Constance (1414-18). The next added that the exercise of papal authority was further subject to the canons and constitutions of the French kingdom and church. The fourth allowed the pope “the principal part in questions of faith,” but claimed that his judgments were not above correction. Louis XIV later denounced the declaration (1693), although its principles remained the core of Gallicanism* throughout the eighteenth century.

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