The Politics of Piety: Franciscan Preachers During the Wars by Megan C. Armstrong

By Megan C. Armstrong

The Politics of Piety situates the Franciscan order on the middle of the non secular and political conflicts of the overdue 16th century to teach how a medieval charismatic non secular culture turned an engine of political swap. The friars used their redoubtable abilities as preachers, highbrow education on the college of Paris, and private connections with different Catholic reformers and consumers to effectively provoke well known competition to the unfold of Protestantism during the 16th century. via 1588, the friars used those similar innovations on behalf of the Catholic League to avoid the succession of the Protestant inheritor presumptive, Henry of Navarre, to the French throne. This ebook contributes to our realizing of faith as a formative political impulse in the course of the 16th century by means of linking the long term political activism of the friars to the emergence of the French monarchy of the 17th century. by way of 1594, the resistance fastened through the Franciscans and different contributors of the League to Navarre's succession secured his conversion. Navarre's conversion marked the triumph of the Franciscan and League notion of the French physique politic. both importantly, it laid the non secular foundations for the absolutist regulations of the Bourbon monarchs of the 17th century as those rulers made non secular unification a concern of royal coverage. The good fortune of the friars and different preachers of the League in mounting competition to the monarchy in the course of the Wars of faith confident those rulers that political balance and robust monarchical authority lay in non secular harmony.

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99 The case of Orléans vividly illustrates the role of certain friars as conduits of League authority in the provinces, a role made possible by the itinerant nature of their own tradition. Also critical to League success was their preaching. The League relied heavily on its preachers to mobilize popular support for its political agenda across France. This was particularly true in Paris, where the League managed to control the majority of the parish pulpits after 1588. There is some evidence, furthermore, that the League sent preachers on what were the equivalent of modern-day promotional tours to towns across France.

Gonzaga’s history of the Franciscan order records several convents destroyed in the province of France. This largest of the ultramontane Franciscan provinces included communities in Normandy, Picardy, and Champagne as well as some to the north of Paris. 79 Many Franciscan preachers also suffered physical injuries and even death at the hands of angry Protestant listeners. A Lenten sermon given by the same Flavin in the city of Albi became a life-and-death matter for the preacher in 1551 when a riot broke out, and the author of the Histoire suggests that only the timely intervention of the magistrates saved the preacher’s life.

Internal reform reinforced the Franciscan identity of the French Observants, reminding them that the route to salvation lay in unquestioning service to the will of God, even when it meant political disobedience. The Franciscan Disputes The violent nature of the conflict that first erupted in the Paris friary in 1581 between the minister general of the Franciscan order and the Paris friary was serious enough to attract not only the attention of Parisians and the Parlement of Paris but also the papal legate, Giovanni Battista Castelli.

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