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(găl`ĭkənĭz'əm), in French Roman Catholicism, tradition of resistance to papal authority. It was in opposition to ultramontanismultramontanism
[Lat.,=beyond the mountains, i.e., the Alps], formerly, point of view of Roman Catholics who supported the pope as supreme head of the church, as distinct from those who professed Gallicanism or other tendencies opposing the papal jurisdiction.
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, the view that accorded the papacy complete authority over the universal church. Two aspects of Gallicanism are sometimes distinguished: royal Gallicanism, which defended the special rights of the French monarch in the French church; and ecclesiastical Gallicanism, which tried to preserve for the French clergy a certain administrative independence from Rome. Gallicanism in both senses received its theoretical formulation during the crisis of the Great SchismSchism, Great,
or Schism of the West,
division in the Roman Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. There was no question of faith or practice involved; the schism was a matter of persons and politics.
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 through the conciliar theory, which asserted the supremacy of general councils over the pope. The Council of Basel (see Basel, Council ofBasel, Council of,
1431–49, first part of the 17th ecumenical council in the Roman Catholic Church. It is generally considered to have been ecumenical until it fell into heresy in 1437; after that it is regarded as an anticouncil.
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) further extended the conciliar ideas and in 1438 the French king, Charles VII, legalized these antipapal measures in the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (see under pragmatic sanctionpragmatic sanction,
decision of state dealing with a matter of great importance to a community or a whole state and having the force of fundamental law. The term originated in Roman law and was used on the continent of Europe until modern times.
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). For additional chapters in the long struggle between monarch and pope for control of the French church see investitureinvestiture,
in feudalism, ceremony by which an overlord transferred a fief to a vassal or by which, in ecclesiastical law, an elected cleric received the pastoral ring and staff (the symbols of spiritual office) signifying the transfer of the office.
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; church and statechurch and state,
the relationship between the religion or religions of a nation and the civil government of that nation, especially the relationship between the Christian church and various civil governments.
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; Philip IVPhilip IV
(Philip the Fair), 1268–1314, king of France (1285–1314), son and successor of Philip III. The policies of his reign greatly strengthened the French monarchy and increased the royal revenues.
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; Boniface VIIIBoniface VIII,
1235–1303, pope (1294–1303), an Italian (b. Anagni) named Benedetto Caetani; successor of St. Celestine V.

As a cardinal he was independent of the factions in the papal court, and he opposed the election of Celestine.
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; concordatconcordat
, formal agreement, specifically between the pope, in his spiritual capacity, and the temporal authority of a state. Its juridical status is now generally accepted as being a contract between church and state and as such it is a treaty governed by international laws.
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. The quarrel between Louis XIV and Innocent XI occasioned the famous "Four Gallican Articles," drawn up for Louis by the French bishops (see also Innocent XIIInnocent XII,
1615–1700, pope (1691–1700), a Neapolitan named Antonio Pignatelli; successor of Alexander VIII. He was frequently employed by his predecessors as a nuncio, and Innocent XI created him cardinal. His election ended a five-month deadlock in the conclave.
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). These declare that kings are not subject to the pope, that general councils supersede the pope's authority, that the pope must respect the customs of the local church, and that papal decrees do not bind unless accepted by the entire church. Gallicanism was much encouraged by Jansenism and remained fashionable at court. It was furthered by the followers of the Swiss theologian Thomas ErastusErastus, Thomas,
1524–83, Swiss Protestant theologian, a physician, whose original name was Lüber, Lieber, or Liebler. As a follower of Huldreich Zwingli, he supported the Swiss leader's view of the Lord's Supper at the conferences of Heidelberg (1560) and Maulbronn
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. No French king, however, sought to separate the French church from Rome, as did Henry VIII with the church in England; nor did any French king, despite the development of Gallican theory, ever manage to gain a hold over the church comparable to that exercised by the Spanish kings. The French clergy generally supported Gallicanism and during the French Revolution had little difficulty assenting to the Civil Constitution of the Clergy. The First Vatican Council in 1870 established the authority of the pope as a matter of dogma, and Gallicanism continued to live on only in the heretical Old CatholicsOld Catholics,
Christian denomination established by German Catholics who separated themselves from the Roman Catholic Church when they rejected (1870) the decrees of the First Vatican Council, especially the dogma of the infallibility of the pope.
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See W. H. Jervis, The Gallican Church and the Revolution (1882).



a religious and political movement, the supporters of which sought the autonomy of the French Catholic Church from the papacy and a restriction of papal theocratic claims. The movement involved not only questions of church organization but also problems of the interrelationships of temporal and spiritual power.

Gallicanism arose in the 13th century, when the French king Philip IV the Fair struggled with Pope Boniface VIII for the prerogatives of temporal power. It developed particularly in the 15th century in connection with the strengthening of the French centralized national state, the decline of papal power, and the growth of the council movement. The chief demands of Gallicanism were reflected in the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges of 1438, which established the relative independence of the church in France and proclaimed the supremacy of the church council over the papacy. It also recognized the special rights of royal power in appointing the higher clergy and established the jurisdiction of the secular courts over the French clergy. Under the Concordat of Boulogne (1516)—an agreement between the French king Francis I and Pope Leo X—certain concessions were made to the papacy. However, at the same time the right of the French crown to make appointments to the higher clerical positions was affirmed.

Gallicanism reached its high point in 1682, when the Declaration of the Gallican Church, which was prepared by J. Bossuet, was adopted at a national church assembly that had been convoked on the instructions of Louis XIV. The declaration contained four basic demands: the independence of the crown from church authority in all secular affairs; the subordination of the pope to the ecumenical council; the limitation of papal authority by the laws and customs of the French kingdom and its church; and the nonrecognition of papal infallibility on questions of faith that had not been affirmed by the council. These demands were actually carried out until the end of the 18th century. The Great French Revolution, which destroyed absolutism and eliminated the material base of the French clergy by secularizing its lands, deprived Gallicanism of its former significance. Napoleon based the status of the French state church on the Declaration of the Gallican Church. In the 19th century the growth of the workers’ movement, the spread of the ideas of scientific socialism, and the decline in the influence of the church caused the French clergy to seek an alliance with the papacy, and the ideas of Gallicanism died out. Under present conditions, in line with the growing desire of the French episcopate for greater independence in church administration, the ideas of Gallicanism have been revived in an altered form. This was reflected at the Second Vatican Council in the speeches of the French bishops and in certain decisions taken by them.


Martin, V. Le Gallicanisme politique et le clergé de France. Paris, 1929.
Martin, V. Les Origines du gallicanisme [vols. 1-2]. Paris, 1939.
Vaussard, M. Jansénisme et gallicanisme. … Paris, 1959.


References in periodicals archive ?
Although scholars of conciliarism such as Francis Oakley have pleaded for the importance of conciliarism and Gallicanism as a valid Catholic tradition, Perreau-Saussine is the first to describe modern Catholic political thought in relation to its Gallican background.
Perreau-Saussine can claim a victory for political Gallicanism at the First Vatican Council since it did abandon the deposing power favored by Maistre.
2) The terms Gallican and Gallicanism refer to an ecclesiology, originating in Medieval France, in which the monarch (i.
The term Gallicanism refers to the most complete expression of the movement of nation-states away from shared power with the pope, as it took shape in seventeenth-century France under Louis XIV.
Jotham Parsons's erudite study of sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Gallicanism emphasizes the humanist roots of this ideology which was elaborated by lawyers based in the Parlements of Paris and Bordeaux.
But neither the specter of Gallicanism nor of Orthodox nationalism must be allowed to frighten contemporary Catholic ecclesiology away from facing up to the gross inadequacy of any notion of communion among particular churches that is severed from regional structures of ecclesiality that would be secured by the existence of a regional primate.
And it occurred to me also that Hitchens' failure to recognize fundamental distinctions of category is similar to that of Henry VIII, which led to all sorts of unpleasant theological and political consequences and explains why the English equivalent of the more or less satisfactory Gallicanism across the Channel was the dishonest and destructive Anglicanism in the British Isles.
56) Terence Fay, A History of Canadian Catholics: Gallicanism, Romanism, and Canadianism (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002), 241.
Magee asserted that any attempt to link Gallicanism with the authentic patriarchal evolution is flawed from the start: The former is a state-driven and divisive initiative, the latter a "flowering of unity towards unity.
Over the papacy loomed the French and imperial rulers whose rivalries and designs on religious authority within their kingdoms, such as French Gallicanism, kept the Church off balance.
As a conciliarist, Gerson helped to define the nascent outlines of what later became known as Gallicanism.
This eighteenth-century Austrian version of French Gallicanism was a radical program of ecclesiastical and social reform grounded on Enlightenment presuppositions and named after Joseph II who, along with his mother Maria Theresa, first implemented it in an increasingly despotic manner.