Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

La France et le Concile De Trente (1518-1563)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

La France et le Concile De Trente (1518-1563)

Article excerpt

La France et le Concile de Trente (1518-1563). By Main Tallon. [Bibliotheque des Ecoles Francaises d'Athenes et de Rome, Fascicule 295.] (Rome: Ecole Francaise de Rome. 1997. Pp. vii, 975.)

In this massive volume,Alain Tallon has made a major contribution to the history of the early-modern world. His contribution is in the form of a stunningly comprehensive survey of the ecclesio-political history of France during the era of the Council of Trent. He based this history upon vast collections of archival material held in France, Italy, and the Vatican. His work belongs in every research library with a serious collection in early-modern history. or in the history of conciliar thought.

The book is divided essentially into three parts. The first is on the conciliar policies of the French crown across the entire Tridentine period, from the concordat between Francis I and Leo X in 1516 to Trent's conclusion in 1563. This is the largest part of the book, spanning no less than 417 pages. The second part, some 135 pages long, covers French concepts concerning church councils and their work. The third part, an additional 352 pages, treats the attitudes and activities of French prelates and theologians at Trent. The volume also contains five appendices: diplomatic instructions for French ambassadors to the Council, a list of French participants at the Council, the 1563 list of French demands at the Council (along with commentaries on the list), a list of theological authorities and key texts cited by French prelates at the Bolognese phase of the Council, and a table indicating which prelates during the final phase of the Council voted in favor of positions expressed by Charles de Guise, Cardinal of Lorraine.

A review in this space, covering a book of this length, can only begin to scratch the surface. Tallon argues that despite the fact that the idea of reform animated some French prelates long before the Council of Trent began, the French monarchy and the Council seemed to have two different, parallel histories. Francis I, Henry II, and Catherine de' Medici never accepted the idea of placing the monarchy under the decisions of a deliberative assembly, and sought outcomes that would remain under the administrative authority of temporal powers. …

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