Front Page Titles (by Subject) 105.: Louis XIV as Lord of the Church - Judgments on History and Historians
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105.: Louis XIV as Lord of the Church - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
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Louis XIV as Lord of the Church
(This is by way of introduction to the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.) There are clear manifestations of a period in which the main impulses of Catholicism no longer emanate from the papacy, but are now and then even directed against it. Thus, these impulses now originate rather from the cosmopolitan Jesuit order in its period of externalization and orientation toward power, and then from the French king. In the latter there reigns a mixture of mania for territorial power, which will no longer brook any differences, and of stupid bigotry which wants to do penance on other people’s backs and strikes out all the more blindly and fanatically because at the same time the pope is being hurt and the Turks and Hungarians are being used against Austria- Germany.
In the Catholicism of France and other countries, more refined and more intellectual currents sought to maintain themselves and to prevail, laboriously enough, in the fact of the cold lust for power, the bad confessional morality, and the coarser piety of the Jesuits as manifested after 1675 in the cult of the “sacré coeur” [sacred heart]; cases in point are Jansenism, constantly persecuted from Richelieu’s time on, then mysticism, and quietism, as practiced by Molinos.
The crown had the French Jesuits completely on its side, and on the subject of Molinos Innocent XI himself had to submit to a hearing before the Inquisition. There also arose a quarrel with the pope over the royal prerogatives, which was intensified up to the formulation of the Gallican Articles of 1682. Later, in 1687–1689, there was added the quarrel with Innocent XI over diplomatic immunity.
But along with all this the dominating realities were the resumed persecution of the Huguenots and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. For this price the clergy sided with the king against the pope.
The church of the Counter Reformation, in its form of Jesuitism, was much more sensitive to matters of dogma and hierarchy than the earlier church, which would have endured or ignored movements like Jansenism. The papacy would have let Jansenism and quietism pass unnoticed but for the French Jesuits. The Jesuits, however, feel jeopardized by any deeper view of the concepts of sin and grace.
Even mysticism, which the earlier church tolerated to such a large extent or even placed in its service, soon became suspect.
And the Huguenots were destroyed as soon as the state power was compliant enough to the church and great and unscrupulous enough to do this.
For all this France was the proper soil, for the reason that it was the active country. The Jesuit church and its friend, the state, still found people to fight. Louis XIV had taken possession of a France full of self- willed minds. In the beginning, the spirit of the Fronde still lived in many. People did not realize immediately how much it would cost to want to be something special under this king.
In this connection should be mentioned Louis’ low esteem for the members of the French clergy. Specifically, this is clearly reflected by the tone of Le Lutrin. Boileau would not have ventured such persiflage if the king had not been pleased with it.