Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Gallican Church

Gallican Church, a name given to the Roman Catholic Church in France, with special reference to the opposition which it formerly displayed to Papal claims. Christian churches must have been founded in Gaul before the latter part of the 2nd century A.D., for during the persecution under M. Aurelius, many suffered martyrdom at Lyons, including Pothinus, bishop of the town. Irenaeus, the successor of Pothinus, had been a disciple of Polycarp, and this fact, together with the constant connection maintained with Smyrna, and the general sympathy with Eastern views, leads to the conclusion that the Church of Gaul was mainly, if not entirely, of Asiatic origin. Like other branches of the Church, it advanced rapidly after the establishment of Christianity under Constantine; but it passed through a severe struggle during the invasion of the barbarian races, most of whom had already adopted the Arian form of Christianity, It was saved from the Arians by Clovis, and both he and his successors saw that a steady union with so strong an organisation was the surest means of maintaining the power of their own dynasty. As the power -of the Papacy became established amidst the political and social confusion which followed the death of Charlemagne, the Church in France, as in other countries, sought to extend its own influence and authority by complete submission to the claims of the Roman See. The Pragmatic Sanction of 1269 subordinated the authority of the Pope to the common law of the country as well as the canons of councils, and the same course was pursued more boldly by Philip the

Fair in his struggle with Boniface VIII. The degradation of the Papacy during the "Babylonish Captivity" led to still further limitations of its power. The enactments of general councils took the place of Papal decrees as the source of authority in ecclesiastical matters; by those of Constance and Basel, Church patronage was in great measure transferred from the Pope to the Crown, and the privileges thus gained were confirmed by the Pragmatic Sanction of- Bourges (1437). The concordat of 1516 gave the right of instituting bishops to the Pope, while that of nominating them was retained by the Crown; but the French people still looked back to the Pragmatic Sanction and the decrees on which it was based as the most fitting expression of the relations which should exist between Church and State. The movement towards "Gallicism" reached its height in the reign of Louis XIV., who was determined to assert his supremacy in ecclesiastical as well as civil affairs. In his contest with Innocent XI. concerning the Regalia (q.v.), he was supported by the eloquent and influential Bossuet (q.v.), who drew up the famous Declaration of the French clergy in 1682. This Declaration was condemned by several Popes, but the Crown maintained the same attitude up to the time of the Revolution. In 1790 an attempt was made by the "civil constitution of the clergy" to reorganise the Church on a democratic basis. At the same time a violent attack was made on ecclesiastical privileges; the clergy were deprived of their tithes, and the Church lands were confiscated. During the Reign of Terror public worship was suspended, and the Church for a time ceased to exist. By the concordat of Napoleon, then first consul, with Pius VII., in 1801, the Church was reestablished and public services were resumed; but most of the changes introduced during the early part of the Revolution were retained. In 1810 Napoleon, now emperor, returned to the Declaration of 1682. In 1817 there was a new concordat, by which that of 1516 was again recognised; but in 1826 a full assembly of bishops expressed their adhesion to the principles of 1682. In 1830 all creeds were placed on the same footing. The course generally followed by the State in ecclesiastical and religious matters since that date has completely alienated the Church, which is now decidedly Ultramontane (q.v.) in its tendencies. The strongest proof of this was given at the Vatican Council of 1870, when the French bishops accepted the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope.