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Voices of ConscienceRoyal Confessors and Political Counsel in Seventeenth-Century Spain and France$
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Nicole Reinhardt

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198703686

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198703686.001.0001

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The Scandalous Confessor

The Scandalous Confessor

(p.322) 15 The Scandalous Confessor
Voices of Conscience

Nicole Reinhardt

Oxford University Press

The chapter follows the emergence of the topos of the scandalous confessor in pamphlet literature in the French and Hispanic monarchies mainly in the second half of the seventeenth century. As the comparative perspective underscores, the controversy was most sustained in France. Here, the trope was fuelled initially by parlementaire anti-Jesuitism and eventually by the increasingly polemical Jansenist controversy. Over the century, the image of the ‘scandalous confessor’ was thus transformed from that of an enemy of royal authority to that of an agent of royal despotism. Lacking the stimulus of the Jesuit–Jansenist controversy, the idea of the scandalous confessor was less developed in Spain. It remained circumscribed to the denunciation of individual confessors who had developed into favourites or factional agents, a problem that was most vividly criticized during the decades of factional strife under Charles II.

Keywords:   anti-Jesuitism, Blaise Pascal, Lettres provinciales, laxism, Père de La Chaize, Jansenism, Louis XIV, Charles II, Eberhard Nithard, Don Juan José de Austria

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