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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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Privatizing Royal Conscience

Privatizing Royal Conscience

(p.346) 16 Privatizing Royal Conscience
Voices of Conscience

Nicole Reinhardt

Oxford University Press

By 1700 the concept of counsel of conscience and the trust in royal confessors as competent counsellors had collapsed. In the wake of the regime change that followed both the death of Louis XIV and the succession of the French Bourbon Philip V in Spain, this triggered institutional and ideological adjustments. The end of the polisynodial system in Spain introduced specialized secretaries of state as expert councillors, so that like under Louis XIV the confessor’s role resembled that of an administrator of Church affairs. France, on the other hand, witnessed the marginalization of the royal confessor to the private sphere and his removal even from the distribution of benefices. In parallel, the ideology of royal absolutism now eliminated the necessity of counsel of conscience for the King’s public persona. The care for the royal conscience came to resemble ever more the care for the conscience of a private individual.

Keywords:   Bourbon monarchy, Philip V, Régence, Cardinal de Noailles, Gallicanism, Jansenism, Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Pierre Nicole, abbé Duguet, Fénelon

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