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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 Politics of Private Sins—The ‘Privatization’ of Politics

(p.371) Epilogue
Voices of Conscience

Nicole Reinhardt

Oxford University Press

The epilogue sketches out the consequences of the institutional and ideological transformations regarding the royal conscience. It argues that the ‘privatization’ of royal conscience operated in two directions. The royal conscience lost its double dimension of the public and private persona, giving way to a humanization of the monarch but also turning attention to his private sins. This largely contributed to a scandalization of the monarch, which, as the case of Louis XV demonstrates, had fatal effects on his capacity to exercise the royal touch, undermining monarchical sacrality. On the other hand the privatization of royal conscience also contributed to eliminating the political sins and the moral dimensions of politics from the discussion in councils. The absolute royal conscience was no longer meant to submit to the exterior authority of theologians following a probable opinion; like the conscience of his subjects, the monarch’s conscience was now fully individualized and privatized.

Keywords:   Louis XV, royal touch, absolutism, probabilism, probabiliorism, de-Christianization, sacral monarchy

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