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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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Councils and Counselling: Institutions

Councils and Counselling: Institutions

(p.17) 1 Councils and Counselling: Institutions
Voices of Conscience

Nicole Reinhardt

Oxford University Press

The chapter provides a comparative analysis of the development of royal councils as centres of political decision-making in the seventeenth century. It puts into focus the institutional instability that long characterized the royal council in France in stark contrast to the highly bureaucratized Spanish polisynodial system. Moreover, while theologians and royal confessors increasingly entered royal councils in Spain, this was not the case in France. ‘Counsel of conscience’ in Spain was a transparent practice of regular political counselling, whereas in France the notion remained foreign and was used for a board created during the minority of Louis XIV to advise the monarch on the distribution of church benefices. Despite these differences, it is possible to draw out convergences towards the middle of the century with the rise of royal favourites and the increasing significance of informal modes of gathering advice that accompanied it.

Keywords:   royal councils, polisynodial system, juntas, conseil de conscience, Consejo de Estado, Conseil d’en haut, royal favourites

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