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Anglicanism and Gallicanism: Between Rome and Geneva?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Luc Racaut


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This article is 10,000 words long. Archive for Reformation History is a very prestigious international referreed journal. Abstract: The recent historiography of the Reformation, in England and in France, seems to favour the view that the silent majority was neither for Rome nor Geneva. This view makes nonsense of an earlier debate that hinged on the ‘success’ or ‘failure’ of the Reformation in any given country. A comparison between Anglicanism and Gallicanism, both national churches that strove to find a compromise between traditional religion and Protestantism seems therefore warranted. The French Crown was particularly envious of the apparent ability of the English monarchs to dictate the religion of their subjects. The specificity of Gallicanism, however, prevented any accommodation with Protestantism, in spite of the monarchy’s best efforts. Neither Gallicanism nor Anglicanism was in fact between Rome and Geneva; both can conveniently be placed on opposite sides of the confessional divide. But it was politically expedient for the Crowns in France and in England to argue for a via media between Rome and Geneva, in order to reconcile subjects on opposite sides of the confessional divide. Rome, and particularly the Jesuits, served as a convenient other against whom French and English subjects could make common cause beyond confessional differences. Whether their subjects were indeed for Rome or Geneva, both the French and the English Crowns were successful in impressing upon them that they were French and English before being Catholic or Protestant.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Racaut L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte

Year: 2005

Volume: 96

Pages: 198-220

Print publication date: 01/01/2005

ISSN (print): 0003-9381