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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Bourges, Pragmatic Sanction of

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a settlement drawn up at the Synod of Bourges, 1438 (convoked by Charles VII, and to which Pope Eugene IV and the fathers of the Council of Basle sent legates), for the purpose of remedying abuses in the matter of election to bishoprics. The French clergy had sent petitions on this point to the Council of Basle (q.v.), which in return sent several decrees to the King of France on the subject. These decrees form the basis of the " Pragmatic Sanction." It is styled by some writers the rampart of the Gallican' Church, and takes from the popes very nearly the whole of the power they possessed of presenting to benefices and of judging ecclesiastical causes within the kingdom. It forms part of the "fundamental law" of the French state and of the Gallican Church. In 1439 the most important of them were also accepted by a German Diet at Mayence. Twenty-three articles of the Pragmatic Sanction were founded upon the decrees of the Council of Basle, and hence the papal sanction of those decrees also approved twenty- one of these articles.

Art. 1. Relates to the authority of ecumenical councils;

2. Relates to the power and authority of the Council of Basle:

3. Relates to elections, and enjoins freedom of election, etc.;

4. Abolishes all reservations of benefices, etc.;

5. Relates to collations and benefices, and forbids expective graces, etc.;

6. Relates to judgment and causes; orders that all causes [except the greater causes] which happen at places more than four days' journey from Rome shall be decided on the spot;

7. Relates to frivolous appeals, and confirms the decree of the 20th September of Basle;

8. Confirms the decree of the 21st session of Basle, "de pacificis possessoribus;" 9. Limits the number of cardinals (twenty-third decree of Basle);

10. Relates to the annates;

11. Contains regulations relating to divine service, and enjoins that the laudable customs of particular churches in France shall be observed;

12-19. Relate to the economy of Cathedral churches;

20. Relates to concubinary clerks;

21. Relates to excommunications;

22. Treats of interdicts;

23. Concerns the pope's bulls and letters. These articles were confirmed by the French Parliament July 13th, 1439. The popes made vigorous attacks upon the Pragmatic Sanction, which were as vigorously resisted by the king, the Parliament, and the bishops. Louis XI (successor of Charles) consented to its abolition, but the Parliament resisted it. It was repealed by the Lateran Council, 1512, and renounced by Francis I in his Concordat (q.v.) of 1516, with the understanding that the Concordat guarded the rights of the French government on the points in question.-Landon, Manual of Councils, p. 85.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Bourges, Pragmatic Sanction of'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/b/bourges-pragmatic-sanction-of.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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