Megan Armstrong

Predicare la politica. L'evangelizzazione francescana nella Francia della Riforma

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Although historians recognize the effectiveness of the Franciscans and other mendicant clergy in arousing support for the Catholic League, the rationale for Franciscan activism is still poorly understood. Analysis of Franciscan sermons and other writings from the period of the Wars of Religion makes it clear that the Franciscan support of the League reflected a distinctly Franciscan understanding of the French body politic, an understanding characterized by a profound suspicion of political authority and the elevation of the political stature of the clergy. Franciscan writings articulate above all a profound confidence in their own role as servants as God. Appreciating the Franciscan nature of their political activism is crucial for teasing out the influence of the League in French political and religious life, because it is questionable whether the League could have been as successful without the ardent advocacy of its preachers. It is a fascinating conundrum that a medieval ideological tradition dedicated to the preservation of the existing political order could become a modernizing force, and yet Franciscan advocacy of the League managed to do just that. In securing Navarre's conversion in 1593, the League ensured that Catholicism became an indelible feature of the French monarchy, and a formative influence upon the early modern French state.


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