Today in Catholic History – Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges

On 7 July 1438, King Charles VII of France issued the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges. This document was part of the Concilliarist attempt to limit the power of the papacy by arguing that a General Council, to be held every ten years, would have the highest authority within the Catholic Church.

Additionally, the Pragmatic Sanction also required bishops to be elected rather than appointed by the papacy and limited the authority of the papacy in France.

The popes, themselves, were greatly opposed to the Pragmatic Sanction and attempted to get the kings of France to repeal it but only attaining success with a new concordat with France in 1516.

While the document held an important place for those in the Gallican movement which desired a Catholic Church more independent of the papacy, the text itself was used by the French kings to justify placing the Catholic Church under royal authority.

The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges


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