Bologna, Concordat of

   Treaty between Pope Leo X and King Francis I of France, settling several disputes between the French church and the papacy. The kings and higher clergy of France had long upheld the principle of Gallicanism, which recognized the general authority of the pope but in most respects regarded the French church as an autonomous, self-governing religious community, particularly in matters of appointments to office and taxation. In 1438 this theory had been made part of French law by the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges. The papacy had always condemned these "Gallican" ideas and the closely associated doctrines of 15th-century Conciliarism, which taught that a general council, not the pope, was the ultimate authority in the church. The predecessor of King Francis I, Louis XII, had convened an antipapal Council of Pisa in 1511 as part of his war with Pope Julius II, using the threat of deposition by the council as a means of bringing pressure on the pope. This effort had failed, for the "false council" of Pisa received little support outside of France. At first Francis continued this political conflict with the new pope, Leo X, and in 1515 scored a major military victory over an anti-French alliance that included the pope. After his victory, Francis found it advantageous to negotiate a deal with the pope in order to detach him from his allies. The Concordat of Bologna was the result.
   The king abandoned the moribund council. He abandoned the principles of "Gallican liberties" and acknowledged papal supremacy over the Gallican Church. In return, he gained control over the appointment of nearly all high-ranking clergymen, subject only to a nominal right of the pope to reject a nominee he found unqualified. This provision enabled Francis to strengthen his political position in France by using ecclesiastical patronage to buy the loyalty of powerful families in the French aristocracy. For the French clergy, the Concordat betrayed the traditional French support for Conciliarism and undermined Gallican liberties. Both the supreme judicial court, the Parlement of Paris, which had to register treaties, and the University of Paris resisted, but the king ruthlessly employed his constitutional supremacy to override their opposition and silence protests.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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