Pierre Leclerc

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'''Pierre Leclerc''' (1706-1781) was a French Catholic radical [[w:Jansenism|Jansenist]] émigré priest, living in Haarlem in the Dutch Republic, who was censured by the Jansenists themselves at the Council of Utrecht in 1763.  
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'''Pierre Leclerc''' (1706-1781) was a radical French Catholic [[w:Jansenism|Jansenist]] émigré [[priest]], living in Haarlem in the Dutch Republic, who was censured by the Jansenists themselves at the Council of Utrecht in 1763.  
  
Leclerc had also maintained a correspondence with Orthodox Archbishop [[Eugenios Voulgaris]] at some point, but this dialogue in the end did not bear any fruit.
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Leclerc had maintained a correspondence with Orthodox Archbishop [[Eugenios Voulgaris]] at some point, but this dialogue in the end did not bear any fruit.
  
 
==Correspondence with Eugenios Voulgaris==
 
==Correspondence with Eugenios Voulgaris==
Dr. Constantine Cavarnos has written that the eminent eighteenth century Greek monk and scholar (later Archbishop of Cherson) [[Eugenios Voulgaris]] had corresponded<ref>Andreas Koromelas. ''Epistle of Eugenios Voulgaris to Pierre Leclerc''. First Edition. Athens, 1844.</ref> with Pierre Leclerc.<ref>Constantine Cavarnos. ''[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/Modernism.pdf Orthodox Tradition and Modernism].'' Transl. from the Greek by Patrick G. Barker. Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, Etna, California, 1992.</ref> Because French Jansenism in the eighteenth century had antipapal tendencies, holding to the ecclesiology that bishops are not despots, and that they have to consult their cathedral chapter and the curés in synod, their council of second instance,<ref>John McManners. ''Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France: Volume 2: the Religion of the People and the Politics of Religion''. Oxford University Press, 1999. pp.671.</ref> this ecclesiology recalls the notion of [[w:Conciliarism|Conciliarism]] as understood in the Orthodox Church, as well as the previous [[w:Conciliarism|Conciliar Movement]] in the Roman Catholic church as expressed at the Councils of Constance in 1414-18, and of Siena in 1423-24.  
+
Dr. Constantine Cavarnos has written that the eminent eighteenth century Greek [[monk]] and scholar (later Archbishop of Cherson) [[Eugenios Voulgaris]] had corresponded<ref>Andreas Koromelas. ''Epistle of Eugenios Voulgaris to Pierre Leclerc''. First Edition. Athens, 1844.</ref> with Pierre Leclerc.<ref>Constantine Cavarnos. ''[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/Modernism.pdf Orthodox Tradition and Modernism].'' Transl. from the Greek by Patrick G. Barker. Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, Etna, California, 1992.</ref> Because French Jansenism in the eighteenth century had antipapal tendencies, holding to the ecclesiology that [[bishop]]s are not despots, and that they have to consult their cathedral chapter and the curés in [[synod]], their council of second instance,<ref>John McManners. ''Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France: Volume 2: the Religion of the People and the Politics of Religion''. Oxford University Press, 1999. pp.671.</ref> this ecclesiology recalls the notion of [[w:Conciliarism|Conciliarism]] as understood in the Orthodox Church, as well as the previous [[w:Conciliarism|Conciliar Movement]] in the [[Roman Catholic Church|Roman Catholic church]] as expressed at the Councils of Constance in 1414-18, and of Siena in 1423-24.  
  
It is natural therefore that Voulgaris and Leclerc had corresponded seeking common ground. In witnessing to Leclerc about Orthodoxy, possibly with the aim of establishing Orthodoxy in the West, he speaks about the miracles, martyrs and other saints of the Orthodox Church from the time of the Schism up to his days; Voulgaris stresses that Orthodoxy has shown forth countless saints, equal to the ancients, and that throughout this whole period she possessed the bounty of miracles unceasingly, so that, as he says, ''"Our Church is continuously glorified and made wondrous by God, no less after the Schism than before it, and up to our times."''<ref>Constantine Cavarnos. ''[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/Modernism.pdf Orthodox Tradition and Modernism].'' Transl. from the Greek by Patrick G. Barker. Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, Etna, California, 1992.</ref>  
+
It is natural therefore that Voulgaris and Leclerc had corresponded seeking common ground. In witnessing to Leclerc about Orthodoxy, possibly with the aim of establishing Orthodoxy in the West, he speaks about the miracles, [[martyr]]s and other [[saint]]s of the Orthodox Church from the time of the [[Schism]] up to his days; Voulgaris stresses that Orthodoxy has shown forth countless saints, equal to the ancients, and that throughout this whole period she possessed the bounty of miracles unceasingly, so that, as he says, ''"Our Church is continuously glorified and made wondrous by God, no less after the Schism than before it, and up to our times."''<ref>Constantine Cavarnos. ''[http://www.orthodoxinfo.com/ecumenism/Modernism.pdf Orthodox Tradition and Modernism].'' Transl. from the Greek by Patrick G. Barker. Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, Etna, California, 1992.</ref>  
  
However the dialogue with Leclerc did not bear any fruit. Although the Jansenists in general had in fact assailed the [[w:Society of Jesus|Jesuits]] as those responsible for introducing doctrinal novelties, such as the doctrine of papal infallibility, Molinist views of limitless grace, and the devotion to the Sacred Heart<ref>Douglas Bradford Palmer (M.A.). ''[http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/send-pdf.cgi?osu1090415628 The Republic of Grace: International Jansenism in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution]''. (Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of the Ohio State University). The Ohio State University, 2004. pp.104-105</ref>, Pierre Leclerc's theology and criticism from within the Jansenist movement went further than this, and was in fact closer to the Dutch Protestant Reformed tradition of [[w:Calvinism|Calvanism]] instead.
+
However, the dialogue with Leclerc did not bear any fruit. Although the Jansenists in general had in fact assailed the [[w:Society of Jesus|Jesuits]] as those responsible for introducing doctrinal novelties, such as the doctrine of papal infallibility, Molinist views of limitless grace, and the devotion to the Sacred Heart<ref>Douglas Bradford Palmer (M.A.). ''[http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/send-pdf.cgi?osu1090415628 The Republic of Grace: International Jansenism in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution]''. (Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of the Ohio State University). The Ohio State University, 2004. pp.104-105</ref>, Pierre Leclerc's theology and criticism from within the Jansenist movement went further than this, and was in fact closer to the Dutch Protestant Reformed tradition of [[w:Calvinism|Calvanism]] instead.
  
Le Clerc's provocations began with a flat denial of papal primacy by divine right and culminated in the elevation of scriptural authority above that of tradition, conflating the status of bishop and priest along the way.<ref>[[w:Dale K. Van Kley|Dale K. Van Kley]]. ''[http://past.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/200/1/77 Civic Humanism in Clerical Grab: Gallican Memories of the Early Church and the Project of Primitivist Reform 1719-1791]''. Past & Present Society, Oxford, 2008, 200(1):77-120.</ref> He had printed at Amsterdam, in 1758, an Act of Protest to the whole Church, but especially to that of Holland, against various tenets of Rome; and, in attacking [[w:Ultramontanism|Ultramontane]] views, had also asserted doctrines utterly opposed to Catholic tradition.<ref>J. M. Neale (Rev., M.A.). ''[http://anglicanhistory.org/neale/holland/chap14.html A History of the So-Called Jansenist Church of Holland]''. Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1858.</ref> He argued that no tradition should be accepted as a point of faith unless it could be confirmed by Scripture. His views on Scripture, not to mention his views on the Papacy and episcopacy, approached Protestant teachings to the point that the Jansenist Provincial Council of Utrecht held in 1763 was convened to condemn Le Clerc and reassert the Jansenist view that Scripture and Tradition were indeed two valid sources of authority.<ref>Douglas Bradford Palmer (M.A.). ''[http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/send-pdf.cgi?osu1090415628 The Republic of Grace: International Jansenism in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution]''. (Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of the Ohio State University). The Ohio State University, 2004. pp.104.</ref>  
+
Le Clerc's provocations began with a flat denial of papal primacy by divine right and culminated in the elevation of scriptural authority above that of tradition, conflating the status of bishop and priest along the way.<ref>[[w:Dale K. Van Kley|Dale K. Van Kley]]. ''[http://past.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/200/1/77 Civic Humanism in Clerical Grab: Gallican Memories of the Early Church and the Project of Primitivist Reform 1719-1791]''. Past & Present Society, Oxford, 2008, 200(1):77-120.</ref> He had printed at Amsterdam, in 1758, an Act of Protest to the whole Church, but especially to that of Holland, against various tenets of Rome; and, in attacking [[w:Ultramontanism|Ultramontane]] views, had also asserted doctrines utterly opposed to Catholic tradition.<ref>J. M. Neale (Rev., M.A.). ''[http://anglicanhistory.org/neale/holland/chap14.html A History of the So-Called Jansenist Church of Holland]''. Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1858.</ref> He argued that no tradition should be accepted as a point of faith unless it could be confirmed by [[Holy Scripture|Scripture]]. His views on Scripture, not to mention his views on the Papacy and episcopacy, approached Protestant teachings to the point that the Jansenist Provincial Council of Utrecht held in 1763 was convened to condemn Le Clerc and reassert the Jansenist view that Scripture and Tradition were indeed two valid sources of authority.<ref>Douglas Bradford Palmer (M.A.). ''[http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/send-pdf.cgi?osu1090415628 The Republic of Grace: International Jansenism in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution]''. (Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of the Ohio State University). The Ohio State University, 2004. pp.104.</ref>  
 
   
 
   
 
==Background: Gallicanism, Jansenism and the Enlightenment==
 
==Background: Gallicanism, Jansenism and the Enlightenment==
Line 38: Line 38:
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
* [[Heterodoxy]]
 
 
* [[Eugenios Voulgaris]]
 
* [[Eugenios Voulgaris]]
 +
* [[Heterodoxy]]
 +
* [[Orthodox - Old Catholic Dialogue]]
 +
 
'''At Wikipedia'''  
 
'''At Wikipedia'''  
 
* [[w:Jansenism|Jansenism]].  
 
* [[w:Jansenism|Jansenism]].  

Latest revision as of 13:00, May 16, 2011

Pierre Leclerc (1706-1781) was a radical French Catholic Jansenist émigré priest, living in Haarlem in the Dutch Republic, who was censured by the Jansenists themselves at the Council of Utrecht in 1763.

Leclerc had maintained a correspondence with Orthodox Archbishop Eugenios Voulgaris at some point, but this dialogue in the end did not bear any fruit.

Contents

Correspondence with Eugenios Voulgaris

Dr. Constantine Cavarnos has written that the eminent eighteenth century Greek monk and scholar (later Archbishop of Cherson) Eugenios Voulgaris had corresponded[1] with Pierre Leclerc.[2] Because French Jansenism in the eighteenth century had antipapal tendencies, holding to the ecclesiology that bishops are not despots, and that they have to consult their cathedral chapter and the curés in synod, their council of second instance,[3] this ecclesiology recalls the notion of Conciliarism as understood in the Orthodox Church, as well as the previous Conciliar Movement in the Roman Catholic church as expressed at the Councils of Constance in 1414-18, and of Siena in 1423-24.

It is natural therefore that Voulgaris and Leclerc had corresponded seeking common ground. In witnessing to Leclerc about Orthodoxy, possibly with the aim of establishing Orthodoxy in the West, he speaks about the miracles, martyrs and other saints of the Orthodox Church from the time of the Schism up to his days; Voulgaris stresses that Orthodoxy has shown forth countless saints, equal to the ancients, and that throughout this whole period she possessed the bounty of miracles unceasingly, so that, as he says, "Our Church is continuously glorified and made wondrous by God, no less after the Schism than before it, and up to our times."[4]

However, the dialogue with Leclerc did not bear any fruit. Although the Jansenists in general had in fact assailed the Jesuits as those responsible for introducing doctrinal novelties, such as the doctrine of papal infallibility, Molinist views of limitless grace, and the devotion to the Sacred Heart[5], Pierre Leclerc's theology and criticism from within the Jansenist movement went further than this, and was in fact closer to the Dutch Protestant Reformed tradition of Calvanism instead.

Le Clerc's provocations began with a flat denial of papal primacy by divine right and culminated in the elevation of scriptural authority above that of tradition, conflating the status of bishop and priest along the way.[6] He had printed at Amsterdam, in 1758, an Act of Protest to the whole Church, but especially to that of Holland, against various tenets of Rome; and, in attacking Ultramontane views, had also asserted doctrines utterly opposed to Catholic tradition.[7] He argued that no tradition should be accepted as a point of faith unless it could be confirmed by Scripture. His views on Scripture, not to mention his views on the Papacy and episcopacy, approached Protestant teachings to the point that the Jansenist Provincial Council of Utrecht held in 1763 was convened to condemn Le Clerc and reassert the Jansenist view that Scripture and Tradition were indeed two valid sources of authority.[8]

Background: Gallicanism, Jansenism and the Enlightenment

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries two persistent and often intertwined controversies divided Catholics in Europe, one theological, the other political.

The theological debate centered on the respective roles of divine grace and human free will in the work of eternal salvation. The position taken by the followers of the Dutch theologian Cornelis Jansen (1585-1638) was deeply pessimistic. “Fallen” humanity had no ability to do anything left to its own resources to merit salvation, which was either granted by the grace of God or was not. In some ways their position was close to that of the Protestant Calvinists concerning predestination. On the other hand, the Theologians of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) opposed them from the start, taking an altogether more optimistic stance on the capacities of human nature for moral good without divine grace, and to contribute of its own free will to the work of salvation.[9]

The political debate concerned relations of the Catholic churches in various countries with the state on the one hand, and with the papacy in Rome on the other. In the so-called Gallican (named for the French Catholic Church) view, the church in a given country should enjoy a certain independence from Rome and largely govern itself, for example, in the matter of appointing bishops. They also believed that a general council of the Church was a higher authority than the pope. An important aspect of Jansenist ecclesiology was adopted from French Gallicanism as promoted by the French theologian Edmund Richer (1559-1631)[10], that held that ecclesiastical councils, not the papacy was the method by which doctrinal truth was established.[11] The so-called Ultramontanes ("beyond the mountains", meaning the party of the Papacy of Rome) on the other hand, were convinced that local churches should always be subservient to Rome. The Jesuits in particular became associated with this view, while Gallicanism was especially strong among those of a Jansenist theological bent. This situation applies of course paradigmatically to France, where the controversies were particularly acute, but also characterized Catholicism in the Dutch Republic, which unlike France had been under Protestant rule since the late sixteenth century.

The coalescence of these two controversies in the northern Netherlands in the early eighteenth century led to the foundation of a schismatic Catholic church, variously known as the Church of Holland , Church of Utrecht,[12] and later as the Old Catholic Church , which broke with Rome in 1723 under its own archbishop and hierarchy.[13]

Along with French Gallicanism, another parallel phenomenon of the period which had similarities with the Jansenist movement was the Enlightenment. "Both the philosophes of the Enlightenment and the Jansenists in Utrecht, supported an open society dedicated to freedom of conscience. While the Jansenist “Republic of Grace” resembled the Enlightened ”Republic of Letters”, Jansenist discourse was ultimately derived from a fundamental religious belief almost exclusively rejected by the philosophes. The activities of the Jansenists in Utrecht, however, demonstrate a public sphere that was religious in nature – where faith and reason cooperated during the European Age of Enlightenment".[14]

Second Council of Utrecht (1763)

The cause of the Second Council of Utrecht[15], a provincial council, was to enforce ecclesiastical discipline on a French émigré living and preaching in Utrecht, Pierre le Clerc, who took Jansenism where the Jansenists themselves always feared it would go, to the brink of Protestantism.

Le Clerc’s errors included denying the authority of the papacy and the traditional foundations of the church by advocating the rejection of anything not found directly in Scripture. Therefore, the council met to condemn Le Clerc’s doctrinal errors, but it also offered the Jansenists in Utrecht an opportunity at the same time to establish the veracity of their church by proclaiming their Catholic orthodoxy – but through the means of an open council that represented both the clergy and the episcopacy of the Dutch church.[16][17]

The descriptions of the council emphasized that Le Clerc stood alone amongst the Dutch clergy in his views. Le Clerc was singled out as a radical voice, moreover, as a French Jansenist who, unlike those such as Dupac de Bellegarde, remained outside of the fold of the Utrecht church. To be schismatic was bad enough, and the Utrecht church fought that charge, but Le Clerc “has confounded the notion of schism with that of heresy.”[18]

The Utrecht Jansenists, however, maintained in their faith that it was they, and not the Roman church that represented Christian truth, in spite of Le Clerc’s doctrinal errors, and the papal condemnation that met the provincial council.[19]

With regards to the Orthodox Church, Fr. Aidan Keller writes that the Council of Utrecht, seed of the future Old Catholic movements, affirmed every Roman Catholic dogma and pronounced the Orthodox Faith to be schismatic and false, and that its establishment signaled not a rapprochement with Orthodoxy, then, so much as a refusal to drift yet further from her, as much of the Roman fold was doing.[20]

Bibliography

  • Abbé Pierre Leclerc (1706-1781), Janséniste. Vies intéressantes et édifiantes des religieuses de Port-Royal et de plusiers personnes qui leur étaient attachées, avec des lettres et des piéces diverses. S.L. (Amstredam) 1750-52. 4 vol, in-12.

See also

At Wikipedia

References

  1. Andreas Koromelas. Epistle of Eugenios Voulgaris to Pierre Leclerc. First Edition. Athens, 1844.
  2. Constantine Cavarnos. Orthodox Tradition and Modernism. Transl. from the Greek by Patrick G. Barker. Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, Etna, California, 1992.
  3. John McManners. Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France: Volume 2: the Religion of the People and the Politics of Religion. Oxford University Press, 1999. pp.671.
  4. Constantine Cavarnos. Orthodox Tradition and Modernism. Transl. from the Greek by Patrick G. Barker. Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies, Etna, California, 1992.
  5. Douglas Bradford Palmer (M.A.). The Republic of Grace: International Jansenism in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution. (Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of the Ohio State University). The Ohio State University, 2004. pp.104-105
  6. Dale K. Van Kley. Civic Humanism in Clerical Grab: Gallican Memories of the Early Church and the Project of Primitivist Reform 1719-1791. Past & Present Society, Oxford, 2008, 200(1):77-120.
  7. J. M. Neale (Rev., M.A.). A History of the So-Called Jansenist Church of Holland. Oxford: John Henry and James Parker, 1858.
  8. Douglas Bradford Palmer (M.A.). The Republic of Grace: International Jansenism in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution. (Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of the Ohio State University). The Ohio State University, 2004. pp.104.
  9. Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands/Utrecht Archives. Gallicanism and Ultramontanism in Catholic Europe in the 18th Century: Foreign Correspondence and Other Documents from the Archive of the Jansenist Archbishops of Utrecht, 1723-1808. Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands/Utrecht Archives, (Utrecht, The Netherlands); & Moran Micropublications, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
  10. In the Council of Aix-en-Provence in 1612, the Gallican work of Edmund Richer, De la puissance ecclésiastique et politique (Paris, 1611), was censured.
  11. Douglas Bradford Palmer (M.A.). The Republic of Grace: International Jansenism in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution. (Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of the Ohio State University). The Ohio State University, 2004. pp.89-90.
  12. The Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht have different historical backgrounds. The Dutch Church has her roots in the Catholic Counter-Reformation, the German-speaking Churches in the protest-movements against Vatican I, and the Polish Churches in the problems of emigrants to USA. An ecumenical engagement has resulted in full communion with the Anglican Churches and a doctrinal consensus with the Orthodox Churches.
  13. Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands/Utrecht Archives. Gallicanism and Ultramontanism in Catholic Europe in the 18th Century: Foreign Correspondence and Other Documents from the Archive of the Jansenist Archbishops of Utrecht, 1723-1808. Old Catholic Church of the Netherlands/Utrecht Archives, (Utrecht, The Netherlands); & Moran Micropublications, (Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
  14. Douglas Bradford Palmer (M.A.). The Republic of Grace: International Jansenism in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution. (Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of the Ohio State University). The Ohio State University, 2004. pp.98-99.
  15. The first Synod of Utrecht had been held by Frederick Schenk, in August of 1565.
  16. While acknowledging the pope's ‘primacy’ by ‘divine right’ against Le Clerc, the council made it clear that it fell short of infallibility, by denying the pope the title of ‘universal’ bishop as well as by locating infallibility in the whole church, as had the Gallican Assembly of 1682. (Dale K. Van Kley. Civic Humanism in Clerical Grab: Gallican Memories of the Early Church and the Project of Primitivist Reform 1719-1791. Past & Present Society, Oxford, 2008, 200(1):77-120.)
  17. Douglas Bradford Palmer (M.A.). The Republic of Grace: International Jansenism in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution. (Dissertation presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of the Ohio State University). The Ohio State University, 2004. pp.92.
  18. ibid.,pp.93.
  19. ibid.,pp.94.
  20. Fr. Hieromonk Aidan (Keller). "Church of Utrecht" in A Pocket Church History for Orthodox Christians. St. Hilarion Monastery, Austin, Texas.

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