Regalism, Revolution, the Reign of Terror Album One

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Regalism, Revolution, the Reign of Terror

1 - Tridentine "Baroque" Catholicism The Catholic Church was given a particular flavor by the Tridentine reforms and Catholic civilization took on the characteristics that we associate with "Baroque" culture. Dr. John Rao argues that Tridentine, Baroque Catholicism, with its "Jesuit" emphasis upon raising nature to the greater glory of God, was an organic development of the "pilgrimage to God" promoted by the reform of the High Middle Ages.

2 - The Problem of Regalism
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries witnessed a further growth in the power of centralized monarchies claiming a legal right to guide all of society redolent of Roman imperial authority. Insistence upon this power by kings is what is referred to historically as "regalism." Dr. John Rao shows how Regalism claimed control over many aspects of religious life in an era where Tridentine reformers were seeking to transform the State as well as every other aspect of civilized order. This could not help but create tensions of Church and State.

3 - Regalism, The Universal Church, and The Missions
Dr. John Rao now discusses the precise ways in which Regalist demands involved many clashes of the French, Portuguese and Hapsburg monarchies with the Church, as well as confrontations between the innumerable German principalities and both Catholic and Protestant communities. The Papacy especially found itself in a hard and basically losing struggle to defend its prerogatives. One special area of major concern was the Missions. Portugal (and Spain when it ruled over all of Iberia) was very jealous of any interference from the Papacy or international religious orders in the affairs of the Padroado.

4 - The Teaching Authority: Problems West and East
Trent called for solid teaching. There remained, however, problems for identifying whence that solid teaching would come. Dr. John Rao discusses here problems that continued to divide the East from the West regarding the papal role in teaching. He also notes the potential conflicts regarding identification of the final, supreme teaching authority between those with international Ultramontanist or national "Gallican" ideas.

5 - Theological Methodology, Descartes, and Newton
Another source of debate regarding teaching in the 1600's and 1700's which Dr. John Rao tackles involves the question of methodology. How do you develop your theology? Through "speculative" theology, like that of St. Thomas, "positive" theology, with its focus on Scripture, Church Fathers, and history, through the "inward" and mathematically influenced vision of Descartes, or through acceptance of the input coming from scientific information associated with the work of men like Newton?

6 - Grace, Free Will, the Missions, Jansenism, Protestant Naturalism - Part 1 of 3
Dr. John Rao shows how Jansenism and the concerns of "pietist" Protestants who de-emphasized the importance of doctrine for a "common sense" approach towards religion combined together to create an atmosphere that pushed the Catholic world towards an attack on the Tridentine vision.

7 - Grace, Free Will, the Missions, Jansenism, Protestant Naturalism - Part 2 of 3
The developments that Dr. John Rao discusses cover practically the entirety of the 1600's and 1700's. They very much involved repeated Jansenist-Jesuit confrontations over the relationship of grace and free will, as well as the value of spiritual and mystical ascents towards God as opposed to "practical" and "natural" ways of pleasing Him. Dr. Rao demonstrates how the attack on the Church became more and more politicized and helped to cause a desacralization of the French Monarchy already before 1789.

8 - Grace, Free Will, the Missions, Jansenism, Protestant Naturalism - Part 3 of 3
The problem of the Missions also was central to the developments tackled by Dr. John Rao in these three lectures. China loomed especially large in the Jesuit-Jansenist-Naturalist debate. Did China prove that a non-religious society could prosper? Did China have to be conquered by a grace that ignored its local customs? Were the Jesuits "back-door" naturalists? These were issues discussed by the general public of the 1700's.

9 - The Enlightenment
The "back to nature" movement called the Enlightenment is the final element that Dr. John Rao brings in to explain the revolutionary changes of the era. He shows that Enlightenment insistence upon "trusting nature" was fueled by Christian disputes, although productive of massive new disagreements as well. In turning men's eyes to "nature", the Enlightenment inspired some thinkers to see a natural world of mechanical order with no room for free will, and others to see a world with nothing but anarchic free will and no overarching and objective Truth or morality to guide it. The Enlightenment, whatever its specific character, needed to destroy religious influence over daily life.

10 - The Assault on the Jesuits
The Jesuits were the most clear representative of Tridentine, Baroque Catholicism. Their enemies in the intellectual, spiritual, educational, missionary, and political world were legion. Dr. John Rao shows that a Grand Coalition of regalists, Jansenists, and Enlightenment supporters united in conspiracy to bring them down. The battle was a nasty and dishonorable one, beginning in Iberia, moving to France, and finally involving the Papacy itself.

11 - The Assault on the Church Universal
Dr. John Rao now explains that the same Grand Coalition, either as a whole, or through the actions of some of its specific members, struck at the power of the Church over politics, society, education, as well as her own internal affairs throughout Christendom after 1750. Anti-Catholic reforms were undertaken everywhere before the Revolution, though the most famous were those pushed through in Hapsburg and Iberian controlled lands. A secularized Europe was coming into being long before the Estates-General met in 1789.

Taken from: Regalism, Revolution, the Reign of Terror and the Assault on Catholicism (1648-1799) - 1998 VonHildebrand Institute

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