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Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France Volume 1: The Clerical Establishment and its Social Ramifications$
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John McManners

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198270034

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198270038.001.0001

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Canons and Chapters

Canons and Chapters

(p.399) 14 Canons and Chapters
Church and Society in Eighteenth-Century France Volume 1: The Clerical Establishment and its Social Ramifications

John McManners

Oxford University Press

There were over 600 chapters of cathedrals and collegiate churches in France, with perhaps 12,000 canons, ‘a few very rich, many comfortably off, some living a meagre and threadbare existence’. In most chapters, membership was gained through family and social influence and provided a comfortable position for life. Canons were much criticized for laziness, but most took on administrative or other duties at some time in their lives. Cathedrals and the great collegiate churches attracted a horde of minor ecclesiastical and lay employees, making meagre livings but with some social prestige. The great chapters were proud corporations, jealous of their privileges, and had few friends: townspeople resented them and they were in frequent dispute with both bishops and parish priests.

Keywords:   cathedrals, chapters, collegiate churches

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