; Vested Struggles: The Social and Ecclesiological Significance of Stoles in Seventeenth-Century France1
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Vested Struggles: The Social and Ecclesiological Significance of Stoles in Seventeenth-Century France1

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At 8 o'clock on the following morning, the dean, canons, and chapter of Saint-Florent solemnly processed to the church's main entrance after having celebrated High Mass and the office of Sext to await the prelate's arrival.11 It was usual for the chapter to proceed to the episcopal lodgings to collect the bishop personally; the non-observance of this custom contributed to creating a more theatrical confrontation at the doors of the church.12 Instead of occasioning the habitual rite of greeting, the episcopal appearance caused a scene that could hardly have edified the expectant bystanders.\n The polemic surrounding the stole embodies a reaction to the profound shifts brought by the reforms of the Council of Trent, infringing on parochial life somewhat later in France than in other Catholic countries in Europe; Craig Harline and Eddy Put have documented how Mathias Hovius faced robust opposition from a cross-section of his clergy when implementing ecclesiastical reforms in the Low Countries.70 Moreover, the nature of and limits to the office of pastor were the object of lively theological discussion throughout the early modern period, with Thiers, as we have seen, upholding the controversial theories of Gerson and Richer.71 At first glance, it might seem extraordinary that so much energy was invested by all sides in as trivial a matter as the circumstances in which a stole could be legitimately worn.

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