Besides Protestantism as a radical form of Christianity, Louis XIV had to face and to fight with various sorts of sects. The current known as Jansenism was one of the most serious of them.
I suppose that appearing of this sect was a normal reaction to continuous religious wars and conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. It was a sign of a theological and ideological crisis on one hand, and a new attempt of various evil forces to penetrate into the Catholic world. Louis XIV, being the Rex Christianissimus, that is the sovereign protecting the True Faith, regarded Jansenists as a possible political menace and the future would prove that he was right. For His Majesty Jansenists were “enemies of God and Honour”, (a term described in numerous documents which gives us the right comprehension of its sense), and, for sure, he could not allow such a power to spread all over the Kingdom.
What was Jansenism as a theological doctrine? First of all we should notice that Jansenism came from the theological problems of the Catholic church and plenty of Jansenists used to pretend being Catholics, that’s why it is not an easy thing to make the exact definition of them. The doctrine is based on Saint Augustine’s ideas, it proclaimed the connection between the free will and efficacious grace, presented their own vision of many Christian articles, criticised the Jesuits and the Church. Its author was the Dutch theologian and a university professor Cornelis Jansen. The original text was published in 1638 and it is called Augustinus.
In 1653 the Pope Innocent X issued a document named Cum occasione, condemned Jansenism as a heresy. Further in 1713 the Pope Clement XI promulgated the apostolic constitution Unigenitus Dei Filius that proved this status.
Louis XIV prohibited Jansenism in France and prosecution of its followers was rather severe. In fact, the king did his best to protect the Lord and to keep his Subjects’ minds pious and clean. I wonder, if there are politicians at present who might think in a similar way: to protect God and Honour…at least the honour of their own…
Vive le Roy! 🙂