A sect within Roman Catholicism named after Cornelius Jansenius, bishop of Ypres in the early seventeenth century. Jansenius advocated predestination based on the ideas of Saint Augustine and strict adherence to moral standards. During the reign of Louis XIV, Jansenism also came to include Gallican ideas, which advocated independence from the primacy of decisions made in Rome. Jansenism challenged that primacy and Roman control over the French church, as well as the strict authority of hierarchical subordination of parish to higher clergy. Jansenists also came to support the constitutional ideas of the judges of the parlements who tried to protect them from the “despotism” of the high clergy and ministers who wanted to stamp out any resistance to the absolute authority of King and altar. Jansenism provided religious justifications for criticism of the monarchy and was used by many who opposed the King or wanted to limit his authority. Thus was undermined part of the consensus that helped maintain the stability of the old regime.
“Jansenism,” LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY: EXPLORING THE FRENCH REVOUTION, accessed August 10, 2020, https://revolution.chnm.org/items/show/1049.