How far were the policies of Catherine de Medici responsible for the outbreaks of religious war in 1562? Free essay! Download now
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How far were the policies of Catherine de Medici responsible for the outbreaks of religious war in 1562?
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| Words: 1900 | Submitted: 08-Jan-2007
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DescriptionReasons behind the outbreak of religious war in France. How far were the policies of Catherine de Medici responsible for the outbreaks of religious war in 1562?
The untimely death of Henry II had left France without the guiding hand of a strong male monarch and helped increase the intensity of existing religious and political tensions between the Catholic majority and the increasingly threatening Calvinist minority. Catherine de Medici’s policy of moderation was, despite being the ultimate cause of conflict, her most favourable option in a nation whose religious and political climate heavily favoured the outbreak of war. A Catholic triumvirate made clear its intention to uphold Catholicism using whatever force necessary, while Hugenout alliances to armed and powerful members of the nobility such as Louis de Bourbon and Gaspard de Coligny elevated them into a force that could not be easily repressed. Catherine de Medic’s limited legal toleration of the Calvinist faith startled Catholic France, who had previously trusted in the ruling royalty to live up to their oaths stating that they would drive heresy out of the French Kingdom. Catherine’s progressive political alienation of leading Catholics in favour of Protestant reformers heightened fear among militant Catholics that Catherine would appease the unruly Hugenouts. Therefore to this extent, Catherine can be blamed for the unintentional motivation of fiercely defensive Catholics to prepare for conflict, however it must also be remembered that her ultimate aim was the impossible task of religious unity and a theological middle ground. The conditions in which she took up her regency were not complementary to her task, as she struggled to find a middle ground in a patriarchal society in which there were two firmly entrenched religious frontiers and little faith in their ten year old king to heal these appropriately. Calvinism had grown too strong to be easily eradicated from France, however their presence would always remain unacceptable in a nation which was traditionally one of the firmest upholders of the Catholic faith.
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