Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo


Marquis de Seignelay, statesman, b. at Rheims, France, 1619; d. at Paris, 1683. Noticed by Mazarin and recommended by him to Louis XIV he became at the latter's death, controller of finances. Through the control of finances he organized nearly every public service in France. Of him, Mme. de Sévigné said: "M. de Colbert thinks of finances only and never of religion." This should not, however, be taken too literally. Colbert was deeply religious, but his religion was tinctured with the evils of the day, Gallicanism and Jansenism. It was Colbert who suggested to Louis XIV the convening of the famous Assembly of the Clergy in 1682 which formulated the four propositions of Gallicanism. In the conflicts which arose between the court of France and Rome Colbert used his influence against Rome. Protestants looked to him as to their protector. The Jansenist De Bourseys was his evil genius as well as his informant on religious questions. Influenced by De Bourseys, he failed to see the real danger of Jansenism, and by treating it with levity, gave it encouragement. The Colbert family gave to the Church a number of nuns and ecclesiastics. Charles Gérin says: "His sisters controlled the great abbeys of Sainte-Marie de Challot, of Sainte-Claire de Reims and of the LeLys near Melun. One of his brothers (Nicolas, 1627-1676) Bishop of Luçon and afterwards of Auxerre, having died, he caused to be appointed in his place his cousin André (1647-1702) who was a member of the assembly of 1682, with another of his cousins, Colbert de St. Pouange, Bishop of Montauban." This passage omits the following three best known kinsmen of the great Colbert.


Archbishop of Rouen. Fisquet (La France pontificale, Rouen, p. 253) describes him as a worthy and learned prelate giving his principal care to the training of his clerics. C. Gérin (loc. cit., p. 188), however, reproaches him for being worldly, a spendthrift, and, in spite of his pompous declarations of orthodoxy, no less sympathetic to Jansenism than his cousin, the Bishop of Montepellier.


Bishop of Montepellier, and a militant Jansenist. He firt appeared to submit to the Bull "Vineam Domini" of Innocent XI, 1705, but when Clement XI issued the Bull "Unigenitus", 1713, he openly sided with the appellants Soanen of Senez, de la Broue of Mirepoix, and Langle of Boulogne. The works published under his name (Montepellier, 1740) are probably, at least in part, from the pen of his advisers, Gaultier and Croz, who are moreover charged with the perversion of their master. In 1702, one of his priests, the Oratorian Pouget, published, at his request, the "Catéchisme de Montpellier " a remarkable book but tinctured with Jansenism and condemned by the Holy See, 1712 and 1721.

IV. MICHEL COLBERT (1633-1702)

An ascetic writer and superior of the Premonstrants. His election was somewhat irregular and had to be validated by papal rescript. He is the author of "Lettres d'un Abbé à ses religieux" and "Lettre de Consolation".

More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:1-9
1 Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord -- that is what ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:10-11, 12-13, 13-14
10 All your creatures shall thank you, Yahweh, and your faithful shall ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:22-30
22 Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 26th, 2016 Image

St. Bean
October 26: On December 16, there is named in the Roman ... Read More