Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Nicolas Pavillon

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 11
Nicolas Pavillon

by Joseph Francis Sollier


Bishop of Alet, b. at Paris 1597; d. at Alet, 1677. He joined the community of St-Lazare, founded by St. Vincent de Paul, and, for a time, devoted himself to charities and preaching. His zeal and eloquence caused Richelieu to appoint him to the See of Alet. The thirty-seven years of his episcopate were filled with ceaseless labours for the religious and moral improvement of his diocese; visitation of parishes, holding of synods, foundation of schools, etc. An exaggerated idea of his episcopal responsibilities caused him to oppose pope and king. He was one of the four bishops who refused to sign the formulary imposed by Alexander VII, on the plea that the pope cannot pronounce on facts but only on rights. When Louis XIV commanded submission to the papal order, Pavillon in "Lettre au roi" (1664) declined to recognize his interference. The royal attempt at extending to all the provinces of France the so-called droit de regale found in Pavillon a sturdy opponent. He spurned royal threats and ecclesiastical censures and appealed to the pope against both the King of France and the Metropolitan of Narbonne.

His attitude against Alexander VII won him the admiration of Port-Royal. Alet became the Mecca of the Jansenists and the bishop imbibed the errors of Jansenism. From the data of a contemporary pamphlet ("Factum de Messire Vincent Ragot", Paris, 1766) Toreilles shows the strange effects of Jansenist principles on every branch of Pavillon's otherwise zealous administration and on his relations with the nobility, the clergy, the regulars, and the peasantry. He wrote "Rituel d'Alet" (Paris, 1666), condemned by Clement IX, and "Ordonnances et status synodaux" (Paris, 1675).

Paris, Vie de M. Pavillon (Paris, 1738); Ste-Beuve, Port-Royal (Paris, 1900), index, s. v.; Marion, Histoire de l'Eglise, III (Paris, 1908), 369; Toreilles, Nicolas Pavillon in Revue du Clerge francais (Oct., 1902).

J.F. SOLLIER