Presenter Information

Pierre Blet S.J.


Frances Proffit, D.C.


Vincent de Paul served on the Council of Conscience for ten years at the behest of Anne of Austria, queen regent of France. This council was concerned with, but not limited to, the appointment of bishops. Biographies have portrayed Vincent as the prime motivator behind the appointment of virtuous bishops in an otherwise corrupt French church. The reality is more complicated. Although bishops were civil servants of the king, and there were abuses under this system, Rome had more control over the approval of candidates than is generally thought. While Vincent was powerful, he was only one member of the council. He did not deal with all council matters and certainly not with all promotions. Final decisions rested with the queen. However, Vincent did influence the appointments of some bishops, such as Francois Etienne Caulet and Nicolas Sevin. Other members of the Tuesday Conferences became bishops, but Vincent’s role in their elevation is less clear. Other issues that came before the Council of Conscience are discussed.