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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > J > Jean de Jouffroy

Jean de Jouffroy

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French prelate and statesman; b. at Luxeuil (Franche-Comté) about 1412; d. at the priory of Rulli, in the Diocese of Bourges, 24 November, 1473. After studying at Dôle, Cologne, and Pavia, he entered the Benedictine Order, and taught theology and canon law at Pavia (1435-38). Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, entrusted him with several diplomatic missions to France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. Abbot of Luxeuil (1450 or 1451) and Bishop of Arras (1453), he became a favorite of the Dauphin, later King Louis XI.

Through the intervention of the Duke of Burgundy, Jouffroy had tried to obtain the cardinalate, and he soon found an opportunity of attaining this end. The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges (1438), besides asserting the superiority of councils over the Roman pontiff, had lessened the freedom and independence of the Church in France, and had, to a great extent, withdrawn it from the pope's control. While yet Dauphin, Louis XI had pledged himself to abolish the Pragmatic Sanction in the event of his succession to the throne. Upon his becoming king (1461), negotiations were opened by Pius II, who appointed Jouffroy as his legate. The king showed himself favorably disposed, but, in return, expected that the pope would change his Neapolitan policy, cease to support Ferrante, and recognize John of Calabria as King of Naples. At Rome, however, Jouffroy made no mention of this fact, and simply announced the king's intention of repealing the Pragmatic Sanction. In fact Louis himself wrote to the pope (27 Nov., 1461): "As you require, we set aside and proscribe the Pragmatic Sanction in our whole kingdom, in Dauphine, and all our dominions, in which henceforth your jurisdiction shall be unquestioned." Louis had expressed the desire that Jouffroy be made a cardinal. Notwithstanding the opposition of many in the Sacred College, the pope consented, and on 18 Dec., 1461, Jouffroy was one of the seven newly appointed cardinals. In the beginning of January, 1462, Jouffroy made known to the pope the king's demands concerning Naples. In his memoirs Pius II complains that "after Jouffroy had entered the sure haven of the cardinalate, he brought forward that which he had hitherto concealed, namely, that the Pragmatic Sanction would certainly be repealed only when the king's wishes regarding Naples had been complied with." For some time the pope seemed to be in doubt as to whether it would not be advisable to yield, but finally refused, and Louis XI, disappointed in his hopes and anticipations, became enraged against the pontiff, Jouffroy himself encouraging him in his opposition. The consequence was that, without directly re-establishing the Pragmatic Sanction, the king issued many decrees which practically did away with the concessions made by its revocation. Jouffroy's role in the whole affair is far from praiseworthy, and, in his memoirs, the pope accuses him of deception, false representations, and treachery. Pastor's judgment seems to be fully justified: "King Louis and Cardinal Jouffroy were a well matched pair."

Jouffroy became Bishop of Albi (10 Dec., 1462) and Abbot of St-Denis (1464). Several times he was sent by the king as ambassador to Rome and to Spain. He accompanied the expedition against the Duke of Armagnac besieged in Lectoure, but it is not certain that he took any part in the murder of the duke. Falling sick, he stopped at Rulli where he died. Jouffroy was a good orator, and his sermons were published in D'Achéry's "Spicilegium" (Paris, 1666). He was also a shrewd diplomat, but was not free from selfishness and ambition, which led him to use unfair means in the pursuit of his own ends.


FIERVILLE, Le cardinal Jean Jouffroy et son temps (Coutances, 1874); GRAPPIN, Eloge historique de Jean Jouffroy (Besancon 1785); PASTOR, tr. ANTROBUS, History of the Popes, III, IV (London, 1894); CHEVALIER, Bio-bibl., II (Paris, 1907), 2667.

About this page

APA citation. Dubray, C. (1910). Jean de Jouffroy. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Dubray, Charles. "Jean de Jouffroy." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Joseph E. O'Connor.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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