The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Edict of Toleration

The Edict of Toleration is the name of several historical acts of heads of state and government, proclamations and treaties either securing or dismantling the freedom of religion and worship within their respective territories. Most edicts of toleration have been secured in order to protect the Roman Catholic Church in hostile regions. In other cases, edicts of toleration were issued to limit the powers of Protestant denominations of Christianity.

Hawaii Catholic Church

One region where the Roman Catholic Church was suppressed was in the Kingdom of Hawaii during the reigns of Kamehameha and Kamehameha II. During their administrations, the religious traditions of ancient Hawaii were preferred. Later in the history of the Kingdom of Hawaii, during the regency of Kaahumanu and the child king Kamehameha III, the Congregational church was the preferred denomination. Under threat of the French government seeking to protect the work of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, Kamehameha III issued an Edict of Toleration on June 17, 1839 allowing for the establishment of the Hawaii Catholic Church.

Edict of Saint-Germain

The Edict of Saint-Germain was promulgated in 14th century Europe by the reigning Catherine de Medici in January 1562. It was an instance of an Edict of Toleration which limited tolerance of Protestantism in her Roman Catholic realms, especially acting against the French Huguenots.

It was among her first moves as Regent, after the death of Francois II the previous month, and consistent with Catherine's maneuvering, attempted to steer a middle course between Protestants and Catholics, in order to strengthen royal dominion.

Without threatening the privileged position of the Catholic Church in France, the Edict recognized the existence of the Protestants and guaranteed freedom of conscience and private worship. It forbade Huguenot worship within towns (where conflicts flared up too easily) but permitted Protestant synods and consistories.

Within a matter of weeks, the Vassy massacre (March, 1562) opened the first religious war, which in fact was a victory for the more intolerant Guise policy and a defeat for the conciliations of Catherine.

Last updated: 10-11-2005 07:42:24
Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46