L’Ecclésiastique Citoyen; ou Lettres sur les moyens de rendre les personnes, les établissemens & les biens de l’Eglise encore plus utiles à l’Etat & meme à la Religion. Londres, 1785.
First Edition. 12mo (185 x 110 mm), pp. [iv], xx, 4 [ie. 21-24], 25-480; uncut throughout, in contemporary blue and orange patterned wrappers, paper signed ‘A Orleans chez Letourmi’, wrappers a little frayed in places, chipped along the lower part of the joints, original paper label, hand lettered, generally some wear but a lovely, unsophisticated copy.
A fascinating analysis of the priest as citizen written in the period immediately before the French Revolution. Nusse, who gained some notoriety for his criticism of senior clerics, was both parish priest and mayor for the town of Chavignon, north-east of Paris. In this work, he discusses the relationship between Church and State and the mutual duties and links between them. His central tenet is that the churchman, because of his love of humanity, makes the perfect citizen, but that it is necessary for the individual priest to take a stand against the abuses within the church. The work comprises seventeen extended letters discussing the current role of the Church, the division of Church property, the role of the parish priest, including his duties and his relationship with his parishioners, the roles and statutes governing curés and canons and the inequalities among priests, with the problems caused by the extremes either of wealth or poverty. He also discusses the religious orders and communities, suggesting that these would be more profitably used as centres of education. Nusse then proposes a series of reforms at a parish level, for the maintenance of church fabric, religious houses and education of children, integrating church affairs and the parish priest more into the wider community.
Conlon: 85: 247; see R. Attal and A. Blanchard, ‘Le clergé du Soissonnais pendant la Révolution’, Fédération des sociétés d’histoire et d’archéologie de l’Aisne, Mémoires, XXXIV, 1989, p. 189.
ESTC n28874, listing BN and Harvard only; OCLC adds Berlin and NLS.