The dominant trend in the French Church in the 18th Century was the move towards Gallicanism. Essentially this was a reaction against the power and influence of the Pope over the French church particularly in temporal matters. Considering that it was time when the church had a huge amount of property and wealth, the popes influence over naming bishops, over the landed estates and the wealthy monastic foundations was resented by the French Parliament, the French King and nationalist elements in the Church. Those that wanted to protect the prestige and influence of the Pope where called 'ultramontane' - beyond the mountains. This was because the Pope, the Bishop of Rome, was based beyond the natural frontier of the Alps, thus beyond the mountains.
The Jesuits, who famously take a fourth vow of obedience to the Pope, where seen as being ultramontane, and thus held in deep suspicion by the French Parliament. The financial disaster of the Lavalette affair had put pressure on the Society to repay the debts. The Provincial protested that each religious house was responsible for its financial status, so therefore the French Jesuits as a body could not be answerable for Lavalette's debts. The separate financial responsibility of each house was in the Constitiutions the Jesuits pointed out, thus bringing the Constitutions and their legal status in France into sharp focus.