Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview
members of the directories of the district and of the department; and if elected thereto, they must make a choice.Source: Jean B. Duvergier (ed.), Collection complète des lois, décrets, ordonnances, règlements, avis du conseil d'itat ( Paris, 1834- 1906), 1, 242-248.
SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

E. Préclin, Les Jansdnistes du XVIIIe siècle et la constitution civile du clergé ( Paris, 1929).

L. Sciout, Histoire de la constitution civile du clergé ( 1790- 1801) ( Paris, 1872- 1881).

References for Document 28.


32
Decree on the Clerical Oath November 27, 1790

Opponents of the Civil Constitution attempted to ignore it and retain their posts under the old arrangements. The Assembly thereupon imposed the oath provided for in the Constitution, a promise to watch over the faithful and to be loyal to nation, law, crown, and the constitution decreed by the National Assembly. Acceptance of the ecclesiastical reorganization was implied. The requirement of the oath precipitated the bitter split between Jurors and Nonjurors which lasted until the Napoleonic settlement. The difficulty of decision for many curés who had at first accepted the Civil Constitution was very great. Popular opinion and local officials in many places harassed Nonjurors, especially as they tended to become active in counterrevolution.

1. Bishops and former archbishops and curés maintained in office shall be required, if they have not already done so, to take the oath for which they are liable by article 39 of the decree of July 13 last, and regulated by articles 21 and 38 of that of the 12th of the same month concerning the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

In consequence, they shall swear. . . . to watch carefully over the faithful of the diocese or parish entrusted to them, to be faithful to the nation, to the law, and to the king, and to maintain with all their power the Constitution decreed by the National Assembly and accepted by the king; to wit, those who are presently in their dioceses or livings, within a week; those who are absent but are in France, within a month; and those who are outside France, within two months; all dating from the publication of the present decree.

2. Vicars of bishops, superiors and directors of seminaries, vicars of curés, teachers of seminaries and colleges and all other public ecclesiastical functionaries shall, within the same periods, take the [same] oath. . . .
3. 3. The oath shall be taken on a Sunday at the conclusion of the mass; to wit, by bishops, former archbishops, their vicars, superiors and directors of seminaries, in the episcopal church; and by the curés, their vicars, and all other public ecclesiastical functionaries, in their parish church; all in the presence of the general council of

-83-

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