Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

property formerly possessed by clergy or émigrés he shall be condemned to a fine of one thousand livres and imprisonment for two years.

Moreover, he shall be forbidden to continue his duties as a minister. . . .

Source: Jean B. Duvergier (ed.), Collection complète des lois, décrets, ordonnances, règlements, avis du conseil d'état ( Paris, 1834- 1906), VIII, 294-296.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

References for Document 28.


The Napoleonic Settlement

38
Concordat of 1801 July 15, 1801 [26 Messidor, Year IX]1

Bonaparte was probably an agnostic, but he nourished no doctrinaire hatred for émigrés and Catholics, and he was ready to exploit religion for political advantage. He apparently believed that reconciliation with Rome would heal the schism in French Catholicism, advance internal stability, and subvert royalism. Negotiations, begun in 1800, were successfully concluded in 1801 with Ercole Consalvi ( 1757-1824), papal secretary of state. This concordat differed from previous concordats not only in the state's abandonment of any genuine confessional position but also in the new means for securing the political usefulness of the clergy. The concordat seems to have fulfilled expected propaganda aims. However, some of the Nonjuring bishops declined to resign their posts to convenience Bonaparte in making new appointments. They were deposed by Rome, but continued to lead a small Nonjuring church (la petite église), which lasted until 1893. From this, as from the failure to restore separate financial resources to the French church, Gallicanism suffered. Despite an unsuccessful attempt to replace it at the Restoration, the concordat served various French governments until 1905.

The government of the French Republic recognizes that the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion is the religion of the great majority of French citizens.

His Holiness likewise recognizes that this same religion has derived and at this time again expects the greatest benefit and renown [éclat] from the establishment of Catholic worship in France and from the personal profession of it made by the Consuls of the Republic.

____________________
1
Ratifications exchanged September 10, 1801 (23 Fructidor, Year IX); promulgated April 8, 1802 (18 Germinal, Year X).

-95-

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