Church and State in the Modern Age: A Documentary History

By J. F. MacLear | Go to book overview

provided for by the Law of December 9, 1905, continue at the disposal of the faithful and ministers of religion for practice of their religion.

Gratuitous use thereof may be granted either to the associations for worship formed in conformity with articles 18 and 19 of the Law of December 9, 1905, or to associations formed by virtue of the already cited provisions of the Law of July 1, 1901, to assure the continuation of the public exercise of worship, or to ministers of religion whose names must be included in the declarations prescribed by article 25 of the Law of December 9, 1905.

Source: Antonin Debidour, L'Église catholique et l'état sous la Troisième République ( Paris, 1906-1909), II, 601-602.


SUGGESTIONS FOR BACKGROUND AND REFERENCE

References for Documents 119 and 120.


123
Une Fois Encore (Extracts) January 6, 1907

Only a few days after the promulgation of the new law on worship, the Vatican replied, rejecting the proposal for annual declarations for permission to occupy religious edifices. After this encyclical, and as other attempts to arrive at a legal settlement were unavailing, the government adopted a policy of connivance at Catholic worship and occupancy of the confiscated property. A law of March 28, 1907, abolished the requirement of a declaration for public meetings. With this "settlement" the French Catholic Church was left insecure, illegal, and financially crippled, but also independent of government direction.

Once again the serious events which have been precipitated in your noble country compel Us to write to the Church of France to sustain her in her trials, and to comfort her in her sorrow. . . .

* * *

This persecution which she is reproached as having provoked, and which they declare they have refused, is now being actually inflicted upon her. Have they not within these last days evicted from their houses even the bishops who are most venerable. . ., driven the seminarists from the grands and petits séminaires, and entered upon the expulsion of the curés from their presbyteries? The whole Catholic world has watched this spectacle with sadness. . . .

As for the ecclesiastical property which we are accused of having abandoned, . . . this property was partly the patrimony of the poor and . . ., more sacred still, of the dead. It was not permissible to the Church to abandon or surrender it; she could only let it be taken from her by violence. . . . Consequently, to declare ecclesiastical property unclaimed on a given date unless the Church had

-315-

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