to the eighteenth century. This had given rise to insubordination, to lack of authority, whereas 'l'univers entier est une grande hiérarchie'. 33 That a reasonable deduction from all such breast-beating might be that God had sided with nazism escaped the perception of most.
It is true, however, that other Catholic voices spoke differently from the very beginning. The Bishop of Annecy denounced 'the mechanical victory of chunks of ironmongery organised in the service of barbarous cupidity'. 34 There were reminders that France had entered the war to protect civilisation against barbarism. In the Figaro Mauriac, the Catholic writer, wrote: 'We have no need to blush for having cherished liberty, but only for having defended it so badly.'35 Where the German presence was most oppressive, as in northern France, the mood of repentance soon passed, and rallying to the Pétain regime was even seen by some as an act of defiance against the occupier.
Thus Catholics, left without a lead from the Vatican, were forced back on remorse for alleged past misdeeds. It was almost as if they regarded the Nazis--surely far more corrupt than any leaders of France under the Third Republic--as God's avenging angels. The Protestant minority, on the other hand, had an alternative: they could embrace Barth's counsel of defiance. What united all Christians in 1940, however, was a sentiment of patriotism embodied in Marshal Pétain, although from the outset there was a certain ambiguity in expectations of how he and the regime he established would act. What did Vichy represent for Christians, and above all, what could Marshal Pétain do for them?
Unless otherwise stated the place of publication is Paris