'Epuration' and the Higher Clergy
At the Liberation many Frenchman, particularly those in the Resistance, hardly distinguished collaboration with the Germans from co-operation with the regime. This was because what might be termed the 'second Vichy' under Laval had increasingly subordinated policy to Nazi demands. However, although the bishops had, up to a certain point, fallen in with the wishes of the government, it would be patently untrue to assert they were manifestly guilty of advocating or practising collaborationism.
There were two principal exceptions: Cardinal Baudrillart and Mgr Dutoit, Bishop of Arras.
Baudrillart, who had died in 1942, had been Rector of the Paris Institut Catholique since 1907. At first he was treated by the Germans with justifiable reserve. In 1940 they searched his quarters, as they had done those of his confrères. They recalled how, during the First World War, he had campaigned against them. 1 It was not until the 1930s that his attitudes changed. He began to consider atheistic communism, because it was a global creed, as more dangerous than nazism, which initially was restricted to Deutschtum, those considered to be German. Despite a friendship with Poincaré the cardinal was no lover of parliamentary democracy; his sympathies were more with Action Française. In 1939 he had clubbed Hitler 'un monstre', and after war broke out declared the time had come to 'se mesurer avec une barbarie renouvelée du paganisme'. 2 Up to the defeat his patriotism was unquestionable, but in the aftermath he feared a Communist coup and civil war. By the autumn of 1940 he had made a complete volte-face and predicted that the Führer would go down as one of the greatest men in history. He was reported in Le Cri du Peuple in December as not forgiving the British for defeating Napoleon and for supporting 'le traÞtre de Gaulle'. About this time he suffered a decline in his mental and physical faculties--he was then already in his eighties. Almost blind, he relied heavily on 'le très énigmatique chanoine Tricot', 3 Vice-Rector pro tempore belli of the Institut Catholique. After the handshake of Montoire