IT now becomes our task to analyze more carefully the motives that impelled many French ecclesiastics to abandon their traditional reverence for the age-long liberties of the Gallican Church. Fundamentally, it can be said that the aggressive attitude of Jacobin nationalism towards any international organization within the state compelled the leaders of the Church to revise their position on Gallican privileges. These privileges, they perceived, were constantly being used as a club to keep them in line with the ever-expanding interests of a self-conscious nation.
In the present chapter it is proposed to follow a sequence of events in the life of a prominent churchman as an illustration of the use that could be made of these rights by an ambitious monarch to further national ends, but which, at the same time, made clear to startled French clerics the danger of those same rights to the spiritual independence of the Church.
In a previous chapter1 it has been suggested that Bonaparte, even while he was negotiating with the Pope for a concordat, may have had in mind a far-reaching scheme of world domination, and that he was of the opinion that the Catholic Church could be made to serve a useful purpose in his grandiose plan. A Holy Roman Empire in which the Emperor and not the Pope would be the dominant partner, must have been the vision that floated before his mind's eye.____________________