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The Catholic Encyclopedia
The fifth in size (usually reckoned the fourth) of the great divisions of Europe.
The area of France is 207,107 square miles; it has a coastline 1560 miles and a land frontier 1525 miles in length. In shape it resembles a hexagon of which the sides are: (1) From Dunkirk to Point St-Matthieu (sands and dunes from Dunkirk to the mouth of the Somme; cliffs, called falaises, extending from the Somme to the Orne, except where their wall is broken by the estuary of the Seine; granite boulders intersected by deep inlets from the Orne to Point St-Matthieu. (2) From Point St-Matthieu to the mouth of the Bidassoa (alternate granite cliffs and river inlets as far as the River Loire; sandy stretches and arid moors from the Loire to the Garonne; sands, lagoons, and dunes from the Garonne to the Pyrenees). (3) From the Bidassoa to Point Cerbére (a formation known as Pyrenean chalk). (4) From Point Cerbére to the mouth of the Roya (a steep, rocky frontier from the Pyrenees to the Tech; sands and lagoons between the Tech and the Rhone, and an unbroken wall of pointed rocks stretching from the Rhone to the Roya). (5) From the Roya to Mount Donon (running along the Maritime, the Cottain, and the Graian Alps, as well as the mountains of Jura and the Vosges). (6) From Mount Donon to Dunkirk (an artificial frontier differentiated by few marked physical peculiarities).
France is the only country in Europe having a coast line both on the Atlantic and on the Mediterranean; moreover, the passes of Belfort. Côte d'Or and Naurouse open up ready channels of communication between the Rhine, the English Channel, the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean. Furthermore, it is noteworthy, that wherever the French frontier is defended by lofty mountains (as, for instance, the Alps, the Pyrenees), the border people are akin to the French either in race, speech, or customs (the Latin races), while on the other hand, the Teutonic races, differing so widely from the French in ideas and sentiment, are physically divided from them only by the low-lying hills and plains of the North-East. Hence it follows that France has always lent itself with peculiar facility to the spread of any great intellectual movement, coming from the shores of the Mediterranean, as was the case with Christianity. France was the natural high road between Italy and England, between Germany and the Iberian peninsula. On French soil, the races of the North mingled with those of the South; and the very geographical configuration of the country accounts in a certain sense for the instinct of expansion, the gift of assimilation and of diffusion, thanks to which France has been able to play the part of general distributor of ideas. In fact, two widely different worlds meet in France. A journey from north to south leads through three distinct zones: the grain country reaching from the northern coast to a line drawn from Mézières to Nantes; the vine country and the region of berries, southward from this to the latitude of Grenoble and Perpignan; the land of olive-garths and orange groves, extending to the southern boundary of the country. Its climate ranges from the foggy promontories of Brittany to the sunny shores of Provence; from the even temperature of the Atlantic to the sudden changes which are characteristic of the Mediterranean. Its people vary from the fair-haired races of Flanders and Lorraine, with a mixture of German blood in their veins, to the olive-skinned dwellers of the south, who are essentially Latin and Mediterranean in their extraction. Again Nature has formed, in the physiography of this country, a multitude of regions, each with its own characteristics its own personality, so to speak which, in former times, popular instinct called separate countries. The tendency to abstraction, however, which carried away the leaders of the Revolution, is responsible for the present purely arbitrary divisions of the soil, known as "departments". Contemporary geography is glad to avail itself of the old names and the old divisions into "countries" and "provinces" which more nearly correspond to the geographical formations as well as the natural peculiarities of the various regions. "Massif Central" (the Central Plateau), a rugged land inhabited by a stubborn race that is often glad to leave its fastness, and those lands of comfort that lie along the great Northern Plain, the valley of the Loire, and the fertile basin in which Paris stands. But in spite of this variety, France is a unit. These regions, so unlike and so diversified, balance and complete each other like the limbs of a living body. As Michelet puts it, "France is a person."
In 1901, France had 31,031,000 inhabitants. The census no longer inquires as to the religion of French citizens, and it is only by way of approximation that we can compute the number of Catholics at 38 millions; Protestants, 600,000; Jews 68,000. The population of the French colonies amounts to 47,680,000 inhabitants, and in consequence France stands second to England as a colonizing power; but the difference between them is very great, the colonies of England having more than 356 millions of inhabitants.
There are two points to be noted in the study of French statistics. The annual mean excess of births over deaths for each 10,000 inhabitants during the period 1901-1905 in France was 18, while in Italy it was 106, in Austria 113, in England 121, in Germany 149, in Belgium 155. In 1907, the deaths were more numerous than the births, the number of deaths being 70,455, while that of births was only 50,535 an excess of 19,920 deaths and this is notwithstanding the fact that in 1907 there were nearly 45,000 more marriages than in 1890. Official investigations attributed this phenomenon to sterile marriages. In 1907, in only 29 of 86 departments, the number of births exceeded the number of deaths. It may perhaps be legitimately inferred that the sterility of marriages coincides with the decay of religious belief. Again it is important to note the increase in population of the larger cities between the years 1789 and 1901: Marseilles, from 106,000 to 491,000; Lyons, from 139,000 to 459,000; Bordeaux, from 83,000 to 256,000; Lille, from 13,000 to 210,000; Toulouse, from 55,000 to 149,000; Saint-Etienne, from 9000 to 146,000. Paris, which in 1817 had 714,000 inhabitants, had 2,714,000 in 1901; Havre and Roubaix, which in 1821 had 17,000 and 9000 respectively, now have 130,000 and 142,000. In these great increases the multiplication of parishes has not always been proportionate to the increase in the population, and this is one of the causes of the indifference into which so many of the working people have fallen. In should be remembered that in former days nine-tenths of the people in France lived in the country; that while 556 of every 1000 Frenchmen lived by agriculture in 1856, that number had fallen to 419 in 1891. The emigrants from the country hurried into the industrial towns, many of which multiplied their population by fifteen, and there, accustomed as they had been to the village bell, they found no church in the neighbourhood, and after a few brief generations the once faithful family from the country developed the faithless dweller in the town.
The treaty of Verdun (843) definitely established the partition of Charlemagne's empire into three independent kingdoms, and one of these was France. A great churchman, Hincmar, Archbishop of Rheims (806-82), was the deviser of the new arrangement. He strongly supported the kingship of Charles the Bald, under whose scepter he would have placed Lorraine also. To Hincmar, the dream of a united Christendom did not appear under the guise of an empire, however ideal, but under the concrete form of a number of unit States, each being a member of one mighty body, the great Republic of Christendom. He would replace the empire by a Europe of which France was one member. Under Charles the Fat (880-88) it looked for a moment as though Charlemagne's empire was about to come to life again; but the illusion was temporary, and in its stead were quickly formed seven kingdoms: France, Navarre, Provence, Burgundy beyond the Jura, Lorraine, Germany, and Italy. Feudalism was the seething-pot, and the imperial edifice was crumbling to dust. Towards the close of the tenth century, in the Frankish kingdom alone, twenty-nine provinces or fragments of provinces, under the sway of dukes, counts, or viscounts, constituted veritable sovereignties, and at the end of the eleventh century there were as many as fifty-five of these minor states, of greater or lesser importance. As early as the tenth century one of the feudal families had begun to take the lead, that of the Dukes of Francia, descendants of Robert the Strong, and lords of all the country between the Seine and the Loire. From 887 to 987 they successfully defended French soil against the invading Northmen, and the Eudes, or Odo, Duke of Francia (887-98), Robert his brother (922-23), and Raoul, or Rudolph, Robert's son-in-law (923-36), occupied the throne for a brief interval. The weakness of the later Carlovingian kings was evident to all, and in 987, on the death of Louis V, Adalberon, Archbishop of Reims, at a meeting of the chief men held at Senlis, contrasted the incapacity of the Carlovingian Charles of Lorraine, the heir to the throne, with the merits of Hugh, Duke of Francia. Gerbert, who afterwards became Sylvester II, adviser and secretary to Adalberon, and Arnoul, Bishop of Orléans, also spoke in support of Hugh, with the result that he was proclaimed king. Thus the Capetian dynasty had its rise in the person of Hugh Capet. It was the work of the Church, brought to pass by the influence of the See of Reims, renowned throughout France since the episcopate of Hincmar, renowned since the days of Clovis for the privilege of anointing the Frankish kings conferred on its titular, and renowned so opportunely at this time for the learning of its episcopal school presided over by Gerbert himself.
The Church, which had set up the new dynasty, exercised a very salutary influence over French social life. That the origin and growth of the "Chansons de geste", i.e., of early epic literature, are closely bound up with the famous pilgrim shrines, whither the piety of the people resorted, has been recently proved by the literary efforts of M. Bédier. And military courage and physical heroism were schooled and blessed by the Church, which in the early part of the eleventh century transformed chivalry from a lay institution of German origin into a religious one, by placing among its liturgical rites the ceremony of knighthood, in which the candidate promised to defend truth, justice, and the oppressed. The Congregation of Cluny, founded in 910, which made rapid progress in the eleventh century, prepared France to play an important part in the reformation of the Church undertaken in the second half of the eleventh century by a monk of Cluny, Gregory VII, and gave the Church two other popes after him, Urban II and Pascal II. It was a Frenchman, Urban II, who at the Council of Claremont (1095), started the glorious movement of the Crusades, a war taken up by Christendom when France had led the way.
The reign of Louis VI (1108-37) is of note in the history of the Church, and in that of France; in the one because the solemn adhesion of Louis VI to Innocent II assured the unity of the Church, which at the time was seriously menaced by the Antipope Antecletus; in the other because for the first time Capetian kings took a stand as champions of law and order against the feudal system and as the protectors of public rights. A churchman, Suger, abbot of St-Denis, a friend of Louis VI and minister of Louis VII (1137-80), developed and realized this ideal of kingly duty. Louis VI, seconded by Suger, and counting on the support of the towns the "communes" they were called when they had obliged the feudal lords to grant them charters of freedom fulfilled to the letter the rôle of prince as it was conceived by the theology of the Middle Ages. "Kings have long arms", wrote Suger, "and it is their duty to repress with all their might, and by right of their office, the daring of those who rend the State by endless war, who rejoice in pillage, and who destroy homesteads and churches." Another French Churchman, St. Bernard, won Louis VII for the Crusades; and it was not his fault that Palestine, where the had set up a Latin kingdom, did not remain a French colony in the service of the Church. The divorce of Louis VII and Eleanor of Acquitain (1152) marred the ascendancy of French influence by paving the way for the growth of Anglo-Normal pretensions on the soil of France from the Channel to the Pyrenees. Soon, however, by virtue of feudal laws the French king, Philip Augustus (1180-1223), proclaimed himself suzerain over Richard Coeur de Lion and John Lackland, and the victory of Bouvines which he gained over the Emperor Otto IV, backed by a coalition of feudal nobles (1214), was the first even in French history which called forth a movement of national solidarity around a French king. The war against the Albigensians under Louis VIII (1223-26) brought in its train the establishment of the influence and authority of the French monarchy in the south of France.
St. Louis IX (1226-1270), "ruisselant de piété, et enflammé de charité", as a contemporary describes him, made kings so beloved that from that time dates that royal cult, so to speak, which was one of the moral forces in olden France, and which existed in no other country of Europe to the same degree. Piety had been for the kings of France, set on their thrones, set on their thrones by the Church of God, as it were a duty belonging to their charge or office; but in the piety of St. Louis there was a note all his own, the note of sanctity. With him ended the Crusades, but not their spirit. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, project after project attempting to set on foot a crusade was made, and we refer to them merely to point out that the spirit of a militant apostolate continued to ferment in the soul of France. The project of Charles Valois (1308-09), the French expedition under Peter I of Cyprus against Alexandria and the Armenian coasts (1365-1367), sung of by the French trouvère, Guillaume Machault, the crusade of John of Nevers, which ended in the bloody battle of Nicopolis (1396) in all these enterprises, the spirit of St. Louis lived, just as in the heart of the Christians of the east, whom France was thus trying to protect, there has survived a lasting gratitude toward the nation of St. Louis. If the feeble nation of the Marionites cries out today to France for help, it is because of a letter written by St. Louis to the nation of St. Maroun in May, 1250. In the days of St. Louis the influence of the French epic literature in Europe was supreme. Brunetto Latini, as early as the middle of the thirteenth century wrote that, "of all speech [parlures] that of the French was the most charming, and the most in favour with everyone." French held sway in England until the middle of the fourteenth century; it was fluently spoken at the Court of Constantinople at the time of the; and in Greece in the dukedoms, principalities and baronies found there by the House of Burgundy and Champagne. And it was in French that Rusticiano of Pisa, about 1300, wrote down from Marco Polo's lips the story of his wonderful travels. The University of Paris, founded by favour of Innocent III between 1280 and 1213, was saved from a spirit of exclusiveness by the happy intervention of Alexander IV, who obliged it to open its chairs to the mendicant friars. Among its professors were Duns Scotus; the Italians, St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure; Albert the Great, a German; Alexander of Hales, an Englishman. Among its pupils it counted Roger Bacon, Dante, Raimundus Lullus, Popes Gregory IX, Urban IV, Clement IV, and Boniface VIII.
France was also the birthplace of Gothic art, which was carried by French architects into Germany. The method employed in the building of many Gothic cathedrals i.e., by the actual assistance of the faithful bears witness to the fact that at this period the lives of the French people were deeply penetrated with faith. An architectural wonder such as the cathedral of Chartres was in reality the work of popular art born of the faith of the people who worshipped there.
Under Philip IV, the Fair (1285-1314), the royal house of France became very powerful. By means of alliances he extended his prestige as far as the Orient. His brother Charles of Valois married Catherine de Courtney, an heiress of the Latin Empire of Constantinople. The Kings of England and Minorca were his vassals, the King of Scotland his ally, the Kings of Naples and Hungary connections by marriage. He aimed at a sort of supremacy over the body politic of Europe. Pierre Dubois, his jurisconsult, dreamed that the pope would hand over all his domains to Philip and receive in exchange an annual income, while Philip would thus have the spiritual head of Christendom under his influence. Philip IV laboured to increase the royal prerogative and thereby the national unity of France. By sending magistrates in feudal territories, by defining certain cases (cas royaux) as reserved to the king's competency, he dealt a heavy blow to the feudalism of the Middle Ages. But on the other hand, under his rule many anti-Christian maxims began to creep into law and politics. Roman law was slowly re-introduced into social organization, and gradually the idea of a united Christendom disappeared from the national policy. Philip the Fair, pretending to rule by Divine right, gave it to be understood that he rendered an account of his kingship to no one under heaven. He denied the pope's right to represent, as the papacy had always done in the past, the claims of morality and justice where kings were concerned. Hence arose in 1294-1303, his struggle with Pope Boniface VIII, but in that struggle he was cunning enough to secure the support of the States-General, which represented public opinion in France. In later times, after centuries of monarchical government, this same public opinion rose against the abuse of power committed by its kings in the name of their pretended divine right, and thus made an implicit amende honorable to what the Church had taught concerning the origin, the limits, and the responsibility of all power, which had been forgotten or misinterpreted by the lawyers of Philip IV when they set up their pagan State as the absolute source of power. The election of Pope Clement V (1305) under Philip's influence, the removal of the papacy to Avignon, the nomination of seven French popes in succession, weakened the influence of the papacy in Christendom, though it has recently come to light that the Avignon popes did not always allow the independence of the Holy See to waver or disappear in the game of politics. Philip IV and his successors may have had the illusion that they were taking the place of the German emperors in European affairs. The papacy was imprisoned on their territory; the German empire was passing through a crisis, was, in fact, decaying, and the kings of France might well imagine themselves temporal vicars of God, side by side with, or even in opposition to, the spiritual vicar who lived at Avignon.
But at this juncture the Hundred Years War broke out, and the French kingdom, which aspired to be the arbiter of Christendom, was menaced in its very existence by England. English kings aimed at the French crown, and the two nations fought for the possession of Guienne. Twice during the war was the independence of France imperilled. Defeated on the Ecluse (1340), at Crécy (1346), at Poitiers (1356), France was saved by Charles V (1364-80) and by Duguesclin, only to suffer French defeat under Charles VI at Agincourt (1415) and to be ceded by the Treaty of Troyes to Henry V, King of England. At this darkest hour of the monarchy, the nation itself was stirred. The revolutionary attempt by Etienne Marcel (1358), and the revolt which gave rise to the Ordonnace Cabochienne (1418) were the earliest signs of popular impatience at the absolutism of the French kings, but internal dissensions hindered an effective patriotic defence of the country. When Charles VII came to the throne, France had almost ceased to be French. The king and court lived beyond the Loire, and Paris was the seat of an English government. Blessed Joan of Arc was the saviour of French nationality as well as French royalty, and at the end of Charles' reign (1422-61) Calais was the only spot in France in the hands of the English.
The ideal of a united Christendom continued to haunt the soul of France in spite of the predominating influence gradually assumed in French politics by purely national aspirations. From the reign of Charles VI, or even the last years of Charles V, dates the custom of giving to French kings the exclusive title of Rex Christianissimus. Pepin the Short and Charlemagne had been proclaimed "Most Christian" by the popes of their day: Alexander III had conferred the same title on Louis VII; but from Charles VI onwards the title comes into constant use as the special prerogative of the kings of France. "Because of the vigour with which Charlemagne, St. Louis, and other brave French kings, more than the other kings of Christendom, have upheld the Catholic Faith, the kings of France are known among the kings of Christendom as 'Most Christian'." Thus wrote Philippe de Mézières, a contemporary of Charles VI. In later times, the Emperor Frederick III, addressing Charles VII, wrote "Your ancestors have won for your name the title Most Christian, as a heritage not to be separated from it." From the pontificate of Paul II (1464), the popes, in addressing bulls to the kings of France, always use the style and title Rex Christianissimus. Furthermore, European public opinion always looked upon Bl. Joan of Arc, who saved the French monarchy, as the heroine of Christendom, and believed that the Maid of Orléans meant to lead the king of France on another crusade when she had secured him in the peaceful possession of his own country. France's national heroine was thus heralded by the fancy of her contemporaries, by Christine de Pisan, and by that Venetian merchant whose letters have been preserved for us in the Morosini Chronicle, as a heroine whose aims were as wide as Christianity itself.
The fifteenth century, during which France was growing in national spirit, and while men's minds were still conscious of the claims of Christendom on their country, was also the century during which, on the morrow of the Great Schism and of the Councils of Basle and of Constance, there began a movement among the powerful feudal bishops against pope and king, and which aimed at the emancipation of the Gallican Church. The propositions upheld by Gerson, and forced by him, as representing the University of Paris, on the Council of Constance, would have set up in the Church an aristocratic regime analogous to what the feudal lords. profiting by the weakness of Charles VI, had dreamed of establishing in the State. A royal proclamation in 1518, issued after the election of Martin V maintained in opposition to the pope "all the privileges and franchises of the kingdom," put an end to the custom of annates, limited the rights of the Roman court in collecting benefices, and forbade the sending to Rome of articles of gold or silver. This proposition was assented to by the young King Charles VII in 1423, but at the same time he sent Pope Martin V an embassy asking to be absolved from the oath he had taken to uphold the principles of the Gallican Church and seeking to arrange a concordat which would give the French king a right of patronage over 500 benefices in his kingdom. This was the beginning of the practice adopted by French kings of arranging the government of the Church directly with the popes over the heads of the bishops. Charles VII, whose struggle with England had left his authority still very precarious, was constrained, in 1438, during the Council of Basle, in order to appease the powerful prelates of the Assembly of Bourges, to promulgate the Pragmatic Sanction, thereby asserting in France those maxims of the Council of Basle which Pope Eugene had condemned. But straightway he bethought him of a concordat, and overtures in this sense were made to Eugene IV. Eugene replied that he well knew the Pragmatic Sanction "that odious act" was not the king's own free doing and a concordat was discussed between them. Louis XI (1461-83), whose domestic policy aimed at ending or weakening the new feudalism which had grown up during two centuries through the custom of presenting appanages to the brothers of the king, extended to the feudal bishops the ill will he professed toward the feudal lords. He detested the Pragmatic Sanction as an act that strengthened ecclesiastical feudalism, and on 27 November, 1461, he announced to the pope its suppression. At the same time he pleaded, as the demand of his Parliament, that for the future the pope should permit the collation of ecclesiastical benefices to be made either wholly or in part through the civil power. The Concordat of 1472 obtained from Rome very material concessions in this respect. At this time, besides "episcopal Gallicanism", against which pope and king were working together, we may trace, in the writings of the lawyers of the closing years of the fifteenth century, the beginnings of a "royal Gallicanism" which taught that in France the State should govern the Church.
The Italian wars undertaken by Charles VIII (1493-98), and continued by Louis XII (1498-1515), aided by an excellent corps of artillery, and all the resources of French furia, to assert certain French claims over Naples and Milan, did not quite fulfill the dreams of the French kings. They had, however, a threefold result in the worlds of politics, religion, and art. Politically, they led foreign powers to believe that France was a menace to the balance of power, and hence arouse alliances to maintain that balance, such, for instance, as the League of Venice (1495), and the Holy League (1511-12). From the point of view of art, their carried a breath of the Renaissance across the Alps. And in the religious world they furnished France an opportunity on Italian soil of asserting for the first time the principles of royal Gallicanism. Louis XII, and the emperor Maximilian, supported by the opponents of Pope Julius II, convened in Pisa a council that threatened the rights of the Holy See. Matters looked very serious. The understanding between the pope and the French kings hung in the balance. Leo X understood the danger when the victory of Marignano opened to Francis I the road to Rome. The pope in alarm retired to Bologna, and the Concordat of 1516, negotiated between the cardinals and Duprat, the chancellor, and afterwards approved of by the Ecumenical Council of the Lateran, recognized the right of the King of France to nominate not only to 500 ecclesiastical benefices, as Charles VII had requested, but to all the benefices in his kingdom. It was a fair gift indeed. But if in matters temporal the bishops were thus in the king's hands, their institution in matters spiritual was reserved to the pope. Pope and king by common agreement thus put an end to an episcopal aristocracy such as the Gallicans of the great councils had dreamed of. The concordat between Leo X and Francis I was tantamount to a solemn repudiation of all the anti-Roman work of the great councils of the fifteenth century. The conclusion of this concordat was one of the reasons why France escaped the Reformation. From the moment that the disposal of church property, as laid down by the concordat, belonged to the civil power, royalty had nothing to gain from the Reformation. Whereas the kings of England and the German princelings saw in the reformation a chance to gain possession of ecclesiastical property, the kings of France, thanks to the concordat, were already in legal possession of those much-envied goods. When Charles V became King of Spain (1516) and emperor (1519), thus uniting in his person the hereditary possessions of the House of Austria and German, as well as the old domains of the House of Burgundy in the Low Countries uniting moreover the Spanish monarchy with Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, the northern part of Africa, and certain lands in America, Francis I inaugurated a struggle between France and the House of Austria. After forty-four years of war, from the victory of Marignano to the treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis (1515-59), France relinquished hopes of retaining possession of Italy, but wrested the Bishoprics of Metz, Toul, and Verdun from the empire and had won back possession of Calais. The Spaniards were left in possession of Naples and the country around Milan, and their influence predominated throughout the Italian Peninsula. But the dream which Charles V had for a brief moment entertained of a world-wide empire had been shattered.
During this struggle against the House of Austria, France, for motives of political and military exigency, had been obliged to lean in the Lutherans of Germany, and even on the sultan. The foreign policy of France since the time of Francis I had been to seek exclusively the good of the nation and no longer to be guided by the interests of Catholicism at large. The France of the Crusades even became the ally of the sultan. But, by a strange anomaly, this new political grouping allowed France to continue its protection to the Christians of the East. In the Middle Ages it protected them by force of arms; but since the sixteenth centuries, by treaties called capitulations, the first of which was drawn up in 1535. The spirit of French policy had changed, but it is always on France that the Christian communities of the East rely, and this protectorate continues to exist under the Third Republic, and has never failed them.
The early part of the sixteenth century was marked by the growth of Protestantism in France, under the forms of Lutheranism and of Calvinism. Lutheranism was the first to make its entry. The minds of some in France were already prepared to receive it. Six years before Luther's time, the archbishop Lefebvre of Etaples (Faber Stapulensis), a protégé of Louis XII and of Francis I, had preached the necessity of reading the scriptures and of "bringing back religion to its primitive purity". A certain number of tradesmen, some of whom, for business reasons, had travelled in Germany, and a few priests, were infatuated with Lutheran ideas. Until 1634, Francis I was almost favorable to the Lutherans, and he even proposed to make Melanchthon President of the Collège de France. But on learning, in 1534, that violent placards against the Church of Rome had been posted on the same day in many of the large towns, and even near the king's own room in the Château d'Amboise, he feared a Lutheran plot; an inquiry was ordered, and seven Lutherans were condemned to death and burned at the stake in Paris. Eminent ecclesiastics like du Bellay, Archbishop of Paris, and Sadolet, Bishop of Carpentras, deplored these executions, and the Valdois massacre ordered by d'Oppède, President of the Parliament of Aix, in 1545. Laymen, on the other hand, who ill understood the Christian gentleness of these prelates, reproached them with being slow and remiss in putting down heresy; and when, under Henry II, Calvinism crept in from Geneva, a policy of persecution was inaugurated. From 1547 to 1550, in less than three years, the chambre ardente, a committee of the Parliament of Paris, condemned more than 500 persons to retract their beliefs, to imprisonment, or to death at the stake. Notwithstanding this, the Calvinists, in 1555, were able to organize themselves into Churches on the plan of that at Geneva; and, in order to bind these Churches more closely together, they held a synod in Paris in 1559. There were in France at that time seventy-two Reformed Churches; two years later, in 1561, the number had increased to 2000. The methods, too, of the Calvinist propaganda had changed. The earlier Calvinists, like the Lutherans, had been artists and workingmen, but in the course of time, in the South and in the West, a number of princes and noblemen joined their ranks. Among these were two princes of the blood, descendants of St. Louis: Anthony of Bourbon, who became King of Navarre through his marriage with Jeanne d'Albret, and his brother the Prince de Condé. Another name of note is that of Admiral de Coligny, nephew of that duke of Montmorency who was the Premier Baron of Christendom. Thus it came to pass that in France Calvinism was not longer a religious force, but had become a political and military cabal; and the French kings in opposing it were but defending their own rights.
Such was the beginning of the Wars of Religion. They had for their starting-point the conspiracy of Amboise (1560) by which the Protestant leaders aimed at seizing the person of Francis II, in order to remove him from the influence of Francis of Guise. During the reigns of Francis II, Charles IX, and Henry III, a powerful influence was exercised by the queen-mother, who made use of the conflicts between the opposing religious factions to establish more securely the power of her sons. In 1561, Catharine de' Medici arranged for the Poissy discussion to try and bring about an understanding between the two creeds, but during the Wars of religion she ever maintained an equivocal attitude between both parties, favouring now the one and now the other, until the time came when, fearing that Charles IX would shake himself free of her influence, she took a large share of responsibility in the odious massacre of St. Bartholomew. There were eight of these wars in the space of thirty years. The first was started by a massacre of Calvinists at Vassy by the troopers of Guise (1 March, 1562), and straightway both parties appealed for foreign aid. Catharine, who was at this time working in the Catholic cause, turned to Spain; Coligny and Condé turned to Elizabeth of England and turned over to her the port of Havre. Thus from the beginning were foreshadowed the lines which the Wars of religion would follow. They opened up France to the interference of such foreign princes as Elizabeth and Philip II, and to the plunder of foreign soldiers, such as those of the Duke of Alba and the German troopers (Reiter) called in by the Protestants. One after another, these wars ended in weak provisional treaties which did not last. Under the banners of the Reformation party or those of the League organized by the House of Guise to defend Catholicism, political opinions ranged themselves, and during these thirty years of civil disorder monarchical centralization was often in trouble of overthrow. Had the Guise party prevailed, the trend of policy adopted by the French monarchy towards Catholicism after the Concordat of Francis I would have been assuredly less Gallican. That concordat had placed the Church of France and its episcopate in the hands of the king. The old episcopal Gallicanism which held that the authority of the pope was not above that of the Church assembled in council and the royal Gallicanism which held that the king had no superior on the earth, not even the pope, were now allied against the papal monarchy strengthened by the Council of Trent. The consequence of all this was that the French kings refused to allow the decisions of that council to be published in France, and this refusal has never been withdrawn.
At the end of the sixteenth century it seemed for an instant as though the home party of France was to shake off the yoke of Gallican opinions. Feudalism had been broken; the people were eager for liberty; the Catholics, disheartened by the corruption of the Valois court, contemplated elevating to the throne, in succession to Henry II, who was childless, a member of the powerful House of Guise. In fact, the League had asked the Holy See to grant the wish of the people, and give France a Guise as king. Henry of Navarre, the heir presumptive to the throne, was a Protestant; Sixtus V had given him the choice of remaining a Protestant, and never reigning in France, or of abjuring his heresy, receiving absolution from the pope himself, and, together with it, the throne of France. But there was third solution possible, and the French episcopate foresaw it, namely that the abjuration should be made not to the pope but to the French bishops. Gallican susceptibilities would thus be satisfied, dogmatic orthodoxy would be maintained on the French throne, and moreover it would do away with the danger to which the unity of France was exposed by the proneness of a certain number of Leaguers to encourage the intervention of Spanish armies and the ambitions of the Spanish king, Philip II, who cherished the idea of setting his own daughter in the throne of France.
The abjuration of Henry IV made to the French bishops (25 July, 1593) was a victory of Catholicism over Protestantism, but none the less it was the victory of episcopal Gallicanism over the spirit of the League. Canonically, the absolution given by the bishops to Henry IV was unavailing, since the pope alone could lawfully give it; but politically that absolution was bound to have a decisive effect. From the day that Henry IV became a Catholic, the League was beaten. Two French prelates went to Rome to crave absolution for Henry. St. Philip Neri ordered Baronius smiling, no doubt, as he did so to tell the pope, whose confessor he, Baronius was, that he himself could not have absolution until he had absolved the King of France. And on 17 September, 1595, the Holy See solemnly absolved Henry IV, thereby sealing the reconciliation between the French monarchy and the Church of Rome. The accession of the Bourbon royal family was a defeat for Protestantism, but at the same time half a victory for Gallicanism. Ever since the year 1598 the dealing of the Bourbons with Protestantism were regulated by the Edict of Nantes. This instrument not only accorded the Protestants the liberty of practicing their religion in their own homes, in the towns and villages where it had been established before 1597, and in two localities in each bailliage, but also opened to them all employments and created mixed tribunals in which judges were chosen equally from among Catholics and Calvinists; it furthermore made them a political power by recognizing them for eight years as master of about one hundred towns which were known as "places of surety" (places de sûreté). Under favour of the political causes of the Edict Protestants rapidly became an imperium in imperio, and in 1627, at La Rochelle, they formed an alliance with England to defend, against the government of Louis XIII (1610-43), the privileges of which Cardinal Richelieu, the king's minister, wished to deprive them. The taking of La Rochelle by the king's troops (November, 1628), after a siege of fourteen months, and the submission of the Protestant rebels in the Cévenes, resulted in a royal decision which Richelieu called the Grâce d'Alais: the Protestants lost all their political privileges and all their "places of surety" but on the other hand freedom of worship and absolute equality with Catholics were guaranteed them. Both Cardinal Richelieu, and his successor, Cardinal Mazarin, scrupulously observed this guarantee, but under Louis XIV a new policy was inaugurated. For twenty-five years the king forbade the Protestants everything that the edict of Nantes did not expressly guarantee them, and then, foolishly imagining that Protestantism was on the wane, and that there remained in France only a few hundred obstinate heretics, he revoked the Edict of Nantes (1685) and began an oppressive policy against Protestants, which provoked the rising of the Camisards in 1703-05, and which lasted with alternations of severity and kindness until 1784, when Louis XVI was obliged to give Protestants their civil rights once more. The very manner in which Louis XIV, who imagined himself the religious head of his kingdom, set about the Revocation, was only an application of the religious maxims of Gallicanism.
In the person of Louis XIV, indeed, Gallicanism was on the throne. At the States-General in 1614, the tiers état had endeavoured to make the assembly commit itself to certain decidedly Gallican declarations, but the clergy, thanks to Cardinal Duperron, had succeeded in shelving the question; then Richelieu careful; not to embroil himself with the pope, had taken up the mitigated and very reserved form of Gallicanism represented by the theologian Duval. As for Louis XIV, he considers himself a God on earth his religion is the State's; every subject who does not hold that religion is outside of the State. Hence the persecution of Protestants and of Jansenists. But at the same time he would never allow a papal Bull to be published in France until his Parliament decided whether it interfered with the "liberties" of the French Church or the authority of the king. And in 1682 he invited the clergy of France to proclaim the independence of the Gallican Church in a manifesto of four articles, at least two of which relating to the respective powers of a pope and a council broached questions which only an ecumenical council could decide. In consequence of this a crisis arose between the Holy See and Louis XIV which led to thirty-five sees being left vacant in 1689. The policy of Louis XIV in religious matters was adopted also by Louis XV. His way of striking at the Jesuits in 1763 was in principal the same as that taken by Louis XIV to impose Gallicanism on the Church the royal power pretending to mastery over the Church. The domestic policy of the seventeenth-century Bourbons, aided by Scully, Richelieu, Mazarin, and Louvois, completed the centralization of the kingly power. Abroad, the fundamental maxim of their policy was to keep up the struggle against the House of Austria. The result of the diplomacy of Richelieu (1624-42) and of Mazarin (1643-61) was a fresh defeat for the House of Austria; French arms were victorious at Rocroi, Fribourg, Nördlingen, Lens, Sommershausen (1643-48), and by the Peace of Westphalia (1648) and that of the Pyrenees (1659), Alsace, Artois, and Roussillion were annexed to French territory. In the struggle Richelieu and Mazarin had the support of the Lutheran prince of Germany and of Protestant countries such as the Sweden of Gustavus Adolphus. In fact in may be laid down that during the Thirty Years War, France upheld Protestantism. Louis XIV, on the contrary, who for many years was arbiter of the destinies of Europe, was actuated by purely religious motives in some of his wars. Thus the war against Holland, and that against the League of Augsburg, and his intervention in the affairs of England were in some respects the result of religious policy and of a desire to uphold Catholicism in Europe. The expeditions in the Mediterranean against the pirates of Barbary have all the halo of the old ideals of Christendom ideals which in the days of Louis XIII had haunted the mind of Father Joseph, the famous confidant of Richelieu, and had inspired him with the dream of crusades led by France, once the House of Austria should have been defeated.
The long and complex reign of Louis XIV, in spite of the disasters which mark its close, gained for France the possession of Flanders, and of Franche-Comté, and saw a Bourbon, Philip V, grandson of Louis XIV, seated on the throne of Spain. The seventeenth century in France was par excellence a century of Catholic awakening. A number of bishops set about reforming their diocese according to the rules laid down by the Council of Trent, though its decrees did not run officially in France. The example of Italy bore fruit all over the country. Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld, Bishop of Claremont and afterwards of Senlis, had made the acquaintance of St. Charles Borromeo. Francis Taurugi, a companion of St. Philip Neri, was archbishop of Avignon. St. Francis de Sales Christianized lay society by his "Introduction to the Devout Life", which he wrote at the request of Henry IV. Cardinal de Bérulle and his disciple de Condren founded the Oratory. St. Vincent de Paul, in founding the Priests of the Mission, and M. Olier, in founding the Sulpicians, prepared the uplifting of the secular clergy, and the development of the grands séminaires. It was the period, too, when France began to build up her colonial empire, when Samuel de Champlain was founding prosperous settlements in Acadia and Canada. At the suggestion of Père Coton, confessor to Henry IV, the Jesuits followed in the wake of the colonists; they made Quebec the capital of all that country, and gave it a Frenchman, Mgr. de Montmorency-Laval as its first bishop. The first apostles to the Iroquois were the French Jesuits, Lallemant and de Brébeuf; and it was the French missionaries, as much as the traders who opened postal communication over 500 leagues of countries between the French colonies in Louisiana and Canada. In China, the French Jesuits, by their scientific labours, gained a real influence at court and converted at least one Chinese prince. Lastly, from the beginning of this same seventeenth century, under the protection of Gontaut-Biron, Marquis de Salignac, Ambassador of France, dates the establishment of the Jesuits at Smyrna, in the Archipelago, in Syria, and at Cairo. A Capuchin, Père Joseph du Tremblay, Richelieu's confessor, established many Capuchin foundations in the East. A pious Parisian lady, Madame Ricouard, gave a sum of money for the erection of a bishopric at Babylon, and its first bishop was a French Carmelite, Jean Duval. St. Vincent De Paul sent the Lazarists into the galleys and prisons of Barbary, and among the islands of Madagascar, Bourbon, Mauritius, and the Mascarenes, to take possession of them in the name of France. On the advice of Jesuit Father de Rhodes, Propaganda and France decided to erect bishoprics in Annam, and in 1660 and 1661 three French bishops, François Pallu, Pierre Lambert de Lamothe, and Cotrolendi, set out for the East. It was the activities of the French missionaries that paved the way for the visit of the Siamese envoys to the court of Louis XIV. In 1663 the Seminary for Foreign Missions was founded, and in 1700 the Société de Missions Etrangères, received its approved constitution, which has never been altered.
To repeat a saying of Ferdinand Brunetière, the eighteenth century was the least Christian and least French century in the history of France. Religiously speaking, the alliance of parliamentary Gallicanism and Jansenism weakened the idea of religion in an atmosphere already threatened by philosophers, and although the monarchy continued to keep the style and title of "Most Christian", unbelief and libertinage were harboured, and at times defended, at the court of Louis XV (1715-74), in the salons, and among the aristocracy. Politically, the tradition strife between France and the House of Austria ended, about the middle of the eighteenth century, with the famous Renversement des Alliances (see ETIENNE-FRANÇOIS, DUC DE CHOISEUL; Fleury, Andre-Hercule de). This century is filled with that struggle between France and England which may be called the second Hundred Years War, during which England had for an ally Frederick II, King of Prussia, a country which was then rapidly rising in importance. The command of the sea was at stake. In spite of men like Dupliex, Lally-Tollendal, and Montcalm, France lightly abandoned its colonies by successive treaties, the most important of which was the Treaty of Paris (1763). The acquisition of Lorraine (1766), and the purchase of Corsica from the Genoese (1768) were poor compensations for these losses; and when, under Louis XVI, the French navy once more raised its head, it helped in the revolt of the English colonies in America, and thus seconded the emancipation of the United States (1778-83).
The movement of thought of which Montesquieu, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Diderot, each in his own fashion, had been protagonists, an impatience provoked by the abuses incident to a too centralized monarchy, and the yearning for equality which was deeply agitating the French people, all prepared the explosion of the French Revolution, That upheaval has been too long regarded as a break in the history of France. The researches of Albert Sorel have proved that the diplomatic traditions of the old regime were perpetuated under the Revolution; the idea of the State's ascendancy over the Church, which had actuated the ministers of Louis XIV and the adherents of Parliament the parliamentaires in the days of Louis XV reappears with the authors of the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy", even as the centralizing spirit of the old monarchy reappears with the administrative officials and the commissaries of the Convention. It is easier to cut off a king's head than to change the mental constitution of a people.
The Constituent Assembly (5 May, 1789-30 September, 1791) rejected the motion of the Abbé d'Eymar declaring the Catholic religion to be the religion of the State, but it did not thereby mean to place the Catholic religion on the same level as other religions. Voulland, addressing the Assembly on the seemliness of having one dominant religion, declared that the Catholic religion was founded on too pure a moral basis not to be given the first place. Article 10 of the "Declarations of the Rights of Man" (August, 1789) proclaimed toleration, stipulating "that no one ought to be interfered with because of his opinions, even religious, provided that their manifestation does not disturb public order" (pourvu que leur manifestation ne trouble pas l'ordre public établi par là). It was by virtue of the suppression of feudal privileges, and in accordance with the ideas professed by the lawyers of the old regime where church property was in question that the Constituent Assembly abolished tithes and confiscated the possessions of the Church, replacing them by an annuity grant from the treasury. The "Civil Constitution of the Clergy" was a more serious interference with the life of French Catholicism, and it was drawn up at the instigation of Jansenist lawyers. Without referring to the pope, it set up a new division into diocese, gave the voters, no matter who they might be, a right to nominate parish priests and bishops, ordered metropolitans to take charge of the canonical institution of their suffragans, and forbade the bishops to seek a Bull of confirmation in office from Rome. The Constituent Assembly required all priests to swear to obey this constitution, which received the unwilling sanction of Louis XVI, 26 December, 1790, and was condemned by Pius VI. By Briefs dated 10 March and 13 April, Pius VI forbade the priests to take the oath, and the majority obeyed him. Against these "unsworn" (insermentés) or "refractory" priests a period of persecution soon began. The Legislative Assembly (1 October, 1791-21 September, 1792), while it prepared the way for the republic which both the great parties (the Mountain and the Girondists) equally wished, only aggravated the religious difficulty. On 19 November, 1791, it decreed that those priests who had not accepted the "Civil Constitution" would be required with a week to swear allegiance to the nation, to the law, and to the king, under pain of having their allowances stopped and of being held as suspects. The king refused to approve this, and (26 August, 1792) it declared that all refractory priests show leave France under pain of ten years' imprisonment or transportation to Guiana.
The Convention (21 September, 1792-26 October, 1795) which proclaimed the republic and caused Louis XVI to be executed (21 January, 1793), followed a very tortuous policy toward religion. As early as 13 November, 1792, Cambon, in the name of the Financial Committee, announced to the Convention that he would speedily submit a scheme of general reform including a suppression of the appropriation for religious worship, which, he asserted, cost the republic "100,000,000 livres annually". The Jacobins opposed this scheme as premature, and Robespierre declared it derogatory to public morality. During the first eight months of its existence the policy of the Convention was to maintain the "Civil Constitution" and to increase the penalties against "refractory" priests who were suspected of complicity on the Vendée rising. A decree dated 18 March, 1793, punished with death all compromised priests. It no longer aimed at refractory priests only, but any ecclesiastic accused of disloyalty (incivisme) by any six citizens became liable to transportation. In the eyes of the revolution, there were no longer good priests and bad priests; for the sans-culottes every priest was suspect.
Then, from the provinces, stirred up by the propaganda of André Dumont, Chaumette, and Fouché, there began a movement of dechristianization. The constitutional bishop, Gobrel, abdicated in November, 1793, together with his vicars-general. At the feast of Liberty which took place in Notre-Dame on 10 November an altar was set up to the Goddess of Reason, and the church of Our Lady became the temple of that goddess. Some days after this a deputation attired in priestly vestments, in mockery of Catholic worship, paraded before the Convention. The Commune of Paris, on 24 November, 1793, with Chaumette as its spokesman, demanded the closing of all churches. But the Committee of Public Safety was in favour of temporizing, to avoid frightening the populace and scandalizing Europe. On 21 November, 1793, Robespierre, speaking from the Jacobin tribune of the Convention, protested against the violence of the dechristianizing party, and in December the Committee of Public Safety induced the Convention to pass a decree ensuring freedom of worship, and forbidding the closing of Catholic churches. Everywhere throughout the provinces civil war was breaking out between the peasants, who clung to their religion and faith, and the fanatics of the Revolution, who, in the name of patriotism threatened, as they said, by the priests, were overturning the altars. According to the locality in which they happened to be, the propagandists either encouraged or hindered this violence against religion; but even in the every bitterest days of the terror, there was never a moment when Catholic worship was suppressed throughout France.
When Robespierre had sent the partisans of Hébert and of Danton to the scaffold, he attempted to set up in France what he called la religion de l'Etre Suprême. Liberty of conscience was suppressed, but atheism was also a crime. Quoting the words of Rousseau about the indispensable dogmas, Robespierre had himself proclaimed a religious leader, a pontiff, and a dictator; and the worship of the Etre Suprême was held up by his supporters as the religious embodiment of patriotism. But after the 9th of Thermidor, Cambon proposed once more the principle of separation between Church and State, and it was decided that henceforth the Republic would not pay the expenses of any form of worship (18 September, 1794). The Convention next voted the laicization of the primary schools, and the establishment, at intervals of ten days, of feasts called fêtes décadaires. When Bishop Grégoire in a speech ventured to hope that Catholicism would some day spring up anew, the Convention protested. Nevertheless the people in the provinces were anxious that the clergy should resume their functions, and "constitutional" priests, less in danger than the others, rebuilt the altars here and there throughout the country. In February, 1795, Boissy-d'Anglas carried a measure of religious liberty, and the very next day Mass was said in all the chapels of Paris. On Easter Sunday, 1795, in the same city which, a few months before, had applauded the worship of Reason, almost every shop closed its doors. In May, 1795, the Convention restored the churches for worship, on condition that the pastors should submit to the laws of the State; in September, 1795, less than a month before its dissolution, it regulated liberty of worship by a police law, and enacted severe penalties against priests liable to transportation or imprisonment who should venture back on French soil. The Directory (27 October, 1795 9 November, 1799), which succeeded the Convention, imposed on all religious ministers (Fructidor, Year V) the obligation of swearing hatred to royalty and anarchy. A certain number of "papist" priests took the oath, and the "papist" religion was thus established here and there, though it continued to be disturbed by the incessant arbitrary acts of interference on the part of the administrative staff of the Directory, who by individual warrants deported priests charged with inciting to disturbance. In this way, 1657 French and 8235 Belgian, priests were driven into exile. The aim of the Directory was to substitute for Catholicism the culte décadaire, and for Sunday observance the rest on the décadis, or tenth days. In Paris, fifteen churches were given over to this cult. The Directory also favored an unofficial attempt of Chemin, the writer, and a few of his friends to set up a kind of national Church under the name of "Theophilanthropy"; but Theophilanthropy and the culte décadaire, while they disturbed the Church, did not satisfy the needs of the people for priests, altars, and the traditional festivals.
All these were restored by the Concordat of Napoleon Bonaparte, who became Consul for ten years on 4 November, 1799. The Concordat assured to French Catholicism, in spite of the interpolation of the articles organiques, a hundred years of peace. The conduct of Napoleon I, when he became emperor (18 May, 1804) towards Pius VII was most offensive to the papacy; but even during those years when Napoleon was ill-treating Pius VII and keeping him a prisoner, Catholicism in France was reviving and expanding day by day. Numerous religious congregations came to life again or grew up rapidly, often under the guidance of simple priests or humble women. The Sisters of Christian Schools of Mercy, who work in hospitals and schools, date from 1802, as do the Sisters of Providence of Langres; the Sisters of Mercy of Montauban from 1804; the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at St-Julien-du-Gua date from 1805. In 1806 we have the Sisters of Reuilly-sur-Loire, founded by the Abbé Dujarie; the Sisters of St. Regis at Aubenis, founded by the Abbé Therne; the Sisters of Notre Dame de Bon Secours at Charly; the Sisters of Mercy of Billom. the Sisters of Wisdom founded by Blessed Grignon de Montfort, remodeled their institutions at this time in La Vendée, and Madame Dupleix was founding at Lyons and at Durat the Confraternity of Mary and Joseph for visiting the prisons. The year 1807 saw the coming of the Sisters of Christian Teaching and Nursing (de l'Instruction chrétienne et des malades) of St-Gildas-des-Bois founded by the Abbé Deshayes and the great teaching order of the Sisters of Ste-Chrétienne of Metz. In 1809 there appeared in Aveyron the Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary; in 1810, the sisters of St. Joseph of Vaur (Ardéche), the Sister Hospitallers of Rennes, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny. Such was the fruit of eight years of religious revival, and the list could easily be continued through the years that followed.
In the Wars of the Revolution, which began 20 April, 1792, the French missionary qualities which, under the old regime, had been employed in the service of the Christian ideal were consecrated to "the Rights of Man" and to emancipating the people from "the tyrants"; but in the Napoleonic Wars which followed, these very peoples, fired with the principles of liberty which had come to them from France, expressed their newly developed national consciousness in a struggle against French armies. In this way the propaganda of the Revolution had in the end a disastrous reaction on the very country where its ideals originated. During the nineteenth century France was destined to undertake several wars for the emancipation of nationalities the Greek War (1827-28) under the Restoration; the Italian War (1859) under the second Empire and it was in the name of the principle of nationality that the Second Empire to grow until, in 1870, it had reached its full growth at the expense of France.
Under the Restoration parliamentary government was introduced into France. The revolution of July, 1830, the "liberal" and "bourgeois" revolution asserted against the absolutism of Charles X those rights which had been guaranteed to Frenchmen by the Constitution the "Charte" as it was called and brought to the throne of Louis Phillipe, Duke of Orléans, during whose reign as "King of the French", the establishment of French rule in Algeria was finally completed. One of the most admirable charitable institutions of French origin dates from the July Monarchy, namely the Little Sisters of the Poor begun (1840) by Jeanne Jugan, Franchon Aubert, Marie Jamet, and Virginie Trédaniel, poor working-women who formed themselves into an association to take care of one blind old woman. In 1900 the congregation thus begun counted 3000 Little Sisters distributed among 250 to 260 houses all over the world, and caring for 28,000 old people. Under the July Monarchy, also, the conferences of St. Vincent De Paul were founded, the first of them at Paris, in May, 1883, by pious laymen under the prompting of Ozanam, for the material and moral assistance of poor families; in 1900 there were in France alone 1224 of these conferences, and in the whole world 5000. In 1895 the city of Paris had 208 conferences caring for 7908 families. The mean annual receipts of the conferences of St. Vincent De Paul in the whole of France amount to 2,198,566 francs ($440,000.00 or £88,000). In 1906 the receipts from the conferences all over the world amounted to 13,453,228 francs ($2,690,645), and their expenditures to 13,541,504 francs ($2,708,300), while, to meet extraordinary demands, they had a reserve balance of 3,069,154 francs ($613,830). The annual expenditure always exceeds the annual amount received. As Cardinal Regnier was fond of saying, "The conferences have taken the vow of poverty."
The Revolution of February, 1848, against Louis Philippe and Guizot, his minister, who wished to maintain a property qualification for the suffrage, led to the establishment of the Second Republic and universal suffrage. By granting liberty of teaching (Loi Falloux), and by sending an army to Rome to assist Pius IX, it earned the gratitude of Catholics. At this point in history, when so many social and democratic aspirations were being agitated, the social efficaciousness of Christian thought was demonstrated by Vicomte de Melun, who developed the "Société Charitable" and the "Annales de la Charité" and carried a law on old-age pensions and mutual benefit societies; and by Le Prévost, founder of the Congregation of the Brothers of St. Vincent De Paul, who, leading a religious life in the garb of laymen, visited among the working classes.
The Second Empire, the issue of Louis Napoléon Bonaparte's coup d'êtat (2 December, 1851), affirmed universal sufferage and this secured the victory of French democracy; but it reduced parlementarisme to an insignificant rôle, the Plébescite being employed as an ordinary means of ascertaining the will of the people. It was the second empire, too, that gave Nizza, Savoy, and Cochin-China to France.
The Third Republic tumultuously proclaimed, 4 September, 1870, on the ruins of the empire overthrown at Sedan was victorious, thanks to Thiers and the army of Versailles, over the Parisian outbreak called the Commune (March-May, 1871). Effectively defined by the Constitution of 1875, it had to acquiesce in the Treaty of Frankfort (1871) by which Alsace and Lorraine were ceded to Germany. On the other hand, it enriched the colonial possessions, or the sphere of influence, of France by the acquisition of Tongking, Tunis, and Madagascar. Under the Third Republic, a parliamentary system with two chambers was established on the double principle of a responsible ministry and a president above all responsibility, the latter elected by the two chambers for a period of seven years. Thiers, MacMahon, Jules Grévy, Sadi-Carnot, Félix Faure, Emile Loubet, Armand Falliérres have been successively at the head of the French state since 1870.
Through all these changes in government, French foreign policy, either knowingly or by force of habit and precedent, has been of service to the Catholic Church, service amply repaid by the Church by perpetuating in some measure the Christian ideal of earlier times. The Crimean War, undertaken (1855) by Napoleon III, originated in the desire to protect Latin Christians in Palestine, the clients of France, against Russian encroachments. During the course of the nineteenth century French diplomacy at Rome and in the East has aimed at safeguarding the prerogatives of France as patron of Oriental Christendom, and of thus justifying the traditional trust of the Orientals in the "Franks" as the natural champions of Christianity in the Ottoman Empire. French influence in this field was threatened by Austria, Italy, and German in turn; the first of these powers alleged certain treaties with the sultan, daring from the eighteenth century as giving it the right to defend Catholic interests at the Sublime Porte; the other two made repeated efforts to induce Italian and German missionaries to seek protection from their own consuls rather than those of France. But on 22 May, 1888, the circular "Aspera rerum conditio", signed by Cardinal Simeoni, Prefect of the Propaganda, commanded all missionaries to respect the prerogatives of France as their protecting power. Even at the present time, in spite of the separation of Church and State, the diplomacy of the Third Republic in the East enjoys the prestige acquired by the France of St. Louis and Francis I. And amid all the ideas and tendencies of "laicization" this protectorate continues to exist as relic and a right of Christian France "Anticlericalism is not an article for exportation" says Gambetta, and up to recent years this has always been the motto of Republican France. In spite of constant threats under which the congregations have lived during the Third Republic, it is unquestionable that certain important institutes have seen the number of its members increase notably. This is illustrated by the following table:
Institute Members (1879) Members (1900)
Socitété des Missions Estrangères 480 1200
Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny 2067 4000+
Daughters of Wisdom 3600 4650
Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres 1119 1732
Brothers of St. Gabriel 791 1350
Little Brothers of Mary 3600 4850
Little Sisters of the Poor 2683 3073
Brothers of the Holy Spirit 515 902
Taine has proved that vocations to the religious life increased remarkably in the France of the nineteenth century, when they were entirely spontaneous, as compared with the France of the eighteenth century, when many families, for worldly reasons, placed their daughters in convents.
The reawakening of British Catholicism at the beginning of the nineteenth century was in some measure due to the influence of the French refugee clergy whom the Revolution had driven into exile. And when, in 1789, in the United States of America, John Carroll was named Bishop of Baltimore, it was to the Sulpician Fathers that he appealed to establish his seminary, thus preparing for the part which that splendid institute of French priests was to take, and still continues to play, in building up the Church in America. The discussion between Monsignor Duborg, Bishop of New Orleans, and Madame Petit, a widow of Lyons, on the spiritual needs of Louisiana (1815), and the letter written by Abbé Jaricot to his sister Pauline, who also lived at Lyons, on the poverty of the foreign missions (1819), led these two ladies to organize, each independently of the other, societies for the collection of alms from the faithful for the propagation of Christianity, and from these first feeble beginnings was born, 3 May, 1822, the great work known to English-speaking Catholics as the "Propagation of Lyons". In 1898, this society collected from one country or another 7,700,921 francs ($1,140,180.00 or £228,000) for missionary purposes. Of this sum, no less than 4, 077, 085 francs was contributed by France alone, while, in 1908, owing to the many needs of the Church at home, France's contribution fell from 6,402,586 francs to 3,082,131 francs. In 1898, the work of the Sainte-Enfance (The Holy Childhood), also of French origin, which aspires to save both the bodies and the souls of Chinese children, collected 3,615,845 francs (about $723,000.00 or £145,000), of which 1,094,092 francs came from France alone, while in 1908-09, for the reason referred to above, French generosity could only contribute 813,952 francs to this work, the general receipts of which amounted to 3,761,954 francs. That work in 1907-08 helped 236 missions, 1171 orphanages, 7372 schools, and 2480 manual-training establishments. In 1898, again, L'Oeuvre des Ecoles d'Orient, an association for supplying schools in the East, collected in France 584,056 francs, and in other countries only 27,596 francs. In 1898 the Society of African Missions collected 50,000 francs, the Anti-Slavery Society 120,000 francs, while the Good-Friday alms for the maintenance of the Holy Land amounted to 122,000 francs, making in all, for the year 1898, a total of 6,047,231 francs contributed by France to the foreign missionaries without distinction of nationality.
But France furnishes not only money but men and women to these missions. On the eve of the Law of 1901 Abbé Kannengieser compiled the following estimations of the religious, men and women, of French nationality engaged in mission work:
- Socitété des Missions Estrangères 1200
- Society of Jesus 750
- Lazarists 500
- Augustinians of the Assumption 216
- Brothers of the Christian Schools 813
- Capuchins 160
- Dominicans 80
- Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales 60
- Carmelites 14
- Marianists 80
- Little Brothers of Mary 359
- Oblates of St. Francis de Sales 25
- Franciscans 95
- Fathers of the Holy Spirit 429
- White Fathers 500
- African Missions 123
- Oblates of Mary Immaculate 400
- Marists 320
- Picpus Fathers 80
- Missionaries of Mary 46
- Brothers of St. Gabriel 53
- Redemptorists 100
- Priests of Bétharram 80
- Christian Brothers of Ploërmel 272
- Christian Brothers of the Sacred Heart 346
- Missionaries of the Sacred Heart 27
- Sulpician Fathers 30
- Congregation of the Holy Cross 40
- Fathers of Mercy 21
- Children of Mary Immaculate 15
- Brothers of Our Lady of the Annunciation 60
- Brothers of the Holy Family 40
- Benedictines of La-Pierre-qui-Vivre 25
- Fathers of La Salette 5
- Trappists 21
In 1860, France intervened on behalf of the Christians of the East, who were menaced by the fanaticism of Turks, Arabs, and Druses. It is on this occasion that Faud Pasha is reported to have said, pointing to some religious who were present, "I do not fear the 40,000 bayonets you have at Damascus, but I do fear those sixty robes there". At Mosul some French Dominicans, assisted by Sisters of the Presentation of Tours, have had a residence since 1856; they have established hospitals, workshops, and dispensaries all over Mesopotamia, as well as a Syro-Chaldean seminary. These missionaries won back to Christian unity, under the pontificate of Leo XIII, 50,000 Nestorians, and 30,000 Armenian Gregorians. In like manner, 26 Jesuits of the province of Lyons have been building schools throughout Armenian during the past thirty years. The old See of Babylon was replaced in 1844 by the See of Bagdad where a French bishop rules over 90,000 Catholics of various rites. In Persia, the French Lazarists have a congregation of 80,000 faithful where, in 1840, there were only 400. The French Capuchins established at Aden are breaking ground in Arabia. French Jesuits are evangelizing Ceylon. Under the priests of the Missions Etrangères, who are assisted by five communities of religious women, the number of Catholics in Pondicherry increased tenfold during the nineteenth century. Priests of St. Francis de Sales of Annecy have had charge of the vicariate of Vizagapatam since 1849. The city of Bombay alone has no fewer than twenty-seven conferences of ST. Vincent de Paul. In Burma the priests of the Missions Etrangères minister to 40,000 Catholics were they were only 5000 in 1800. The mission of Siam, made famous by Fenélon, and ruined at the beginning of the nineteenth century, numbers today more than 20,000 souls. And at the Penang seminary, French priests are forming a native clergy. The nine French mission of Tongking and Cochin-China have 650,000 Catholics. It was a missionary, Mgr. Puginier, who, from 1880 to 1892, did so much to open up those regions to French exploration. "Where it not for the missionaries and the Christians", a Malay pirate once said, "The French in Tongking would be as helpless as crabs without legs."
China is the mission-field of Jesuits, Lazarists, and French priests of the Missions Etrangères. The French-Corean dictionary published by the priests of the Missions Etrangères; the works on Chinese philosophy, begin in the eighteenth century by the Jesuit Amiot, and carried on in the nineteenth century by the French Jesuits in their Chinese printing establishment at Zi-ka-wei; the researches in natural sciences made in China by the Lazarist David and the Jesuits Heude, Desgodins, Dechevrens; the works accomplished in the fields of astronomy and meteorology by the French Jesuits Zi-ka-wei all these achievements of French missionaries have won the applause of the learned world. In the nineteenth century the recovery of Japan to the Church was begun by Mgr Forcade, afterwards Archbishop of Aix, and French Marianists are labouring to build up a native Japanese clergy.
In Oceanica, since the year 1836, when Chanel, Bataillion, and a few other Marists came to take possession of the thousands of islands scattered between Japan and New Zealand, the work of evangelizing has gone through Australia, New Zealand, the Wallace Islands, New Caledonia, the New Hebrides, and Sydney Island. The Fathers of the Sacred Heart of Issoudun are in the Gilbert Isles; the Fathers of Picpus are working in the Hawaiian Islands, Tahiti, and the Marquesas. The fame of Father Damien (Joseph Damien de Veuster), one of the Picpus Fathers, the apostle of the lepers at Molokai, has spread throughout the world.
In Africa Father Libermann (a converted Alsacian Jew) and his Congregation of the Holy Ghost and the Immaculate Heart of Mary undertook, in 1840, the evangelization of the black race. It has now spread over the whole of that pagan continent; and the missionaries established by Mgr Augouard in Ubangi are in the very heart of the cannibal districts. Jesuits, Holy Ghost Fathers, and Lazarists are working in Madagascar; Jesuits are established along the Zambesi River, and the African Missionaries of Lyons have settlements around the Gulf of Guinea, at the Cape of Good Hope, and at Dahomey, while the Oblates of Mary are in Natal. In Senegal Mother Anne-Marie Javouhey, foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny she of whom Louis Phillipe said "Madame Javouhey c'est un grand homme" opened the first French schools in 1820, and set on foot the first attempts at agriculture in that region. In Egypt, French Jesuits have two colleges; the Lyons missionaries, one; the Brothers of the Christian Schools teach more than 1000 pupils; and 60 parish schools, with more than 3000 children, are under the care of French sisterhoods. French Lazarists minister to 13,000 souls in Abyssinia. The ecclesiastical province of Algeria, which in 1800 reckoned 4000 souls, had at the time of Cardinal Lavigerie's death 400,000, with 500 priests, 260 churches, and 230 schools, while Tunis, which in 1800 contained but 2000 Catholics numbered 27,000 ministered to by 153 religious in 22 parishes. The Brothers of the Christian Schools were pioneers of the French language in Tunis, as they had been throughout the Ottoman Empire from Constantinople to Cairo, and the Congregation of the White Fathers, who sent out their first ten missionaries from Algiers on the 17th of April, 1878, towards equatorial Africa, founded, in Uganda and along Lake Tanganyika, Christian communities, one of which, in May, 1886, gave to the Faith 150 martyrs.
Side by side with this peaceful conquest of the African continent by the initiative of a French cardinal, a place of honour must be given to the wonderful part played in the colonization and development of French Guiana, since the year 1828, by Mother Javouhey, of whose efforts in Senegal we have already spoken. It was she, who under the July monarch, and at the request of the government, undertook in Guiana the work of civilizing the unfortunate negroes taken by the men-of-war from captured slave ships, and whom she eventually employed as free workmen. Her example alone would suffice to refute the slander so often repeated that the French are not a colonizing race.
Only in one part of the world the East is this vast missionary movement aided, however slightly, by the French Treasury. In the Levant a certain number of church schools received state aid as a help to the spreading of the French language, but of late years these subventions have been opposed and diminished. On 12 December, 1906, M. Dubief, in moving the Budget of Foreign Affairs, proposed to suppressed the sums voted to aid the schools conducted by religious congregations in the East. M. Pichon, minister of Foreign Affairs, promised to hasten the work of laicization, and by means of this promise he secured the continuation of the credit of 92,000 francs. It is a matter of regret that the aim of the Chambers for some years past has been to cut down the assistance given by France to these schools, and to create in the East French educational institutions of a purely secular character. M. Marcel Charlot, in 1906, and M. Aulard, in 1907, the one in the name of the State, the other in the interest of la Mission Laïque, made a critical study of our religious schools in the east, and contributed to the laicizing movement which, if successful, would mean the dissolution of France's religious clientèle in the East and a lessening of French political influence.
Side by side with the part France has played in the missionary field, the diplomatic activity at Rome of the Third Republic, in its character as a protector of pious institutions, is worth noting. It tends to prove the depth, the reality, the force which underlay the old saying: Gallia Ecclesiæ Primogenita Filia.
In 1890, on the occasion of the French workingmen's pilgrimage, Count Lefebvre de Béhaine, the French ambassador, formally renewed the claims of the French Republic over the chapel of St. Petronilla, founded by Pepin the Short in the basilica of St. Peter. The principal religious establishments over which certain prerogatives were exercised by the French embassy at Rome, until its suppression in 1903, were: the church and community of chaplains of St. Louis the French, the French national church in Rome, dating back to a confraternity instituted in 1454; the pious foundation of St. Yves of the Bretons, which dates from 1455; the church of St. Nicholas of the Lorrainers, which dates from 1622; the church of St. Claudius of the Burgundians, which dates from 1652; the convent of Trinità on the Pincian Hill, which was founded by Charles VIII, in 1494, for the Friars Minor, and became, in 1828, a boarding school under the care of the French ladies of the Sacred Heart. There has also been an ancient bond between France and the Lateran Chapter, by reason of the donations made to the chapter by Louis XI and Henry IV, and the annual grant apportioned to it by Charles X, in 1845, and by Napoleon III, in 1863. Although this grant was discontinued by the republic in 1871, the Lateran Chapter until the suppression of the Embassy of the Holy See (1904) always kept up official relations with the French ambassador whom, on the 1st of January of each year, it charged with a special message of greeting to the President of the Republic. Lastly, since 1230 there has always been a French auditor of the Rota. In 1472 Sixtus IV formally recognized this to be the right of the French nation. The allowance made by France to the auditor was discontinued in 1882, but the office has survived, and the reorganization of the tribunal of the Rota made by Pope Pius X (September and October 1908) was followed by the appointment of a French auditor.
In 1780 France, with the exception of Venaissin, which belonged immediately to the pope, was divided into 135 dioceses; eighteen archbishoprics or ecclesiastical provinces with 106 suffragan sees and eleven sees depending on foreign metropolitans. The latter eleven sees were: Strasburg, suffragan of Mainz; St-Dié, Nancy, Metz, Toul, Verdun, suffragans of Trier; and five in Corsica, suffragans of Genoa or of Pisa. The eighteen archiepiscopal sees were: Aix, Albe, Arles, Auch, Besonçon, Bourdeaux, Bourges, Cambrai, Embrun, Lyons, Narbonne, Paris, Reims, Rouen, Sens, Toulouse, Tours, Vienne. In 1791 the constituent assembly suppressed the 135 dioceses, and created ten metropolitan sees with one suffragan diocese in each department. The Concordat of 1851 set up fifty bishoprics and ten archbishoprics; the Concordat of 1817 made a fresh arrangement, which was realized in 1822 and 1823 by the creation of new bishoprics. France and its colonies are presently divided in to ninety dioceses, of which eighteen are metropolitan and seventy-two suffragan, as follows:
- Marseilles (Metropolitan) Fréjus, Digne, Gap, Nice, Ajaccio. (Suffragans)
- Albi Rodez, Cahors, Mende, Perpignan.
- Algiers Constantine, Oran.
- Auch Aire, Tarbes, Bayonne.
- Avignon Nîmes, Valence, Viviers, Montpellier.
- Besançon Verdun, Belley, St-Dié, Nancy.
- Bordeaux Agen, Angoulême, Poitiers, Périgueux, La Rochelle, Luçon, La Basse-Terre (Guadaloupe, W. I.), Réunion (Indian Ocean), Fort-de-France, Martinique, W. I.).
- Bourges Clermont, Limoges, Le Puy, Tulle, St-Flour.
- Cambrai Arras.
- Chambér Annecy, Tarentaise, Maurienne.
- Lyons Autun, Langres, Dijon, St-Claude, Grenoble.
- Paris Chartres, Meaux, Orléans, Blois, Versailles.
- Reims Soissons, Châlons-sur-Marne, Beauvais, Amiens.
- Rennes Quimper, Vannes, St-Brieuc.
- Rouen Bayeux, âvreux, Séez, Coutances.
- Sens Troyes, Nevers, Moulins.
- Toulouse Montauban, Pamiers, Carcassonne.
- Tours Le Mans, Angers, Nantes, Laval.
The policy known as anticlerical, inaugurated by Gambetta in his speech at Romans, 18 September, 1878, containing the famous catchword "Le cléricalisme, c'est l'ennemi", was due to the influence of the Masonic lodges, which ever since that date have shown their hatred even of the very idea of God. If one carefully follows up the series of aspirations uttered at the Masonic meetings, there will surely be found the first germ of the successive laws which have been framed against the Church. To justify its action before the people, the Government has asserted that the sympathies of a great number of Catholics, including the many of the clergy, were for the monarchical parties. This policy also presented itself as a retaliation for the attempt of the 16th of May, 1877, by which the monarchists had tried to impede in France the progressive actions of the liberals (la Gauche) and of the democratic spirit. Its first embodiments were, in 1879, the exclusion of the priests from the administrative committees of hospitals and of boards of charity; in 1880, certain measures directed against the religious congregations; from 1880 to 1890, the substitution of lay women for nuns in many hospitals; and, in 1882 and 1886, the "School Laws" (lois scolaires) which will later on be discussed in detail.
The Concordat continued to govern the relations of Church and State, but in 1881, the method of stoppage of salary (suppression de traitement) began to be employed against priests whose political attitude was unsatisfactory to the Government, and the Law of 1893, which subjected the financial administration of church property to the same rules as civil establishments, occasioned lively concern among the clergy. As early as March, 1888, Leo XIII had written to President Grévy, complaining of the anti-religious bitterness, and expressing a hope that the eldest daughter of the Church would find it possible to abandon this struggle if she would not forfeit that unity and homogeneity among her citizens which had been the source of her own peculiar greatness, and thus oblige history to proclaim that one inconsiderate day's work had destroyed in France the magnificent achievement of the ages. Jules Grévy replied that the religious feeling complained of way the outcome mainly of the hostile attitude of a section of the clergy to the Republic. Some years later (12 November, 1890), Cardinal Lavigerie, returning from Rome, and inspired by Leo XIII, delivered a speech in the presence of all the authorities, military and civil, of Algeria, in which he said: "When the will of a people as to the form of its government has been clearly affirmed, and when, to snatch a people from the abysses which threatens it, unreserved adhesion to this political form is necessary, then the moment has come to declare the test completed, and it only remains to make all those sacrifices which conscience and honour permit us, and command us, to make for the good of our country." This speech, which caused a great commotion, was followed by a letter of Cardinal Rampolla, Secretary of State to Leo XIII, addressed to the Bishop of St-Flour, in which the cardinal exhorted Catholics to come forward and take part in public affairs, thus entering upon the readiest and surest path to the attainment of that noble aim, the good of religion and the salvation of souls. Lastly, a Brief of Leo XIII to Cardinal Lavigerie, in the early part of the year 1891, assured him that his zeal and activity answered perfectly to the needs of the age and the pope's expectations.
From these utterances dates in France the policy known as "Raillement", and as "Leo's Republican Policy". At once the Archbishops of Tours, Cambrai, the Bishops of Bayeux, Langres, Digne, Bayonne, and Grenoble declared their adhesion to the "Algiers Programme", and the Monarchical press accused them of "kissing the Republic feet of their executioners". On 16 January, 1892, a collective letter was published by the five French cardinals, enumerating all the acts of oppression sanctioned by the Republic against the Church, and concluding, in conformity with the wish of Rome, by announcing the following programme: Frank and loyal acceptance of political institutions; respect for the laws of the country whenever they do not clash with conscientious obligations; respect for the representatives of authority, combined with steady resistance to all encroachments on the spiritual domain.
Within a month the seventy-five bishops subscribed to the above programme, and in the atmosphere thus prepared, the voice of Pope Leo once more spoke out. In the Encyclical "Inter innumeras sollicitudines", dated 10 February, 1892, Leo XIII besought Catholics not to judge the Republic by the irreligious character of its government, and explained that a distinction must be drawn between the form of government, which ought to be accepted, and its laws which ought to be improved. Thus was the policy of rallying to the Republic precisely stated, as recommended to the Catholics of France, and expounded in the brochures, in Paris, of Cardinal Perraud, and at Rome, of Fr. Brandi, editor of the "Civiltà Cattolica". Anticlericalists and Monarchists were alarmed. The Monarchists protested against the interference of the pope in French politics, and the anticlericals declared that the Republic had not room for "Roman Republicans". Both parties asserted that it was impossible to distinguish between the Republican form of government and the Republican laws. A trifling incident, arising out of a visit paid by some French pilgrims to the Parthenon in Rome, which contains the tomb of Victor Emmanuel, called forth from M. Falliéres, Minister of Justice, a circular against pilgrimages (October, 1891), and occasioned a lively debate in the French Chamber on the separation of Church and State. But in spite of these outbreaks of Anticlericalism, the political horizons, especially after the Encyclical of February, 1892, became more serene. The policy of combining Republican forces by a fusion of Moderates and Radicals to support a common programme of Republican concentration, which programme was incessantly developing new anticlerical measures as concessions to the Radicals gradually went out of fashion. After the October elections, in 1893, for the first time in many long years, a homogeneous ministry was formed, one ministry composed exclusively of Moderate Republicans, and known as the Casimir Périer-Spuller Ministry. On 3 March, 1894, in a discussion in the Chamber on the prohibition of religious emblems by the socialist Mayor of Saint-Denis, Spuller, the minister of Public Worship, declared that it was time to take a stand against all fanaticisms whatsoever against all sectaries, regardless of the particular sect to which they might belong and that the Chamber could rely at once of the vigilance of the Government to uphold the rights of the State, and on the new spirit (esprit nouveau) which animated the Government, and tended to reconcile all citizens and bring back all Frenchmen to the principles of common sense and justice, and of the charity necessary for every society that wishes to survive. Thus it seemed that there would be developing, side by side with the policy of ralliement practised by the Church, a similar conciliatory policy on the part of the State.
A letter from Cardinal Rampolla, dated 30 January, 1895, to M. Auguste Roussel, formerly an editor of the "Univers", but who had become editor-in-chief of the "Vérité", found fault with the latter periodical for stirring up feeling against the Republic, fostering in the mind of its readers the conviction that it was idle to hope for religious peace from such a form of government, creating an atmosphere of distrust and discouragement, and thwarting the movement toward general good-feeling which the Holy See desired, especially in light of the elections. This letter created a great sensation, and the newspaper polemics contrasted the Catholics of the "Univers" and the "Croix", docile toward Leo XIII, with the refractory Catholics of the "Vérité". On 5 February, 1896, Félix Faure wrote as follows to Pope Leo: "The President of the Republic cannot forget the generous motives which prompted the advice given by Your Holiness to the Catholics of France, encouraging them to accept loyally the government of their country. Your Holiness regrets that these appeals for harmony and peace have not been everywhere listened to; and we join in those regrets. That enlightened advice given to the opponents of the Republic, for whose consciences the head of the Church is 'all-powerful', ought to have been followed by all. Nevertheless, we note at the present time, with regret, that there are men who, under the cloak of religion, foment a policy of discord and of strife. It would, however, be unjust not to recognize that, while the salutary instructions of Your Holiness have not produced all the effects that might have been expected of them, very many loyal Catholics have bowed before them. At the same time, this manifestation of goodwill produced among those Republicans who were most firmly attached to the rights of the civil power a spirit of conciliation which has largely contributed to mitigate the conflict of passions which saddened us."
This letter, published for the first time at the end of the year 1905, in the "White Book" of the Holy See, places in clear relief the relations existing between the Church and the Republic four years after the encyclical of February, 1892, and three months before the formation of the Méline Ministry, which was to lead the Republic towards even greater moderation. The Méline Ministry (1896-98) secured for Catholics for two years a certain amelioration of their lot. But the division among Catholics persisted, and this division, which arose from their indocility to Leo XIII, was the principal cause of their defeat in the elections of 1898, when the Méline Ministry came to an end. The old Anticlerical Republican party came once more into power; the Dreyfus affair, a purely judicial matter around which political factions grew up, was made the pretext on the morrow of the death of President Faure (16 February, 1899) for beginning a formidable antimilitarist, and anticlerical agitation, which led to the formation of the Waldeck-Rousseau and the Combes Ministries.
The Waldeck-Rousseau Ministry (1899-1902) passed fresh legislation against the congregations (it will be found in detail at the end of this article) and brought France to the verge of a breach with Rome over the question of the Nobis nominavit. These two words, which occurred in episcopal Bulls, signified that the priest chosen by the State to fill a bishopric had been designated and presented to the Holy See. On 13 June, 1901, when Bulls were required for the bishops of Carcassonne and Annecy, the Waldeck-Rousseau Ministry proposed that the word Nobis should be omitted, in order to affirm more clearly the State's right of nomination. The Combes Ministry (1902-05) continued the dispute over this matter, and on 22 November, 1903, the Holy See, in order to avoid a breach with France, agreed to omit the obnoxious word, on condition that, in future, the President of the Republic should demand the canonical institution of bishops by letters patent, containing the words, We name him, and present him to Your Holiness. In spite of this concession by the Holy See, M. Combs set himself the task of planning the separation of Church and State. He felt that public opinion was not yet ripe for this stroke, and all his efforts were directed to making separation inevitable. The laicization of the naval and military hospitals (1903-04), the order prohibiting soldiers to frequent Catholic clubs (9 February, 1904); the vote of the Chamber (14 February, 1904) in favour of the motion to repeal the Falloux Law were episodes less serious than the succession of calculated acts by which the breach with Rome was being approached.
Three quarrels succeeded one another.
- In regard to vacant sees, Combe's policy was to demand canonical institution for the candidate of his choice without previously consulting Rome. The Holy See refused its consent in the cases of the bishoprics of Maurienne, Bayonne, Ajaccio, and Vannes, and accepted M. Combe's candidate for Nevers. "All or none", replied M. Combes, on 19 March, 1904, to the nuncio, Mgr Lorenzelli; and all the sees remained vacant.
- On 25 March, 1904, the chamber agreed, by 502 votes against 12, to allocate a sum of money to defray the expenses of a visit by M. Loubet, President of the Republic, to Rome. M. Loubet was thus the first head of a Catholic State to pay a visit to the King of Italy in Rome. A note from Cardinal Rampolla to M. Nisard, the French Ambassador, dated 1 June, 1903, and a dispatch from the cardinal to the nuncio, Lorenzelli, dated 8 June, had explained the reasons why such a visit would be considered a grave affront to the Holy See. On 28 April, 1904, Cardinal Merry del Val sent a protest to M. Nisard against M. Loubet's visit to Rome. On 6 May, M. Nisard handed to Cardinal Merry del Val a diplomatic note in which the French government objected to the reasons given by the Holy See and to the manner in which they were presented. At the same time, to prevent the heads of other Catholic counties from following M. Loubet's example, the Holy See sent a diplomatic note to all the powers in which it was explained that if, in spite of this visit, the nuncio to France had not been recalled, it was only for very grave reasons of an order and nature altogether special. By an indiscretion, which has been attributed to the Government of the Principalityof Monaco, "L'Humanité", a newspaper belonging to the socialist deputy, Jaurès, published this note on 17 May. On 20 May, M. Nisard sought an explanation from Cardinal Merry del Val; on 21 May was granted leave of absence by his Government; and on 28 May, in the Chamber, the Government gave it to be understood that M. Nisard's departure from Rome had a significance much more serious than that of a simple leave of absence.
- Having learned of a letter from Cardinal Serafino Vannutelli (17 May, 1904) inviting Monsignor Geay, Bishop of Laval, in the name of the Holy Office, to resign his see, and of a letter in which Monsignor Lorenzelli, the papal nuncio, requested Monsignor Le Nordez, Bishop of Dijon, to desist from holding ordinations until further orders, the French Government caused its chargé d'affaires at Rome, M. Robert de Courcel, to inquire into the matter. When on 9 July, 1904, Cardinal Merry del Val cited Mgr Le Nordez to appear at Rome within fifteen days, under pain of suspension, M. Robert de Courcel announced to the cardinal that, unless this letter to Mgr Le Nordez was withdrawn, diplomatic relations between France and the Holy See would cease; and on 30 July, 1904, a note handed by M. Robert de Courcel to Cardinal Merry del Val announced that France had decided to put an end to these relations.
Laws affecting the congregations
The Monarchy had taken fiscal measures against property held in mortmain ("the dead hand") but the first rigorous enactments against religious congregations date from the Revolution. The Law of 13 February, 1790, declared that monastic vows were no longer recognized, and that the orders and congregations in which such vows were made were forever suppressed. The Concordat itself was silent as to congregations; but the Eleventh of the Organic articles implicitly prohibited them, declaring that all ecclesiastical establishments except chapters and seminaries were suppressed. Two years later a decree, dated 3 Messidor, Year XII, suppressing certain congregations which had come into existence in spite of the law, added a provision that the civil authority could, by decree, formally authorize such associations after having taken cognizance of their statutes. The Lazarists, the Missions Estrangères, the Friars of the Holy Ghost, and the Sulpicians were, in virtue of this law, authorized by decree in 1804; the Brothers of the Christian Schools, in 1808. Under the restoration, the Chamber of Peers refused the king the right of creating congregations by royal warrant (par ordonnace), asserting that for each particular re-establishment of a congregation a law was necessary.
Such was the principle which ruled until the year 1901; but the applications of that principle varied with the changes of government. Under the Second Empire it was admitted in practice that a simple administrative authorization was sufficient to legalize a congregation of women, provided that such congregation adopted the statutes of a congregation previously authorized. Under the Third Republic, it was under the pretext of a strict enforcement of the law that, in 1880, the Society of Jesus was dissolved, and the other congregations were ordered to apply for authorization with three months. The protests of the Catholics, and the criticisms which became general on the archaic character of the laws upon which these decrees were based had this much effect, that, after a brutal application of the decrees to most of the congregations of men, the government dare not apply them to the unauthorized congregations of women; they gradually became a dead letter; and little by little the congregations of men were re-formed in the name of individual liberty. But in this condition of affairs, only the formally authorized congregations could be considered as "moral persons" before the law. Since 1849 the religious congregations had been paying into the treasury a "mortmain tax" (taxe des biens de mainmorte) in lieu of the succession duties which the properties of a "moral person" escapes. On the twofold consideration that this tax did not touch personal estate and that property held in unacknowledged mortmain evaded it, the Third republic passed the following enactments.
- A law of increment (droit d'accroissement) so called because it was intended to reach that increase in the individual interest of each surviving member in the common estate which should accrue upon the decease of a fellow-member. This duty is represented by a composition tax (taxe abonnement) assessed at the rate of 0.3 percent on the market value of the real and person estate held by the association. On real estate held by associations not subject to the mortmain law, the rate is 0.4 percent.
- A tax of four percent on the revenue of property owned or occupied by congregations, this revenue being assumed equal to one-twentieth of the gross value of the property.
The law of associations, as of 1 July, 1901, provided that no congregation, whether of men or of women, could be formed without a legislative authorizing act, which act should determine the function of such congregation. Thus ended the regime of tolerance to congregations of women which had been inaugurated by the Empire. Congregations previously authorized and those which should subsequently obtain authorization had, according to this law, the status of "moral persons", but this status held them to an obligation and kept them perpetually under a threat. On the one hand, it was enacted that they must each year draw up a list of their members, an inventory of their possessions, and a statement of their receipts and expenses, and must present these documents to the prefectoral authority upon demand. On the other hand, it was provided that, to deprive any congregation of its authorization, nothing more was required than an ordinary decree of the Council of Ministers. And lastly, these authorized congregations could found "new establishments" only in virtue of a decree of the Council of State, and the Council of State, in interpreting the law, considers that there is a "new establishment" when laymen in cooperation with one or more members of a congregation set up a school or a hospital. If the master of an industrial enterprise rewards a sister for teaching or caring for the children of this workmen, the law considers that there is a new establishment, for which an authorization of the Council of State is necessary. As for the unauthorized Congregations, the Law of 1901 declared them dissolved, allowing them three months to apply for authorization. Congregations which should re-form after dissolution, or which should in the future be formed without authorization were, by the same law, made liable to pains and penalties (fines of from 16 to 5000 francs; terms of imprisonment of from 6 days to one year); double penalties were to be inflicted on founders and administrators, and the act of providing premises for, and thus abetting, the operation of such congregations was, in 1902, declared an offense entailing the same penalties. Moreover, the law made every member of an unauthorized religious congregation incapable of directing any teaching establishment, or of teaching in one, under pain of fine or imprisonment, and this offense might entail the closing of the establishment. The Government found itself face-to-face with 17,000 unauthorized congregations; it decided to dissolve all of them without exception educational establishments, industrial establishments, contemplative establishments though charitable establishments were tolerated provisionally.
From another point of view the law was singularly arbitrary and juridically defective; it struck at every member of a religious congregation who was not secularized, but it did not precisely state what constitutes secularization. Is it sufficient, for secularization to be effective and sincere, that the religious or, to employ the current French term, the congréganiste should be absolved from his vows and should re-enter the diocese from which he originally came? The prevalent legal opinion does not admit this; it admits the right of the courts to ascertain whether other elements of fact do not result in a virtual persistence of the congregation. Thus the courts may regard as religious persons who, in the eyes of the Church, are no longer such; and the fact of being a congréganiste, which fact constitutes an offense, is not a precise, material fact defined and limited by the letter of the enactment; it is a point upon which the interpretation of the courts remains the sovereign authority.
The principles of liquidation were as follows: property belonging to congréganistes before their entrance to the congregation, or acquired since that time, whether by succession independent of testamentary provision (ab intestat) or by legacy in direct line, was to be restored to them. Gifts and bequests made otherwise than in direct line could not legally be claimed by the former congréganistes unless they established the point that they had not been intermediaries (personnes interposées). Benefactions to congregations could be reclaimed by benefactors or their heirs within a term of six months. After these deductions made by the congréganistes and their benefactors, the residue of the estate of the congregation was to be subject to the disposition of the courts. The law refused to recognize that property created by the labour or thrift of the congréganistes necessarily ought to be distributed among them, and it was held sufficient that, by an administrative ruling of 16 August, 1901, provision was made for allowances to former congréganistes who had no means of subsistence or who should establish the fact of having by their labour contributed to the acquisition of the property under liquidation.
The juridical liquidation of the congregational estates had some serious consequences. The Chamber soon perceived that too often the liquidators intentionally complicated the business with which they were charged (it being in their interest to multiple lawsuits the expense of which could not in any case fall upon them) and that the personal profits derived by the liquidators from these operations were exorbitant. In confiding so delicate a business to irresponsible functionaries, the framer of the Law of 1901 had committed a grave error of judgment. On 31 December, 1907, the Senate resolved to nominate a commission of inquiry to examine the accounts of the liquidators, and the report of this commission, published in early September, 1908, revealed enormous irregularities. It was to satisfy these belated misgivings, that the Government, in February, 1908, introduced a bill substituting for the irresponsible judicial liquidation an administrative liquidation under the control of the prefects. But this provision is to apply only to the congregations which shall be dissolved hereafter; what has happened in the past seven years is irreparable, and when Catholic publicists speak of "the evaporation of the famous milliard of the congregations" the champions of the Law of 1901 are painfully embarrassed.
The laicization of primary instruction
(a) As to the Matter of Instruction
The Law of 28 March, 1882, which made primary instruction obligatory, gratuitous, and secular (laïque), intentionally omitted religious instruction from the curriculum of the public school, and provided one free day every week, besides Sunday, to allow the children, if their parents saw fit, to receive religious instruction; but this instruction was to be given outside of the school buildings. Thus the priest had no right to enter the schools, even outside of class hours, to hold catechism. The school regulations of 18 January, 1887, laid it down that the children could be sent to church for catechism or religious exercises only outside of class hours, and that teachers were not bound either to take them to church or to watch over their behaviour while there. It was added that during the week preceding the First Communion teachers were to allow pupils to leave the school when their religious duties called them to church. The spirit of the Law of 1882 implied that religious emblems should be excluded from the schools, but out of regard for the religious feelings of the people in those neighbourhoods, the prefects allowed the crucifixes to remain in a certain number of schools; they took care, however, that no religious emblems should be placed in any of the newly erected school buildings. This temporizing policy was continued by the ministerial order or 9 April, 1903, but in 1906 and 1907 the administration at last called for the definitive disappearance of the crucifix from all public schools.
The Law of 1882 is silent as to the teaching, in the public schools, of the students' duties toward God. The Senate, after a speech by Jules Ferry, refused to entertain the proposal of Jules Simon, that these duties should be mentioned in the law; but the Board of Education (Conseil Supérieur de l'Instruction Publique), acting on a recommendation of Paul Janet, the Spiritualist philosopher, inserted in the executive instructions, with which it supplemented the text of the law, a recommendation that the teacher should admonish the pupils not to use the name of God lightly, to respect the idea of God, and to obey the laws of God as revealed by conscience and reason. However, in the public schools dependent on the municipality of Paris, the antispiritualist tendency became so violent that, after 1882, the new edition of certain school books expunged, even where they occurred in selected specimens of literature, the words God, Providence, Creator. These early manifestations led Catholics to declare that the laic and neutral school was really a Godless school. In the controversy which arose, some quotations from the public school textbooks became famous. For instance, la Fontaine's lines
Petit poisson deviendra grand,
Pourvu que Dieu lui prêtre vie
were made to read "que l'on lui prêtre vie". And while politicians were deprecating the assertion that the schools were Godless, the Masonic conventicles and the professional articles written by certain state pedagogues were explaining that the notion of God must eventually disappear in the school. In practice, the chapter of duties toward God was one which very few teachers touched upon. In 1894, M. Divinat, afterwards director of the normal school of the department of the Seine, wrote: "To teach God, it is necessary to believe in God. Now how are we to find in these days teachers whose souls are sincerely and profoundly religious? It may be affirmed without any exaggeration that, since 1882, the lay public school has been very nearly the Godless school."
This frank and unimpeachable testimony, justifying, as it does, all the sad predictions of the Catholics, has been corroborated by the experience of the last fifteen years. With the cry, Laïciser la laïque, a certain number of teachers have carried on an active campaign for the formal elimination of the idea of God, as a remnant of "Clericalism", from the school programme. The powerful organization known as the "Ligue de l'Enseignement", whose Masonic affinities are indisputable, has supported this movement. For the exponents of the tendency, to be laïque, one must be the enemy of all rational metaphysics to be laïque, one must be an atheist.
The very idea of neutrality in education, to which anti-religious teachers have not always consistently adhered, is nowadays out of favour with many members of the pedagogical profession. In 1904, the teachers of the Department of the Seine advocated, almost unanimously, in place of "denominational neutrality" (neutralité confessionelle), which they said was a lie (un mensonge), the establishment of a "critical teaching" (enseignement critique), which, in the name of science, should abandon all reserves in regard to denominational susceptibilities. But that neutrality was something very closely resembling a lie, is just what Catholic orators were saying in 1882, and thus the evolution of the primary school, and these fits of candour in which the very truth of the matter is confessed, justify, after a quarter of a century, the fears expressed by Catholics at the very outset. It is to be feared, moreover, that this substitution of critical for neutral teaching will very soon issue in the introduction, even in the primary schools, of lessons on the history of religions which shall serve as weapons against Christian revelation; such a step is already being advocated by the Freemasons and by certain groups of unbelieving savants, and herein lies one of the greatest perils of to-morrow. Bills introduced by MM. Briand and Doumergue impose heavy penalties on fathers whose children refuse to make use of the irreligious books given them by their teachers, and render it impossible for parents to prosecute teachers whose immoral and irreligious instruction may give them reason for complaint. These bills, which are soon to be discussed, are now (June, 1909) producing a very painful impression.
(b) Laicization of the Teaching Staff
The Law of 30 October, 1886, drawn and advocated by Renè Goblet, called for the laicization of the teaching staff in the public schools. In the schools for boys this laicization has been an accomplished fact since 1891, since which date no Brother of the Christian Schools has acted either as principal or as teacher in public primary instruction. The difficulty of forming a body of female lay teachers impeded the process of laicizing the public schools for girls, but this, too, has been complete since 1906, except in some few communes, where it is to be effected before the year 1913.
Denominational primary instruction
From the eleventh century onwards, history shows unmistakable traces, in most provinces of France, of small schools founded by the Church, such as were recommended by Charlemagne's capitulary in the year 789. The ever-increasing number of schools, writes Guibert de Nogent in the twelfth century, makes access to them easy for the humblest. The seventeenth century saw the foundation of a certain number of teaching institutes; the Ursulines, who between the year 1602 and the Revolution, founded 289 houses, and who numbered 9000 members in 1792; the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent De Paul founded in 1630, recognized in 1657; the Congregation of Notre-Dame, founded by St. Peter Fourier, recognized in 1622; the Brothers of the Christian Schools, called, in the eighteenth century, Brothers of Saint-Yon, founded by St. John the Baptist de la Salle, and who had 123 classes in 1719, when their founder died, and 550 classes in 1789. In the last twenty years a large number of monographs which have been given restricted publication in the provinces, have presented historical evidence of the care which the Church was devoting to primary education during the period immediately preceding the Revolution. At the beginning of the Consulate, Fourcroy, anti-religious as he was, alarmed, to use his own words, at the "almost total ineffectiveness of the primary schools" (nullité presque totale), recommended it as a useful expedient, to confide a portion of the primary teaching to the clergy and to revive "the Institute of the Brothers, which had formerly been of the greatest service". In 1805, the Brothers, having re-established a mother-house at Lyons, were solicited to furnish teachers in thirty-six towns. The Government of the First Empire authorized in ten years 880 communities or establishments of teaching sisters; the Restoration, less generous, authorized only 599; the Monarchy of July only 389. Until 1833 these congregations could exercise their functions only in schools controlled by the State, for the University would allow no infringement of its monopoly. The magnificent tribute to the educational activity of the clergy which Guizot uttered during the debates on the Law of 1833 was endorsed by the law itself which, partially suppressing the monopoly of the University, established the principal of free primary teaching. The Law of 25 March, 1850, held "letters of obedience" given by religious associations to their members, to be equivalent to the diplomas given by the State, which legally qualified their recipients to be teachers. Between 1852 and 1860 the Empire issued 884 decrees recognizing congregations or local establishments of teaching sisters; from 1861 to 1869 the period of change which followed the Italian war while Duruy was Minister of Public Instruction, only 77 of these decrees were issued.
The Law of 28 March, 1882, deprived the "letters of obedience" of all their value by providing that every teacher must hold a diploma (brevet) from one of the government jurys, or examining boards. The congrégationistes (see above) submitted to this formality. With this exception, the Law upheld the liberty of private teaching. The Law of 1886 authorized mayors and school inspectors (inspecteurs d'académie) to oppose the opening of any private school on moral or hygienic grounds; in such cases the litigation was taken before one of the university councils (conseils universitaires), in which the private educational establishments were represented by elected delegates, and the council gave a decision. These councils could also take disciplinary action against private teachers, in the form of censure or suspension of teaching licence. The masters and mistresses of private schools might give religious instruction in their schools, and were left free in the choice of methods, programs, and books, but the state authority, after consultation with the Council of Public Instruction (Conseil Supérieur de l'Instruction Publique), might prohibit the introduction and use of books judged contrary to morality, the Constitution, of the law. An order of the Council of State, dated 29 July, 1888, declared that neither departments nor communes had a legal right to grant appropriations, on their respective local budgets, to private schools; thus the establishment and support of these schools has fallen on Catholic charity exclusively. The communes can only give assistance to poor pupils in private schools as individuals.
A first, very serious, attack on the principal of freedom of teaching was made by the Law of 7 July, 1904, which formally declared that "teaching of every grade and every kind is forbidden in France to the congregations". The members of the authorized congregations, equally with the rest, fell under the disability thus created. Every Brother, every religious woman, who wished to continue the work of teaching was forthwith compelled to be secularized, and the courts remained, and still remain, competent to contest the legal value of such secularizations. A clause, the legal effect of which was transitory, was introduced empowering the Government, according to the needs of particular localities, to authorize for one or more years the continuance of congréganiste schools; but M. Combes immediately closed 14,404 out of 16,904 such schools, and it is decreed that in 1910 the last of the congréganiste schools shall have disappeared.
From time to time the Ministry publishes a list of congréganiste schools which must be closed definitely by the end of the school year, and thus the Government in power is the sole arbiter to accord or to refuse them a few last years of existence. The bishops are seeking to maintain primary Catholic education or to reorganize it with secular or lay teachers. In some diocese a movement is on foot for the acquisition of teaching diplomas for the seminarists. Already in twenty-four diocese there are diocesan organizations for free teaching diocesan committees composed of ecclesiastics and laymen, which maintain a strict control of all the private schools in their diocese. These measures have been imperatively demanded in order to repair the losses suffered by free primary education, the number of pupils having fallen, according to statistics complied in 1907 by M. Keller, from 1,600,000 to 1,000,000.
Denominational secondary education
Statistics published by the Education Commission (Commission d'Enseignement) show that, out of a total of 162,110 pupils in the secondary schools for the year 1898, 50,793 belonged to the lycées, 33,949 to the colleges, 9725 to private establishments taught by laymen, and 67,643 to private establishments taught by ecclesiastics. To these figures must be added 23,497 boys in the petits séminaires. Thus, in the aggregate, the State was giving primary education to 84,742 pupils; the Church to 91,140.
The fundamental law on secondary education is still the Falloux Law of 15 March, 1850. Any Frenchman over twenty-five years of age, having the degree of Bachelor, or a special diploma of qualification (brevet de capacité), may, after passing a term of five years in a teaching establishment, open a house of secondary education, subject to objections on moral or hygienic grounds, of which grounds the university councils are the judges. In contrast with the case of private primary education, Catholic establishments of secondary education may be subsidized by the communes or the departments.
A first serious stroke at the liberty of secondary education was delivered by the Law of 7 July, 1904, depriving the congréganistes of the right of teaching. Other projects, which the Government has already induced the Senate to accept, are now pending and these would exact much more rigorous conditions as to pedagogic qualifications on the part of Catholic secondary school teachers of either sex; the Catholic establishments would be subject to a compulsory inspection, bearing, as in the case of primary education, upon the conformity of the teaching with the Constitution and the law; the Government would reserve the right to close the establishment by decree. It may be foreseen in the course of the year 1909 all or part of these proposals will become law, and the effects will be disastrous, first, to Catholic girls' schools, where many of the teachers, whether laywomen or secularized congréganistes, will not immediately be in possession of the requisite diplomas. Such schools will thus be placed at a further disadvantage with the lycées, colleges, and courses for young women organized by the State under the Law of 21 December, 1880, numbering as many as 104, with 8300 pupils, in 1883, and in 1906, numbering 171, with 32,500 pupils. Secondly, for the petits séminaires the results will be still more disastrous.
These institutions have hitherto existed under a particular statute, which it will be necessary here to consider. "Secondary ecclesiastical schools", as the petits séminaires were then called, were made by the decrees of 9 April, 1809, and 15 November, 1811, dependent on the University. There was to be only one secondary ecclesiastical school in each department, and its course was to be that of the lycée, or college of the state. A warrant of Louis XVIII, dated 5 October, 1814, allowed a second petit séminaires in each department, subject to the authorization of the head (grand maître) of the University of France; it also gave permission for these institutions to be established in country districts, that the pupils should be obliged to assume the ecclesiastical habit after two years of study, and that the teachers should be directly dependent in the bishops. The circular of 4 July, 1816, forbade the petits séminaires to receive externs, and this prohibition was confirmed by the ordinance of June, 1828, which limited the number of their pupils to 20,000. In this way the Government wished the petits séminaires to be reserved exclusively for the education of future priests, and to be kept from competing with the University in any sense whatever, and upon these conditions it exempted them from taxation and from the control of the University, and granted them the rights of legal personality. The ordinances of 1828 were never formally abrogated, but in practice, since 1850, a certain number of petits séminaires, retaining certain privileges and immunities in recognition of their special mission, have received pupils in preparation not only for the priesthood, but also for a great variety of careers.
Legislative projects, the passage of which is now imminent, will be a source of at least temporary embarrassment to the petits séminaires, a certain number of which those, namely, which were diocesan institutions have disappeared in consequence of the Law of Separation. Statistics show that in 1906, Catholic secondary education possessed 104 fewer colleges, and 22,223 fewer pupils than in 1898, and that the number of pupils in petits séminaires had in eight years decreased by 8711.
Denominational higher education
Until 1882 the State supported five faculties of theology: at Paris, Bordeaux, Aix, Rouen, and Lyons. These faculties had no regular pupils, but only attendants at the lectures delivered by their professors; the Church attached no canonical value to the degrees; the state did not make these decrees a condition for any ecclesiastical appointment. The faculties themselves were suppressed by the Ferry Ministry.
The Protestants still had two faculties of theology maintained by the State; that of Paris, for Calvinists and Lutherans, and that of Montauban, for Calvinists exclusively. The separation Law of 1905 left these two faculties to be supported by the Protestants, and once detached from the University organizations, they have become free theological schools.
The university monopoly, abolished as to primary education by the Law of 1833, and as to secondary education by the law of 1850, was also abolished for higher education by the Law of 12 July, 1875, which permitted any Frenchman, subject to certain conditions, to create establishments of higher education. In the period between 1875 and 1907 the Institut Catholique de Paris admitted twenty-nine doctors of theology, thirteen of canon law, eight of scholastic philosophy, one hundred and ninety-two of law, thirty-two of literature, ten of science. The first three of these degrees have been gained by candidates under tests of the institute itself; the others from state boards (jurys). The institute is preparing to set up a medical course and one in the history of religion. The Institut Catholique de Lille has connected itself with a school of higher industrial and commercial instruction (see LOUIS BAUNARD); the Institut Catholique d'Angers, one of agriculture. The Institut Catholique de Toulouse has but one faculty, that of theology; it is organizing lectures for students of literature and of sciences who are following the courses of the state faculties.
Laws affecting the applications and effects of religion in civil life
(a) The Sunday Rest
The Revolution had abolished all institutions which formerly existed in connection with the Sunday rest and had substituted the décadi (see above) for the Sunday. Under the Restoration the Law of 18 November, 1814, forbade all "exterior" labour on Sunday; a tradesman might not open his shop; by the letter of the law, he might work and cause others to work in his closed shop. What the Restoration really aimed at was a public token of obedience to the precepts of religion. The Law of 12 July, 1880, on the contrary, permitted work on Sunday. The evil social effects of this law were soon perceived. Subtle discussions arose in the Chambers: should the weekly rest, which the labour organizations demanded, be a day fixed by legislation, or should it be Sunday? It was for some time feared that such a legislative prescription would look like a concession to denominationalism, but the decision of the Committee on Labour (conseil supêrieur du travail) and of many labour unions was explicit in favour of Sunday. On 10 July, 1906, a law was passed finally establishing Sunday as the weekly day of rest, and providing, moreover, numerous restrictions and exceptions, the details of which were to be arranged by administrative regulations. An unconscious homage to the Divine law, rendered by an unbelieving Parliamentary majority, this enactment, on account of a certain temporary disturbance which it occasioned in the country's industry and commerce, and in the supply of commodities, was the object of unfortunate aminadversions on the part of certain journals which were in other respects defenders of Catholic interests. The hostility manifested by a certain number of prominent Catholics towards the Sunday rest, and their cooperation with every attempt to restrict the application of the law, produced a regrettable effect on public opinion.
The form of oath administered in courts of justice is not peculiar to any creed. It supposes a belief in God. The images of Christ have disappeared from the courtrooms. Proposals are being considered by the Chambers to suppress the words "devant Dieu et devant hommes" (before God and man) in the legal form of oath, or to authorize a demand on the part of any atheist to have the oath administered to him in a different form.
Since the law made military service a universal obligation in France, three enactments have followed one another: that of 27 July 1872, dispensing ecclesiastics from the obligation; that of 15 July, 1889, which fixed the term of active service for ordinary citizens at three years, and for priests at one; that of 21 March, 1905, fixing the term of active service at two years for priests as for others, and imposing upon them, up to the age of forty-five, all the series of obligations to which members of the reserves and of the territorial army are subject.
Under the old regime, parish priests officially registered births, deaths, and marriages for the State. In 1787, Louis XVI accorded to the Protestants the same privilege which, indeed, they had enjoyed under the Edict of Nantes, from 1595 to 1685. The Revolutionary law and the code Napoléon deprived the clergy of this status. Civil marriage was instituted, and the priest was forbidden to solemnize any marriage not previously contracted in the presence of a civil functionary. Immediately after the separation of church and State (1905), the question was raised, whether this prohibition was still to be maintained; the Supreme Court of Appeals (Cour de Cassation) replied in the affirmative, and punished a priest who had blessed a marriage not contracted before the mayor. Certain courts have admitted that if, after a civil marriage, one of the two parties, contrary to previous engagements, should refuse to go to church, this would constitute an injury to the other party so grave as to justify a suit for divorce; but this opinion is not unanimous. Catholics, for that matter, wish to abolish the law requiring the previous civil marriage.
Some of the impediments defined by the Church are not recognized by the State, such as, e.g., the impediment of spiritual relationship. One impediment recognized by the civil code (articles 148-150), but which the Council of Trent refused to make a canonical impediment, in spite of the solicitation of Charles IX's ambassadors, is that which results from the refusal of parents' consent. The Law of 21 June 1907, the chief advocate of which was the Abbé Lamier, considerably loosened the obligations imposed on adults with regard to parental consent, and the discrepancies in this respect between the state law and the Church law have, in consequence, become less serious.
The Law of 20 September, 1792, admitted divorce, even by mutual consent, and abolished that form of separation which, while terminating cohabitation and community possessions, maintains the indissolubility of the civil bond. The Civil Code of 1804, though imposing conditions more rigorous than those of the Law of 1792, maintained divorce, and at the same time re-established legal separation (séparation de corps). The Law of 8 May, 1816, abolished divorce and maintained separation. The Law of 27 July, 1884, re-established divorce on the grounds of the condemnation of one party to an afflicting and infamous punishment, of violence, cruelty, and grave injuries, of adultery on the part of either husband or wife; it did not admit divorce by mutual consent; it maintained separation and authorized the courts to transform into a divorce, upon the demand of either party and cause shown, at the end of three years, a separation which had been granted at the suit of either. This law has recently been aggravated by two enactments which permit the adulterous husband to contract marriage with his accomplice and, instead of merely permitting the courts to convert separation into divorce at the end of three years, declare this conversion to be of right upon the demand of either party. The annual proportion of divorces to population has increased, from 3,68 per 10,000 inhabitants in 1900, to 5.57 per 10,000 inhabitants in 1907.
(e) Interments and Cemeteries
The Decree of 23 Prairial, Year XII, ordered that there should be distinctions of religious beliefs in regard to cemeteries. This decree was abrogated by the Law of 14 November, 1881, and since then a Protestant or a Jew may be buried in that part of the cemetery which had until then been reserved for Catholics. The Law of 15 November, 1887, on free interments, forbids any proceedings which may contravene the wishes of a deceased person who has, by "an authentic act", expressed a desire to be buried without religious ceremonies. To annul such an "act", the same normal conditions are required as for the revocation of a will, and as a consequence of this law, certain death-bed conversions, when the deceased has not had time to comply with the legal conditions of revocation, have been followed by non-religious burial.
The society founded in 1880 to promote cremation brought about, in 1886, the insertion of the word incinération in the law of free interments and, in 1889, the issue of an administrative order defining the conditions in which cremation might be practised. Between 1889 and 1904 the number of incinerations performed in the cemetery of Père Lachaise amounted to 3484.
The Decrees of 23 Prairial, Year XII, and of 18 May, 1806, assigned to the public establishments which had been constituted to administer the property and resources devoted to public worship (fabriques and consistoires) a monopoly of all undertaking, that is to say, all monies received on account of funeral processions, burial or exhumations, draperies, and other objects used to enhance the solemnity of funeral processions. Most of the fabriques, in the important towns, exploited this monopoly through middlemen. Some years ago attention was called in the Chambers to the fact that the profits derived from non-religious interments, as well as from religious, were being taken by the fabriques, and upon this pretext, the law of 28 December, 1904, laicized the business of funeral-management, assigning the monopoly of it to the communes. Only the furniture used for the exterior or interior decoration of religious edifices could thenceforward be provided by the fabriques. But the separation law of 1905 intervened, and all such decorative furniture became the property of the associations cultuelles (see below). As no association cultuelle was formed for the Catholic religion, the material fell into the hands of sequestrators of the fabrique property.
The Law of Separation
"The Law of Separation of the Churches and the State" (Loi de Séparation des Eglises et de l'Etat) of 1905 proceeded from the principle that the state professes no religious belief. Regarded from the viewpoint of the life of the Church, it completely dissociated the State from the appointment of bishops and parish priests. Soon after the passage of the law all the vacant sees received titulars by the direct nomination of Pius X. As to the annual revenue of the Church, the appropriation for public worship (budget des cultes), which in 1905 amounted to 42,324,933 francs, was suppressed. The departments and communes were forbidden to vote appropriations for public worship. The law grants, first, life pensions equivalent in each case to three-fourths of former salary to ministers of religion who were not less than sixty years of age when the law was promulgated and had spent thirty years in ecclesiastical services remunerated by the State. Secondly, it grants life pensions equivalent to one-half the salary to ministers of religion who were not less than forty-five years of age and had passed more than twenty years in ecclesiastical services remunerated by the State. It makes grants for periods of from four to eight years for ecclesiastics less than forty-five years of age who shall continue to discharge their functions. The law resulted, in the budget of 1907, in the elimination of the item of 37,441,800 francs ($7,488,360) for salaries to ministers of religion and the inclusion of 29,563,871 francs ($5,912,774) for the pensions and allowances of the first year, making a savings of about eight millions. As the allowances are to diminish progressively until the savings are complete, at the end of eight years, and as the pensions are to cease with the lives of the pensioners, the appropriations on account of religious worship will decrease notably as year follows year.
With respect to the buildings which the Concordat had placed at the disposal of the church, the law provides that the episcopal residences, for two years, the presbyteries and seminaries (grands séminaires), for five years, the churches, for an indefinite period, should be left at the disposal of the associations cultuelles, which will be discussed later on in this article. In regard to Church property, this consisted of (a) the mensæ episcopales and mensæ curiales (see Mensa), which were composed of the possessions restored to the Church after the concordat, together with the sum total of the donations made to bishoprics or parishes in the course of the intervening century; (b) the property of the parish fabriques, intended to meet all the expenses of public worship, and derived either from possessions restored to the Church after the Concordat or from gifts and legacies, and augmented by pew-rents, collections, and funeral fees. The Law of Separation divided the property of the mensæ and the fabriques into three classes. The first of these classes consisted of property received from the State, and this the State resumed; as to the second, consisting of property not received from the State, and on the other hand burdened with eleemosynary or educational obligations, it was ruled that the representatives of the fabriques could give it to public establishments or to establishments of public utility with eleemosynary or educational character, subject to the approbation of the prefect. Lastly, there was a third category which comprised property not derived from state grants and not burdened with any obligations or only with obligations connected with public worship. It was ruled that such property should pass into the hands of the associations cultuelles, and that if no such body appeared to receive it it should be assigned by decree to communal benevolent institutions within the territorial limits of the parish or diocese.
This brings us to the subject of the associations cultuelles. Under the Concordat, the episcopal mensa and the parochial fabrique were public institutions. When religious worship ceased to be a department of the public service, the Chambers, in order to replace the institutions which had been suppressed, wished to call into existence certain private "moral persons", or associations. Without any previous understanding with the Holy See, the rupture with which was already complete, the Chambers decided that in each diocese and each parish associations for religious worship (associations cultuelles) could be created to receive as proprietors the property of the mensa, with the responsibility of taking care of it. The transfer of the property was to be effected by decisions of the former fabriques in favor of these new associations. The law imposed a certain minimum number of administrators on each association, the number varying from seven to twenty-five, according to the importance of the commune, and the administrators might be French or foreign, men or women, priests or laymen. The preparation of statutes for the associations was left entirely free. Very lively controversies arose. It was suggested that the application of this law would be followed by an influx of lay Catholics, members of the associations cultuelles, into the government of the Church. Some thought this anxiety excessive; for, as the law allowed a number of adjacent parishes to be to be administered by a single association cultuelle, it seems that it would have been, strictly speaking, possible for one association, composed of the bishop and twenty-four priests chosen by him, to receive both the property of the mensa and that of all the parishes of the diocese.
But other reasons for anxiety appeared when Articles 4 and 8 of the Law were carefully compared. Article 4 provided that these associations must, in their constitutions, "conform to the general rules of organization of public worship", and as a matter of fact, at Riom, in 1907, the court refused the use of the church to a schismatical priest who was supported by a schismatical association cultuelle. But Article 8 provided for the case by which several associations cultuelles, each with its own priest, should lay claim to the same church, and gave the Council of State the right to decide between them, "taking account of the circumstances of fact". Thus, while, according to Article 4, it appeared that the cultuelle recognized by, and in communion with, the hierarchy must naturally be the owner of the property of the fabrique, Article 8 left to the Council of State, a purely lay authority, the settlement of any dispute which might arise between a cultuelle faithful to the bishop and a schismatic cultuelle. Thus it belonged to the Council of State to pronounce upon the orthodoxy of any association cultuelle and its conformity with the "general rules of public worship" as provided by Article 4.
A general assembly of the episcopate, held 30 May, 1906, considered the question of the association cultuelles, but the decisions reached were not divulged. Should such associations be formed according to the Law, or must they refuse to form any? In the month of March, twenty-three Catholic writers and members of the Chambers had expressed, in a confidential letter to the bishops, a hope that cultuelles might be given a trial. The publication of this letter had stirred up a bitter controversy, and for some months the Catholics of France were seriously divided. Pius X, in the Encyclical "Gravissimo oficii" (10 August, 1906), gave it as his judgment that this law, made without his assent, and which even purported to be made against him, threatened to intrude lay authority into the natural operation of the ecclesiastical organization; the Encyclical prohibited the formation, not only of associations cultuelles, but of any form of association whatsoever "so long as it should not be certainly and legally evident that the divine constitution of the Church, the immutable rights of the Roman pontiff and the bishops, such as their necessary authority over the property of the Church, particularly over the sacred edifices would, in the said association, be irrevocable and fully secure".
The half-contradiction between Article 4 and Article 8 was not the only serious contradiction which the Church could allege. The author of the law had further restricted in a singularly parsimonious fashion the property rights of the future associations cultuelles. They were permitted to establish unlimited reserve funds, but they were to have the free disposal of only a portion equivalent to six times the mean annual expenditure, and the surplus was to be kept in the Caisse des Déspôts et Consignations, and employed exclusively in the acquisition or conservation of real and personal property for the use of religious worship. Moreover, the business transactions of all the cultuelles were to be under state inspection and control.
Thus the law on the one hand did not leave to the Church, legally represented by the associations cultuelles, the right of freely possessing the ecclesiastical parsimony, of increasing it at will, of disposing of it at will; and on the other hand it left to the jurisdiction of the State the right, in any case of conflicting claims, to accept or to reject the claims of any cultuelle which might be in communion with the hierarchy.
The interdict laid upon the associations cultuelles had several juridical consequences. First, the third of the classes of fabriques property described above was placed under sequestration, to be assigned by the State to communal benevolent institutions, of which every commune possesses at least one the free hospital and dispensary. Secondly, the suppressed fabriques were under regular legal obligations, e.g., Masses to be said as consideration for pious foundations. In the intention of the author of the law, the obligation of causing these Masses to be said would have fallen upon the associations cultuelles; as these have not been founded, are the communal institutions, which enjoy the revenue of the foundations, bound to fulfil these obligations? For two years the responses given to this question by the civil authority were hesitating. The Law of 15 April, 1908, laid it down that these institutions shall in nowise be bound to cause Masses to be said in prospective consideration of which the foundations were established; that only the founders themselves or their heirs in direct line, shall have the right to claim, within a period of six months, restitution of the capital of the said foundation, but that certain clerical benefit societies (the mutualités sacerdotal, organized to received the funds of the old diocesan caisses for the support of superannuated priests) could receive income from these foundations and, in return, accept the obligation of the Masses. It appeared to the Holy See, however, that the constitutions of these benefit societies did not adequately safeguard the rights of the bishops, and the French clergy were thenceforward forbidden to avail themselves of this law. As the right of recovery on account of nonfulfillment of the conditions has been allowed only to heirs in the direct line, the numberless pious foundations established by priests or other celibates are forever lost. And at the present writing no pious foundation is legally feasible in France, because there is in the Church no personality legally qualified to receive such a bequest. Hence the absolute impossibility, for any French Catholic, for securing to himself in perpetuity the celebration in his own parish church of a Mass for the repose of his soul.
Thirdly, the use of the churches was to be assigned to the associations cultuelles, on the condition that the later should keep up the buildings. The cultuelles not having been formed, would the State take possession of the churches? It dared not; or rather it did not wish to drive home upon the popular mind the effect of the separation. After a brief period of transition, during which ridiculous procés-verbaux were drawn up against the priests who said Mass, the State left the religious edifices at the disposal of the clergy and people, officially placing assemblies for religious worship in the same official category as ordinary public gatherings; it was sufficient for the religious authority to make, at the beginning of each year, a declaration in advance for all the gatherings of public worship to be held during the year. Rome forbade the Church of France to comply with this formality of an annual declaration, thus once more endeavouring to make the State understand that legislation regulating the life of the Catholic Church could not depend on the mere will of the State, and that ecclesiastical authority could not, even by a simple declaration, actively concur in any such legislation. Once more it was thought that the closing of the churches was imminent. Then came two new laws.
The Law of 2 January, 1907, permits the exercise of religious worship in the churches purely on sufferance and without any legal title. According to this new law, the clergy have only the actual use of the edifices, the maintenance of which is an obligation incumbent upon the proprietor the State or the commune. But grave complications are to be expected. If the proprietor refuses the needful repairs, the church may be closed for the sake of public safety unless, that is, the faithful tax themselves to pay for repairs. The Church, tolerated in her own buildings, has no recourse against any mayor who might order the bells to be tolled for a nonreligious funeral. At one time it was believed that the priests would be able to rent the churches on lease, but, owing to the demands of ministerial orders, this last hope had to be abandoned. At last assemblages for religious worship were juridically classified as public meetings, and, as the Church refused to make the anticipatory declaration required by the law of 1881, on public meetings, a law passed of 28 March, 1907, abolished this requirement in respect of all public meetings, those for religious worship included.
Such was the patchwork of expedients by which the Government, embarrassed by its own law of 1905, and still refusing to negotiate with Rome, contrived what looked like a modus vivendi. The voter sees that the priest is still in the church, and that Mass is still being said there, and this is all that is needed by the Government to convince the shallow multitude that the Church is not persecuted, and that if the conditions of its existence are not prosperous, the blame must be laid on the successive refusals of the pope the refusal to permit the formation of cultuelles, the refusal to permit compliance with the law in the matter of declaring assemblies for public worship, the refusal to let priests to form mutualités approved by the State. All the evils of the situation are due to the fundamental error committed by the State at the very outset when, wishing to reorganize the life of the Church in France, it broke with the Holy See instead of opening negotiations. Hence the impossibility of the church actively co-operating in the execution of laws enacted by the civil authority in a purely one-sided fashion--laws which took the place of a concordat never regularly annulled. (See CONCORDAT OF 1801.)
Civil regulation of public worship
(a) Rules Relating to Religious Ceremonies
While, under the Concordat, an administrative regulation was necessary for the opening of even a private chapel, it is now lawful to open places of worship without any previous authorization. A mayor can prohibit processions in his commune simply on the pretext of avoiding public disorder; as a matter of fact, in most of the great cities of France, processions do not take place. Mayors can even prohibit the presence in funeral processions of priests wearing their vestments, but very few mayors have ever issued such an order. Both the parish priest and the mayor have authority to cause the bells to be rung. A ministerial circular dated 27 January, 1907, withholds from the mayor the right to have the bells rung for "civil baptisms" or for non-religious marriages or burials, but there is no penal sanction for the transgression of this order. It is now forbidden to erect or affix any religious sign or emblem in public places or upon public monuments; but the existing emblems remain, and private property may be decorated, even externally, with religious emblems.
(b) Repression of Interference with Religious Worship
The law punishes with a fine of from 16 to 200 francs and imprisonment of from six days to two months anyone who by violence, threats, or an act which may be construed as pressure (pression) has attempted to influence an individual to exercise or abstain from exercising any religious worship, or who, by disorderly conduct, interferes with exercise of any such worship. It punishes, with a fine of from 500 to 3000 francs or imprisonment of from two months to one year, outrages or slanders against functionaries, if committed publicly in places of religious worship, and of three months to two years any preacher who shall incite his hearers to resist the laws.
The Law of Separation and the Protestants and Jews
The Law of 1905 suppressed the special organic articles which regulated Protestant worship and the Decree of 1844 which had organized Jewish worship, recognized since 1806, and provided, since 1831, with state-paid rabbis. Before 1905 there had been a Reformed Church which was administered in each parish by a presbyterial council elected by the members of the denomination, and at the capital by a consistory to which all the councils sent delegates, and which nominated pastors with the consent of the Government. The Church was very much divided in theology. It included: the Orthodox, who had carried, in the general synod of 1872, by 61 votes to 45, a declaration of faith involving as of necessity the acceptance of certain dogmas; the Liberals, who, in spite of their defeat in 1872, continued to claim for the pastor an unlimited freedom of teaching in his own church; a midway party (centre droit) who were nearer to the Liberals than to the Orthodox. The Law of 1905, in terminating the official existence of a reformed Church, had this interesting result, that the theological divisions of the various groups openly expressed themselves in the formation of three distinct great organizations for the reformed religion: (1) the Union Nationale des Eglises Réformées Evangéliques, formed by the Orthodox at the Synod of Orléans (6 February, 1906), and requiring as a condition the acceptance of the Declaration of Faith of 1872; in this body, the regional synods, in which the delegates of the presbyterial associations meet, and the national synods hold spiritual authority; (2) the Union des Eglises Réformées de France, formed by the centre droit at the synod of Jarnac (June, 1907), with the like synodal organizations, and with the hope, hardly justified so far, of receiving the adhesion of both the extreme parties; (3) the United Reformed Churches (Eglises Réformées Unies), a very vague grouping of independent presbyterial associations, leaving to each Church its autonomy, restricting the functions of the synods, and representing, in place of dogma, the negative tendencies called "liberal". In this new threefold organization one feature, the consistory, disappeared.
The Jewish denomination has formed the Union des Associations Cultuelles Israélites en France. The central consistory is composed of the grand rabbi, certain rabbis elected by the graduates of the Rabbinical School of France who are employed in educational or religious functions, and lay members elected for a term of eight years by the associations cultuelles. The rabbis are elected, subject to the approval of the consistory.
The law authorizes the State, the departments, and the communes to pay salaries to chaplains in public institutions such a lycées, colleges, schools, hospitals, asylums, and prisons. In the Army the office of chaplain has not been abolished, but it remains unoccupied. Since 1 January, 1906, no minister of religion has been a member of the staff of any military hospital; the local ministers of religion may enter these hospitals at the request if sick soldiers. A decree dated 6 February, 1907, abolished the naval chaplaincies, but certain ecclesiastics who formerly filled these posts will continue to discharge the functions proper to them. The State does not allow appropriations for the maintenance of chaplaincies in schools were there are no boarders. It is a curious fact that, while the laws forbid priests to enter primary schools, they have, up to the present, admitted to the secondary schools chaplains paid out of the public purse; the Government feared that if this guarantee of religious training were wanting parents would send their children to private schools. But a practice recently established in a certain number of lycées tend to relieve the State of the expense of chaplaincies by compelling parents who wish their children to receive religious instruction to pay an additional sum.
Political groups, the press, and intellectual and social organizations
Politically speaking, the Catholic group which receives the active sympathies of the Catholic press is that known as the Action Libérale Populaire, founded by M. Jacques Piou, a Member of the Chambers, on the basis indicated for Catholics by the instructions of Leo XIII. This association, which was legally incorporated 17 May, 1902, comprises 14,000 committees and more than 200,000 adherents. It acts by means of lectures, publications, and congresses. In the Chamber elected in 1906 there were 77 deputies belonging to this association.
Catholic daily journalism is represented chiefly by "L'Univers", "La Croix", and the "People Français." The former of these papers, founded 3 November 1833, by the Abbé Migne, had Eugène Veuillot for its editor from 1839 on, and Louis Veuillot after 1844. Its adhesion to the political directions given by Leo XIII detached from the "Univers", in 1893, a group of editors who founded "La Vérité Français": this split ended with the amalgamation of the "Univers" and the Vérité", 19 January, 1907. In October, 1908, under the management of M. François Veuillot, acquired greater importance with an enlarged form. "The Good Press" (Maison de la Bonne Presse), founded in 1873 by the Augustinians of the Assumption, immediately after issued the "Pèlerin", a bulletin of pious enterprises and pilgrimages, and after 1883 a daily paper, "La Croix", which has been edited since 1 April, 1900, by M. Féron Vrau. About a hundred local "Croix" are connected with the Paris "Croix". "The Good Press" publishes "Questions Actuelles", "Cosmos", "Mois Littéraire", and many other periodicals, and with it is connected the "Presse Régionale", which maintains a certain number of provincial papers defending Catholic interests. Many independent papers, either conservative or nominally liberal, are reckoned as Catholic, although a certain number of them have misled Catholic opinion by their opposition to the programme of Leo XIII.
The leading Catholic review is "Le Correspondant", founded in 1829, formerly the organ of the Liberal Catholics such as Montalembert and Falloux. Its policy is "to rally all defenders of the Catholic cause, whatever their origin, on the broad ground of liberty for all; to afford them a common centre where, laying aside difficulties which must be secondary in the view of Christians, each one can do his part, in letters, in science, in historical and philosophical science, in social life, to win the victory for Christian ideas." Monarchist by its antecedents, with a public in which Monarchists form a large proportion, the "Correspondant" has had for its editor, since May, 1904, M. Etienne Lamy, of the Académie Française, who was a Republican member of the national Assembly in 1871, and who, in 1881, brought down upon himself the displeasure of the republican electors by his sturdy opposition to the laws suppressing religious congregations.
The chief enterprises for the benefit of Catholic students in Paris are the Cercle Catholique du Luxembourg, which was founded in 1847, and in 1902 became the Association Générale des Etudiants Catholiques de Paris; the Olivaint and the Laennec lectures, established in 1875, the former for students in law and letters, the latter for medical students, by fathers of the Society of Jesus; the Réunion des Etudiants founded in 1895 by the Marist Fathers, and of which Ferdinand Brunetière was president of the board of directors until his death. Besides these, the Association Catholique de la Jeunesse Française, founded in 1886, now (June, 1909) unites in one group nearly 100,000 young men, students, peasants, employees of various kinds, and labourers; it has 2400 groups in the provinces, and holds annual congresses in which, for some years past, social questions have been actively discussed. It was at the congregation held by this association at Besançon in 1898, that the conversion of Ferdinand Brunetière was made known in a very remarkable speech of the famous academician. Since 1905 it has been publishing its "Annales", and since 1907 a journal, "La Vie Nouvelle."
The extremely original association of the "Sillon" (furrow), attractive to some, disquieting to others, was founded in 1894 in the crypt of the Stanislaus college and became, in 1898, under the direction of M. Marc Sangnier, a focus of social, popular, and democratic action. M. Sangnier and his friends develop, in their Cercles d'études, and propagate, in public meetings of the most enthusiastic character, the twofold idea that democracy is the type of social organization which tends to the highest development of conscience and of civic responsibility in the individual, and that this organization needs Christianity for its realization. To be a sillonniste. according to the adherents of the Sillon, it is not enough merely to profess a doctrine, but one must live a life more fully Christian and fraternal. The Sillon has held a national congress every year since 1902; that of 1909 brought together more than 3000 members. The character of the organization has exposed it to lively criticisms; its reception has not been the same in all dioceses. But in spite of obstacles, the sillonistes continue their activity, often independent of, but never in opposition to, the hierarchy, carrying on their work of penetration in indifferent or hostile surroundings. They have a review, "Le Sillon", and a newspaper, "L'Eveil Démocratique", which in two years has gained 50,000.
Catholic undertakings for the benefit of the young people of the poorer classes have developed mightily of late years. In 1900 the "Commission des Patronages" drew up statistics according to which the Catholics had charge of 3588 protectories (patronages) and 32,574 institutions of various kinds giving Christian care to the young. In the city of Paris alone there were at that date, 176 Catholic protectories, with 26,000 young girls under their care. The Gymnastic Federation of the Protectories of France, formed after the gymnastic festival which was held at the Vatican on 5 to 8 October, 1905, numbers today (June, 1909) 549 Catholic gymnastic societies and 60,000 young people.
The State carries on its fight against the Church in the field of post-academic education; in 1894 there were in France only 34 non-religious (laïques) protectories, 1366 for boys, and 998 for girls. To the political groups, the journalistic work, the good works for the benefit of the young, must be added to the "Catholic social" undertakings, the earliest of which was the Oeuvre dyes Cercles Catholiques d'Ouviers, funded in 1871 by Count Albert de Mun, the chief result of which was the introduction by Catholics in the Legislature of a number of legislative projects on social questions. The last five years have seen in France the birth and development, through the initiative of M. Henri Lorin and the Lyons journal, the "Chronique de Sud-Est", of the institution known as the semaines sociales, a series of social courses which bring together a great many priests and Catholic lay people. This idea has been imitated in Catholic Spain and Italy. Lastly a body of Jesuits have begun a valuable collection of brochures and tracts, under the title "L'Action populaire", which forms a veritable reference library for those who wish to study social Catholicism and an inestimable source of information for those who wish to join actively in the movement.
The Church in France during the first three years after the Law of Separation
On 16 December, 1905, a large number of bishops issued a request to the parish priest and members of the fabric committees (fabriques see above) not to be present at the taking of inventories of church furniture prescribed by the Law of Separation except as mere witnesses and after making all reserves. A circular, dated 10 January, 1906, ordering the agents of the Department of Public Domains to open the tabernacles, intensified the feeling of indignation and, in consequences of an appellation, was implicitly disavowed, by M. Merlou, the Minister of France. But the feeling lasted and, from the end of January to the end of March, expressed itself, in a certain number of churches, in violent outbreaks against the agents who came to take the inventories. The breaking open of locked doors, the cashiering of military officers who refused to lend the aid of their troops to these proceedings, the arrest and prosecution of people taking part in Catholic demonstrations, and the mortal wounds inflicted on some of them in the departments of Nord, and of Haute-Loire aggravated the public irritation. There was some hope among Catholics that the general elections, which would take place in May, would result in defeat for the Government; but these hopes were not realized; the opposition lost fifty seats in the balloting of 6-20 May.
The first general gathering of the bishops was held on 30 May, 1906. The Encyclical "Gravissiomo officii" (10 August, 1906), which rejected the cultuelles, received the absolute obedience of the Catholics. The attempt to form schismatic cultuelles, made by some priests and laymen in eight localities, met with derision and contempt, and these isolated bodies of schismatics failed to obtain possession of the religious edifices even by appealing to the courts. The second and third general gatherings of the bishops (4-7 September, 1906, and 15 January, 1907), thanked Pius X for the encyclical and discussed the organization of public worship, in accordance with a very definite programme for deliberation which the Holy See had sent to Cardinal Richard, Archbishop of Paris. On 12 December, 1906, Mgr. Montagnini, who had remained in Paris as guardian of the pontifical archives, was expelled from France after a minute domiciliary search and the seizures of his papers. The Vatican protested in a circular dated 19 December. Various incidents in the application of the law the expulsion of Cardinal Richard from his archiepiscopal residence (15 December, 1906), expulsions of seminarists from the seminaries, the employment of troops at Beaupréau and at Auray to enforce such an expulsion called forth lively protests from the Catholic press which saw, in all these episodes, the realization of the settled policy thus expounded by M. Viviani, Minister of Labour, in the Chamber of Deputies, 8 November, 1906: "Through our fathers, through our elders, through ourselves all of us together-- we have bound ourselves to a work of anticlericalism, to a work of irreligion. . . . We have extinguished in the firmament lights which shall not be rekindled. We have shown the toilers that heaven contained only chimeras."
Successive meetings of the bishops have organized the work of the Denier du Clergé. The organization is diocesan, not parochial. No individual is taxed; the subscriptions are entirely voluntary; but in many diocese the diocesan budget fixes, without, however, imposing, the contribution which each parish ought to furnish. A commission of control, composed of priests and laymen, in many diocese takes charge of the disbursement of the Denier du Clergé, If a parish contributes insufficiently, and that not from lack of means but from lack of goodwill, the bishop can withdraw its parish priest. Two penalties can be inflicted on Catholics who culpably refuse to contribute to the support of religious worship: a diminution of pomp in the administration of the sacraments, and an increase, as affecting such persons, of incidental burdens.
The first results of the Denier du Clergé in the various dioceses are not as yet well ascertained; they seem to justify neither over-enthusiastic hopes nor over-pessimistic fears. An inter-diocesan fund (caisse) is beginning to do its work in aiding the poorer dioceses. In many communities, the communal authority, having taken possession of the presbytery, has rented it to the parish priest for a certain sum, but the law declares that the lease, to be valid, must have been ratified by the prefect. By this means the State has sought to prevent the communes from renting presbyteries too cheap. Of 32,093 presbyteries existing in France, 3643 were still occupied rent-free by the parish priests at the beginning of October, 1908. A circular of M, Briand, Minister of Justice, has aminadverted on this fact as an abuse. It appears that in most of the dioceses a central committee, or a diocesan bureau, composed of priests and laymen, is to be formed, with the episcopal authority for its centre, to combine the direction of all the organized work of the diocese. Subject to this committee there will be committees in the several arrondissements, cantons, and parishes. When consulted in May, 1907, Pius X preferred small parochial committees under the curés to the formation of parochial associations (which might be interpreted as an acceptance of the Law of 1901 on associations), with an unlimited number of members. The ecclesiastical seminaries, which the Law of Separation drove out of the buildings they were occupying, have been reconstituted in other homes under the title "Ecoles Supérieures de Théologie."
At present one of the most serious preoccupations of the Church in France is the supply of priests. In 1878, when Mgr. Bougaud wrote his book, "Le grand péril de l'Église de France," there was a deficiency of 2467 priests in France. Père Dudon, who has studied the question of the supply of priests very profoundly, computes that in 1906, at the breaking of the Concordat, there was a deficiency of 3109, and the very insecurity of the position of the Church before the law furnishes ground for the fear that vocations will go on decreasing in frequency.
Geography. Reclus, La France in Géographie universelle (Paris, 1876), II; Vidal de la Blanche, La France (Paris, 1903); Michelet, Tableau de la France in vol. II of the Histoire mentioned below; Dumazet, Voyage en France (47 vols., Paris, 1894-1907); Marshall, Cathedral Cities of France (London, 1907).
General History. Michelet, Histoire de France (new edition, 17 vols., Paris, 1871-74 recommended by the truthfulness of its historical colouring rather than exactness of detail, a picture rather than a narrative); Martin, Histoire de France (19 vols., Paris, 1855-60 conscientious research with anti-Catholic tendencies and somewhat out of date); Dareste, Histoire de France, (8 vols., Paris, 1864-73 clear and judicious); Bodley, France (2nd. ed., London, 1899); Galton, Church and State in France, 1300-1900 (London, 1907); Kitchen, A History of France (Oxford, 1892-94). A group of specialists under the direction of Lavisse have undertaken the publication of a Histoire of France of which the published volumes bring their subject down to the end of Louis XIV; this work the contributors to which are men of learning, each following his own bent, though never violently gives the last word of science at the present time. Louis Batiffol, La Renaissance (Paris, 1905), is the only volume which has yet appeared of a collection now being prepared under the title Histoire de France pour tous. Adams, The Growth of the French Nation (London, 1897).
No General History of the Church of France is really worthy to be recommended. The principal documents to consult are: Gallia Chistiana (q. v.); Jean, Les archevéques et évéques de France de 1682 à 1801 (Paris, 1891); Hanotaux ed., Instructions des ambassadeurs de France auprès du Saint-Siège (Paris, 1888); Imbart de la Tour, Archives de l'histoire religieuse de la France (4 vols. have appeared); Baunard, Un siècle de l'église de France (Tours, 1901 dealing with the nineteenth century); L'episcopat français au XIXe siècle (Paris, 1907). On the Sources of the History of France the chief repertories are: Monod, Bibliographie de l'histoire de France (Paris, 1888); Catalogue del l'histoire de France de la Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris, 1855-82); Langlois and Stein, Les archives de l'histoire de France (Paris, 1891); Monlinier, Les sources de l'histoire de France (4 vols., Paris, 1901-04).
For bibliography of the French Revolution, see FRENCH REVOLUTION.
For France in the Nineteenth Century see NAPOLEON. Also Currier, Constitutional and Organic Laws of France, 1875-1889 (Philadelphia, 1891); Viel-Castel, Histoire de la Restauration (20 vols., Paris, and trans., London, 1888); Thureau-Dangin, Histoire de la monarchie de Julliet (Paris); de la Gorce, Histoire du second Empire (7 vols., Paris); Ollivier, L'Empire libéral (Paris, 1904-06 13 vols. have appeared); Lamy, Etudes sur le second Empire (Paris); Hanotaux, Histoire de la France contemporaine, 1870-1883 (4 vols., Paris, 1902-09); Zévort, Histoire de la troisième République (4 vols., Paris, 1900-05); Coubertin, L'Evolution française sous la troisième République (tr., London, 1898); Parmele, The Evolution of an Empire (New York, 1897). On the Religious History of France under the Third Republic: Deridour, L'Église catholique et l'Etat sous la troisième République (2 vols., Paris, 1906-08 very anti-Catholic); Lecannet, L'Église de France sous la troisième République (Paris, 1907 Catholic; brings the subject down to 1878); Du toast à l'encyclique (Paris, 1893). For parochial statistics see the annuals Le clergé Français and le France ecclésiastique.
On the Law against Congregations and the Law of Separation: Briand, La séparation (2 vols., Paris, 1907 and 1909); Speeches of Waldeck-Rousseau and Ribot; De Mund, La loi des suspects (2 vols., Paris, 1902) Combes, Une campagne laïque (2 vols, Paris, 1902 and 1906). The Law on Associations has been discussed by Troulliot and Chapsal; that on Separation by Réville, with radical tendencies, and by Taudiére and Lamarzelle, with Catholic tendencies. La Revue d'orgainisation et la défense réligieuse, publishjed by the Good Press since 1906, gives every day the state of the law in relation to Catholic interests.
On the Marriage Laws: Sermet, La loi du 21 Jun 1907 sur le Mariage (Toulouse, 1908). On the influence of Freemasonry: Prache, La pétition contra la maçonnerie; rapport parlementaire (Paris, 1905); Goyau, La Franc-Maçonnerie en France (Paris, 1899). On the Religious Orders: Mémoire pour la défense des congrégations religieuses (Paris, 1880); Kannengeiser, France et Allemagne (Paris, 1900). On the Missions and the Protectorate: Piolet, Les missions catholiques françaises (six vols., Paris, 1900-03); Bouvier, Loin du pays (Paris, 1808); Rey, La protection diplomatique et consulaire dans les échelles du Levant (Paris, 1899); Goyau, Les nations apôtres. Vieille France, jeune Allemagne (Paris, 1903); Kannengeiser, Les missions catholiques, France et Allemagne (Paris, 1900). On France at Rome: Lacroix, Mémoire historique sur les institutions de la France à Rome (2nd. ed., Rome, 1892). On the School Situation: Speeches of Jules Ferry; Pichard, Nouveau code de l'instruction primaire (18th ed., Paris, 1905); Goyau, L'ecole d'aujourd'hui (2 vols., Paris, 1899 and 1906); Lescoeur, La mentalité laïque à l'école (Paris, 1906); des Alleuls, Histoire de l'enseignement secondaire, 2 vols., Paris, 1900 official); Lamarzelle, La crise universitaire (Paris, 1900). On Charitable Institutions: Paris charitable (3rd ed. Paris, 1904); La France charitable (Paris, 1899) two collections of monographs published by the office central des institutions charitables. On Social Organizations the chief sources are collective reports on Catholic enterprises published at the Exposition of 1900, the Guide annuaire social (annual since 1905) and the Manual social pratique (1909) published by the Action populaire of Reims, with brochures issued by this last association. On the Grouping of Religious Movements: Fraenzel, Vers l'union des catholiques (Paris, 1907); Guide d'action religieuse (Paris, 1908).
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Obstat, Nihil. Lafort, Remy, Censor. Entry for 'France'. The Catholic Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/f/france.html. Robert Appleton Company. New York. 1914.
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26