The Concordat of 1801 was an agreement between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII, signed on 15 July 1801 in Paris.It remained in effect until 1905. It sought national reconciliation between revolutionaries and Catholics and solidified the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France, with most of its civil status restored. The hostility of devout French Catholics against the state had then largely been resolved. It did not restore the vast church lands and endowments that had been seized upon during the revolution and sold off. Catholic clergy returned from exile, or from hiding, and resumed their traditional positions in their traditional churches. Very few parishes continued to employ the priests who had accepted the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary regime. While the Concordat restored much power to the papacy, the balance of church-state relations tilted firmly in Napoleon's favour. He selected the bishops and supervised church finances.
A concordat is a convention between the Holy See and a sovereign state that defines the relationship between the Catholic Church and the state in matters that concern both, i.e. the recognition and privileges of the Catholic Church in a particular country and with secular matters that impact on church interests.
Napoléon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader of Italian descent who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. He was Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 until 1814 and again briefly in 1815 during the Hundred Days. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over much of continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He is considered one of the greatest commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured as one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in human history.
Pope Pius VII, born Barnaba Niccolò Maria Luigi Chiaramonti, was head of the Catholic Church and ruler of the Papal States from 14 March 1800 to his death in 1823. Chiaramonti was also a monk of the Order of Saint Benedict in addition to being a well-known theologian and bishop throughout his life.
Napoleon and the pope both found the Concordat useful. Similar arrangements were made with the Church in territories controlled by Napoleon, especially Italy and Germany.
During the French Revolution, the National Assembly had taken Church properties and issued the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which made the Church a department of the State, effectively removing it from papal authority. At the time, the nationalized Gallican Church was the official church of France, but it was essentially Catholicism. The Civil Constitution caused hostility among the Vendeans towards the change in the relationship between the Catholic Church and the French government. Subsequent laws abolished the traditional Gregorian calendar and Christian holidays.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
During the French Revolution, the National Assembly, which existed from 14 June 1789 to 9 July 1789, was a revolutionary assembly formed by the representatives of the Third Estate of the Estates-General; thereafter it was known as the National Constituent Assembly, though popularly the shorter form persisted.
The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was a law passed on 12 July 1790 during the French Revolution, that caused the immediate subordination of the Catholic Church in France to the French government.
The Concordat was drawn up by a commission with three representatives from each party. Napoleon Bonaparte, who was First Consul of the French Republic at the time, appointed Joseph Bonaparte, his brother, Emmanuel Crétet, a counselor of state, and Étienne-Alexandre Bernier, a doctor in theology. Pope Pius VII appointed Cardinal Ercole Consalvi, Cardinal Giuseppe Spina,archbishop of Corinth, and his theological adviser, Father Carlo Francesco Maria Caselli. The French bishops, whether still abroad or returned to their own country, had no part in the negotiations. The concordat as finally arranged practically ignored them.
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte, born Giuseppe di Buonaparte was a French diplomat and nobleman, the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily, and later King of Spain. After the fall of Napoleon, Joseph styled himself Comte de Survilliers.
Emmanuel Crétet, Comte de Champmol was a French merchant, financier and politician. He was the first governor of the Banque de France.
Étienne-Alexandre Bernier or Abbé Bernier was a French religious figure and Royalist politician during the French Revolution.
While the Concordat restored some ties to the papacy, it was largely in favor of the state; it wielded greater power vis-à-vis the Pope than previous French regimes had, and church lands lost during the Revolution would not be returned. Napoleon understood the utility of religion as an important factor of social cohesion. His was a utilitarian approach.He could now win favor with French Catholics while also controlling Rome in a political sense. Napoleon once told his brother Lucien in April 1801, "Skillful conquerors have not got entangled with priests. They can both contain them and use them." As a part of the Concordat, he presented another set of laws called the Organic Articles.
The Organic Articles was a law administering public worship in France.
Napoleon looked for the recognition by the Church of the disposition of its property and geographical reorganization of bishoprics, while Rome sought the protection of Catholics and the recognition of a special status of the Catholic Church in the French State.The main terms of the Concordat of 1801 between France and Pope Pius VII included:
According to Georges Goyau, the law known as "The Organic Articles", promulgated in April 1802, infringed in various ways on the spirit of the concordat.The document claimed Catholicism was "the religion of the majority of Frenchman," and still gave state recognition to Protestants and Jews as well.
The Concordat was abrogated by the law of 1905 on the separation of Church and state. However, some provisions of the Concordat are still in effect in the Alsace-Lorraine region under the local law of Alsace-Moselle, as the region was controlled by the German Empire at the time of the 1905 law's passage.
Joseph Fesch, Prince of France was a French cardinal and diplomat, Prince of France and a member of the Imperial House of the First French Empire, Peer of France, Roman Prince, and the uncle of Napoleon Bonaparte. He was also one of the most famous art collectors of his period, remembered for having established the Musée Fesch in Ajaccio, which remains one of the most important Napoleonic collections of art.
Vehementer Nos was a papal encyclical promulgated by Pope Pius X on 11 February 1906. He denounced the French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State enacted two months earlier. He condemned its unilateral abrogation of the Concordat of 1801 between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII that had granted the Catholic Church a distinctive status and established a working relationship between the French government and the Holy See. The title of the document is taken from its opening words in Latin, which mean "we strongly".
Ercole Consalvi was a deacon and cardinal of the Catholic Church, who served twice as Cardinal Secretary of State for the Papal States and who played a crucial role in the post-Napoleonic reassertion of the legitimist principle of the divine right of kings, of which he was a constant supporter.
The papal conclave of 1799–1800 followed the death of Pope Pius VI on 29 August 1799 and led to the selection as pope of Gregorio Barnaba Luigi Chiaramonti, who took the name Pius VII, on 14 March 1800. This conclave was held in Venice and was the last to take place outside Rome. This period was marked by uncertainty for the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church following the invasion of the Papal States and abduction of Pius VI under the French Directory.
Louis-François de Bausset was a French cardinal, writer and member of the Académie française.
Giovanni Battista Caprara Montecuccoli was an Italian statesman and Cardinal and archbishop of Milan from 1802 to 1810. As a papal diplomat he served in the embassies in Cologne, Lausanne, and Vienna. As Legate of Pius VII in France, he implemented the Concordat of 1801, and negotiated with the Emperor Napoleon over the matter of appointments to the restored hierarchy in France. He crowned Napoleon as King of Italy in Milan in 1805.
Louis-Mathias, Count de Barral was a French church figure.
Leonardo Antonelli was an Italian Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church.
Bartolomeo Pacca was an Italian cardinal, scholar, and statesman as Cardinal Secretary of State. Pacca served as apostolic nuncio to Cologne, and later to Lisbon.
The Petite Église was a group of French and Belgian Roman Catholics who separated from the Catholic Church in France following the Concordat of 1801 between Pope Pius VII and Napoleon Bonaparte. They were considered schismatic. One modern estimate gives its number of adherents as high as 100,000 at one time. The community declined following the death of its last episcopal adherent in 1829, and the last members submitted to the Bishop of Saint-Flour in 1911.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Nancy and Toul is a diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in France. After a considerable political struggle between Louis XV, Louis XVI, and the Dukes of Lorraine, the diocese was erected by Pope Pius VI on 17 December 1777. The diocese is currently suffragan to the Archdiocese of Besançon.
The Concordat of 11 June 1817 was a concordat between the kingdom of France and the Holy See, signed on 11 June 1817. Not having been validated, it never came into force in France and so the country remained under the regime outlined in the Concordat of 1801 until the 1905 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State.
Jacques-André Emery, S.S., France, was a French priest of the Society of Saint-Sulpice, who served as its Superior General during the French Revolution.
The relationship between Napoleon and the Catholic Church was an important aspect of his rule.
The modern history of the papacy is shaped by the two largest dispossessions of papal property in its history, stemming from the French and its spread to Europe, including Italy.
Protestantism was generally proscribed in France between 1685 and 1787. During that period Roman Catholicism was the state religion. The French Revolution began a process of dechristianization that lasted from 1789 until the Concordat of 1801, an agreement between the nation and the Papacy. The French general and statesman responsible for the concordat, Napoleon Bonaparte, had a generally favorable attitude towards Protestants, and the concordat did not make Catholicism the state religion again.
Jean-Baptiste Duvoisin was a Roman Catholic priest, theologian and writer, who was Bishop of Nantes from 1802 until his death in 1813. He was praised by the Napoleon I for being, in theological matters, "a torch of which he did not wish to lose sight," and was often consulted by the Emperor on religious questions.