Concordat of 1801

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Allegory of the Concordat of 1801, by Pierre Joseph Celestin Francois Allegorie du Concordat de 1801.jpg
Allegory of the Concordat of 1801, by Pierre Joseph Célestin François
Leaders of the Catholic Church taking the civil oath required by the Concordat. FrenchChurchOathConcordat.jpg
Leaders of the Catholic Church taking the civil oath required by the Concordat.

The Concordat of 1801 was an agreement between Napoleon and Pope Pius VII, signed on 15 July 1801 in Paris. [1] 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. [2] [3]

Concordat agreement or treaty between the Holy See of the Catholic Church and a sovereign state

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.

Napoleon 18th/19th-century French monarch, military and political leader

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 pope of the catholic church 1800–1823

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.

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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. [4]

History

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. [5]

French Revolution social and political revolution in France and its colonies occurring from 1789 to 1798

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.

National Assembly (French Revolution) assembly during the French Revolution

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.

Civil Constitution of the Clergy

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, [6] archbishop of Corinth, and his theological adviser, Father Carlo Francesco Maria Caselli. [7] 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. [8]

Joseph Bonaparte elder brother of Napoleon Bonaparte

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 French politician and businessman

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 Catholic bishop and politician

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. [9] 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." [10] As a part of the Concordat, he presented another set of laws called the Organic Articles.

Organic Articles

The Organic Articles was a law administering public worship in France.

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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. [9] 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. [8] 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.

See also

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References

  1. Knight, Charles. "Pius VII," Biography: Or, Third Division of "The English Encyclopedia", Vol. 4, Bradbury, Evans & Company, 1867
  2. Aston, Nigel. Religion and revolution in France, 1780-1804 (Catholic University of America Press, 2000) pp 279-335
  3. Roberts, William. "Napoleon, the Concordat of 1801, and Its Consequences", Controversial Concordats: The Vatican's Relations with Napoleon, Mussolini, and Hitler, (Frank J. Coppa ed.), (1999) pp: 34-80.
  4. Aston, Nigel. Christianity and revolutionary Europe, 1750-1830 (Cambridge University Press, 2002) pp 261-62.
  5. "France". Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 15 December 2011. See drop-down essay on "Religion and Politics until the French Revolution"
  6. Spina had been Papal Majordomo for Pius VI, and had followed him in his arrest and deportation to France in 1799. Salvador Miranda, Librarian Emeritus, Florida International University, The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, Spina, Giuseppe. Retrieved: 2016-07-30.
  7. Edwards, Bela Bates; Peters, Absalom; Agnew, John Holmes; Treat, Selah Burr (1840). The American Biblical Repository. s.n. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  8. 1 2 Goyau, Georges. "The French Concordat of 1801." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 8 November 2015
  9. 1 2 3 Vilmer, Jean-Baptiste Jeangéne. "Comment on the Concordat of 1801 between France and the Holy See", Revue d'histoire ecclésiastique, 102: 1, 2007, p. 124-154
  10. Aston, Nigel (2002). Christianity and Revolutionary Europe c. 1750-1830. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   0-521-46027-1.

Further reading