Vehementer Nos

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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. [1] The title of the document is taken from its opening words in Latin, which mean "we strongly".

An encyclical was originally a circular letter sent to all the churches of a particular area in the ancient Roman Church. At that time, the word could be used for a letter sent out by any bishop. The word comes from Late Latin encyclios.

Pope Pius X Catholic Pope and saint

Pope Pius X, born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was head of the Catholic Church from August 1903 to his death in 1914. Pius X is known for vigorously opposing modernist interpretations of Catholic doctrine, promoting liturgical reforms and orthodox theology. He directed the production of the 1917 Code of Canon Law, the first comprehensive and systemic work of its kind.

Concordat of 1801 peace treaty

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.

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Background

Prior to the French Revolution of 1789, Roman Catholicism had been the state religion of France, and closely identified with the ancien regime. 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. Subsequent laws abolished the traditional Gregorian calendar and Christian holidays. The revolution led to a brief separation of church and state in 1795, ended by Napoleon's re-establishment of the Catholic Church as the state religion with the Concordat of 1801. [2]

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.

While the Concordat restored some ties to the papacy, it was an attempt on Napoleon's part to win favor with Catholics in France and largely favored the state. [3] According to its terms Catholicism was recognized as the religion of the great majority of the French but not the official state religion. While the Papacy had the right to depose bishops, the French government retained the right to nominate them. The state would pay clerical salaries to clergy who swore an oath of allegiance to the state. The Catholic Church also gave up all claims to Church lands confiscated after 1790, but Sunday was reestablished as a "festival", effective Easter Sunday, 18 April 1802.

1905 law

In 1905 the French government passed a law stipulating “the separation of churches and the state, and unilaterally abrogating the terms of the 1801 Concordat. According to Sheridan Gilley while claiming to guarantee freedom of worship, the law kept religion under state regulation. [4] The act stipulated that all Church property be turned over to "associations" of lay people. The pope and most French Catholics considered the law as undermining the independent authority of the Church. [5] Pius viewed it as related to Modernist theories popular in France, and a concerted attack upon the Church. In Italy, Modernism was more political than doctrinal. [4]

Modernism movement of art, culture and philosophy

Modernism is a philosophical movement that, along with cultural trends and changes, arose from wide-scale and far-reaching transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among the factors that shaped modernism were the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by reactions of horror to World War I. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists rejected religious belief.

In February 1906 the government began to make inventories of ecclesiastical property in order "to prevent any theft of antiques". This provoked riots in Paris, Lille, and some country districts by disgruntled French Catholics. People barricaded themselves in churches. According to Mary McAuliffe, people rang church bells to sound the alarm, and armed themselves with sticks and pitchforks. She notes that in the Pyrenees, the Basques brought their bears. [6] Opposition to the reforms was supported by the monarchists.

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History of the papacy aspect of history

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Organic Articles

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

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.

France–Holy See relations Diplomatic relations between the French Republic and Holy See

Holy See–France relations are very ancient and have existed since the 5th century, and have been durable to the extent that France is sometimes called the eldest daughter of the Church.

Napoleon and the Catholic Church

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.

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