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Of Catechisms and Sermons: Church-State Relations in France, 1890–1905

  • Joan L. Coffey (a1)
Abstract

The years from 1890 to 1905 were tumultuous ones for church-state relations in France. The Third Republic (1870–1940) sought a more secular state while remaining ever mindful that the majority of French were at least nominally Roman Catholic. Anticlericalism became the unifying theme of an otherwise factious government, and a formal separation of church and state took place in 1905. The church in France, for its part, dreamed of reviving its former power and influence. Some in the church looked back and saw the restoration of the monarchy as the way to realize the dream; others worked to establish a presence in the modern world of factories and department stores. All were concerned with the decline in the number of communicants and the growth of socialism. Feeling threatened and increasingly forced into a defensive stance, the church determined to hold ground and, periodically, even to go on the offensive.

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1. See, for example, Protocollo 79, Fasciolo 4, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, Archivo Vaticano (hereafter AV), Rome, Italy; Protocollo 2990, Fasciolo 1, Rubrica 12, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV.

2. Piou Jacques, Questions religieuses et Sociales (Paris, 1910), p. 16.; and Langer William, The Franco-Russian Alliance, 1890–1894 (New York, 1967), p. 236.

3. Schmidt Martin E., Alexandre Ribot: Odyssey of a Liberal in the Third Republic (The Hague, 1974), p. 59.

4. Bell David A., “Lingua Populi, Lingua Dei: Language, Religion, and the Origins of French Revolutionary Nationalism,” American Historical Review 100 (12 1995): 1405.

5. Ibid., p. 1424.

6. Palmer Robert, Twelve Who Ruled (Princeton, N.J., 1969), p. 320.

7. Byrnes Joseph F., “Dependence of Religion on Linguistic Culture: Alsace and the Roussillon, 1860–1890” (paper presented at the 23rd Annual Conference of the Western Society for French History,Las Vegas, Nev.,9 November 1995).

8. Hobsbawn E. J., Nations and Nationalism since 1870 (Cambridge, U.K., 1990), p. 113.. See also Coffey Joan L., “Church-State Conflict: Bilingualism and Religious Education, 1890–1905,” Proceedings of the Western Society for French History, 22:5566.

9. Le Temps (Paris), 14 September 1896.

10. Ford Caroline, Creating the Nation in Provincial France (Princeton, N.J., 1993), p. 167.

11. Weber Eugen, Peasants into Frenchmen (Stanford, Calif., 1976), p. 88.

12. Ministère de la justice et des cultes to the Prefect of Provence, 3 October 1898, F/19 5502, Archives nationales (hereafter AN), Paris, France.

13. Ribot, Ministère des affairs etrangères to Monsieur le Comte Lefebre de Béhaine, Ambassador de la République Française près le Saint-Siège, 17 December 1891, Protocollo 5151, Fasciolo 8, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV. See also Domenico, Archbishop of Tessalonica, Papal Nuncio, to Cardinal Rampolla, 3 December 1891, Protocollo 4607, Fasciolo 4, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV.

14. Cardinal Rampolla to Papal Nuncio at Paris, Protocollo 7038 and 7488, Fasciolo 8, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV; Cardinal Rampolla to Papal Nuncio at Paris, 10 December 1891, Protocollo 4657, Fasciolo 4, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV; and Cardinal Rampolla to Papal Nuncio at Paris, 7 December 1891, Protocollo 4645, Fasciolo 4, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV.

15. Cardinal Rampolla to Papal Nuncio at Paris, 19 December 1891, Protocollo 4837, Fasciolo 5, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV.

16. Domenic, Archibishop of Tessalonica, Papal Nuncio, to Cardinal Rampolla, 1 December 1891, Protocollo 4626, Fasciolo 4, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV.

17. Ferrata to Cardinal Rampolla, Fasciolo 8, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV; and Ferrata to Cardinal Rampolla, 1 January 1892, Protocollo 5036, Fasciola 4, Rubrica 248, Anno 1892, Segreteria di Stato, AV.

18. Journal Officiel (Paris), 17 January 1903.

19. Le Temps (Paris), 5 October 1898.

20. Le Journal (Paris), 30 September 1898.

21. Anonymous to the Minister of Cultes, 3 March 1891, F/19 5502, AN. See also L'Echo de Paris, 19 November 1898.

22. Journal Officiel (Paris), 17 January 1903.

23. Archbishop of Cambrai to the Minister of Cultes, 8 August 1882, F/19 5502, AN.

24. Archbishop of Cambrai to the Minister of Cultes, 24 December 1900, F/19 5502, AN.

25. Gibson Ralph, A Social History of French Catholicism 1789–1914 (New York, 1979), p. 165.. Not until 1910 did the church lower the age to seven.

26. Ibid.

27. Ibid., pp. 166–167.

28. Prefect of Basse-Pyrénées to the Minister of Cults, n.d., F/19 5502, AN; Prefect of Basse-Pyrénées to the Minister of Cults, 9 January 1904, F/19 5502, AN; Inspector of Academie Finistre to Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord, 21 October 1902, F/19 5503, AN; and Gibson, p. 166.

29. François Virgile, bishop of Quimper, to Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord, 4 April 1903 and 10 July 1903, F/19 5503, AN.

30. L'Echo du Nord, April 1900.

31. Vamorre to the Minister of Cults, 24 April 1898, F/19 5502, AN. But see also Tonal, Mayor of Nevez, to Sub-Prefect of Cotes-du-Nord, 3 December 1903, F/19 5502, AN.

32. Prefect of Morbihan to Minister of Cults, 8 January 1903 and 3 March 1903, F/19 5503, AN. See also Inspector of the Academie Finistre to Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord, 21 October 1902, F/19 5502, AN.

33. Le Signal, 6 October 1902; and La Semaine Religieuse, 17 October 1902.

34. Le Signal, 6 October 1902.

35. Archbishop of Cambrai to the Minister of Cults, 15 January 1891, F/19 5502, AN.

36. Prefect of the Nord to the Minister of Cults, 7 January 1901, F/19 5502, AN.

37. Prefect of the Nord to the Minister of Cults, 27 April 1901, F/19 5502, AN.

38. Prefect of the Nord to the Minister of Cults, 16 July 1902, F/19 5502, AN.

39. Prefect of Basses-Pyrénées to the Minister of Cults, 5 April 1903, F/19 5502, AN; see also Prefect of Vannes to Minister of Cults, 29 December 1902 and 13 January 1903, F/19 5503, AN. L'Eclair, 10 November 1902; see also La Croix, 6 November 1902.

40. Journal Officiel (Paris), 17 January 1903.

41. Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord to the Minister of Cults, 31 December 1903, F/19 5503, AN.

42. Subprefect Lannion to the Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord, 31 March 1905, F/19 5503, AN.

43. Prefect of Basses-Pyrénées to the Minister of Cults, 13 January 1892, F/19 5502, AN.

44. Only one-fifth of parish priests received the title of curé, and with it secure tenure; all others became a simple desservant, or assistant pastor.

45. Prefect of Basses-Pyrénées to the Minister of Cults, 17 November 1902 and 5 April 1903, F/19 5502, AN.

46. Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord to Minister of Cults, 13 May 1901, F/19 5503, AN.

47. In Brittany they were the majority. Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord to the Minister of Cults, 29 December 1902, F/19 5503, AN.

48. Prefect of the Nord to the Minister of Cults, 31 October 1901, F/19 5502, AN. Le Siècle, 8 January 1905.

49. Mayor Paul Villiers to Monsieur the Subprefect, 22 October 1902, F/19 5503, AN.

50. Le Temps (Paris), 21 November 1902.

51. La Verité Française, 20 November 1902.

52. Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord to the Minister of Cults, 20 October 1902 and 17 March 1903, F/19 5503, AN.

53. La Verité Française, 27 November 1902.

54. Curé Merreman to the Archbishop of Cambrai, 1 July 1902, F/19 5502, AN.

55. Curé Deblonde to the Prefect of the Nord, n.d., F/19 5502, AN.

56. Desservant Justin de Menditte to the Prefect of Basses-Pyrénées, 7 May 1903, F/19 5502, AN.

57. Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord to the Minister of Cults, 13 May 1901 and 20 October 1902, F/19 5503, AN.

58. Curé (anonymous) to the Prefect of Cotes-Du-Nord, 12 March 1903, F/19 5503, AN.

59. Prefect of Finistère to the Minister of Cults, 13 July 1903, F/19 5503, AN.

60. Abbé Malgory to the Subprefect of Cotes-Du-Nord, 29 November 1904, F/19 5503, AN.

61. Larkin Maurice, Church and State after the Dreyfus Affair (New York, 1973), pp.5253.

62. Ibid., pp. 53–54.

63. Since Islam in Algeria continued to be subsidized after 1905, separation of church and state did not end payments to clergy in France, but withholding of salaries was no longer used as a disciplinary measure.

64. Le Temps (Paris), 9 May 1903.

65. Gibson, A Social History of French Catholicism 1789–1914, p. 170.

66. Ibid., p. 173.

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