Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 13.djvu/34

This page needs to be proofread.




owinp to the opposition of good Catholics those elected had much difficulty in taking possession of their churches. At this juncture, seeing 1h«' Constitutional Church thus set uj) in France ;igainst the legitimate Church, Pius \l wrote two letters, one to the bishops and one to lx)uis X\'I, to inquire if there remained anv means to prevent schism; and finally, on 13 April, 1791, he issued a solemn condenmation of the Civil Constitution in a solemn Brief to the clergy and the pooplo. On 2 May, 1791, the annexation of the Comtat \enaissin and the city of Avignon by the P>ench troops marked the rupture of diplomatic n-lations between France and tlie Holy See. From May, 1791. there was no longer an ambassador from France at Rome or a nuncio at Paris. The Brief of Pius ^'I encouraged the resistance of the Catholics. The Masses celebrated by non-juring priests attracted crowds of the faithful. Then mobs gathered and beat and outraged nims and other pious women. On 7 May, 1791, the Assembly decided that the non- juring priests a,s pretres habitues might continue to say in parochial churches or conduct their services in other churches on condition that they would respect the laws and not stir up revolt against the Civil Constitution. The Constitutional priests became more and more unpopular with good Catholics; Sciout's works go to show that the "departmental dirfH-tories" hsA to spend their time in organizing regular police expeditions to protect the Constitu- tional priests in their parishes against the opposition of good Catholics, or to prosecute the non-juring priests who heroically persisted in remaining at their posts. Finally on 9 June, 1791, the Assembly forbade the publication of all Bulls or Decrees of the Court of Rome, at least until they had been submitted to the legislative body and their pubUcation authorized. Thus Revolutionary France not only broke with Rome, but wished to place a barrier between Rome and the Catholics of France.

The king's tormenting conscience was the chief reason for his attempted fhght (20-21 June, 1791). Before fleeing he had addressed to the Assembly a declaration of his di.ssati.sfaction with the Civil Con- stitution of the Clerg>% and once more protested against the moral violence which had compelled him tfj accept such a document. Halted at Varennes, Louis X\T was brought back on 2.5 June, and was suspended from his functions till the completion of the Constitution, to which he took the oath 13 Sept., 1791. On 30 Sept., 1791, the Constituent Assembly diswjlved, to make way for the Legislative Assembly, in which none of the members of the Constituent A8K<Tribly could sit. The Constituent As.sembly had pa«w*d 2.5(X) laws and reorganized the whole P>ench a/lministration. Its chief error from a social stand- fXiint, which Anatole I^eroy-Beaulieu calls a capital one, was U) paws the Chapelier Decree (15 June, 1791), which forbiide working pwple to band tcjgether and form associations "for their so-called common in- UTfwt". L<*d astray by their spirit of individualism and their hatred for certain abuses of the old cor- pfjrations, the Omstituents did not understand that the world of labour should be organized. They were n^pfjrihible for the economic anarchy which reigned during the nineUicnth century, and the present syndi- cate- movement as well a« the efforts of the social Catholics in cfjnforrnity with the Encyclical "Rcrum novarum" marks a de«'p and decisive reaction against the work f)f the Omstitufnt A8s<!mbly.

The L?:f;iKLATivK Askk.mhly. — When the Constit- uent Asw-mbly flisbandffl (.30 Sept., 1791), France was aflame cx>ncfming the religious rjuestion. More than half the French pf-oph- did not want tlie new Church, the fae-titious creation of the- law; the old Church W!iH njine<l, demolished, hunted down, and the general amnesty decreed by the C>)nHtituent Aaeembly before disbanding could do nothing towards

restoring peace in the country, where that Assembly's bungling work had unsettled the consciences of indi- viduals. The parti(>s in the Legislative Assembly were soon irreconcilable. The Feuillants, on the Right, saw no salvation save in the Constitution; the Girondins on the Left, and the Montagnards on the Extreme Left, made ready for the Republic. There were men who, like the poet Andre Chenier, dreamed of a complete separation of Church and State. "The priests", he wrote in a letter to the "Moniteur" (22 October, 1791), "will not trouble the Estates when no one is concerned about them, and they will always trouble them while anyone is con- cerned about them as at present." But the majority of the members of the Legislati\e Assembly had sat in the departmental or district assemblies; they had fought against the non-juring priests and brought violent passions and a hostile spirit to the Legislative Assembly. A report from (Jensonne and Gallois to the Legislative Assemblj' (9 October, 1791) on the con- dition of the provinces of the West denounced the non-juring ])riests as exciting the populace to rebellion and called for measures against them. It accused them of complicity with the emigres bishops. At Avignon the Revolutionary L^cuyer, having been slain in a church, some citizens reputed to be partizans of the pope were thrown into the ancient papal castle and strangled (16-17 Oct., 1791). Calvados was also the scene of serious disturbances.

The Legislative Assembly, instead of repairing the tremendous errors of the Constituent Assembly, took up the question of the non-juring priests. On 29 November, on the proposal of PYan^oisdeNeuf chateau, it decided that if within eight days they did not take the civil oath they should be deprived of all salary, that they should be placed under the surveillance of the authorities, that if troubles arose w'here they resided they should be sent away, that they should be imprisoned for a year if they persisted in remain- ing and for two years if they were convicted of having provoked disobedience to the king. Finally it forbade non-juring priests the legal exercise of worship. It also requested from the departmental directories lists of the jurors and non-jurors, that it might, as it said, "stamp out the rebellion which disguises itself under a pretended dissidence in the exercise of the Catholic religion". Thus its decree ended in a threat. But this decree was the object of a sharp conflict between Louis XVI and the Assembly. On 9 Dec, 1791, the king made his veto known officially. Parties began to form. On one side were the king and the Catholics faithful to Rome, on the other the Assembly and the priests who had taken the oath. The legislative power was on one side, the executive on the other. In March, 1792, the Assembly accused the ministers of Louis XVI; the king replaced them by a Girondin ministry headed by Dumouriez, with Roland, Servan, and Claviere among its members. They had a double policy: abroad, war with Austria, and at home, measures against the non-juring priests. Louis XVI, surrounded by dangers, was also accused of duplicity; his .secret negotiations with foreign courts made it possible for his enemies to say that he had already conspired against France.

A pai)al Brief of 19 March, 1792, renewed the con- demnation of the Civil Constitution and visited with major excommunication all juriiig i)riests who after sixty days should not have retracted, and all Catholics who remained faithful to t hes(> priest s. The Assembly replied by the Decree of 27 May, 1792, declaring that all non-juring priests might be deported by the direc- tory of their department at the request of twenty citizens, and if they should return after expulsion they would be liable to ten years' imprisonment, lyouis vetoed this decree. Thus arose a struggle not only between Ix)tiis XVI and the Assembly, but between the king and his ministry. On 3 June, 1792,