Agreement That Ended The Controversy Over Who Appointed Clergymen

The German kings had de facto still an influence on the selection of German bishops, although the German princes gained influence over time among the voters of the Church. The elected bishop would then be invested by the emperor (or representative) with the scepter and, at one point later, by his ecclesiastical superior with ring and stick. The resolution of the controversy led to a significant improvement in the character of the men erected as episcopate. Kings do not interfere more often in their election, and when they did, they generally appointed more worthy candidates for the post. [28] Although the “Constitutional Church was allowed to continue its work, the Convention now considered Catholicism to be suspect in all its forms. His association with the former regime of France, his attachment to values that do not correspond to the revolution and the private nature of worship seemed incompatible with the values of the Republic. It was from here that a movement called “dechristianization” was born, which aimed to bring religion out of French society. Constitutional priests were advised to abandon the priesthood and they were encouraged – or, in some cases, forced – to marry. All priests who continued to practice, whether constitutional or refractory, were subjected to arrest and deportation.

In October 1793, public worship was banned, and in the coming months all visible signs of Christianity were eliminated, a policy pursued with particular enthusiasm by the revolutionary armies who wanted revenge on the institution that housed so many counter-revolutionaries. Church bells were felled and melted, supposedly to help the war effort, crosses were removed from churches and cemeteries, and statues, relics and works of art were seized and sometimes destroyed. Such an iconoclasm has raised serious concerns at the official level, in particular because of the destruction of France`s artistic and cultural heritage. On November 23, 1793, churches were closed to be converted into warehouses, production facilities or even stables. Streets and other public places bearing the names of the saints have received new thematic names, often republican, and time itself has been recast to continue to reject France`s Christian past. The revolutionary calendar began with the advent of the French Republic (year 1). The names of his months reflected the seasons and his ten-day week eliminated Sunday as a day of rest and worship. Although such measures have been applied unevenly and have often faced considerable local opposition, they have reinforced the message that Christianity has no place in the Republic.

The total destruction of Catholicism in 1789 had been far from the minds of the nation`s representatives, but financial concerns, combined with external and internal threats, eventually made a global attack on the Church and all those who associated it with a need for a revolution that demanded absolute loyalty. Nicholas Atkin and Frank Tallett saw the French Revolution as “a turning point for Catholicism not only in France, but throughout Europe.” The French Revolution saw the Gallic Church move from an autonomous institution that exerts considerable influence to a reformed institution, abolished and revived by the state.

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