A STUDY OF THE PROBLEM OF NATIONALISM
IN THE RELATIONS OF CHURCH AND STATE
JEAN SIFFREIN MAURY
(1) THE oath of fidelity demanded of the clergy in 1800 brought into the open a rupture which had long been brewing in the ranks of those who had shown united opposition to the Civil Constitution in 1791. The origin of the cleavage lies not so much in the events of the revolutionary period as in the ecclesiastical controversies of the old régime. As Victor Martin has admirably explained in his Gallicanisme et la Réforme Catholique, the growth of national royalty in France had made both theologians and statesmen acutely conscious of disputed fields of sovereignty and they began to endeavor to make a distinction between the rôle of the prince and the task of the episcopate. The parlements and the house of bishops meditated, discussed and finally agreed that the two authorities had neither the same terrain nor the same means of action, and that, if Church and state were to live together in harmony, they must undertake mutually to sustain one another while at the same time each remaining autonomous in its own particular sphere. 1
In 1615 an ecclesiastical assembly, in conference at the Hotel de la Rochefoucald, laid it down that the "Church in France is a moral being as royalty is another" and that each has its defined field of authority. The ecclesiastics claimed for themselves an independent control over the souls of their
1 Martin V., Le Gallicanisme et la Réforme Catholique (Paris, 1919), introductory chapter (especially).
flocks, and, consequently, the prince as a Christian was in duty bound to carry out their biddings in spiritual concerns. 2 Louis XIII did not, by any means, agree with these conclusions, and the publication of the decrees of the Council of 1615 was regarded by him as a temporary victory for the hierarchy over the absolute sovereignty of the crown; and from this time forth the kings of France undertook to gain the submission of the clergy to the royal claim of obedience.
To make matters worse, the parlements tried to bring about a settlement of the issues in dispute with the Papacy, independently of the king. The king felt that the parlements were favoring interests dangerous to his absolute rule and, to meet this menace, he began to create about him an ecclesiastical court of bishops and abbés submissive to the crown. His right of nomination served his purpose admirably, and by this means he soon had an obsequious body of prelates who preached, day in and day out, the virtue of unswerving loyalty to the king that God had given France.
It was this hand-picked party, devoted to interests other than those of the Church, who in 1800 refused to compromise the claims of the Bourbons by swearing to the new régime any oath of fidelity however innocuous, and who felt compelled to defy even the Pope himself when he began to make terms with the usurper, Napoleon Bonaparte. From the earliest days of the Revolution, they had accepted the plebeian Maury as their leader. Although Maury later deserted from his party and whent over to Napoleon's side, he still serves as a suitable representative of the refractory clergy; indeed, he can be regarded as more logical than the extremists with whom he irretrievably broke, and there is some truth in his contention that it was Napoleon, not he, who was guilty of a betrayal of principle. The Emperor was reestablishing a divine-right dynasty in France; re-
2 Ibid., p. 384et seq.
publican Jacobinism had been put down; it was the latter theory that Maury had so vigorously assailed in 1791; as long as the regal principle was vindicated, what difference whether King Louis or Emperor Napoleon upheld it? 3
(2) Jean Siffrein Maury, to give him his full name, reached his place of eminence in the Church of the old régime, not through social rank, as was generally the case, nor through distinguished acts of piety, as was sometimes the case, but because of sheer quickwitted ability. Consequently, he was inclined to despise men of lesser talents and to regard with horror the placing of power in the hands of the people whom he had left so far behind in his upward climb to rank and distinction. The humble circumstances of his childhood days were not a pleasant memory to this haughty prelate when he became the adviser of kings and Popes. 4
The Maury family had originally been ardent Calvinists of the Dauphiné, which they had abandoned for the Comtat Venaissin after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. In their new home their Protestant enthusiasm began to wane and they finally found their way back to the ancient faith of France. Jean Siffrein's father was a shoemaker and his mother is described by his biographer as a robuste comtadine. As a child he was regarded as a wag, but Ricard adds, "a little more than a wag." 5
It was because of clearly discerned abilities that Maury was taken in by a charitable ecclesiastical school near his home at Valréas where he got a thorough grounding in the humanities. At the age of thirteen, after he had exhausted all that
3 Vide infra, p. 116, note 33.
4 Ricard, Mgr., Correspondance Diplomatique et Memoires Inédits du Cardinal Maury, 1792-1817 (Lille, 1891), tom. i, p. 9.
5 Ibid., tom. i, p. vi.
the College of Valréas had to teach him, he went on to the Seminary of Saint Sulpice and finally to the Collège de France to complete his education. His career, prior to the outbreak of the Revolution, proceeded smoothly, until his mental abilities had carried him into the sacred precincts of that courtly retinue at Versailles, in which few commoners had the good fortune to be accepted.
In 1772 he was selected by the Academy to preach the panegyric of St. Louis at the Louvre, and his eloquence was so moving that his audience interrupted him with loud applause. This triumph was achieved at the age of twentysix; seventeen years later, in the Estates General he was to place his great oratorical ability at the disposal of the old rigime, which was sadly lacking in eloquent defenders at the most critical period of its history. 6
(3) It would, perhaps, be unfair to ascribe to purely selfish motives all of Maury's opposition to the democratization of France. He had had a humanist education and he truly loved the graceful decorum and etiquette that had so beautifully flowered in the court of Louis XIV. He was unmoved by Jean Jacques Rousseau, and would never admit that sovereignty resided in that most indecorous and many-headed monster, the people or mob, words which for him were interchangeable. It was much more to his liking that the king should boldly proclaim, "l'état c'est moi"; there was decorum to that and one knew what it meant. 7
From the outset of the Revolution he was alert to defend everything pertaining to the old régime. Even before the assembling of the Estates General he is reported to have said, "The clergy with the sword in one hand and the crucifix in
6 Ibid., tom. i, p. viiet seq.
7 Ibid., tom. i, p. li.
the other shall defend their rights." 8 On the grounds that it foreshadowed the "end of the ancient order of things," he strenuously opposed a common verification of credentials. His speeches were generally delivered in an acrimonious tone and he succeeded in arousing in his opponents a most violent and bitter hatred against himself personally. During the debate on the nationalization of Church property, he missed none of the weaknesses in the argument of those who supported the measure. Especially did he insist on one point which the bourgeois party were far from desiring to admit; he continually asked them how, in the name of all that was reasonable, they could justifiably confine confiscation to only one form of property. Although Mirabeau attempted to draw a distinction between ecclesiastical holdings and those of private citizens, he never could squarely meet the point that Maury constantly called him back to: that once the principle of confiscation was established, it should necessarily apply to private property as well as Church property, since the inviolability of both rested on exactly the same basis.
In some of his most sarcastic comments on the proposed legislation of the Constituent Assembly, he was more prophetic than he knew. He assured the Assembly that the seizure of Church property would not add anything to the general welfare of the country, but that those lands would ultimately pass into the hands of a few greedy capitalists, who would be less generous with their spoils than the clergy were. And again he insisted on the inconsistency of the Assembly in its new metaphysic, since it wished to stop with just this one violation of property rights. "The people," he said, "will exercise on you all the rights that you are now exercising upon us; it will also assert that it is the nation." 9 It was not pleasant for the bourgeois deputies to
8 Ibid., tom. i, p. xxxix.
9 Ibid., tom. i, pp. xlvi-xlvii.
hear a distinction drawn between themselves and the people, since they considered it their proudest boast that they were the people. Maury had touched a sensitive spot when he pointed out that there was still a disinherited mass in France whose interests were receiving scant consideration in the first days of constitution making.
However, the haughty priest soon lost his advantage when he rejected the word salary, scorning to be a salaried priest. It was this remark that gave Mirabeau an opportunity to drop the unanswerable argument on the question of confiscation and gain rounds of applause from the Assembly, as he proclaimed, "there are only three ways to exist in society; it is necessary to be a beggar, thief, or salaried person." 10
Maury was on much firmer ground when he uttered a warning to over-zealous deputies, that they were liable to do their cause grievous harm if they insisted upon making martyrs of the clergy. His words were indeed prophetic of what was soon to follow in France, and the Assembly would have done well to heed them. "Take care, Messieurs," he cried out, "it is dangerous to make martyrs, it is dangerous to drive to the limit men who have a conscience and who, preferring death to perjury, shall prove to you by the effusion of their blood that they know how to compel your esteem." 11
However, he left it to others to make good this daring ultimatum, and betook himself to the royalist retreat at Coblentz. It was indeed ironical that this valiant defender of privileges should find that at Coblentz his mean birth had not been forgotten by the members of the blood royal. The Comte de'Artois greeted him with, "Oh, abbé, how you have grown", a remark which Maury perceived to have reference to his plebeian origin. 12
10 Ibid., tom. i, p. xlviii.
11 Ibid., tom. i, p. lxxi.
12 Ibid., tom. i, p. 9; vide supra, p. 102.
(4) After a short stay at Coblentz, Maury passed on to Rome, where he found himself in a completely congenial atmosphere. He was lionized by Roman society, became friends with Consalvi and was made archbishop of Nicæain partibus infidelium by Pius VI.
The leaders of the Church in Rome were glad to avail themselves of Maury's assistance in the serious difficulties they were compelled to meet in France at this time (January, 1792). The congregation of cardinals which was contending with the unusual situation brought about by the Revolution, immediately inquired of Maury his opinion as to the advisability of excommunicating the members of the Constitutional Church. His biographer says that he prepared his answer by making a study of the sources of the prerogative of excommunication. "This extraordinary man," writes Ricard, "revealed himself at Rome a consummate canonist, as at Paris he had shown himself an economist and a politician in the midst of specialists grown old in the study of the knowledge and secrets of their science." 13 The conclusion that Maury gained from the sources was as one would have expected: excommunication was "the last of all remedies," yet the last of all remedies was not too extreme to apply to the members of the Constitutional Church. 14
There was another problem on which ecclesiatical opinion was not so united as it was on the subject of the Constitutional Church. It had to do with the swearing of oaths, and on this subject Maury was anxious to volunteer his advice.
Some of the Catholic clergy in France, after the first violent break with the revolutionary government over the Civil Constitution, early began to try to make an accommo-
13 Ibid., tom. i, pp. 26-27. He was consecrated archbishop of Nicæa, May 1, 1792, and was made Papal Nuncio to Francis II the same month.
14 Ibid., tom. i, pp. 101-105.
dation with the new régime. Among them was Abbé Emery, who remained in France through all the perils of the Terror. When the government, on the 13th day of August, 1792, demanded an oath of the clergy "to maintain with all their power liberty and equality and the execution of the law," Emery could not see any serious dogmatic objection to assuming such a responsibility. His position and that of the moderate clergy whom he represented will be the subject of a later chapter; their attitude is here remarked upon only to set it in contrast with that of the rigorist clergy. Maury said that this oath was even "more perfidious and impious" than the one that had involved accepting the Civil Constitution. The previous oath, according to him, was heretical, but this one surpassed heresy, since it consecrated rebellion. To aid in "the execution of the law" in Jacobin France was to fail to keep faith with obligations that had been assumed in previous oaths taken under the old régime, and would ultimately lead to undermining the foundations upon which the social and religious hierarchy had been established. In other words, for the clergy of France to submit to any oath which required of them active support of the revolutionary government was to legitimize principles and actions which Maury held were "most contrary to truth and justice." 15
This was regarded by the moderate clergy as exaggeration, and they quite rightly asserted that, as a matter of historical record, it was clear that the Church had never been sensitive about forms of government, if only it was given the opportunity to carry on freely its spiritual functions here below. But Maury would not have it so; for him the Church must refuse to cooperate with any government that violated Christian principles; and for the clergy to acquiesce in its rule was to accept responsibility for all its acts, which in-
15 Ricard, op. cit., tom. i, pp. 123-125.
cluded, as he pointed out, "the acceptance of divorce as the law of the land, the marriage of priests and the annulment of religious orders." 16
The standard of conduct that Maury here laid down for the government was one that had hardly been lived up to during the old régime; nor did he himself adhere to his principles at a later date when he returned to France to become archbishop of Paris--divorce still being the law of the land. It is clear that he was acting the part of a shrewd politician, and, fundamentally, his opposition to the oath was based upon his dislike of Jacobin democracy. He had at heart the cause of royalty more than the welfare of the Church, a fact which both Consalvi and Pius VII were quick to perceive, and the prestige of Maury as a theologian early began to wane at Rome. However, as he lost favor with the leaders of the Church, he gained esteem in the eyes of Louis, Comte de Provence, who accepted him as his confidential adviser in ecclesiastical affairs.
(5) In 1794 Maury had been made a cardinal by Pius VI and had been given the bishopric of Montefiascone. When, during the negotiations for the Concordat, he was no longer welcome at Rome he retired to this little town to watch developments and to secure as much information as he could to dispatch to Louis, with the necessary comment and advice. This correspondence is excellent material from which to study the sentiment of the rigorists towards the negotiations for the Concordat, the success of which they so greatly feared.
It was Maury who first informed Louis of what was about to take place between Pius VII and Bonaparte. He had heard about the Martiniana letter and he also had heard a
16 Ibid., tom. i, p. 127.
rumor to the effect that the First Consul intended to visit Rome and make a present of thirty million French Catholics to the Pope. "If the proposition is serious," wrote Maury, "we shall be compelled to deal with a terrible matter in a month." 17 Thus was the future king of France informed that the Pope was on the point of abandoning the cause of the Bourbons and making terms with the common enemy. It was particularly bitter news to receive, since Louis had just recently suggested a concordat between the Pope and himself; 18 but Pius VII concluded that this would be decidedly impolitic under the existing circumstances, and Louis now had the sad experience of helplessly looking on while one was being negotiated with his most powerful rival for the French throne.
In his first letter on the subject of the rumored negotiations, Maury assured Louis that Pius VII would never be able to surmount the obstacles that stood in the way of an agreement between the Church and the Republic of France. But even if a concordat should take form, he felt sure that the Congregation at Rome would refuse to give its approval to any oath of fidelity to a government which legalized so many things contrary to Catholic doctrines. If this failed to nullify the proceedings, then there was the certainty that the old bishops would refuse to resign their sees. Maury was supremely confident that they would stand firm, and the idea of deposing refractory bishops was unthinkable to him. He admitted that there was a suggestion that the Pope might depose them if they refused to give up their titles, and his comment was as follows:
Depose them! Ah! what an offence that would be! Depose them! Shall the Holy See at one stroke thus change its prin-
17 Ibid., tom. i, pp. 408-410.
18 Ibid., tom. i, p. 398.
ciples and its clothes? Shall it dismiss those bishops upon whom it has not ceased during eleven consecutive years to continue to shower the most flattering eulogies, and to whom Pius VII himself has, since his elevation, continuously addressed the most commendable letters? 19
All the objections that Maury voiced against the negotiations were to the effect that Pius VII might do something to stabilize the Republic in France or give it the appearance of respectability, and thus endanger the hope of the return of the king to his throne. It would be a mistake to think that all his concern was for the Bourbon family, or that he was passionately devoted to the person of him whom he called Louis XVIII. His opposition to the Concordat was based upon something more real than chivalrous adherence to a divine-right king; his classical soul abhorred the Revolution and all its works. To live in a world where the élite were compelled to stand on an equal footing with the uninformed masses and take their chances with unscrupulous demagogues was a topsy-turvy existence, to which he was unable to reconcile himself. His experiences as a deputy in the Estates General had sunk too deeply into his consciousness for him ever to hope that any good thing could come out of a democratic form of government. 20 He frankly admitted in one of his letters to Louis that a Concordat, if it could be accomplished, might possibly be a gain to the Church, since it would put an end to the schism in France, but it would be a gain involving too great a sacrifice, since the hope of the return of the Bourbons would be materially lessened. 21
By the end of July, 1801, Maury's confidence in the ultimate failure of the negotiations was badly shaken. On the twenty-ninth he wrote Louis of some disturbing events which
19 Ibid., tom. i, p. 472.
20 Vide supra, p. 103, note 7.
21 Ricard, op. cit., tom. ii, p. 77.
indicated that the Roman Court was set upon reaching an agreement with Bonaparte and that it was willing to sacrifice its friends, if it were necessary, to attain the object in view. He had been shown, by Cardinal Doria, the acting secretary of state, a note from the French government to the Pope, informing the latter that Maury had, from the beginning of the Revolution, proved himself an implacable enemy of a republican form of government, and that his constant appearances in Rome were "hardly compatible with the desire which his Holiness had shown to live in peace with the French Republic." 22 As a consequence of this complaint, the bishop of Montefiascone was requested to keep more closely to his diocese.
After this event, Maury wrote with a less assured tone of being able to balk the Concordat. He was not hopeless, but he thought that the opponents to an agreement ought to try to unite their forces more firmly if they were to succeed in their designs. To Louis' anxious inquiry as to whether he would have the French bishops unitedly behind him if he roundly condemned the Concordat, Maury replied that his Majesty must not "expect the desirable unity of sentiment." Their isolation in various retreats, he perceived, would leave them without good advice and there was a possibility that they would be found lined up on different sides when the Concordat was published. In order to avoid this eventuality, Maury wrote Louis that it would be necessary to try to get the bishops together in one place so that they might encourage one another in their defiance of the Pope. Until this was done, Maury counselled Louis to refrain from any pronouncement upon the Concordat. 23
The advice was hardly agreeable to Louis; he was impatient to proclaim publicly his disapproval of the Holy Father's
22 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 146.
23 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 158.
temerity in negotiating with the usurpers of kingly sovereignty, but for the present he relieved his pent-up indignation by drawing up an elaborate denunciation of the Concordat and confiding it to the care of Maury, who was to release it at the proper psychological moment.
It was an embarrassing document for Maury to have in his possession if he wished to continue his residence in the vicinity of Rome, and he took many precautions to find a safe hiding place for it. If the Pope had been privileged to see it, which Maury was quite determined he should not, he would probably have been only strengthened in his desire for an agreement with Bonaparte; for, if he was finding the First Consul a hard bargainer, he would have been reminded that the Bourbons were also jealous guardians of Gallican rights.
Louis, almost in pontifical tones, proclaimed the duty that devolved upon him as the born protector of the Gallican Church to advise his bishops of the dangerous character of the Concordat. He admitted that he was not well instructed on the nature of the agreement, but said he was reliably informed that several articles in it infringed upon the rights of the crown, and that the holy canons and the liberties of the Gallican Church were being violated. Furthermore, he reminded the bishops that "no power on earth is able to release subjects from the oath of fidelity which they have once assumed." 24 Such an implied criticism of the Pope was not quite politic at the time, and would hardly have endeared the cause of Louis to sincere Catholics. Maury was of the opinion that it would not do for Louis to break openly with Pius VII, who would then be the more ready to stake his all on the goodwill of Bonaparte; consequently, he attempted to assuage his friend's wrath. He assured Louis that Pius VII was impelled, by what he considered sad necessity, to
24 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 167-169.
sacrifice the undoubted rights of the king of France; and that he, the Pope, was of the opinion that it was his duty "at all costs to preserve thirty million souls in the bosom of the Catholic Church." Maury was certain that the Pope's heart was not in the accommodation, and that he would at "the first favorable moment nullify a treaty" that had been "founded upon violence and bad faith."
This was a very modified tone from the one which he had used in some of his former lectures. Louis had written to him about the necessary courage which animated St. Paul when he resisted St. Peter to the face, and the reply that he received was hardly in keeping with the royal indignation. However, Maury hastened to assure Louis of his own disavowal of any sympathy with the Pope's policy. Although the Pope was about to annul the schism in France, yet he was now of the opinion that "there is good faith on only one side and that a fides corsica will avail no better than a fides punica." To justify this firm conviction, he recalled Bonaparte's excursion into Mohammedanism during his stay in Egypt, and he feared that "he who has put the Koran and the Gospel on the same level has always just the same respect for the chief of the Church as for the Grand Mufti." 25
Nevertheless, Maury's advice to Louis was to refrain from hasty and ill-considered measures. "In such a horrible crisis as this," he wrote, "the only action that can be taken by the king, without compromising himself, is to intimate to all the bishops of his kingdom that they must make no response to the suggestions or summons of Bonaparte other than to demand that they all be permitted to unite for a common deliberation and to rally themselves around a uniform resolution." This rather furtive method of acting, he explained, was necessary because the king should "remain a
25 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 176-177.
spectator in the eyes of the Church and Europe when he is not able to intervene with the ascendancy that appertains to him." 26 There was also another good reason why the king should refrain from open opposition to the Concordat. Maury thought that the resistance of the bishops should appear as a purely spiritual protest against the Pope and not be entangled with any dynastic pretensions that would lessen its effect in the Catholic world. Such a resistance, based upon purely dogmatic grounds, he thought, would be the most powerful of all obstacles to a final conclusion of the negotiations and its effect in France would be terrible, that is, "if there were any energy left in Catholic souls." 27
(6) The advice was wise, but it was a case of being unable to teach a Bourbon anything. Louis disregarded the prudent counsel and made a scathing denunciation of the Concordat. It is hardly surprising, then, to find Maury acting as ecclesiastical adviser to a new sovereign in France at a later date, but still in his old capacity as the defender of monarchical interests against those of the Church.
Maury's conversion to fides corsica was not, as has been observed, 28 wholly a betrayal of principle. It was the second of the revolutionary rights that he considered the most dangerous for the future well being of France. Égalité, as his letters reveal, was his bête noir. Fraternity at least he practiced, even with his most violent opponents, having stood at the bedside of the dying Mirabeau.29 During his residence
26 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 181et seq.
27 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 214.
28 Vide supra, p. 110.
29 It is recorded by Ricard that Mirabeau, "at the portal of death, very much moved and sincerely touched at seeing his fiery rival, made a great effort to raise himself up and open his arms. And while Maury, shaken,
at Montefiascone, he welcomed the presence of his soldier countrymen who were stationed in his diocese. His letters show that he had a tender place in his heart for all Frenchmen, even Jacobins; and there is revealed in his correspondence to partisans of the Bourbon régime, a covert admiration for Bonaparte and his invincible armies. He wrote to Louis himself about the French soldiers who passed by his little villa at Montefiascone, and how he often talked to them with words of praise for their military achievements. They told him they would like to have the king back on his throne if it did not mean the return of the old order which debarred the common-born soldier, however brilliant, from attaining the rank of an officer. Maury did not yield on his principles even here, but got out of the difficulty by tactfully remarking that the king would ennoble them all. It is clear that, even while he was the firm adherent of Louis, he had caught, to some extent, the spirit of those soldier boys who were so voluble in their praises of their indomitable leader; and he shared with them a justifiable pride in the victorious bons gens Français.
On the other hand, Maury's prolonged residence in Italy had not increased his esteem for the men of that land. One of his letters scathingly denounced what he considered a bribe, offered by Roman prelates to the bishop of Rochelle. He wrote, "It is necessary to be an Italian to make offers so revolting to gentlemen and to the bishops of France." 30 All of which was a clear indication that the cardinal was getting impatient to return to a land of gentlemen.
In December, 1803, Maury began a new and unusual cor-
withdrew himself from the chamber of death, Mirabeau was heard to say, 'Voilà qui l'honore plus que ses meilleurs discours.'" Ricard, op. cit., tom. i, p. xxxv.
30 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 186-187.
31 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 203.
respondence. It was to Citoyen Premier Consul. In his first letter he avowed his constant love for his country and his admiration for "the Consul who governs it with so much glory." 32 He assured Bonaparte that he was praying for his preservation and happiness. The cause of the Bourbons had been abandoned as hopeless and the cardinal was turning to the only other alternative that offered itself as a means of getting back to his native land.
Receiving no reply from the First Consul, he next looked about for an intermediary, and struck upon Cardinal Fesch, the uncle of Bonaparte as well as the French representative at Rome. By this time the First Consul had become an emperor, and this event had simplified Maury's task of making clear just why he was seeking a reconciliation with the French government. He assured Cardinal Fesch that he had not changed his former convictions about a republican form of government. From the beginning he knew that such a system was impossible in a country so widely extended as France; and, since the experiment had been tried and found wanting, he felt he was amply vindicated in his former opposition to a fruitless endeavor which had been the cause of so much useless shedding of blood. Now, he pointed out, matters were different; the restoration of a united sovereignty in the person of Napoleon had made the change and there was no further need for opposition on his part. Consequently, he could not see why anyone should be surprised at his "prompt and absolute adhesion to the new hereditary government when, after fifteen years of discord, his immutable principles suddenly became dominant and had rallied him heart and soul to the reestablishment of the monarchy." 33 This was followed by a letter to Napoleon, congratulating him on having once again constituted an here-
32 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 306.
33 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 312.
ditary throne in France, and, even more, on having put an end to the incurable anarchy which must have continued as long as a democratic form of government prevailed there.
In his search for brilliant courtiers to add lustre to his new dynasty, the Emperor did not long overlook the ambitious Maury; and the latter finally obtained the coveted honour of bishop-elect of Paris, but never the Papal institution to office. His unusual conduct as the adviser of Napoleon in his controversy with the Pope is reserved for a later chapter, 34 and we leave Maury for the present to follow the ultimate fate of the bishops who had looked upon him, until his desertion, as their staunchest partisan in their opposition to the Concordat.
(7) There can be little doubt that Maury's chief objection to the Concordat in its first days was based upon principles of a political nature rather than religious. The same can be said of most of the refractory bishops, though not all of them. As Latreille has pointed out, there were two schools of thought even among the die-hard remnant, and he charges Aulard with a serious error in lumping them all together under the term Blanchardists. The appellation does not fit them all, nor even the majority of them, since Blanchardisme was a rejection of the Concordat from a purely doctrinal standpoint, and consequently, it had little in common with political Gallicanism. 35
Under ordinary circumstances, the Blanchardists would have been regarded as Ultramontanes. They, however, were of a single mind with the courtier bishops in opposition to the Pope's demand for their resignations, and so their defiance of the Holy See on this occasion deprived them of
34 Vide infra, ch. viii.
35 Latreille, op. cit., p. xvii.
the right to be called Ultramontanes. In former days they had opposed the laicizing of the Church, and they could justifiably contend that matters in this respect had been made even worse by the Concordat of 1801. The Blanchardists were logical enough in refusing to bow to the necessity which had compelled Pius VII to yield to demands which he detested as much as did his Ultramontane critics. 36
The legitimists, on the other hand, felt little compunction in refusing the Pope's demand. Under the old régime they had supported dynastic claims to the detriment of Papal interests and they were running true to form in their defiance of the Pope, except that in their first days of exile they had loudly proclaimed their loyalty to the Holy See in order to make it appear that the cause of the Roman Court and that of the Bourbon dynasty were inextricably bound together. Pius VII need have felt little regret in antagonizing this group, but it must have been grievous to him to drive into schism such loyal partisans of the spiritual independence of the Church as he knew the Blanchardists to be.
As has been seen in our study of the negotiations, 37 the Roman agents had tried in vain to make some arrangements whereby such a harsh measure as deposition could be avoided. In the brief Tam Multa, which the First Consul regarded as too tender in tone, the Pope had made a strong plea for forbearance from the bishops whose resignations he was perforce compelled to demand. It was addressed to the whole French episcopate and admitted frankly that the Holy See was asking an unusual sacrifice from loyal bishops. It read in part:
The preservation of the unity of the Holy Church and the reestablishment of the Catholic religion in France demands of you
36 Ibid., p. 236.
37 Vide supra, ch. ii, p. 43, note 12.
a new proof of virtue and greatness of soul which shall increasingly demonstate to the entire world that your ardent love for the Church is absolutely disinterested and uniquely directed towards its welfare alone. It is necessary for you to resign spontaneously and freely your episcopal sees into my hands; an unusual proceeding, assuredly, my venerable brethren, but the necessity is of such a nature that it compels us to demand this of you and you must acquiesce in order that we may arrange the affairs of France. 38
In September, 1801, there was a reunion of as many of the old bishops as could be found in England, in order to draw up a reply to the Pope's request. There was practical unanimity on the necessity of refusal to comply with the appeal of the Holy Father, either because of dogmatic or political objections. 39 Abbé Barruel, in an eloquent defense of this stand, from the dogmatic point of view, sought to justify an Ultramontane defiance of the Pope. He realized that his was an ambiguous position, but he got over the difficulty by asserting that the brief Tam Multa proposed no new dogmas, and that, consequently, the Pope did not act in the name of his infallibility, but in virtue of his office as supreme head of the ecclesiastical government. It was the Holy Father's acts as a political ruler that Barruel dared to criticize, and he was no lenient critic. The former Ultramontane became the advocate of the people's rights against the unjust autocracy of the head of the Catholic world. The people had the right, he thought, to expect from the Pope pastors who were able to provide for their salvation; the Pope, on the contrary, had arranged to provide bishops satisfactory to the government of France. In the following words he denounced all those French clerics who had any part in the drawing up of the Concordat:
38 Boulay, Documents, tom. iii, p. 376et seq.
39 Ibid., tom., iv, p. 93.
You have formerly believed that the priest was preeminently a man of God. Why do you wish today to make him a man of the king? You have formerly believed that the priest was an angel of peace. Why should he again be invited into new revolutions of blood and carnage? . . . If you give to the people their religion, you give them peace, and yet we can expect only war within. It is the monstrous politique of the atrocious children of Machiavellianism. 40
For the time being, Barruel's denunciation fell upon deaf ears, but at a later date the moderate clergy of France realized that there was much truth in his contention, and his cause which had suffered a severe eclipse in 1801 revived under the able leadership of d'Astros and de Maistre, of whom more later. 41
Barruel's invoking of the rights of the people could not have been altogether agreeable to some of his allies in nonconcurrence, namely, the court party. Their hostility was not based upon the fact that the Concordat was making the bishops men of the king; they had been men of the king in days gone by. Being almost all gentlemen born, they felt that they were in honor bound to the first gentleman of their native land by an oath which honor forbade them to break. Their enmity to the democratic régime in France had been deepened by eleven years of bitter persecution and exile; it was a cruel request to ask them to become reconciled to one whom they regarded as a usurper of the rights of their liege lord, Louis Bourbon. 42
The opening address by the archbishop of Narbonne, who presided at the reunion at London, reflected the outraged feelings of those devoted legitimists. He spoke to the assembled bishops as follows:
40 Latreille, op. cit., pp. 236-238. Vide also Sévestre Abbé, Les Idées Gallicanes et Royalistes (Paris, 1917), passim.
41 Vide infra, ch. viii and ix, passim.
42 Latreille, op. cit., p. 127.
The Pope asks us to make some new sacrifices, he says to us officially through him who carries on here the functions of an apostolic nuncio that he has recommended us to the protection of the First Consul whom he has besought to think of us in the distribution of his favors and to provide for our subsistence. Pardon me, my colleagues, a feeling of indignation that you surely share with me. Are we now reduced to the disastrous necessity of recourse to the pity, commiseration and charity of the principal author of all the evils which our unfortunate country has experienced? 43
This meeting in London justified Maury's advice to Louis, namely, that it would be necessary to get the bishops of the old régime assembled in one place in order to have them take a firm and unyielding stand against the pressure of the French government and the Pope. Out of some eighty-nine surviving bishops of the old order, only thirty-four or thirtyeight (the figures vary) refused to resign their sees. The irreconcilables resided chiefly in England, and, as a last final protest, they issued on April 6, 1803, the famous Reclamations canoniques, which must have gladdened the heart of Louis. This document was sent to Pius VII to instruct him on the rights of legitimate kings. The refractory bishops carefully traced the history of the teaching on legitimacy, laying special emphasis on the contributions of Bossuet, Fénélon and Pius VI to the body of testimony favorable to absolute fidelity to divine-right kings. In consequence of such great authority, they reaffirmed their conviction "that our very honored lord and legitimate king, Louis XVIII, conserves, in complete integrity in the crown of France, the rights which he holds of God alone, and that nothing is able to absolve subjects from the fidelity which they owe to their prince in virtue of the law of God." Thirty-eight bishops signed the Reclamations canoniques, but
43 Boulay, Documents, tom. iv, p. 96.
the force of their resistance was early broken, as Latreille has put it, "by the silence of Rome, the vigor of the imperial police and the indifference of the clergy of the second order, and of the faithful." 44
Added to this was the defection of Maury, whose example was followed by others, until there was left only a small remnant of the original protestors, chiefly composed of those who based their opposition to the Concordat upon dogmatic principles. They became known as the Petite Église, which continued down into the pontificate of Leo XIII. 45
44 Latreille, op. cit., p. 282.
45 Drochon Le R. P. J. B., La Petite Église (Paris, 1894), pp. 385393; and Galton A., Church and State in France, 1300-1907 (London, 1907), p. 130.
(1) ONE of the most difficult tasks that presented itself to the French representative at Rome, at the conclusion of the negotiations for the Concordat, was to bring about amicable relations between the Papacy and the former bishops of the disbanded Constitutional Church. Cacault, writing to Portalis in November, 1801, admits that the real source of the enmity was past his finding out. "I am unable," he wrote, "to understand in what the Jansenist heresy consists, and what is the difference of opinion between my old colleague in the Legislative Body, Grégoire, and the Holy Father." Like Louis XIV, who had faced a similar problem, Cacault was inclined to allow the Pope to settle a purely doctrinal question in accordance with his best judgment. Only knowing "the rules which govern the world," he pleaded that such a training did not fit him to deal with theological questions; but, since he had to withdraw from the controversy, he did not think that the last word should be left with Grégoire. "Abbé Grégoire," he wrote Portalis, "is not Pope; it is the Pope whose authority is recognized and established to decide these subtle questions." 1
But he could not thus simply wash his hands of Jansenism any more than Louis XIV had been able to bring peace to his kingdom by means of a Papal bull. 2 It was not entirely a theological problem that Cacault was trying to escape, but
1 Boulay, Documents, tom. iv, p. 345.
2 On the reception of the bull Unigenitus in France vide Pastor, L. F. von , Geschichte der Päpste (Freiburg, 1930), vol. xv, pp. 170-172.
was, in truth, very much a political one. Because of its political implications, Jansenism was one heresy that could never be disregarded by French politicians as a purely ecclesiastical concern.
Augustin Gazier, in a general history of the Jansenist movement, has made an impartial effort to elucidate some of the confusion of thought that has gathered around this heresy. He throws aside the common catechetical definitions prevalent in French histories as revealing little of the real essence of Jansenism. Calling it pure Deism or pure Calvinism or even something worse, as the historians did, was a failure to appreciate its vital significance in the history of France. It is not so much what it is in itself, Gazier points out, that is important, but the political purposes it was, perhaps unwittingly, made to serve. 3 Always it was providing martyrs for causes in which it had essentially no interest. Being compelled to defy both Pope and king in defense of theological principles, the Jansenists found themselves in alliance with politicians who were also in opposition to those powers. Though the political unrest might be put down, the doctrinal principle of Jansenism could always be depended upon to rise again to plague Popes and kings, and serve as a rallying point for new political discontent. 4
In the latter part of the eighteenth century, Port Royal became the subject of innumerable books which took their form from one published by Racine in 1742. The theme of all these publications was "l'esprit de Port Royal se perpetua d'âge en âge sans aucune interruption." 5 A clandestine paper called Nouvelles Ecclésiastiques also helped to perpetuate this spirit down to the outbreak of the Revolution.
3 Gazier A., Histoire Générale du Mouvement Janséniste depuis ses Origines jusqu' à nos Jours (Paris, 1922), tom. i, p. 1 et seq.
4 Ibid., tom. i, chs. xii and xiii (especially). Vide also Sicard, Abbé, L'Ancien Clergé de France (Paris, 1893), tom. i, ch. vi.
5 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 129.
Nevertheless, at the beginning of the Revolution, the Nouvelles Ecclésiastiques paid little attention to the debates in the Estates General. Gazier says that the issues for the year 1789 show an entire lack of interest in the great events that were then transpiring in France. An attack on Voltaire, criticisms of the theatrical representations in the colleges, a long discussion about a recent miracle, a laudation of the bishop of Orange, who had proclaimed Augustinian principles on grace and free will, and similar subjects, occupy the major portion of its pages. 6 But by July, 1790, there was a change of tone; in that month there is revealed a distinct enthusiasm for the Revolution. The Nouvelles Ecclésiastiques approved of the plan of the ecclesiastical committee for the Gallican communion; this projected plan is regarded as "very judicious, since it conformed to the spirit of the Church and to the essential principles of its government." 7
However, not all the members of the party represented by the Nouvelles Ecclésiastiques were in agreement on the Civil Constitution of the clergy. On August 4, 1792, appeared a rival Jansenist journal, the Contre-Nouvelles. This paper roundly denounced those who would try "to remedy the evils of the Church by overthrowing its hierarchy and discipline." 8
The Civil Constitution of 1790 had proved too much for the doctrinal Jansenists; they had never wished to repudiate the Pope's right to govern the Church in France, and Jabineau, the editor of the Contre-Nouvelles, found himself completely out of sympathy with his more democratic confrères, such as Comas, Lorrière and Grégoire. His new paper had a very brief existence, ceasing at his death, and Jansenism became more and more identified with views that were set forth by the republican, Grégoire, who regarded himself as the true interpreter of the spirit of Port Royal.
6 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 138-139.
7 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 141.
8 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 142.
It was Grégoire's ambition to make the new Constitutional Church the outward embodiment of the inward and spiritual grace of Jansenism; but one needs to be reminded that our interpreter had imbibed deeply of the spirit of Rousseau and much of his interpretation is colored by the democratic principles of the Social Contract.
(2) Among the important democratic leaders in the Estates General of 1789, none held more firmly to his pristine faith in the sovereignty of the people than did Henri Grégoire. His belief in the sanity of their judgment appears to have been influenced by the fact that he considered himself very much of the people. He constantly boasted of his plebeian origin, and asserted that his great merit lay in the fact that in the accumulation of honors that were bestowed upon him, "he never wished to separate his affections nor interest from those of the people." 9 Even the experiences of the Terror only deepened Grégoire's belief in democracy. Carnot explains this tenacity of faith, almost fanatical in its persistence, from the fact that the "indefatigable champion of the democratic cause identified democracy with religion. 'By the grace of God,' said Grégoire on one occasion, 'I shall die a good Catholic and a good republican.'" 10 Democracy for Grégoire was hardly to be judged by human standards. Like Catholicism, it was a divinely ordained institution, and whether it proved a success or not as a form of government was little to the point; it had divine approval, and to throw it aside as having been tried and found wanting was to defy the will of God.
10 Ibid., tom. vi, p. ii.
9 Grégoire H., Histoire des Sectes Religieuses (Paris, 1828), tom. vi ( Paris, 1845), Publiée sur les Manuscrits de l'Auteur et Précíée d'une Notice Biographique par M. Carnot, p. i.
It is Carnot's opinion that Grégoire, while yet a priest in the little parish of Embermesnil seeking a seat in the Estates General, had already become imbued with republican principles. If so, he preceded into the republican camp even the more violent of the Jacobins who, according to Aulard, only took up the idea of establishing a republic in France after the flight of the king to Varennes. 11
He also showed the way to republicanism to his fellow clerics of Jansenist sympathies, whom he had formerly persuaded to accept the Civil Constitution of the clergy in 1791. It was after this Constitution became the law of the land, and Grégoire sat in the Convention as bishop of Blois, that he saw a republican France brought to realization. He had already eloquently voiced his approval of the abolition of royalty, proclaiming that "the history of kings is the martyrology of the nation." After the Convention had voted for a republican form of government, there were several days, he said, in which "the excess of joy deprived me of appetite and sleep." 12
Grégoire was on mission when the Convention voted for the death of the king, but it was reported that he had written a letter demanding the supreme penalty for the ill-fated Louis XVI. This letter he repudiated as a forgery. 13
Shortly after the establishment of the Republic, he was elected a member of the Committee of Public Instruction, where he laid down principles that have since become the credo of all good nationalists, not the least of these principles being the legalizing of one national language and the suppression of all provincial patois. 14
11 Ibid., tom. vi, p. iii; vide Aulard Histoire Politique de la Révolution Française (Paris, 1901), tom. i, passim.
12 Grégoire, op. cit., tom. vi, p. v.
13 Ibid., tom. vi, p. vi.
14 Ibid., tom. vi, p. vii.
In all this, Grégoire was of the opinion that he was serving the best interests of his Church, but it was a Gallican Church; and Gallicanism and nationalism were very much confused in his mind. His devotion to both was sincere, and one of the brightest chapters in his long and stormy career was when he stood in the tribune and courageously refused to repudiate his religious beliefs at the command of an enraged Assembly, determined to put an end to superstition. His reply to insistent cries for his apostacy was:
Catholic by conviction, priest by choice, I have been elected to be a bishop by the people; but it is neither from them nor you I hold my mission. I consented to the burden of the episcopate in a time when it was surrounded with thorns; I was plagued to accept it; today I am urged to the point of force to an abdication to which I shall never yield. Acting according to sacred principles which are dear to me and which I defy you to steal from me, I have a task to fulfill for the well-being of my diocese; I remain a bishop in order to complete it; I demand liberty for the cults. 15
Far from securing the liberty of the cults, Grégoire was fortunate to retain his own personal freedom, and it was not until the Directory came into power that he was given an opportunty to fulfill the task to which he felt he had been called. But it was now no longer simply a diocesan problem he faced; for upon him devolved, to a large extent, the duties of a primate of a national church. Since the government had resolved to abandon all forms of Catholicism, he was compelled to rely wholly upon the support and loyalty of the people, and his faith in their good judgment must have been sadly shaken as he saw a rival church succeeding better than his own in its appeal to the faithful. Grégoire, however, was quick to accept the challenge that the Papal party offered, and fought valiantly for his so-called national church. 16
15 Ibid., tom. vi, p. viii.
16 Vide supra, ch. i, p. 29 et seq.
(3) As has been observed, it was this rivalry between the Constitutionals and the non-jurors that Bonaparte wished to put an end to when he began his negotiations with the Pope. He had hoped that Grégoire would also see the danger of carrying on indefinitely an internecine struggle between two professedly Catholic Churches. Taking Grégoire into his confidence, he asked his advice on the possibility of an agreement with the Pope as a means of bringing to an end a serious menace to the unity and strength of the French nation. However, the First Consul soon discovered that Jansenist principles made Grégoire too prejudiced a critic of concordats, past or contemplated, to be of any use to him in the delicate negotiations that lay ahead.
In an Essai Historique on the liberties of the Gallican Church, Grégoire gives his version of this interview. He believed that Bonaparte was moved to negotiate with the Pope because he was already contemplating converting his temporary position of First Consul into a "patrimonial property and sensed the importance of religion to second his project." 17 In the following words he analyses the object of the First Consul in seeking the opinions of such men as himself:
Foreign to ecclesiastical affairs, he [ Bonaparte] interrogated not only persons versed in these matters, but even those who by the disparity of their estate and principles offered a better means in some respects to probe public opinion. He especially consulted a bishop who, inflexible in his attachment to religion and liberty, having never caressed power, but often persecuted by it, was in consequence exposed to the rage of the despot by his constant opposition to the latter's enterprises. 18
17 Grégoire, Essai Historique sur les Liberties de l'Église Gallicane (Paris, 1820, new ed.), p. 212.
18 Ibid., p. 213.
Grégoire does not disclose the name of this bishop, but from the description that he gives of him, there can be no doubt that he himself is the person concerned. The following is transcribed from the Essai Historique:
The Consul: Catholic France is divided into two camps. To unite them I purpose making a concordat with the Pope. Give me frankly your advice.
The Bishop: This division, doubtless, is afflicting, and the common father of Christians could easily dispel it; but for that a concordat is not necessary. You demand, but why not a concordat? Here is my answer: For twelve centuries the Catholic Church existed without a concordat; it had the apostolic traditions and canonical rules for di- recting its government; the first four Ecumenical Councils are regarded as equal to the Four Gos- pels. The Pope, Saint Leo, speaking of Nicæa in 325 said that its decisions inspired by the Holy Spirit have been consecrated by general veneration and assent . . . . 19
Grégoire wished here to emphasize the basis upon which he, in agreement with St. Leo, accepted the Nicene Council as infallible. It was because of the wide assent given to it by the lowly members of the Church. The bishop, having established the authority of Nicæa upon popular sovereignty, then pointed out that Canon Four of the Council most clearly stated that bishops were elected by a concourse of the prelates of the province with the metropolitan presiding. It was this partially democratic arrangement that prevailed in the twelve centuries before concordats came in to usurp the authority of the people. When Bonaparte referred to the Concordat of Francis I and Leo X as a precedent that he might follow, he only gave the bishop a horrible example of how kings and
19 Ibid., pp. 213-214.
Popes always worked together to enlarge their own powers at the expense of democratic institutions. The Concordat of Bologna had nullified the Pragmatic of Bourges, which, according to Grégoire, was an ideal that Bonaparte might have imitated far more profitably than a selfish agreement between a king and a Pope 20 --an agreement which disregarded the rights of the people.
The Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges was, as has been said, "a first step in the assertion of the right of national churches to arrange for themselves the details of their own ecclesiastical organization." 21 It was a national declaration of independence of the absolute rule of Rome, as well as a move towards a more democratic form of government for the Church. The former aspect appealed to Grégoire equally as much as the latter. It was the fear of foreign dictation in his beloved Fatherland, more than anything else, that set Grégoire against the negotiations of 1801. In the declarations issued by the councils of the Constitutional Church held in Paris in the first years of the Consulate, the utter subjection of the Church to the government was advocated. 22 This did not appear to the members as a violation of the independence of religion; their constant fear was not a church ruled by the state, but a state subjected indirectly to foreign control by an internationally governed church.
The reasons which Grégoire put forward in opposition to concordats were hardly likely to bear much weight with Bonaparte. He, no more than the monarchs of the old régime, desired a democratic election of bishops, such as had been
20 Ibid., pp. 214-222. On the Concordat of Bologna and its effect on Gallican liberties tide Renaudet A., Préréforme et Humanisme à Paris (Paris, 1916), pp. 576-586.
21 Creighton M., A History of the Papacy (London, 1882-1894), vol. ii, p. 199.
22 Vide supra, ch. ii, p. 49, note 31.
envisaged by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1438. Nevertheless, Bonaparte did not interfere with Grégoire's using the National Council of the Constitutional Church as a forum for propagating his peculiar views on the relations between Church and state. The First Consul had reasons of his own, to which attention has already been drawn, for his tolerant attitude towards Grégoire and his followers.
(4) It would be unfair to say that these councils did not represent a sincere attempt on the part of Grégoire and his sympathizers to establish a purely national church in France. But if this church was to prove a serious contender with revived Catholicism, it was necessary that it should have a centralized government and speak to the people with a more united voice than it had been doing. Grégoire, however, discovered that there was nothing cohesive in the spirit of Jansenism; individualism had characterized it from its earliest days, and even in 1800, when cooperation was so sorely needed, the chief concern of the Council, despite Grégoire's pleas for centralization, was a loosening of the bonds of episcopal control. 23 He still had to act under the decree of the National Assembly, which said, "The bishop can only exercise an act of jurisdiction after having deliberated with his council . . . all affairs can be decided upon only by a plurality of voices; no preeminence is conserved to the bishop and nothing is reserved to him." 24 With such good Jansenist restrictions to episcopal authority as this, there was no real opportunity for Grégoire ever to have assumed the right to speak as the primate of the Constitutional Church--an ambition which Boulay charges him with harboring. 25
23 Boulay, Histoire, pp. 8-15.
24 Décret de l'Assemblie Nationale du 12 Juillet 1790 sur la Constitution Civile du Clergé; vide Theiner A., Documents Inédits, Relatifs aux Affaires Religieuses de la France 1790-1800 (Paris, 1857), tom. i, p. 291.
25 Boulay, Histoire, p. 9.
This failure did not deter him from trying another means of combating the popularity of the rival Catholic communion. His next move was to try to make the Constitutional Church more truly national by introducing into its offices and liturgy the French language. However, this novelty, attempted at Versailles, was resisted, not only by the Constitutional episcopate, but even by Grégoire's own committee. 26
At a second Council held in Paris in 1801, Grégoire tried a less national procedure in combating the Papacy. This time he sought to align the whole Catholic episcopate against the Pope, by an appeal to it to judge on the matters at issue between the Church and the See of Rome. He must have realized the futility of this appeal from the beginning, and one wonders what object he can have hoped to serve, unless he desired in this indirect way to remind Catholics in other countries that the Constitutional Church in France considered itself in communion with them. The appeal read:
Most Reverend bishops, the solidarity of the episcopate imposes upon you the duty of intervening in a positive manner in our debates. . . . You know the status of the question on which we appeal to you for an examination. Our antagonists and the first among pontiffs himself, like us, are interested parties in this important affair. We recognize in you an impartial and competent authority to whom we shall owe the duty of submission. 27
It was in March, 1801, that the above entreaty was made to the universal episcopate; but, after four months had rolled by, it was seen that the call had had little effect upon the bishops addressed. In the meantime, the Pope's position had grown stronger, and the Committee again turned to the
26 Ibid., pp. 8-15.
27 This appeal sent out from Paris, March 8, 1801, bore the title, Les Évêques Constitutionels aux Évêques des Autres Églises Catholiques; vide Boulay, Documents, tom. ii, p. 80.
French government as the only hope of a defender against Rome. Grégoire wrote to the First Consul, reminding him of how much the Constitutional clergy had suffered in the interests of la Patrie, and in the same letter enclosed the observations of the members of the Council on the proposed treaty with Rome. It warned the French government of the exaggerated pretensions of the Roman Court and how they could be circumvented. It also pointed out how these precautions had in the past "arrested the propagation of certain disastrous principles with which the Roman Court is imbued and which tend to enslave nations and overthrow all discipline and good order in the Church." 28
The Council, while keenly alive to the ever-present danger of Papal dictation to the Gallican Church, never considered state dictation in the same light. The members cheerfully gave their absolute obedience to a secular government in the following words:
We teach as an incontestable truth that fidelity, submission and obedience to established authority is a duty founded upon natural and divine law. . . . Every government has the right to demand of the ministers of the cult a guarantee of their fidelity. To pretend that one is unable to give it without the authorization of the Pope is an error contrary to the word of God, the traditions of the Fathers and the example of the saints; it is dangerous to public tranquility, and prejudicial to the true interests of the Apostolic See itself.29
This attitude towards the state was by no means simon-pure Jansenism. The Jansenists in the past, with martyrlike heroism, had in defense of their principles defied not only the Pope, but established national authority as well. 30
20 Ibid., tom. iii, pp. 174-175.
28 Ibid., tom. iii, p. 470.
30 On the Jansenists' defiance of established authorities vide Jervis W. H. , A History of the Church of France (London, 1872), vol. ii, pp. 191-278 (especially).
The Revolution had made a profound change in those who believed themselves to be perpetuating the spirit of Port Royal; the sovereignty of the state had taken on a new sacredness, and it was fitting that these observations of the Council should have been sent to Bonaparte on July 14, in commemoration of the national fête celebrated on that day.
However, it was because of this principle of deference to an absolute state sovereignty that the Constitutional Church was easily disposed of in 1802. When the Concordat became an actuality there was only one thing for the devotees of state authority to do, and that was to throw themselves on the mercy of the First Consul. Their Church had received its charter from the government of France, and when the government saw fit to revoke that charter in favor of another communion, the doom of the Constitutional Church was inevitably sealed. Its National Committee had proclaimed that "all acts clothed in forms established by the French constitution, merit the respect of all citizens." 31 If the Constitutional Church had refused to accept the Concordat of 1801, it would have denied its own principles.
Though the French government saw it was impossible to establish this obedient Church as the religion of France, it deemed it necessary to save it from any humiliation through formal retraction of errors. On account of its nationalist spirit and the satisfactory interpretation it made of Gallican principles, the First Consul was resolved that its bishops should not be called upon to make an abject surrender to the Pope. 32
On national principles, then, the government of France protected Grégoire and his followers from the wrath of the Holy See. Though Cacault might write Talleyrand that
31 Boulay, Documents, tom. iii, pp. 470-471.
32 Ibid., tom. iii, p. 313.
"the Abbé Grégoire is not Pope", 33 and that the head of the Church ought to have the last word in theological disputes, yet the government remained firm in the opinion that if dogmatic principles demanded a retraction from these bishops, so also did nationalistic principles demand that the French government support them in their refusal. Cacault was reminded that the Civil Constitution of the clergy was not the work of ecclesiastics, but of the government. The clergy who accepted it were simply obeying the laws of their country, and it would be neither decent nor even possible that one demand humiliating retractions from these bishops. To yield on this point would have been "to compromise the dignity of the nation." 34
The French government also had another purpose in allowing the Constitutionals to reenter the Catholic fold unrepentant of their defiance of the Pope. This defiance had been based on Gallican principles, and Bonaparte was determined that the Holy Father must agree to institute some of the bishops of the Constitutional Church for the newly reestablished communion in France, as he intended them to inspire their fellow bishops with like Gallican sentiments. But it was just on this point that Grégoire took violent exception to Bonaparte's policy; the First Consul, according to him, had ineptly bartered away so many Gallican rights as to make it impossible for the Constitutional bishops to save the Church from Papal aggrandisement in France.
(5) In order to understand more clearly the difference in the views of two such good nationalists as Bonaparte and Grégoire, it will be necessary to make a closer examination into the latter's interpretation of Gallican liberties. The pro-
33 Ibid., tom. iv, p. 345.
34 Ibid., tom. iv, p. 285.
nouncements of the National Council, which we have been following, since they were given out in the stress of a great struggle and were intended to gain the government as an ally against the enmity of the Papacy, hardly do justice to Grégoire's profounder views on Gallicanism.
In his Essai Historique, he endeavored to set forth fully and clearly what was involved in the term Gallicanism, and to clear up some of the errors that were held regarding its true meaning. One of the most common of these was that which regarded the liberties of the Gallican Church as a special favor conferred upon the French branch of Catholicism. What is embraced in the term "Gallican principles" was, according to Grégoire, the common heritage of all Christendom; each national church at one time had a collection of its own particular rules and usages. The date of the origin of these churches he placed sometime before the break-up of the Roman Empire. It was, he said, in the general chaotic state of Europe during the Germanic invasions that the Pope was afforded the opportunity to usurp traditional national privileges in order to build up his own absolute power. He did it very often with a lone hand; but sometimes he cooperated with princes in depriving each national church of its own privileges. 35
The explanation of the fact that the other national churches seemed long ago to have forgotten about the privileges that once were theirs, was that they did not have the courage and persistence to preserve them. The Gallican Church, Grégoire writes with true national pride, "displayed a greater courage and talent to secure in safety that which remained, and to reclaim that which had been ravished from it." More of these privileges had been torn away by the Concordat of 1801, and Grégoire was afraid that the former vigilance of the Church had been badly served under the dictatorship of
35 Grégoire, Essai Historique, pp. i-iv.
Napoleon, and he warns his readers that the "just renown" that the Gallican communion "had obtained in the Christian world" would be lost if its members did not "demand unceasingly a return to the ancient discipline." 36
A return to ancient discipline was the cry by which he hoped to revitalize a sadly subdued Gallicanism. His definition of Gallicanism was "the right of the French Church to govern itself according to ancient discipline." To understand his definition it follows that one must be instructed in the meaning of the mystic phrase "ancient discipline." Passing scornfully over the many controversies that had been waged on the subject of ancient discipline, he boldly proceeded to list the primitive usages which the Church in France must again adopt if it were to be true to its glorious tradition. "In the front rank of these usages," he held, "stand the election of pastors by the clergy and people; the institution and consecration by the metropolitan in agreement with the suffragans." 37 This is the model of the glorious centuries. The recent canonization of Gregory VII, Grégoire reminded his readers, was an indication that the Roman Church was making a fresh endeavor to obliterate forever from the minds of Catholics the memory of those glorious centuries, since the purpose of canonization is "to present patrons to the pious as models for imitation." "Are the enterprises of Gregory VII against civil authority models to follow? demanded Grégoire. 38
It is hard to believe that our author could have intended to include the centuries immediately previous to Hildebrand as among the glorious; and it is also difficult to think that he regarded the dictation of secular rulers in the affairs of the Church--a dictation which brought it to such a low estate in
36 Ibid., p. vii.
37 Ibid., p. 193.
38 Ibid., p. 163.
the tenth and eleventh centuries--as an ideal model for the French to emulate in his own day. Without doubt, he was referring more especially to the first three centuries of the existence of the Church, rather than the first twelve. Yet he does not seem to have in mind an unestablished Church, as was the case previous to Constantine. He is guilty of considerable confusion of thought here. The Civil Constitution of 1790 was modeled, he said, 39 on the glorious centuries, but in reality it corresponded more to the era of Constantine than the centuries previous.
The confusion of thought was due to the close identification that Grégoire made between la Patrie and his religion. In his reply to a request addressed to the Constitutional bishops for their retractions, he said of the Pope:
We owe to him and shall never cease to accord a respectful submission; not as the letter insinuates, but such as at all times our predecessors in the episcopal sees of France have admitted to him, that is to say, without prejudice to the interests of our Fatherland and without repudiating the liberties of the Gallican Church. 40
It is this close identification of Fatherland and Gallican liberties that marred Grégoire's reading of history.
Before the days of Constantine he placed his Utopia-videre ecclesiam dei, sicut in diebus antiquis. By this easy solution he evaded the real issue. If one goes back before the days of Constantine, it is only to find that the civil authorities criticised the Church for the very sin that Grégoire was charging against his Catholic brethren in France--disloyalty to the state. Nor can one believe that the members of the pre-Constantine Church were good citizens, according to Grégoire's standard, even if one disregards heathen preju-
39 Ibid., p. 202.
40 Boulay, Documents, tom. iv, p. 129.
dices of the time. The early Church was a dreaded imperium in imperio which shirked civic duties, and which Diocletian, justifiably from the point of view of citizenship, did his best to destroy. The cry may go up, "Oh! fatal gift of Constantine", but Grégoire did not face the question of how a disestablished Catholicism and an established state can live amicably together, if the former is true to its Catholic heritage--the brotherhood of all mankind--and the latter preaches a religion of selfish nationalism.
But Grégoire did not plead for a disestablished Church. "Gallican liberties," he said, "were reestablished to their full extent by the Constitutional Assembly" 41 in 1790. This must mean, according to his interpretation of those liberties, a pre-Constantine established Church. It is such confusion as this that makes him almost impossible to follow, and which was the despair of his Catholic opponents and even his nationalist friends, like Cacault and others, who blamed it all on Jansenism, an obscure heresy.
(6) Grégoire is not less confusing when he attempts to reconcile the sovereignties residing in Church and state. He thought that the intimate relations existing between them show that one cannot necessarily involve damage to the other, and that there should be no bitter rivalry between them, since they both reside in the people. They were for him but two outward expressions of one and the self-same power. 42 Just as political liberty means rule of the state by the people, so does Gallican liberty fundamentally mean the government of the Church by the people. Grégoire details in his Essai how this could be worked out in practice. He regarded the English Constitution as a model for a church constitution,
41 Grégoire, Essai Historique, p. 271.
42 Ibid., p. 543.
and he argued that the former was really modeled on the primitive government of the Church. Incidentally, he argued at the same time that Rousseau's ideas were the possession of the Church seventeen hundred years before the Social Contract was written.
It is to Alfred the Great that he ascribes the credit of giving form to the English Constitution. "The Constitution of the Catholic Church," he writes, "appears to have been the model followed by King Alfred when he, with the aid of the principal members of the clergy, formed the English Constitution." A Catholic priest, Mr. Gandolphy, had convinced Grégoire of this surprising fact by a comparison he had made of the two constitutions. The comparison worked out as follows: the Ecumenical Council is above the Pope; the States Generals are over the king; "the Pope, with the bishops in council, exercises the legislative power; the king exercises it with the Parliament; the Pope must conform to the constitution and execute the laws. . . ." So Grégoire goes on with his comparisons and feels that he is working out a democratic form of government for both Church and state, and he adds his final Rousseau-touch by an appeal to fundamental laws. As the acts of the Council in the last analysis had to receive the general approval of the people before they were regarded as authoritative, so also must the acts of Parliament. "When the abuse of authority replaces the legitimate exercise of authority, the remedy is found in the fundamental laws and in the bodies which are its depositories and guardians." 43
If Grégoire had been discussing a European empire and a European church, he might have been laying down a practical solution of the conflict between Church and state. But since the ultimate depository of the Church's fundamental laws covers a larger area than that of a national state, it was
43 Ibid., p. 557.
hardly true to say that the two sovereignties came from the same source, and therefore no bitter rivalry could exist between Church and state, if they were both democratically governed. The growth of self-conscious nationalism, to which Grégoire had powerfully contributed, made his own solution impracticable.
Another consideration arises at this point. The people, for whom Grégoire was always pleading, could hardly have been truly appreciative of his efforts in 1800. From the inquiries that Bonaparte had made, all evidence pointed to the fact that the people of France wanted back their ancient Church, and that there was very little enthusiasm for the Constitutional. 44 Here was a case, so far as Grégoire was concerned, of the people choosing unwisely, but our author is not dismayed at this apparent paradox. It only revealed to him how important it is that all members of society, the depository of the sovereignty of both Church and state, should be instructed in their duties both as Christians and as citizens. 45
Government of the people required, as its natural corollary, education of the people. It was because they were badly instructed in 1800 that they repudiated the Constitutional Church, and Grégoire feared for the wisdom of a people who were being instructed by Ultramontane priests, speaking in the name of Heaven and governing consciences badly, since they were imbued by false notions as to what constituted the respective rights of Church and state. To secure a well instructed sovereignty, it was necessary that the state take upon itself the responsibility of educating the masses. Why the state should be better able to carry on the work of education than the Church, Grégoire does not say. He simply took it for granted.
44 Vide supra, ch. iv, p. 84, note 16.
45 Grégoire, Essai Historique, p. 564.
(7) The educational issue was raised in order to explain the popularity of Ultramontanism in the French communion in 1820, the year in which Grégoire wrote his treatise on Gallican liberties. The Church in France, according to him, had been completely placed in the hands of the disloyal clergy who had refused to take the oath to the Constitution of 1790. These clergy, he held, were insincere in all their professions of loyalty to the Napoleonic Empire, and only waited for the removal of the heavy hand of the dictator to reveal their true principles. In the following words did he taunt the Napoleonic bishops on their ambiguous conduct during the era of the Empire:
Among these events [the events following upon the reestablishment of 1801], in which bishops played only the part of delegates of Rome, I seek in vain for our holy liberties. I see the same bishops adopt, without a murmur, an imperialist catechism rather than a national, which they must have accepted as a penitential discipline. In another place I have remarked that, for the first time since the establishment of Christianity, one has seen the scandal of a catechism composed entirely in the bureau of a minister of the government in favor of an individual and his family. 46
All this would have been different, he thought, if the Constitutionals had come to power in 1801. It was they, only, who had defended Gallican maxims in the years that followed the reestablishment of the Papal power in France. Their publications proved it; while those "who had prepared in 1790 to abjure these same liberties "were issuing innumerable pamphlets exalting the power of the Pope, and he feared greatly for a society "under the influence of priests who were the partisans of such a doctrine."
46 Ibid., pp. 227-228.
47 Ibid., p. 263.
The conduct of the bishops in the assembly of churchmen that Napoleon called together in 1811 to advise him in his struggle with the Pope, was further evidence to Grégoire of how weakly Gallican rights were being defended in high quarters. In that assembly, Grégoire thought, the honors went to the Italian bishops, who were better Gallicans than their French colleagues. "It has been reported," he wrote, "that in repassing the Alps one of these prelates turned toward France and cried, 'Adieu, Ultramontanes; for it is there one finds them now.'"
It was indeed a strange change that had come over the leading clerics in France; many of them, under the old régime, had been zealous advocates of Gallican liberties. But the real reason for this change was completely lost upon Grégoire. He was convinced, even despite the drastic Organic Articles, which he admitted were a pleasure to read, especially the injunction to teach in the seminaries the Four Articles of 1682, that it was the failure of the French government to reestablish the ancient liberties of the Gallican communion in 1801, which was the cause of the surprising growth of Ultramontanism in France in the decade following the Empire. "If Gallican liberties which had been reestablished to their full extent by the Constituent Assembly, if the ancient discipline concerning election and canonical institution, had still existed, or, if the latter had been adopted provisionally as a necessary remedy, would we have to bewail this calamity?" 48 asked Grégoire of his readers. He added, "Christian souls, can one doubt your answer?"
The obvious answer seems to be the failure of the Constitutional Church to gain popular support in the years of disestablishment. Yet Grégoire never faced that failure. If he had succeeded in rallying the people around his national
48 Ibid., p. 271.
Church, Bonaparte would undoubtedly have preferred to establish it, in place of treating with the Pope. 49
The impression that one gets from the Essai Historique is that the author was a hopeless theologian and a troublesome statesman. He saw things so clearly that just weren't clear. For him there was no trouble in drawing that most difficult of all lines to draw, the demarcation between spiritual and temporal. Above all, the confusion that he made between his religion and his nationalism marred all his logic and his interpretation of history. Nor can one believe that it was the failure to establish Gallican liberties in 1801 that led to the growth of Ultramontanism in France. On the contrary, it would appear that too much Gallicanism brought about the calamity that Grégoire bewailed.
In the succeeding chapters this surprising development will be followed as one of the outstanding results of the Concordat of 1801.
49 Vide supra, ch. i, p. 35, note 33.
JACQUES-ANDRÉ EMERY'S public career, 1 which began with the Revolution, became so closely identified with the policy of the moderate clergy, that the history of the one is the history of the other. In cases of conscience, he was the adviser to that large body of churchmen who desired to accommodate themselves to the political changes that took place in France after 1789; in times of conflict he was their fearless leader. During the Terror, when any communication with Rome was well-nigh impossible, he had to take upon himself the duties of a patriarch; and the reliance of his followers on his good judgment was so implicit that his decisions were accepted as almost infallible. He generally gave his voice for submission to the powers that be, as far as such submission was not incompatible with the fundamental doctrines of the Church. Consequently, he, perhaps more than any other ecclesiastic, paved the way for the reestablishment of the Catholic Church in France in 1802.
Yet it was in no spirit of enthusiasm for the political principles of the French Revolution that he took his stand for conciliation. The son of a king's councillor, who was also the mayor of the city of Gex in the diocese of Geneva, he was by sentiment attached to the forms of the old régime.
1 A complete record of the remarkable career of Abbé Emery is found in Gosselin J. E. A., Vie de M. Emery (Paris, 1861). Gosselin was intimately associated with Emery while a seminarist at the Seminary of Saint Sulpice, and was among those who were sent to the ceremony of the marriage of Napoleon in 1810.
When he heard of the proposal to call the Estates General together, he exclaimed with sorrow, "Alas! all is lost! Must not one fear for religion in a Catholic kingdom governed by a philosopher and Protestant minister." 2
But though Emery might thus greet the Revolution, he was not one to refuse to face the realities of a new situation. He early learned as a teacher in theological seminaries that time brings changes in the social outlook of a nation, and that the Church could not rigidly set itself in opposition to the trends of the day. The taking of interest, for example, was a subject still hotly debated in 1764, the year in which Emery began his teaching career at the Seminary of St. Irenaeus at Lyons. The students at this institution were, apparently, anxious to get a fresh view on the problem of usury from their new mentor, and pressed him insistently to give an opinion, when it would have been more the part of prudence to refuse to answer. In a letter to Cardinal Fesch, a long time after, Emery recalled how he extricated himself from the dilemma in which his students tried to entrap him. He said:
I taught the ancient doctrine of the Seminary, which does not authorize interest; but at the same time, I declared to our young people that a contrary sentiment has so many specious and important reasons to support it that we should not too hastily condemn those who follow it, nor oblige them to restore the interest which they have garnered. 3
The bull Unigenitus was also a nice question to handle in those days. It was one on which most churchmen, in places of authority, preferred not to commit themselves, but the students at St. Irenaeus again eagerly sought Emery's opinion. The latter's answer was typical of many that he gave at a later day in a far more serious controversy be-
2 Gosselin, op. cit., tom. i, p. 221.
3 Ibid., tom. i, p. 114.
tween Church and state. He was persuaded that "since the body of the Church is of divine origin, this body has of divine right a chief or supreme spiritual magistrate, provided with dictatorial powers--controlled, however, within just limits." 4 This reply leaned somewhat towards the Papal side of the argument, but the proviso saved him from being accused of Ultramontanism.
Emery's essay into the field of philosophy is characterized by a spirit of compromise with the new knowledge of the day. Firmly convinced of the fundamental truth of the traditional Catholic philosophy as expounded by St. Thomas Aquinas, he, nevertheless, did not hesitate to endeavor to make a reconciliation of that faith with recent scientific discoveries. He looked upon the work of Leibnitz as a step in the right direction, and in a book called L'Esprit de Leibnitz which he published at Lyons in 1772, he asserted that the Prussian philosopher was more of a Catholic than a Lutheran. "Leibnitz," he wrote, "died in the strange profession of Lutheranism, but he was only held to it by weak bonds, and he often made an apology for the Roman Church on many points, in opposition to the Protestants."
However, Emery's more conservative colleagues were much displeased that he should spend his days and nights poring over the scientific books of Protestant writers, holding that it was an occupation foreign to his profession. Characteristically enough, Emery silenced the pious murmurers with another book which was to be an "antidote" for L'Esprit de Leibnitz--L'Esprit de Sainte Thérèse. 5
(2) It was to be expected, then, that this open-minded and tactful priest would not throw his entire weight against such
4 Ibid., tom. i, p. 110.
5 Ibid., tom. i, p. 125.
an overwhelming social change as the Revolution of 1789 quickly revealed itself to be. Though he regretted the loss of "so many glorious institutions" 6 as he thought were enshrined in the old political organization of France, yet he did not feel that the future of the Church should be endangered by any sentimental attachment to the mere forms of the old régime. It was on this point that he early came into conflict with the more politically minded Maury. 7
The oath of the Federation demanded of the clergy--"I swear to be faithful to the nation, to the law and to the king and to maintain with all my power the Constitution decreed by the National Assembly"--presented no difficulties to Emery until it came to involve an acceptance of the Civil Constitution. So long as this Constitution still lacked the king's signature, he held that the clergy could take the oath with no violation of dogmatic principles. 8 After the king gave his unwilling assent to the Constitution, Emery regarded the oath in a different light.
A decree of November 27, 1790, obliged all bishops, curés and public ecclesiastical functionaries -- a term which included the directors of seminaries--to swear allegiance to the new Constitution. A refusal meant dismissal from their posts. January 9, 1791, was the day set by the government on which the oath was to be taken. It is an important date in the annals of the Revolution, as it marked the alienation of the moderate clergy from the new régime that was being established in France.
Emery at this time was superior of the Seminary of Saint Sulpice--a position he continued to hold until his death--but since only the heads of diocesan seminaries were called upon to take the oath, he escaped the necessity of open defiance to
6 Ibid., tom. i, p. 222.
7 Vide supra, ch. v, pp. 106-108, note 15.
8 Gosselin, op. cit., tom. i, p. 230.
the government on the fateful day of January 9, and his school remained open for a while longer. Its superior became the veritable head of the Gallican-Roman communion. 9
Since his advice was constantly sought by the clergy, with every new demand that the government made upon them, Emery followed the course of events of the Revolution with painstaking care. He sent two of his seminary pupils to observe all that was done at the consecration of the first Constitutional bishops. Then, he sought out Talleyrand, and asked him to say "in all sincerity whether, in the consecration of these bishops, it had simply been his intention to perform a holy ceremony." Emery felt that he could thus presume to advise Talleyrand at this juncture, since he had assisted at the latter's retreat at Issy before his elevation to the episcopate. Such a statement as Emery suggested from the bishop performing a schismatical ceremony would have made the crime less heinous in the eyes of the Church. But Talleyrand was unrepentant, and declared it was not his intention to perform merely a holy ceremony, "but that he had the intention to do seriously that which is done in the Church, in order to give some veritable bishops to the Constitutional communion." 10
In his unofficial office as spokesman for the moderate clergy, it became Emery's task to answer a member of the Oratory, Père Lalande, who wrote an apology for the Civil Constitution of the clergy. The Oratory had long been noted for its Jansenist leanings, and the brochure of Père Lalande was regarded as the Jansenist defense of the state's right to dictate a constitution for the Church. This apologist held that the matters which were the object of the Assembly's decree, in particular the new circumscription of the dioceses, did not appertain to the faith, and in that
10 Ibid., tom. i, pp. 256-258.
9 Ibid., tom. i, p. 273.
circumstance it was not necessary for the state to consult the Pope. As it was only in matters of faith that the state could be charged with heretical acts, Père Lalande concluded that it could not be heretical for the Assembly to have "decided that there should be a bishop at Versailles and not one at Laon." To this last proposition, Emery made the following retort:
Without doubt it is not revealed in Holy Scripture that there shall not be a bishop at Laon and that there shall be one at Versailles. Thus, in decreeing specifically that there shall be a bishop at Versailles and there shall not be one at Laon, the Assembly does not become heretical, since the origin of heresy consists in making null a revealed truth. But it is revealed of the Catholic faith that only the successors of the Apostles have been established by the Holy Spirit to govern the Church of God.
It was because of this that he refused to acknowledge the new Constitutional bishop of Paris. As a consequence, his seminary was closed, but he still continued to reside in the vicinity of the capital.
When the massacre of the clergy locked up in Carmes took place, Emery was at his post within the walls of Saint Sulpice, and here, in daily contact with terrified ecclesiastics whose lives were in constant jeopardy, he gave advice of a kind which much distressed the Abbé Maury in his safe retreat at Rome; especially did the latter object to Emery's interpretation of the numerous oaths that the Convention conceived to confound the clergy.
As a member of the Archiepiscopal Council which continued at all times to function in Paris, he was obliged to give his opinion upon the famous oath of "liberty and equality" decreed by the Convention on September 3, 1792. According to this oath the clergy must "maintain with all their power liberty and equality, the surety of persons and property; and die, if need be, for the execution of the law." Emery had been desirous to know how the Pope and the bishops of France would regard the oath, but the circumstances of the time would not allow any delay in deciding, and he immediately gave his approval to the clergy taking it. 11 He was well aware that his stand would be bitterly denounced by most of the émigré bishops, and he was not left long in doubt as to Maury's opinion. The latter held, as we have already seen, that the oath was a consecration of rebellion. 12
Emery pleaded, at a later date, in extenuation of his decision, that if he had condemned the oath in 1792, he would have brought about the ruination of religion in France, since all Catholic priests would have had to leave the country, and the faithful would have been deprived of spiritual succor. But he did not base his whole defense on expediency. He roundly asserted that he had not offended against his conscience, for he had regarded the oath as a purely political formula, devoid of all religious significance. To assure himself on this point, he had interrogated its authors to see if they were in agreement with him, and, being assured they were, he had no more scruples in advising the clergy to accept it in the spirit in which it had been framed. 13
The severe strictures of Maury on the dogmatic implications of the oath drove Emery to a defense of the formula itself, even to giving his seal of approval to liberty and equality. Writing to Maury on the subject, he said, "This oath considered in itself gives no blow against religion and contains nothing evil. It seems that one could take it in a purely monarchical state." As regards Maury's fears for a nation given over to the dangerous theory of liberty and
11 Ibid., tom. i, p. 307.
12 Vide supra, p. 149, note 7.
13 Gosselin, op. cit., tom. i, p. 308.
equality, he assured his friend that liberty does not mean as some would have it, "license, anarchy and freedom from all law." The formula itself intimated orderly government, "since it speaks there of the maintenance of properties and execution of the laws." All of which brought Emery to a very practical summary of political liberty, namely, that one is not governed by purely arbitrary laws, and "it is in this character that liberty is opposed to despotism."
Equality was not so easily defined. Yet he did not believe that the Assembly meant by it either equality in fortune or equality in authority, "as if one recognized neither superior nor inferior." He concluded that it meant that there should be no distinction in levying taxes, and that all citizens should be potentially capable of holding any office or dignity "without anyone's being excluded by reason of his birth or poverty." 14 This, one may add, seems a very fair interpretation of the opinions of a bourgeois assembly on the meaning of equality.
The superior of Saint Sulpice summed up the controversy between Maury and his following, and his own moderate party, as a division of opinion on the true interpretation of the motto of the French Revolution. "We believe," he said, "that we must interpret these words in a good sense; they in a bad sense." 15
The foregoing review of the activities and opinions of Emery during the early days of the Revolution, though somewhat out of our period, has been necessary in order to understand the genesis of the party in the Church which accepted with enthusiasm the Concordat of 1801. The abbé may be regarded as truly representative of the vast majority of French clergymen who in 1790 would have stuck to their tasks and cooperated with the new régime in France,
14 Ibid., tom. i, p. 314.
15 Ibid., tom. i, p. 316.
if they had not been driven into defiance by an attempt to alter the constitution of the Church. They would have submitted to confiscation, reduced prestige, expulsion of religious orders--most of which were a commonplace in their past history -- in order to be allowed to carry on their spiritual work in their parishes. Democracy with its catch phrase "liberty, equality and fraternity" did not appall them as it did the early émigrés. Only on one issue did they refuse to yield. With Emery they agreed that the successors of the Apostles alone could give a new constitution to the Church. The circumscription of the dioceses made by the Assembly was very similar to the one they accepted under the First Consul, but the former had been announced as a state decree; the latter was made known in the form of a Papal bull, and this made all the difference in the world. As soon as the decrees which infringed upon the spiritual liberty of the Church were nullified, they returned to their parishes ready to make any terms possible with the government, which did not involve a sacrifice of conscience. Without doubt, it was this devoted band of moderate clergy that saved the Roman Catholic communion in France from complete annihilation during the Revolution, and compelled Bonaparte to turn to the Pope and not the Constitutionals for aid in the reestablishment of religion.
The story of how this was accomplished can nowhere be better studied than in the unusual career of Emery. Through all the turmoil of the Terror, when he had to devote himself to a study of political science under the most urgent necessity, he showed himself only slightly interested in the Fatherland as such. The good of souls was always his plea when called upon to give his approval to the many disagreeable oaths that the government was continually devising. But though he might submit to every new political arrangement, he never compromised on his right to carry on his spiritual functions, and, as a consequence, he found himself in prison during the worst days of the Terror, often preparing for death. It is recorded of him that he put cotton in his ears to help maintain his calm in the midst of the noise about him. He it was, who, spirited away at midnight to the cell of Marie Antoinette, gave her absolution before her execution. While in prison he was secretly visited by a priest from time to time, with whom he managed to exchange a pyx full of hosts for one that had been emptied, so that he was seldom without the Sacrament, and he was able to give communion to those who desired it. 16
(3) A decree of the Convention in the month of February, 1795, was the first gleam of light that shone through the darkness which had enveloped the Church in France for four long and weary years. It simply granted liberty to the cults. But this was an unhoped-for boon in 1795, and the circular which was put forth proclaiming an end to persecution also announced that the Civil Constitution of the clergy was no longer a law of the Republic, "and that in a case which presented new difficulties this consideration should always be recalled: that the law intends to assure and favor more and more the free exercise of the cults." This circular was a clear-cut acknowledgment that persecution had failed. Churches were now available to the nonjuring clergy, that is, if they made before the officers of the municipality in which they were located a declaration of submission to the laws of the Republic. Since the Civil Constitution was no longer in force, the clergy of Paris, especi-
16 Ibid., tom. i, pp. 335-356. Emery was imprisoned for the first time May 19, 1793, by order of the Commune of Paris. He was rescued from death through the good offices of Madame de Villette, who interceded for him before the Committee of Public Safety.
ally the Archiepiscopal Council, made no objection to such a submission. 17
There were, however, many dissenters from this decision, especially among the émigré priests of the Maury faction. Emery was highly indignant because of their attitude. In a letter to his friend, M. de Romeuf, he wrote as follows:
It seems today as if all heads must be in confusion. One has trouble to find a wise man; they [the rigorists] go beyond all restraint; everything in exaggeration; the imagination endeavors to see all in dark colors; they think themselves more Catholic in proportion as they close their eyes to the light and throw to the winds all counsels of prudence.
After this very unflattering characterization of his former royalist friends, he proceeded to tell de Romeuf just what was involved in the word submission. For him it did not mean that one had to approve of all laws to which one gave submission. He gave the following example:
Take for instance the law of divorce. I submit to this law myself; that is to say, I do not employ violence to prevent its execution. But that does not prevent me from saying openly that the law is contrary to good morals and the Gospel. If a man who is divorced and married to another woman comes to me to obtain religious succor, I am not prevented from saying that he must begin by recognizing and bewailing his fault and accompany this by sending away his second wife and recalling his first. 18
In thus laying down how a church and an irreligious government might get along together, Emery was early preparing the way for a reconciliation of Rome to the new Republic.
The decree proclaiming liberty to the cults was not carried out to the letter, and the non-juring clergy found the govern-
17 Ibid., tom. i, p. 370.
18 Ibid., tom. i, pp. 371-372. ment still favoring the Constitutionals, while at the same time putting obstacles in the way of Catholic priests. But Emery, in a letter to the Pope, admitted that bad faith was not wholly on the side of the French government. "If the deported priests," he wrote, "reentering France had been more wise and reserved in their conduct. . . I venture to say that the Church in France would be enjoying a greater calm today, and that its ministers, or at least those of the second order, would be restored to their parishes." 19 Emery's counsels to Pius VII did not fall upon deaf ears; the Pope, as we have already learned, 20 heeded the advice of the representatives of the moderate clergy in his relations with France, and firmly set himself in opposition to the rigorists who, he early perceived, were more interested in the welfare of the old régime than in religion. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say, they confused one with the other. As a result of the intractable attitude of the returning priests, the government demanded more exacting promises from the clergy than that of mere submission. On September 29, 1795, Emery was called upon to give his approval to a new oath. It read, "I recognize that the universality of the French people is the sovereign; and I promise submission and obedience to the laws of the Republic." Some ecclesiastics held that, as a matter of fact, the universality had not been consulted in the formation of the Republic, and that they could not conscientiously take a self-contradictory oath. But Emery contended that the question of fact was not a concern of churchmen; it was a political problem, which he left for the politicians to dispute over. The duty of the clergy was simply to submit to the laws of the government in power, provided those laws did no violence to their conscience. At the same time, he
19 Ibid., tom. i, p. 380.
20 Vide supra, ch. v, p. 108.
observed, in passing, the difficulty of any established government's ever knowing for certain whether it represented the universal will. He concluded that no government could hope to be stable if this question were always to be debated. 21
His opinion of Rousseau Social Contract was not very high. But since the Revolution had been based upon it, he held that it would be necessary for citizens to pay lip service to it, but he hoped that it would be forgotten in practice. 22
Of the swearing of oaths during the hectic years of disestablishment, there seemed to be no end. On September 5, 1797, the Directory conceived a new one which was almost too much for Emery's powers of interpretation. This time the clergy were asked to swear hatred to royalty and anarchy, and attachment and fidelity to the Republic and to the Constitution of the Year III. The government offered, along with the oath, an explanation intended to make it less repugnant to those who did not think that vows of hatred accorded with the charitable principles of Christianity. It was explained, therefore, that hatred did not mean so much hatred to royalty in general as hatred towards those who would upset the present form of government prevailing in France by bringing back the Bourbon family. On the basis of such an interpretation many of the clergy felt that they could take the oath without violating their consciences. 23 Emery was not obliged to take it, but he came to the defense of those who did. When hard pressed by his critics, he frankly admitted that it was a difficult oath to defend, but, throwing out his hands, he exclaimed, "I am unable to accustom myself to the idea of a people without a cult." 24 This exclamation reveals fully the point of view from which
21 Gosselin, op. cit., tom. i, pp. 386-390.
22 Ibid., tom. i, pp. 390-391.
23 Ibid., tom. i, p. 412.
24 Ibid., tom. i, p. 416.
Emery studied political science. In order to keep the Catholic Church functioning in France, he made every endeavor to accommodate himself to the strange whims of the authorities in power.
(4) Better days were in store for him after the coup d' état of the 18th Brumaire. Having defended so many difficult oaths, he greeted the one of fidelity with rapturous joy. It simply exacted a promise to be faithful to the Constitution. Strange to record, it was this mild formula that revealed to Emery and Maury the distance they had drifted apart in their political views.
When the moderate clergy of France discovered that their more extreme émigré brethren refused to accept a simple acquiescence in the new régime, they then inferred that the interests of a class were being put above the general welfare of the Catholic Church. Emery gave vent to the feeling of pain that came over him, upon realizing what he considered were the true motives of the rigorists, in a letter to Abbé Romeuf. The oath, he was sure, could not be the real reason for the resistance of those who still hold out against any agreement of submission. "This formula," he wrote, "is in itself a perfect guarantee of the liberty of religious opinions, for it respects all the delicacies, even to the most timorous scruples of piety." He was now willing to admit that the oath "to maintain the Constitution" to which he had formerly subscribed had "the connotation of a promise of direct and positive action to sustain that which, after all, one does not approve." In the past he had had considerable sympathy for the "inquietude of some souls cruelly tortured by a formula." Such inquietude, according to Emery, was no longer necessary. "Today," he held, "one promises only to be faithful, that is, to submit to the extent of not opposing." 25 So he threw all kindliness of judgment aside, and in an outburst of wrath characterized the over-scrupulous as follows:
There is nothing more miserable than this opposition to the promise of fidelity. But it is useless to argue, because certain important persons have determined not to make any kind of an act of submission. In so doing they imagine they will bring back the ancient government. They deceive themselves and they sacrifice religion to illusions. 26
There was an additional reason why he should lose all patience with the important persons whom he thus denounced. They, on their part, had become more and more dissatisfied at the direction in which the superior of Saint Sulpice had been guiding the destinies of the Church in France during their absence, and had begun an attempt to undermine the very great influence that he had gained over the clergy -- almost equal to that of the Pope himself. Cardinal Maury, in particular, had given out the rumor that the Pope and the cardinals were about to denounce the abbé's conciliatory policy towards the Republic. Emery knew, however, that there was little likelihood of such a thing's coming to pass, as he had been informed by Bernier that the Pope heartily commended his policy. 27 It turned out, as we have seen, 28 that instead of Emery's falling into Papal disfavor, Maury himself became persona non grata at Rome.
With freedom granted to all religious parties after the 18th Brumaire, a great many Constitutional clergy attempted to return to the Catholic fold. They were not received with open arms by those who considered them cowardly apostates.
25 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 8.
26 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 12.
27 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 16.
28 Vide supra, ch. v, p. 111.
Emery, however, was determined that the Church should give them a friendly welcome if they showed themselves sincerely repentant of their errors. In 1800 he published a book with the cumbrous title, The Conduct of the Church in the Reception of the Ministers who Return from Schism or Heresy. It urged leniency towards repentant schismatics, and consequently angered a good many of the sterner brethren, who suggested that the book be publicly burned. The abbé, however, had the statisfaction of gaining the approval of the Pope, who used the book as the basis of his decisions when receiving back individual Constitutionalists into the Roman communion. 29
(5) Although Emery played only a minor part in the actual negotiations for the Concordat, yet it is easily perceived that it was his untiring work that laid the foundation for reestablishment. By keeping the Church functioning at all times, he had prevented the Constitutionalists from really being able to pose as the Catholic communion before the faithful of France; while, by his conciliatory attitude towards the new régime, he had accustomed the Papacy to the idea of an accord with the Republic.
Nevertheless, it was the irony of fate that he should find himself in jail during the greater part of the negotiations. An émigré priest, on his return to France, preached forcefully, but not too wisely, on the sins committed by Revolutionary France. Prison walls soon put an end to his declamations. A pamphlet was circulated in defense of the imprisoned cleric, and it was suspected that the superior of Saint Sulpice was the author of it. As a result, the abbé joined the unfortunate priest in prison. 30 On the day of
29 Gosselin, op. cit., tom. ii, pp. 17 - 20.
30 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 55.
his release, Cardinal Consalvi was leaving Paris for Rome with the precious Concordat. But there was still plenty of difficult work, in which Emery was asked to assist, before reestablishment became a fact. He was given one of the most trying tasks of all--to persuade the non-juring bishops to hand in the resignation of their sees to the Pope.
He was fairly successful with the Continental émigrés, but as we have already seen, the bishops in England proved adamant in their opposition to the Pope's demand for their resignations. Emery commented on their letter of refusal as follows: "The letter of the bishops in England dishonors them as theologians, and their precipitancy has led them into gross errors. They say they hold their mission immediately from Providence. We admit that the jurisdiction of the bishops is of divine right, but their immediate mission comes from the Pope." 31 Thus, it will be seen that Emery threw the great weight of his influence behind the agreement that had been made between the French government and the Holy See, and bore down heavily upon those who refused, on doctrinal principles, to fall in line.
Though he was wholeheartedly in favor of the Concordat, yet he did not take the "Organic Articles" very seriously. A long experience with ridiculous legislation had got him into the habit of ignoring the letter of the law, and if he could disobey with impunity the new restrictions on the personal conduct of the clergy, he did so, especially in matters of clerical attire. The government, he jokingly remarked, had no right to come between a priest and his tailor. 32
(6) The early enthusiasm of the abbé for the Concordat was not long sustained. Gradually, as he became aware of the
31 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 63.
32 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 124.
real designs of Napoleon on the Church, he found himself sympathizing more and more with the Ultramontane point of view. In the struggle that took place between the Emperor and the Pope over the question of institution, this former mild Gallican aligned himself on the side of the Papacy. His repudiation of Gallicanism was the beginning of a transformation that was soon to become quite general among the clergy of France, the echoes of which we have already heard in our study of Grégoire.
The cause of this change of attitude among many former Gallicans of the old régime is of absorbing interest. In days gone by the kings of France could generally depend upon the majority of the clergy to support them in their controversies with the Pope; those who lined up on the side of the Papacy were the exception. Why did Napoleon fail to elicit the same support from the Catholic bishops and priests who felt so much indebted to him for their restoration to power? The answer to that question lies in the fact that the new nationalism of France had pushed out into what had formerly been regarded, under the old régime, as purely religious fields of endeavor.
After he had reestablished the Catholic Church in France, Napoleon was determined that it should be completely subjected to the will of the French government; there was going to be no division of sovereignty in his Empire. The Pope, on the other hand, though he had conceded much during the negotiations, had made up his mind that there should be an end to encroachments on his spiritual prerogatives. One weapon still was left to him to make his authority felt in France. None of Napoleon's episcopal appointees could be inducted into office without his consent. Around this privilege of the Pope arose a bitter struggle between Church and state, in which the bishops themselves and some of the lower clergy were called upon to take sides. Victory for either party depended very much upon the attitude taken by the French hierarchy.
The Emperor, on account of his appointive power, appeared to have considerable advantage over the Pope, since he was careful to select for the office of bishop only those upon whom he could depend to do his bidding. But even then it was difficult for him to foresee what changes the eminence of office might make upon the most obsequious of his nominees. As a matter of fact, though most of the bishops professed devotion to the Napoleonic régime and policies, the Emperor perceived a decided lack of warmth in their support. 33 Bodley, in remarking upon the change that came over the bishops selected during the early days of the Concordat, says that it is not unusual for radicals or dissidents, "after they have obtained in Church and state a long solicited place or title, suddenly evince conservative conviction, until then latent." 34 This was a danger that Napoleon continually faced, however carefully he might select his bishops. The Pope had time in his favor, and could afford to delay proceedings by refusing institution. Napoleon, on the contrary, was in haste to build up a new Gallican communion as devoted to his throne as the old one bad been to the Bourbon dynasty.
But there were limits to absolutism that the former monarchs of France had done well to recognize. With too much assurance did Napoleon assume all the airs of a divine-right monarch, adding to them some of the spiritual prerogatives that had formerly belonged to the Pope. Being a keen student of Bossuet, who had eloquently taught that "all those who govern feel themselves assisted by a higher power", 35 Napoleon was most anxious that the bishops of
33 Vide infra, ch. viii, p. 195, note 36.
34 Bodley J. E. C., The Church in France (London, 1906), p. 87.
35 Bossuet J. B., Discours sur l'Histoire Universelle (London, 1807, 2nd ed.), tom. i, p. 119.
France should as eloquently ascribe this power to him as their predecessors had to Louis XIV. If it had been simply a matter of the Emperor's becoming the state, as Louis had considered himself the state, the clergy would probably have acquiesced with enthusiasm. But Napoleon, well grounded in Jacobin nationalism, implied more by the state than had the Bourbons, and consequently put himself forth in France not only as a divine-right Emperor but almost as a divineright Pope. The conservative instinct of the clergy, not yet fully imbued with the new nationalism, revolted against the claim as blasphemous. The Emperor easily sensed the inward feelings of his clerical courtiers and it enraged him to realize that he had reestablished in Rome a Pope who was forever drawing to himself a part of the loyalty of the French people, and a part which he considered the most important. 36
It cannot be said that Napoleon had not foreseen this danger from the outset of the negotiations. He was even then of the opinion that the head of the Church of Rome possessed a power which he must endeavor to lure away from him, if he, Napoleon, were to become an Emperor of the same prestige and authority as the Augusti of ancient Rome. Grégoire was probably right in supposing that the First Consul had from the first intended to build up a national patrimony and therefore sensed the value of the Roman connection; but, as will be brought out later, 37 Napoleon thought that he would be able to make a mere puppet out of the Pope, the latter diminishing in grandeur as he himself acquired the lustre of God's representative on earth. When Pius VII stubbornly refused to fall into the net so carefully laid for him, and showed to Europe that he had retained enough power to endanger seriously the strength
36 Vide infra, ch. viii, p. 181, note 6.
37 Vide infra, ch. viii, p. 180.
of Napoleon's Empire, it is easy to understand the apparently unreasonable fury of the mighty Emperor against the Holy Father. It was the investiture struggle all over again, and the clergy of France were called upon to align themselves on the one side or the other. A study of the very important part played by Emery in this unseemly quarrel between Pope and Emperor is of the utmost importance in gaining an appreciation of the origin of a new Ultramontanism in France.
(7) When the superior of Saint Sulpice fully realized the true import of the struggle, there was no hesitation on his part as to which side he should support. Very early in the controversy he judiciously began to educate the clergy of France to the necessity of a change in their former Gallican principles. Again he worked under the difficulty of police supervision.
The first step in his educational campaign was the publication of Nouveaux Opuscules de Fleury. He frankly admitted that he had made these works of Fleury available to the public in order to correct "surreptitious alterations" that had been made in former publications, and to show, in "the interests of truth", that the famous Cardinal "was not, as commonly believed, a base idolator of parlements or a blind partisan of all our liberties." 38
The Emperor and the police did not approve of Emery's fastidiousness, or regard his endeavors as motivated simply in "the interests of truth." They saw in the new edition an indirect apology for the Holy See, with which the Emperor was just then carrying on a most violent controversy. Fouché, the head of the police department, demanded that Emery clearly define his attitude relative to
38 Gosselin, op. cit., tom. ii, p. 180.
the authority of the Pope in France. The abbé tried to meet this demand without dangerously impeding the work he felt compelled to do in the interests of the Church. He told Fouché that he distinguished between "two sorts of prerogatives in the Holy See." One appertained to the faith, and on this there could be no disagreement between him and the government, since all the clergy in France, in virtue of their submission to the Declaration of 1682, recognized the authority of the Pope in matters of faith. As to the second, which appertained to temporal authority, the adroit abbé left Fouché with no reasonable ground of complaint as he again referred him to the Declaration of 1682, saying, "he did not hold and had never held any other sentiments than those of the Church of France, as contained in the Declaration of the Assembly of 1682." 39 Since the government had made it compulsory that these Four Articles be taught in all seminaries, it could hardly take exception to Emery's answer. Yet, the abbé had, by this very plea, preserved for himself considerable liberty of action, as will be seen later. 40
Having successfully foiled Fouché's cross-examination, Emery was emboldened to publish, in the further "interests of truth", additional works of Fleury, but again he excited the suspicions of the French government. This time he was summoned into the awful presence of the Emperor himself to give an account of his literary activities. After a severe reprimand from Napoleon for lending aid to the machinations of the Pope, he received a friendly dismissal; 41 for Emery generally managed to keep on good terms with all his opponents.
Still unrepentant, he continued to publish corrections and
39 Ibid., op. cit., tom. ii, pp. 186-187.
40 Vide infra, p. 177, note 56.
41 Gosselin, op. cit., tom. ii, p. 221.
additions to Fleury's works, until at last he was seized by the police and thrown into jail. But not for long, as Napoleon was his enthusiastic admirer, and was loath to interfere with his liberty to any great extent. 42
(8) On another point Emery was quick to perceive a dangerous attack on the ancient privileges of the Church. The establishment of the Imperial University caused him serious alarm as an encroachment upon the Church's right to educate its priests as it saw fit.
The Emperor endeavored to gain the support of the superior of Saint Sulpice for his new educational project, by making him a member of the advisory council to the grand master of the University. But the abbé took advantage of this position to voice his fears against the menace that the all-enveloping University offered to freedom of religious instruction.
The decree of May 10, 1807, establishing the Imperial University, declared that "no school or establishment whatever may be formed outside the jurisdiction of the University without the authorization of its head." This article called forth a violent protest from the vigilant Emery. "Can it mean," he asked, "to include seminaries? Can it be possible that the bishops are not fully masters of the education of their ecclesiastics?" This decree if left unchanged, he said, "will be the most fatal blow that has been struck against the spiritual authority of the Church and her bishops." He did not think that that was the real motive of the framers of the decree, but, whatever their motives, it was a fact that, if the Church were compelled to yield its freedom of action in the education of its priests, it would become merely a national institution, unworthy of the name
42 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 226.
Catholic. The abbé bitterly remarked that "the Church of France might well envy the lot of the churches existing under the domination of the Turks, for even they are fully masters of their education." 43
In this instance, however, his vigorous protest was not in vain. The project was modified in a manner to conserve the right of the bishops to establish and direct seminaries. This early foreshadowing of a Kulturkampf was of brief duration. The Church, thanks to Emery, still had control over the education of its priests, and the superior of Saint Sulpice agreed to serve on the advisory council to the grand master of the University. 44
(9) Another appointment was in store for Emery which compelled him to make a more reckless protest in the interests of the liberty of the Church. In 1809 Napoleon convoked a commission of leading clergymen of France to give him guidance in a bitter dispute with the Pope. The superior of Saint Sulpice was included among those whom the Emperor asked to advise him, and he did not dare to refuse, though he longed to do so, as a refusal would have meant the closing of his seminary. This he wished to keep open at all costs, as France was sorely in need of well-trained priests. But at the same time, he realized that he would probably incense the Emperor still more by his opinions on the controversy with Rome, if he were compelled to express them. 45
The Emperor at this time was under a bull of excommunication, because he had seized by force some Papal territory. The ecclesiastical anathema did not much trouble him, but the Pope had been able to embarrass him seriously by
43 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 191-200.
44 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 201.
45 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 237.
refusing canonical institution to his episcopal appointees. It was on these questions that Napoleon wanted the opinions of his carefully selected ecclesiastical commission. The majority of its members agreed that the bull of excommunication was without effect, since it had been launched in the defense of temporal interests. On the second question they could only suggest that a national church council be held, which they thought would have the power, considering the urgent circumstances, to decree that canonical institution be given by the metropolitan or the oldest suffragan. Emery, however, was a lone dissenter from these decisions. He did not agree that excommunication was null when made in defense of temporal interests, and he pointed out that, as a matter of simple historical record, the Church had at all times made use of spiritual arms in the defense of its temporal possessions. 46
On this occasion he escaped any serious consequences of his rashness. It may have been the abbé's attitude towards the Emperor's divorce that secured him immunity in his latest defiance. It seems rather surprising that he should have opposed the Pope in this matter, but his biographer assures us that he was sincere in his conviction that Napoleon's first marriage was irregular, in view of the absence of witnesses, and that this was sufficient ground for nullification. As regards the Pope's refusal to give his sanction to the sentence of the French bishops, he took the stand that the right to annul marriages did not belong to the Pope, or if it did, the "doctrine had not been clearly established." 47
But not for long was Emery aligned with Napoleon against the Pope. In 1811 another advisory committee was summoned to assist the Emperor in his never-ceasing
46 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 239.
47 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 253.
struggle with Pius VII over the question of investiture. The abbé earnestly pleaded to be left out of its membership, but in vain. The Emperor was determined to enlist the aid of this influential churchman, whose diplomatic skill he so much admired, in a problem that baffled him in some respects more than any other in his far-flung Empire. 48
Just as he thought he had found a method of circumventing the Pope's refusal of institution, a young priest by the name of d'Astros (his career is the subject of another chapter) brought his plan to nought. This priest, a supposedly good Gallican, had the temerity to use his strategical position in the interests of the Papacy, much to the confusion of the Emperor. He was quickly imprisoned, but this high-handed act did not in any way help to overcome the difficult situation that had been created for Napoleon.
The scheme which d'Astros frustrated was a plan to allow nominated bishops to administer vacant parishes in the quality of grand vicars of chapters, thus freeing these bishops from the necessity of canonical institution. But in order that they might legally have the power of the chapter, it was necessary that the grand vicar give over his functions to the bishops designated by the Emperor. When d'Astros as grand vicar of Paris refused to give up his right of administration, the bright scheme was spoiled.
It was this impasse, fraught with so much bitter feeling of frustrated hopes, that decided the Emperor to call together a second ecclesiastical commission in 1811. He did not, this time, simply ask the members what their advice was, but almost commanded them to nullify some of the acts of the Papacy of which he himself had been the real instigator in 1801. He now expressed doubt as to the Pope's right to dis-
48 On the important part that Emery played on the ecclesiastical committee of 1811 vide Feret Abbé, La France et le Saint-Siège (Paris, 1911), pp. 271-320.
miss the bishops of the old régime, one of the things which the Pope had been loath to do, but which the French government had demanded as necessary before it would even consider negotiating for a Concordat. Napoleon contended that Pius VII had acted as a universal bishop in 1801 under extraordinary circumstances in overturning the episcopal jurisdiction of the whole of France, but he now held that since the unusual circumstances were past, the Pope should no longer continue to exercise extraordinary powers. The time had come, so said the Emperor, "to place new limits between the pretensions of the Papacy and the independence of all nations." 49 The members of the commission, though they greatly feared inciting the wrath of Napoleon, hesitated to concur in such a sentiment, which, if agreed to by them, would have undermined the basis of the Concordat. Cardinal Fesch, Napoleon's uncle, was delegated to inform the Emperor of their fears, and the latter was sufficiently impressed to drop this dangerous line of action, and to give the commission something more tangible to work upon than a discussion of the Pope's right to act as the universal bishop of the Church. He contented himself by asking them to give an answer to two simple questions:
1. Since all communications between the Pope and the subjects of the Emperor are interrupted for the present, how is it possible for him to obtain the dispensations which belong to the Holy See?
2. When the Pope obstinately refuses to accord the necessary bulls to the bishops nominated by the Emperor to fill up the vacant sees, what legitimate means is there to give them institution? 50
49 Gosselin, op. cit., tom. ii, pp. 297-300. 50 Ibid., tom. ii, p. 301.
To give a simple reply to these queries was an insuperable task as far as the commission was concerned. It evaded the first by saying that in such unfortunate circumstances the only thing the Emperor could do would be to refer the matter to the diocesan bishops, as this was a subject that only a national council of the Church was capable of handling.
The second question, how to secure canonical institution in the face of the Pope's refusal, was beyond even the competence of a national council, and the commission admitted that the only thing that could be done would be to secure an additional clause to the Concordat, to the effect that the Holy See would be bound to furnish bulls of institution within a limited time after a nomination had been made to a vacant see. Failing this (and it was a very futile suggestion), the French government might fall back upon those parts of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1438 which dealt with the regulations concerning the institution of bishops.
Emery refused to concur in any of these suggestions. Although he had deprecated d'Astros' refusal to delegate his administrative functions to Maury, the bishop-elect of Paris, preferring not to endanger the continuance of the Concordat, yet he could not agree to such open defiance of the Pope as the commission now encouraged, by trying to revive a sanction undoubtedly nullified by later legislation. His refusal to sign the commission's reply to the questions of Napoleon was confidently expected to bring the wrath of the Emperor down upon his head. His colleagues sympathized with his objections, in which probably most of them secretly concurred, and did their best to shield him from any ill consequences for his temerarious stand. But it proved impossible for him to avoid giving an explanation to Napoleon on the position he had taken. 51
51 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 302-303.
The Emperor was so greatly pleased with the advice tendered him by his commission, that he decided to call an extraordinary session at which he should be present, in order to give the decisions to the public with all possible éclat. Emery did his best to absent himself from this meeting, even to the extent of attempting to leave the city of Paris the day it was held. He failed to make good his flight, however, as the Emperor had given strict orders that the superior of Saint Sulpice be present at the meeting, and the aged abbé was practically dragged from the carriage in which he was trying to make his escape, and escorted to the momentous session of the commission. Here he heard the Emperor deliver a violent discourse on the strange conduct of Pius VII.
The following is Cardinal Consalvi's description of this speech, and Emery's reply to it:
Although the discourse of the Emperor was nothing but a tissue of erroneous principles, falsities, atrocious calumnies, anti-Catholic maxims, yet not a bishop, not even a cardinal, had the courage to defend the truth in the face of such vehemence and power; all forgot their duty and kept scandalously silent. A simple priest arose to save the honor of his estate and dared to speak the truth to the most formidable of Caesars. This priest was Abbé Emery, a moderate Gallican, who adhered to the principles of the Declaration of 1682. . . .
Consalvi then reports how the Emperor, pausing in his harangue, turned to Emery and demanded: "What do you think of all this?" To which the abbé replied:
Sire, I cannot be of any other opinion than that contained in your catechism and taught by your order in all the churches in the Empire. We read in several places in that catechism that the Pope is the visible head of the Church to whom all the faithful owe obedience in his character as the successor of St. Peter,
according to the institution of Jesus Christ himself. But can a body ignore its head, ignore one to whom by divine right it owes obedience? . . . We are obliged in France to adhere to the Four Articles of 1682; but it is necessary to receive this doctrine in its entirety; it is said in the preamble of this Declaration that the primacy of Peter and the Roman pontiffs was instituted by Jesus Christ, and that all Christians must make obeisance to the Holy See. Furthermore, one must add that the Four Articles were decreed in order to prevent, under the pretext of the liberties of the Gallican Church, injury being done to the primacy of the Roman See. . . . 52
The Emperor was considerably taken aback to find his speech thrown into contrast to the Declaration of 1682, and even more so when he was answered from the words of his own catechism. Yet, he perceived that he was dealing with a man of his own calibre, and for the remainder of the session all his remarks were addressed to Emery. He completely ignored the other members of the commission, except that at the end of the session he rebuked them for the bad advice they had given him, since they were all compelled to admit that there was little likelihood of the Pope's agreeing to the additions proposed to the Concordat. The suggestion to fall back upon the Pragmatic Sanction of 1438 was also a counsel of despair.
After the meeting, a few prelates went up to Napoleon and endeavored to excuse the abbé's indiscretions, on the plea of his advanced years. But, to their surprise they found that they, rather than the bold abbé, were the object of the Emperor's anger. "You deceive yourselves, gentlemen," he replied; "I am not angry with M. Emery; he speaks like a man who knows his business; it is thus I like to have people talk with me. True, he and I do not think alike, but each must hold freely his own conviction."
52 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 305-307.
Cardinal Fesch, a little later, received a still more stinging rebuke from his imperial nephew. "Remain silent," said Napoleon; "you are an ignoramus. Where have you studied theology? It is with M. Emery, who knows it, that I must talk."
That night when the old abbé returned to his cell in the convent of Saint Sulpice, he told one of his companions that he had been instructing the Emperor in his catechism, "because," he said, with a chuckle, "he does not know it."
Another anecdote recorded of this attractive personality is not entirely inapposite to the relations of Church and state in the days of Napoleon. Emery was sometimes the recipient of that curious favor that the Emperor conferred upon those with whom he was particularly pleased, that of tugging the car. The prince primate, archbishop of Ratisbon, was much humiliated by such treatment and complained of it to Emery. The latter laughingly replied, "Monsigneur, I received the same favor as your highness but did not dare to boast of it till now, but, since I share it with so grand a seigneur as yourself, I am going to tell everyone." 53
(10) It was this very tolerant and clear-headed churchman. happily provided with a keen sense of humor, who began in France a decided trend from the old Gallican principle to a position very similar to that of the Ultramontanes. We have already seen, in his publication of the revised works of Fleury, that he was preparing the ground in France for just such a change. Though fond of the Emperor, his penetrating mind had soon grasped the secret hope that Napoleon entertained in reestablishing the Church in France. He finally perceived that the Concordat which he had so enthusiastically welcomed in 1801 had been drawn up in a
53 Ibid., tom. ii, pp. 310-311.
spirit of battle, a battle for the souls of the citizens of France, clerical and lay; that is, for their primary spiritual allegiance. 54 When the real portents of the struggle dawned upon Emery, he began without hesitation to rally his following around the Papacy, as the only hope of saving the Church from becoming a tool in the hands of the state.
His attitude towards the educational policy of Napoleon showed how clearly he perceived the dangers of the new nationalism to a transcendent religious belief. He had fought a little Kulturkampf, when the Church was hardly aware of the import of the struggle, and won 55 long before the days of Bismarck. But what was bolder still, he began to undermine the Gallicanism of the Four Articles of 1682. In a conversation with Napoleon in 1811, he told him that though the Four Articles of 1682 "limited the authority of the Pope on some points, nevertheless, they conserve to him an authority so great and preeminent that it is not possible to decide any important affairs material to the dogma and discipline of the Church without his participation." 56 Such preeminence, Emery concluded, gave the Pope the right to intervene even in temporal affairs in France, if the prestige of the Church were severely threatened.
Before his death in April, 1811, he had convinced many a moderate churchman that Gallican liberty was perhaps a fetish too long worshipped in France; and there were many now ready to carry on the work of converting France to the Ultramontane theory of Church polity.
54 Vide infra, ch. viii, p. 180, note 5.
55 Vide supra p. 169, note 44.
56 Gosselin, tom. ii, p. 309.
IT now becomes our task to analyze more carefully the motives that impelled many French ecclesiastics to abandon their traditional reverence for the age-long liberties of the Gallican Church. Fundamentally, it can be said that the aggressive attitude of Jacobin nationalism towards any international organization within the state compelled the leaders of the Church to revise their position on Gallican privileges. These privileges, they perceived, were constantly being used as a club to keep them in line with the ever-expanding interests of a self-conscious nation.
In the present chapter it is proposed to follow a sequence of events in the life of a prominent churchman as an illustration of the use that could be made of these rights by an ambitious monarch to further national ends, but which, at the same time, made clear to startled French clerics the danger of those same rights to the spiritual independence of the Church.
In a previous chapter 1 it has been suggested that Bonaparte, even while he was negotiating with the Pope for a concordat, may have had in mind a far-reaching scheme of world domination, and that he was of the opinion that the Catholic Church could be made to serve a useful purpose in his grandiose plan. A Holy Roman Empire in which the Emperor and not the Pope would be the dominant partner, must have been the vision that floated before his mind's eye.
1 Vide supra, ch. i, p. 38.
He was not unaware that the Popes had really played a more important rôle than the German Emperors in reestablishing civilization in Europe after the fall of the ancient empire, but he relied upon the pride of Frenchmen in Gallican liberties to save him from meeting the fate of Henry IV or the Hohenstaufens. The very elaborate expansion of those liberties in the Organic Articles is an indication of how great was Bonaparte's caution that there should be no repetition of the trip to Canossa.
The request of the First Consul for a legate of noble standing to take up his residence in France was a further precautionary measure that had behind it a hope of future usefulness as his power to direct the destinies of Europe increased. Nielsen makes the suggestion that Bonaparte was reading Fleury Church History while negotiating for the Concordat, and from it he got the idea that the powers of a Papal legate could be set over against the authority of the Holy See. 2 He would have learned from Fleury that these legates in the past had acted as little popes in the various countries where they took up their residence; that being the case, then Napoleon did not doubt his ability to compel a minor pope to do as he told him.
The fact that he chose Capara, a man of noble lineage and reputed Febronian principles, 3 is an indication that he wanted a person who would lend dignity to the office of legate, but who would concur in the right of the state to dictate to the Church. It was generally recognized at the time of Capara's appointment that such were the First Consul's motives in asking for a legate. Ghislieri, the Austrian ambassador at Rome, frankly gave it at his opinion that Capara was intended to be a second pope in France. 4
2 Nielsen F., The History of the Papacy in the Nineteenth Century (trans. under the direction of A. J. Mason, London, 1906), vol. i, p. 242.
3 Ibid., vol. i, p. 245.
4 Boulay, Documents, torn. iv, p. 5.
Be that as it may, there is much testimony to the effect that the First Consul's ambitions extended much further than the controlling of a little pope in his own country, and that as his power in Europe grew, he conceived the idea of getting the Pope himself within the orbit of his control and making him a glorified imperial chaplain. Though the literature of Saint-Helena days cannot be wholly relied upon in a study of Napoleon's actual motives, yet many of the acts of the Emperor tend to support this confession of the royal exile as recorded in the Memorial de Sainte-Hélène: What would have happened if I had returned from Moscow victorious and triumphant? I would then have accomplished the separation of the spiritual from the temporal, which is so hurtful to his Holiness, while the mixing up of the two brings confusion into the community by the hand of the very person who ought to be the harmonious center. I would then have exalted the Pope beyond all measure; I would have surrounded him with splendor and homage; I would have made him forget the loss of his temporal power; I would have made an idol of him [une idole]. He would have taken up his residence near me; Paris would have been the capital of the spiritual world, and I would have governed the world both of politics and of religion. In the same outburst of frankness, the exile paid a high tribute to the power of religious leadership: "Without it," he said, "one cannot rule; without it, a nation will every moment be disturbed in its repose, its dignity and its independence." 5 It was that leadership that he wished to seize for himself, but which the Pope, despite all threats and abuse, stubbornly refused to yield. Napoleon confessed to Chaptal, that, even while he held Pius VII prisoner at Savona, he
5 Quoted by Nielsen, op. cit., vol. i, p. 329. Emile Ollivier characterizes Napoleon's religious policy as follows: Il aurait eu ses sessions religieuses comme ses sessions politiques; le Pape logé a` côte de lui dans un palais magnifique, aurait été son ministre aux affaires ecclésiastiques. Le Concordat et la Séparation de l'Église et de le État( Paris, 1885), p. 35.
discovered in the Papacy "a power of resistance of a special nature and a peculiar strength." 6
At this time he was convinced that "the power that rules over souls has a greater sway than that which rules over bodies." In the career of d'Astros we are able to study the determined but frustrated efforts that the Emperor made to gain for himself the much-coveted spiritual leadership, without which he thought his efforts to build a new European empire would be in vain.
(2) Paul-Thérèse-David d'Astros: 7 reached an important position in the Church at a very early age. The fact that he was the nephew of Portalis, the minister of ecclesiastical affairs, was partly the cause of his rapid advancement, but not entirely. The son of a notary in the village of Tournes in the ancient diocese of Aix, he began to shape his own ecclesiastical career at the age of eight, when he received the tonsure from no less a personage than Monseigneur de Boisgelin, the redactor of a celebrated exposition of principles against the Civil Constitution of the clergy. 8 Even as a child, d'Astros showed a tendency to follow, without wavering, the path of duty. This characteristic marked his later career and brought him into dangerous conflict with his superiors, since he generally made up his own mind on questions of principle and was not easily shaken in his convictions. When his own parish priest in the diocese of Aix, and three other priests of the neighborhood announced that they were going to take the oath of obedience to the Civil Constitution of the clergy, he disagreed with them, and held to his own way despite all their pleadings. 9
6 Ibid., vol. i, p. 339.
7 These biographical details are found in Caussette Le R. P., Vie du Cardinal D' Attros (Paris, 1853), p. iet seq.
8 Caussette, op. cit., p. 5.
9 Ibid., p. 42.
To the pleadings of his ecclesiastical superiors were added the violences of the mob. His house was broken into by assailants who tried to force him to take the oath. On his still firm refusal to yield to intimidation, he was driven from his home department and became an exile for his faith at the age of twenty. 10
The Revolution, by its disregard of his conscientious scruples, had created a bad impression on the mind of d'Astros. Nor did the zealots of the Revolution stop with this first act of violence on the person of the youthful churchman. In 1793 he was forcibly enrolled in the army. According to his biographer "he had indeed the courage of a soldier but he had neither the morals nor the strength." 11 His unhappiness in a profession against which his priestly nature rebelled so undermined his health that even his companions in arms advised him to desert. He wisely followed their advice and took French leave of the army, but managed to continue to live in France, though a fugitive from justice, until the coup d'état of Fructidor.
Even under these unhappy conditions he continued to make progress in his clerical career. In 1795 he was ordained deacon at Paris, and when his uncle, Portalis, returned to France, he became a frequent visitor at the latter's house. 12 Portalis, when he became minister of ecclesiastical affairs, regarded his nephew as a heaven-sent treasure, since he quickly discovered him to be a mine of theological information, which the sorely pressed minister was sadly in need of.
(3) Though d'Astros had opposed the Civil Constitution of the clergy, he showed no great qualms about the very great
10 Ibid., p. 45.
11 Ibid., p. 48.
12 Ibid., p. 56.
care that his uncle was taking to guard against Papal pretensions in France. He had been brought up a good Gallican, and all these precautions seemed to be in line with the special privileges of the Gallican Church. If, as the son of Portalis testified, "d'Astros was informed on all important dispositions which might render possible the execution of the Concordat and the reestablishment of the public cult in France," one must conclude that he was indeed Gallican, if he uttered no protests against the irritating nationalistic prejudices embodied in the Concordat and the Organic Articles. In fact, he seems to have heartily cooperated with Portalis to the fullest extent in all the work of reestablishment that had been placed upon the minister of ecclesiastical affairs. "My father," writes Portalis' son, "had in him [ d'Astros] the most complete confidence, and he often served him as an intermediary in his relations with the Roman legation." 13 D'Astros also shared in the very delicate task of selecting candidates for bishoprics, to be nominated by Napoleon, when the Concordat should take effect. He uttered one protest here, in that he found it disagreeable to be compelled to recommend twelve former Constitutional bishops whom Napoleon insisted upon including in the new episcopate. 14
From all this, it is not difficult to place d'Astros in the beginning of the Napoleonic régime. He belonged to that group of moderate clergy which looked upon Emery as its leader and which hailed with joy the reestablishment of the Church in republican France in 1801. Like Emery, he had managed to live in his own country all through the Revolution, and he also had been equally impressed by the very great danger that the social upheaval offered to the future of the Church. In agreement with the moderate clergy, he came to the conclusion that some concessions to the principles
13 Ibid., p. 78.
14 Ibid., pp. 88-91.
of the Republic were very necessary if the Roman See were to regain the loyalty of the faithful in France.
Napoleon, with always a keen eye for ability, quickly perceived that' d'Astros would be a valuable ally to have in any future controversies with the Pope. With this object in view, he loaded the young theologian with ecclesiastical honors. D'Astros assisted as a canon at his coronation. In 1805 he was nominated grand vicar by the bishop of Paris. 15 Naturally, for this rapid advancement, the Emperor expected subservient gratitude; his wrath knew no bounds when he discovered that the primary loyalty of the young abbé, whom he had so signally honored, belonged to the Holy See.
(4) Yet, before his appointment, d'Astros seemed the most unlikely person in the realm to give Napoleon cause for alarm as to the soundness of his Gallicanism or his devotion to the new empire that had been set up. His cooperation with Portalis and the advice he offered in the framing of the Organic Articles were recent evidence that he was properly imbued with good national principles. There is reason to believe that he also assisted in drawing up that truly national document, the imperial catechism. Caussette, the biographer of d'Astros, says that the authorship of this catechism has remained a mystery for a long time, but, that he is able, at last, to raise the veil and to announce that it was principally the work of the Abbé d'Astros. However, he frees his hero from the stigma of giving the famous exegesis on the Fourth Commandment, which taught complete and unquestioning obedience to the Emperor Napoleon. This section he ascribes to Cardinal Capara. 16
The death of Cardinal de Belloy, the archbishop of Paris,
15 Ibid., p. 109. 16 Ibid., p. 111.
in 1807, suddenly created a situation in which d'Astros was compelled to make the most important decision of his career. As grand vicar, he became the depository of the episcopal power until a new bishop should be duly instituted in the vacant see. It was just at this time that Napoleon was carrying on his most violent altercation with the Pope, whom he held as a prisoner at Savona. The Holy Father, as we have already seen, 17 was refusing to institute to office any of Napoleon's episcopal appointments, and the Emperor was seeking in every manner possible to render impotent this embarrassing weapon of non-institution.
As capitulary vicar there devolved upon d'Astros the obligation to examine the titles of any new incumbent that Napoleon might designate. In the performance of this duty he was supposed to represent the Holy See, whose interest in the matter he was morally bound to safeguard. But there was little likelihood that the Emperor would appreciate the delicacy of d'Astros' situation.
The quarrel between Napoleon and the Pope, according to the former, was over a temporal concern rather than a spiritual, in that it involved "a little corner of the earth" 18 which France had wrested from Papal control. However, that corner of the earth contained the city of Rome, and all good churchmen believed that it was necessary for the Papal estates to be free, if the Pope were to be regarded by Catholics of all nationalities as the impartial and independent spiritual father of Christendom. The violation of the independence of Rome, in the eyes of many moderate clergy in France, was much more than a temporal matter; it was, indeed, an attempt to gain the spiritual dominance of Europe.
17 Vide supra, ch. vii, pp. 169-170.
18 Caussette, op. cit., p. 120. On this famous controversy between Napoleon and Pius VII vide Rinieri P., Napoleone e Pio VII (Turin, 1906), tom. i, pp. 442et seq.
Furthermore, it was a contradiction of Napoleon's own professed policy in seeking a concordat with the See of Rome in 1800. At that time, he had clearly and unequivocally said, "The Pope is outside Paris and that is well; he is neither at Madrid nor at Vienna, and that is why we support his spiritual authority." 19 If Napoleon himself had at one time recognized the necessity of the temporal independence of the Roman See, in order that it might be spiritually free, then he could hardly with good grace contend in 1807 that his quarrel with the Pope was over a purely secular matter.
It was on this nice question that d'Astros had to take a stand. While there was an archbishop at Paris, it had been unnecessary to declare himself openly, but now there seemed to be no escape. If he believed that the Pope, his superior, was fighting for spiritual freedom, then, to give aid to Napoleon in the latter's attempt to impair those spiritual weapons that were being used in the cause of the independence of the Church was to strike a cruel blow at that same Church, for whose welfare d'Astros had labored so arduously through dark days and fair.
The decisive moment arrived when he refused to give the power of the chapter to administer the diocese of Paris into the hands of Cardinal Maury, the Emperor's nominee to the vacant see, after Cardinal Fesch had refused the doubtful honor. 20 It was a temerarious stand, but d'Astros had decided that it would be a betrayal of his office to endanger the spiritual prestige of the Pope by handing over to a non-instituted bishop the powers of administration. The abbé was not long in doubt as to the proportions of the struggle in which he had become engaged. Before it was over he left behind him all vestiges of his former Gallicanism and became completely a man of the Pope. In this he was
19 Ibid., p. 122. 20 Ibid., p. 136.
followed by a great majority of the French clergy, as soon as the heavy hand of the Emperor was removed from the affairs of France, until, in a brief period of time, Gallican became almost a term of reproach in the land where it had once been considered the proudest of titles.
Caussette, writing only forty-five years after these events, feels called upon to explain to his readers why his hero, d'Astros, was once proud to call himself a Gallican. "Without doubt," he writes," he had formerly been regarded as a Gallican. And how could it have been otherwise? He had reached maturity in an age when Roman doctrines were in great disfavor; when it was no more permitted to say, I am not Gailican,' than to say, 'I am not French.'" Causette further explains that there was a great deal of difference between Napoleonic Gallicanism and that of Bossuet, but, in perspective, it is seen that there was much to condemn even in the latter. "It is a self-evident truth," he writes, "that our catalogue of Gallican privileges was drawn up in a spirit of defiance to the Popes and with complaisance towards kings; that which was liberty vis-a`-vis Rome became servitude thevis-a`-vis state." 21
(5) When d'Astros crossed swords with Maury, he had taken on an antagonist of no mean ability, one who was perfectly ready to produce all the necessary precedents favorable to his side of the argument. In this case, Maury found a fruitful source of support for his position in the droit de régale controversy between Louis XIV and the Pope. It was while he was perusing the literature of this period that he originally struck upon the idea that Napoleon might be able to rid himself of the necessity of seeking canonical institution, temporarily, at least, by conferring upon his nominees the power vested in the chapters to administer vacant dioceses.
21 Ibid., p. 142.
Louis XIV, in a similar impasse, had abrogated the canons of Poitiers, which prohibited the nominees of the king from exercising authority in a diocese by a delegation of the powers of the chapter. Since such had been the procedure of Louis XIV, Maury held it would be perfectly legitimate for the Emperor to revert to it in a very similar circumstance. 22
D'Astros countered this argument by replying that, if the epoch of Louis XIV were to serve as a model for the Church to follow in 1807, then the whole era should be brought back in its entirety. Sarcastically recalling that there were other abuses in that monarch's reign besides that of abrogating canons which protected the spiritual safeguards of the Church, he suggested one worthy of emulation would be "to recognize that bishops are not bound to remain in residence, since Louis XIV obligated a number of his bishops not to reside in their sees.? 23
This was sheer irony, hardly likely to put his opponents in good humor. D'Astros, however, made a much more earnest appeal to the good sense of Maury. The latter, he assumed, must surely have the preservation of the hierarchical order at heart, especially the assurance of the legitimacy of shepherds who were to be entrusted with the care of souls. To weaken the force of canons which were designed to safeguard the legitimacy of the episcopate was to endanger Catholicism itself. Canonical institution, he held, was one of those safeguards whereby the head of the Church was enabled to keep a close watch over secular abuses. To render that institution less necessary, as Maury proposed, was to "weaken the hierarchical dependence." 24 These were the reasons, d'Astros made clear to Maury, which compelled him as the Pope's spiritual representative in the diocese of Paris
22 Ibid., pp. 145-147.
23 Ibid., pp. 147-148.
24 Ibid., pp. 152-155.
to throw the whole weight of his strategical position against the plan which Maury had recommended to the Emperor. If he were to remain true to his oath of office, he could not do otherwise.
The dispute between these two churchmen was not confined to arguments over precedents, but was even carried openly into ceremonial functions and church services. On one occasion, at a social gathering, when Maury presented d'Astros and his colleagues to the host, he began by saying: "Here are my grand vicars."D'Astros immediately responded, "His Eminence deceives himself; these are the grand vicars of the chapter, not his."
On another occasion, during an ordination, the cardinal demanded of a timid ecclesiastic, when he placed his hands upon him, to promise obedience to his titulary bishop. But d'Astros would not let this pass, even though he had to disturb the solemnity of the service. Interrupting with a loud voice, he called out: "Monseigneur, permit me to make an observation for the instruction of this priest, to inform him that you have not the right to demand such a promise." 25
In the cathedral services the grand vicar was always on guard to see that Maury was never allowed to act as if he were the veritable bishop of the diocese. During a ceremonial procession the cardinal asked to have the archiepiscopal cross carried before him. When d'Astros became aware of what was happening, he ordered the cross bearer to return to the sacristy. The cross was a symbol of jurisdiction which belonged not to Maury, but to himself.
Caussette admits that these altercations sound petty; he justifies his hero's conduct, however, on the ground that the quarrels were not concerned with questions of amour-propre, but had an importance which the Papacy regarded with attention. In fact, they furnished an excellent opportunity for
25 Ibid., p. 177.
d'Astros to impress upon the faithful "the difference between a bishop instituted by the Church and a bishop who was a simple functionary of the Emperor." 26
(6) This was a controversy which could not be confined simply to Maury and d'Astros. The Emperor looked impatiently on, ready to take a hand as soon as an opportunity afforded itself. Since d'Astros had grounded his side of the case firmly on the basis of the Concordat and the canons of the Church, it was difficult for Napoleon to find any legal means of punishing the grand vicar for adhering to his official duty. He watched carefully for some other charge that could be laid against a rebellious subject, and soon d'Astros furnished the opportunity he was waiting for. The Pope as Napoleon's prisoner at Savona was not allowed to communicate with any of his clergy, and especially was it forbidden for any subject of the Emperor to carry on a correspondence with him. Because of the magnitude of the spiritual interests involved in his quarrel with Maury, d'Astros felt under the necessity of disobeying this command. Despite all the vigilance of the guards placed around the Pope's person at Savona, d'Astros succeeded in getting in touch, by letter, with his spiritual head. However, one of the letters that the Pope wrote to d'Astros, in response to some questions that the latter had addressed to him, fell into the hands of the Emperor's agents. 27 This was clear evidence to Napoleon that the grand vicar of Paris was defying his express command to regard the Pope as the enemy of France. It was just the opportunity he was waiting for; d'Astros had been caught violating a civil ordinance, and the Emperor was now able to wreak his vengeance on the young ecclesiastic who
26 Ibid., p. 178.
27 Ibid., p. 183.
had frustrated his plan of overcoming the Pope's weapon of canonical institution.
On the same day that he made this important discovery (January 1, 1811), official duty necessitated a visit by d'Astros to the Tuilleries. When the abbé was presented to the Emperor, the latter, according to Caussette, bluntly greeted him as follows:
You are the man of my empire who is most suspect to me; it is necessary to be a Frenchman before all else; it is necessary to sustain the liberties of the Gallican Church. There is as great a distance between the religion of Bossuet and the religion of Gregory VII, as between heaven and hell.
Then putting his hand on his sword with a threatening gesture, the Emperor continued: "I have a sword by my side, take care of yourself." 28
D'Astros soon learned what the symbolic menace meant. Three days later he was arrested and committed to prison at Vincennes on the charge of having carried on a treasonable correspondence with the Pope. The Emperor's wrath was not confined simply to d'Astros, but embraced all those closely connected with the imprisoned cleric. The latter's cousin M. Portalis, the son of the famous minister of ecclesiastical affairs, who had known about the communications, was also accused of treason, deprived of his emoluments and exiled from Paris. In the town chosen for his residence he was placed under the surveillance of the police.
These harsh measures were taken against Portalis in order to heighten the disgrace of d'Astros, and to serve as a warning that it was dangerous to be numbered among the friends of the imprisoned abbé. 29
Napoleon, and with him Maury also, had another purpose
28 Ibid., p. 186. 29 Ibid., p. 200.
in thus humiliating d'Astros, in that they intended by the violence of the punishment meted out to the grand vicar, to intimidate the remaining members of the chapter into a declaration supporting the Emperor in his controversy with the Pope. Maury assured the vicars that the consequences to d'Astros would be less disastrous if they undertook to mollify the Emperor by again declaring their allegiance to the principles of the Gallican Church. These principles, he said, had been placed in so great jeopardy by their leader's subservience to the Holy See that it was necessary to reaffirm them. A declaration was drawn up by the chapter, Emery alone refusing to sign it, in which the members protested how good was their nationalism. But it did not fully meet with Maury's approval, and on his own responsibility he proceeded to give it the proper tone before placing it in the hands of the Emperor. The latter had no reason to be displeased with it when it reached him. It declared:
We are Catholics, sire, but we must pride ourselves, at the same time, in being more French under your rule, than we have ever been before. We have the honor of forming the Metropolitan chapter of a church which has always had the merit of serving as a model and guide to all the other churches of France, and which has always, at all times, been distinguished for its most active and enlightened zeal for the principles and rights of the Gallican Church, of which it still is the most redoubtable bulwark. We shall never degenerate by the least infidelity from this ancient constancy, in following one of the pathways of that national honor which we wish to transmit to our successors. 30
After this preliminary confession of national faith, which ought to have satisfied the most exacting, the declaration went on to assert that the episcopal jurisdiction of a diocese never dies but devolves upon the chapter, and this body in turn can delegate it to bishops nominated by the sovereign.
30 Ibid., pp. 212-213.
In short, the chapter completely capitulated on the very issue for which d'Astros had sacrificed his liberty.
Maury, by threats and cajolery, had gotten his way, but at the same time he was doing grievous injury to the future popularity of Gallicanism in France. Many of the clergy must have signed the declaration with a considerable loss of self-respect. The club that had been used to coerce them into submission was Gallican principles, for it was only upon those principles that the declaration had any shadow of justification. But, as Caussette points out, Gallican principles were being overworked since they were leading to the breakup of Catholic unity. 31
The signers were well aware that, by their subservience, they were creating in France a communion very similar to the Constitutional Church, which most of them, in former days, had repudiated. Inwardly they must have compared their weakness in the face of threats with the heroic stand for the spiritual liberty of the Church made by their imprisoned colleague. When the opportunity afforded itself to disavow Gallicanism and all its works, they were going to do so with little regret. 32
Yet there is something to be said in defense of these clergy in their concessions to the demands of Napoleon. It was their firm conviction that only because of the Emperor was there even a semblance of the Catholic communion in France. Theiner, in 1869, ascribed to Napoleon "two most glorious titles". . ."pacifier and protector of the Church." 33 His book, as previously observed, 34 was written as a token of gratitude to the man who had done so much for the preservation of the Catholic religion in Europe. The members of
31 Ibid., p. 221.
32 Vide supra, ch. ix, pp. 229-230.
33 Theiner, op. cit., tom. i, p. x.
34 Vide supra, ch. ii, p. 59, note 52.
the chapter, who had lived through the terrors of the Revolution, were fully aware of the magnitude of the work of Napoleon in restoring the Church. They were unwilling to endanger the gains that had been made by antagonizing their protector to such a degree that he should try to undo all that had been achieved in 1801.
Furthermore, it is to be remembered that they were not as well informed on the real points at issue as was d'Astros. The latter had had better opportunities to observe the significance of the events that had led up to the violent rupture between Napoleon and the Pope. These, perhaps, more than the request that he resign his powers into the hands of a non-instituted bishop, finally influenced him to take the position he did on the question of institution.
(7) In his Memoirs, d'Astros lists a number of little occurrences that made him pause and think. Before the demand was made upon him to delegate the capitulary power into the hands of Maury, he had been meditating upon these things. "For some time," he writes, "I was persuaded, and not without reason, that it was Bonaparte's plan to seize for himself the spiritual authority of the Church." The first thing that brought him to this persuasion, he says, was the imperial catechism. This seems a strange statement for d'Astros to make, as he is the reputed author of that catechism. However, it was not so much the actual catechism as the hints which were dropped by Napoleon in the conferences, at which he was present while the projected work was under discussion. The frank outbursts by the Emperor on these occasions gave d'Astros a feeling that "he [Napoleon] meditated some further extraordinary project." 35
35 Caussette, op. cit., p. 161.
Another occasion that gave d'Astros concern for the future of the Church, not only in France but in all Europe, was a conversation that he overheard between the Emperor and Fontanes, which Caussette records as follows:
Bonaparte showed Fontanes a ring, saying to him, "What do you think of this ring? It is a very remarkable thing." Fontanes said all he was able to say in eulogy of the ring, but he did not divine what was important to be said. "This ring represents the Emperor Augustus with an inscription which gives him, besides, the quality of Sovereign Pontiff, Summus Pontifex. That is a power," said Bonaparte to Fontanes, "which Augustus had and which I have not!!!" 36
Along with this, d'Astros records another startling conversation he overheard between the Emperor and Maury: "Monseigneur le Cardinal," said Bonaparte to Maury, "it is necessary to put to one side your title of capitulary administrator; I have nominated you archbishop of Paris; it becomes expedient to take the title.""Sire," Maury responded, "under the title of capitulary administrator, I have all the power; if I take that of archbishop I would have none of it." It would seem from this reply that Maury was unaware or feigned ignorance as to what Napoleon really meant by his request; but none of its significance was lost upon the thoroughly alarmed d'Astros. Unusual preparations and repairs about the archiepiscopal palace in Paris seemed to confirm his suspicions that the capital of France was also to be made the capital of the Catholic Church.
It was d'Astros' considered opinion that all these events-the arrest of the Sovereign Pontiff; the order to the nominated bishops to administer dioceses without the bulls of institution; the additions made to the archiepiscopal palace and the improvements given to its surroundings; the positive
36 Ibid., p. 163.
order received by Cardinal Maury no longer to administer in virtue of the power of the chapter, but in virtue solely of the Emperor's nomination--created links in a chain of evidence that could connect on to only one conclusion, namely, that it was the Emperor's design "to seize for himself the spiritual power." The principles of the hierarchy, according to d'Astros' reading of the signs of the times, were to be preserved. He bases this opinion on the "incontestable fact" that the Emperor had resolved to force the Pope to reside in Paris--this, because Napoleon was of the opinion that it would be more discreet to maintain the old forms, behind which he would be the actual power that governed the Church both spiritually and temporally. Thus would he have secured the coveted title, in fact, if not in name, Pontifex Maximus. On this point, d'Astros remarked: "One must admire the simplicity of those who, approving of this [Napoleon's design to establish the Pope at Paris], doubt that the Pope once resident at Paris would not govern the Church Universal after the will of Bonaparte, who would have become, in fact, the sovereign [of the Church] as he was already the Emperor." 37
Looking back over all these strange experiences in the court of the Emperor Napoleon, d'Astros wrote at a later date:
I was then strongly persuaded and I am still fully, that it was the duty of anyone who had at that time a share in the administration of the Church, not to cooperate in any of the usurpations that the nominated bishops were able to make, and especially in any of the acts they undertook such as could be done only by canonically instituted bishops.
It was no time, he said, "for silence or delay, or the politics of wheedlers." 38
37 Ibid., pp. 163-164.
38 Ibid., p. 165.
(8) When d'Astros made up his mind to oppose Napoleon in his attempt to gain complete control over the French communion, independently of the Pope, he ceased to be a Gallican in the technical sense of the word, and became wholeheartedly and without reserve an advocate of Ultramontanism. He felt that the Pope was justified in using his spiritual weapons--excommunication and refusal to institute nominated bishops--in defense of his temporal possessions. The head of the Roman hierarchy, so reasoned the young abbé, had the right to use any method in his power to preserve the dignity and temporal independence of the Holy See, since upon this independence was grounded the unity of the Church --a unity which would have been grievously shattered the moment the First Pastor allowed himself to become a mere pawn in national rivalries.
The comment of Caussette, a priest of the Sacred Heart, on these crucial events in which d'Astros had played such a courageous rôle, well illustrates how quickly Gallican liberties had lost favor in France. It is noteworthy that he finds it necessary, as has already been observed, to explain to his readers, separated less than half a century from the period under discussion, what Gallican liberties actually were. His definition is simple and brief. They were, he says, "a record of national maxims and customs," but he goes on to point out that they were drawn up "in a spirit of defiance toward Popes and compliance toward kings." 39 Caussette professes a distate even for discussing them further, and he asks his readers to excuse him for continually reverting to a subject which had already been too much debated. He does not know a more banal theme, "in the field either of dogma or of discipline." "Today less than ever," he says, "should one begin again a polemic in which
39 Ibid., pp. 140-142.
Bossuet and M. de Maistre have long since exhausted all the arguments." 40
Yet, despite all these protests, Caussette begins again an arraignment of the too much discussed Gallican rights. They served as a covering for all the attacks of the past century on the Church, and which had endangered the foundations of the Catholic faith. These attacks, he briefly lists: Josephism, the Civil Constitution, Febronianism, the insubordination of thirty-six anti-Concordat bishops and the Organic Articles. He sums it all up in this final outburst: "Every time a government wishes to be a tyrant with a little theology, to cause pusillanimous illusions to confuse conscience, to divide the bishops, to demoralize the Church in order to dominate it, where does it find the resources to work its will? In the maximes gallicanes." 41
The man to whom Caussette gave the credit of administering the real coup to the maximes gallicanes, was de Maistre. In our study we have been following the practical reasons which brought about a radical change of sentiment in the Catholic communion in France. We now turn to de Maistre who furnished for the Church a philosophical defense of the new Ultramontanism that replaced discredited Gallicanism in a surprisingly short time after the strong hand of Napoleon had been removed from the affairs of the Church.
40 Ibid., p. 222. 41 Ibid., pp. 226-228.
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