The Concordat of 1801

The Concordat of 1801

  • Convention of 26 Messidor, Year IX (binding)

  • Convention of 26 Messidor year IX

  • Concordat publication bubble

  • Concordat publication bubble (seal)

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Title: Convention of 26 Messidor, Year IX (binding)

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Creation date : 1801

Date shown: July 15, 1801

Dimensions: Height 39 - Width 26.7

Technique and other indications: Full title: Convention of 26 Messidor Year IX (July 15, 1801) between the Holy See and the French government, known as the Concordat of 1801. Embroidered red velvet binding, with the arms of the Holy See.

Storage location: Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

Contact copyright: © Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

Picture reference: Treaties, Holy See, n ° 1801 000 1

Convention of 26 Messidor, Year IX (binding)

© Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To close

Title: Convention of 26 Messidor, Year IX

Author :

Creation date : 1801

Date shown: July 15, 1801

Dimensions: Height 39 - Width 26.7

Technique and other indications: Full title: Convention of 26 Messidor Year IX (July 15, 1801) between the Holy See and the French government, known as the Concordat of 1801.

Storage location: Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

Contact copyright: © Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website

Picture reference: Treaties, Holy See, n ° 1801 000 1

Convention of 26 Messidor, Year IX

© Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

To close

Title: Concordat publication bubble

Author :

Creation date : 1801

Date shown: August 15, 1801

Dimensions: Height 66.4 - Width 83.5

Technique and other indications: Full title: Bull of Pope Pius VII of publication of the Concordat, 18 of the calends of September 1801 (August 15, 1801).

Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Picture reference: PC45010267

Concordat publication bubble

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

To close

Title: Concordat publication bubble (seal)

Author :

Creation date : 1801

Date shown: August 15, 1801

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Lead seal, bull of Pope Pius VII of publication of the Concordat, 18 of the calends of September 1801 (15 August 1801).

Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Picture reference: PC4501026B

Concordat publication bubble (seal)

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

Publication date: November 2004

Curator at the Historic Center of the National Archives

Historical context

The settlement of the religious question after the Revolution

In the aftermath of the coup d'etat of 18 Brumaire, Bonaparte, First Consul, knew that in order to maintain his position he had to resolve the religious crisis which had agitated France for ten years. The alliance with the Catholic Church is necessary: ​​to dissociate the cause of the monarchy from that of a religion to which the French generally remain attached; to regulate, through his ministers and his teaching, the moral and social order; to assume the tasks of education and assistance that the state cannot provide.

For his part, Pius VII, elected in March 1800, wanted to restore the unity of the Church, seriously threatened by the situation in France, the first Catholic power of the time. In 1789, she had lost all her possessions there. In 1790, the civil constitution of the clergy, voted by the Constituent Assembly, had caused an intolerable schism: that of a national church (the constitutional Church) of which all the ministers, even the bishops, were elected by the faithful without being Rome has its say. Abolishing the schism in France, giving back to the Church its means of action, these are its priorities.

Image Analysis

Convention of 26 Messidor year IX

After the victory of Marengo (June 14, 1800) which strengthened his position, Bonaparte informed Pius VII of his desire for reconciliation. In November 1800, Mgr Joseph Spina, Archbishop of Corinth, and Fr. Servite Charles Caselli arrived in Paris to negotiate. Their interlocutor is Father Etienne Bernier, parish priest of Saint-Laud d'Angers, thanks to whom peace had been made in Vendée. The Bologna Concordat, applied in France from 1516 to 1789, serves as a reference, and the civil constitution of the clergy as a counterexample. Until July 1801, twenty-one projects succeeded. The question of nationalized Church property is quickly resolved: Rome renounces it against the provision of non-alienated property and against treatment for bishops and parish priests (arts. 12 to 15). At the end of January 1801, there was a blockage on the statute of Catholicism and on the reconstitution of the episcopate. Bonaparte, indifferent in religious matters, threatens to invade the papal states, to convert France to Protestantism, to perpetuate the constitutional schism. François Cacault, French Minister Plenipotentiary in Rome, convinces Pius VII to send his Secretary of State, Cardinal Hercule Consalvi, to Paris, who arrives there at the end of June.

Bishop Consalvi admits that Catholicism is not declared the religion of the State, but only "the religion of the great majority of French people [...] professed by the Consuls" (preamble). He also accepts the general resignation of French bishops, including those who remained faithful to Rome (art. 3). This sacrifice will, in fact, be the first opportunity for Pius VII to manifest his restored authority over the Church of France. On July 13, Bonaparte appointed his brother Joseph and the Councilor of State Emmanuel Cretet to sign, with Bernier, the Concordat deemed ready. The announcement of the treaty is scheduled for the big dinner on July 14 at the Tuileries. But the document presented for signature is not the one expected. For nineteen hours, the signatories rework the text. An obstacle remains, on the freedom of public exercise of worship. Despite Bonaparte's anger at dinner on the 14th, negotiations resumed on July 15, from noon to midnight. Joseph Bonaparte finds the formula acceptable to all: "His worship will be public, by complying with the police regulations that the government deems necessary. for public tranquility »(Art. 1). The Concordat is signed.

Concordat publication bubble

Ratified by the Pope on August 15, 1801, the Concordat was announced the same day by a bull. This Latin bull is still dated in reference to the ancient calendar (ides, nones, calendes). It is a solemn letter (large bubble), the use of which is reserved for the most important acts. Characteristic are the writing of the Pope's name in large letters, its even longer initial, the ornamentation of certain letters as well as the "formula of perpetuity" (ad perpetuam rei memoriam). The lead seal which gives its name to the papal documents that it authenticates bears, on the obverse, the effigies of Saints Peter and Paul, separated by a cross, and, on the reverse, the name of the Pope in three lines (Pius / dad / VII).

Bonaparte ratifies the Concordat on September 8, 1801, but this treaty does not become effective in France until after its adoption on Germinal 18, year X (April 8, 1802) by the Assemblies (legislative body and Tribunate) which had to be purified, the representatives of “irreligiosity” remaining numerous there. Rome was nevertheless deeply disappointed: the law of April 8 which validated the Concordat in fact contained 77 "organic articles" which specified its application. These were written without his consent by Jean-Étienne Portalis, State Councilor in charge of worship since October 1801. The Holy See will in vain contest their validity. The Concordat announcement bubble bears the hallmarks of these articles. According to what they impose, it is published by the French government only after receipt in the Council of State, hence the mention [1] it bears at the bottom right.

Interpretation

The debt restructuring regime

The Concordat is well received by the French. While the elite triumph in Genius of Christianity de Chateaubriand, published in the spring of 1802, the population happily rediscovers traditional religious ceremonies.

For three quarters of a century, concordance legislation allowed balanced relations between the Catholic Church and the State. It also allows, after the revolutionary upheavals, the development of a renewed religious life. However, as soon as they came to power in 1879, the Republicans, mostly anticlerical, began to fight the place of Catholicism in society. They use Concordat and organic articles as tools against the Church, interpreting them in the most coercive sense. At the initiative of the French government, crises are increasing, despite the Church's rallying to the Republic [2]. They lead to the final rupture: the Law of Separation of December 9, 1905 [3], unilateral denunciation of the Concordat of 1801. This resulted, until the Briand-Ceretti agreements of 1923, in a serious diplomatic conflict between France and the Saint. -Siege, and a life of uncertainty for the French Catholic Church, deprived of legal existence.

  • Concordat of 1801
  • Consulate
  • Bonaparte (Napoleon)
  • Religious life
  • Church
  • churches
  • Pius VII
  • bishops
  • priests
  • secularism
  • congregations
  • Vatican
  • Italy
  • sigillary
  • sigillography
  • anticlericalism
  • Church property
  • Chateaubriand (François-René de)
  • Civil Constitution of the Clergy
  • Separation law of 1905
  • Genius of Christianity
  • Portalis (Jean-Etienne)

Bibliography

Bernard ARDURAThe Concordat between Pius VII and Bonaparte, July 15, 1801Paris, Le Cerf, 2001.Alfred BOULAY DE LA MEURTHEHistory of the negotiation of the Concordat of 1801Tours, Mame et Fils, 1920.From concord to rupture, a century of religious life in France (1801-1905)exhibition catalog, Musée de l'Histoire de France, Paris, Historic Center of the National Archives, 2002.

Notes

1. “transcribed in the Council of State, folio 80, volume 10, in accordance with article 2 of the decree of the Consuls of 29 Germinal year 10”.

2. Toast d'Alger, 1890; Encyclical of Leo XIII In the midst of solicitations, 1892.

3. The law of 1905 which proclaims the secularism of the Republic (art. 2) is still in force today, but it should be noted, as an exception, that the Concordat of 1801 still applies in the Haut-Rhin, the Bas-Rhin and the Moselle, who chose to find the old religious legislation when they returned to France in 1918.

To cite this article

Nadine GASTALDI, "The Concordat of 1801"


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