Thursday, September 8, 2022

The Latin Church in Revolutionary France


In Britannia, mid-1700s, enthusiastic Methodists inside and outside the established English Church challenged otherwise complacent members and leaders concerning their commitment to Jesus Christ. In Gallia, late 1700s, delirious representatives of an exuberant Olympianity overwhelmed a corrupt aristocratic Latin Church.

Enlightenment: Christianity false but Church useful

Neither Voltaire (pen name of Fran├žois-Marie Arouet, 1694-1778) nor Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) participated in the Latin Church. Both, however, thought ordinary people should—to keep them governable. In other words, both affirmed the sin of Jeroboam: the use of the Church as a means of strengthening the State.

Revolution: hostility toward Church (1789-99)

In France, higher clergy of the Latin Church were also nobility. When the French nobility lost their privileges following the revolutionary changes of 1789, higher clergy as aristocrats lost them too. Then, in October of that year, the State confiscated the property of the Church.

Later, as the pace of change accelerated, the State attempted to root out of French culture all Christian references and replace them with Olympian ones. In 1790, the State ended the existence of all religious orders, monasteries, and convents. In 1793 the State closed all Latin Church buildings in Paris and rededicated Notre Dame de Paris to the Cult of Reason with the Goddess of Liberty replacing the Virgin Mary.

Restoration: renewed cooperation (>1799)

In 1799, Napoleon (1769-1821) replaced the French republican government with a tyranny of his own (1799-1815). He found it more prudent to use the Church than attempt to destroy it. To better secure his throne, he restored privileges to Latin Church leaders and a place for Latin Christianity in French culture (1801). In societal terms, religious orders, monasteries, and convents were reestablished. In cultural terms, the government published a new catechism which taught Latin Christians how to be loyal citizens, the Church calendar was restored, and the State supported the Church in requiring every child to be named after a Latin Church hero (saint).

Copyright © 2022 by Steven Farsaci.
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