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If various patterns of detachment became increasingly apparent during the empire, the Concordat had nonetheless paved the way for a vibrant resurgence of public and organized religiosity. As Nigel Aston has put it succinctly, 'It was clear that, in the early 1800s, lay Catholics, for the most part, wanted a return to traditional, localised religiosity'.9 Pilgrimages flourished as the laity flocked to shrines dedicated to Mary orto healing local saints, such as Saints Barbe, Blaise, and Brigitte in the Moselle. Confraternities that had gone underground during the 1790s reappeared as crucial groups that spurred revival, especially in the south-east. Napoleon grew so wary of their collective power that he outlawed them in the late years of the empire. Hoping both to tap into the new religious energy and reinspire non-practising Catholics, teams of priests orchestrated interior missions, which drew crowds of several thousand to attend Masses or participate in outdoor stations of the cross. In short, by the 1810s, while some French remained either apathetic in their practice or politically opposed to the church, Catholicism had once again become a prominent public force in French life.

Religious policies and practices in the empire

As Napoleon expanded the borders of France, he also sought to export his religious policies into annexed territories, satellite republics, and eventually the empire. The revolutionaries before him had attempted to promote republican cults in place of Christianity and to give rights to religious minorities in the newly acquired French departments. Napoleon assimilated and altered these goals to fit his views on state-building and the social utility of religion. As within France, he sought to establish state authority over religions, institute religious toleration on behalf of social stability, and create rational and uniform mechanisms of governance by religious elites. He applied the Concordat of 1801-02 to the Belgian, Rhineland, and Piedmont departments. With difficulty, over the course of 1803-04, he negotiated a concordat for the Italian Republic, albeit one less favourable to him than the French version. Eventually, even in other parts of the empire not governed by these concordats, he also initiated a host of controversial religious reforms, such as the nationalization of church lands, the abolition of monasteries, and the partial implementation of religious toleration.

Napoleon's concordats and religious course of action had entirely different effects in France and the conquered territories. In France, his settlement in many ways reversed the de-Christianizing manoeuvres of the radical Revolution and managed to defuse and weaken counter-revolutionary sentiment. In

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