as a national church. Tirelessly devoted to the cause of making Catholicism compatible with republicanism, Bishop Henri Grégoire organized his fellow Gallican bishops into a group known as the 'United Bishops', and founded a national journal entitled Les Annales de la religion, dedicated to reconciling refractories to the Constitutional Church. The bishops held two National Councils in 1797 and 1801 to coordinate decisions about liturgy and politics, rid their church of married priests, and work towards filling vacant parishes and bishoprics.
On the local level, constitutional clergy improvised, made the best of shifting circumstances, and hoped not to lose too many constitutional colleagues to the refractories' appeals for retractions ofthe original oath. Hostilities between the two churches usually ran deep. In Toulouse, the constitutional bishop Sermet worried that the growing strength of refractories had enticed many jurors to shift their allegiances: 'I anticipate that this epidemic sickness is going to grow and win over the region', he commented in a dramatic letter to Grégoire in 1797.4 Yet, lay parishioners could be fiercely loyal to a juror who had stood by them over the dark years of the radical revolution: the women of Fretin (Nord) defended the right of the local constitutional priest to say Mass by driving away his non-juring missionary rival with screams and threats. Constitutional clergy succeeded in rebuilding their congregations especially in areas where oath-taking had been high in 1790-91 and where royalist leanings were weak among the populace at large.
No sooner had Robespierre been overthrown than the first non-jurors began to steal back into France from the Rhineland, Switzerland, Spain, and England. If the frontier areas were the first to benefit, refractories moved swiftly to develop networks in multiple regions across France. In certain regions, such as the north, Lyonnais, Upper Normandy, Maine, Morvan, and parts of Auvergne and the Alps, emigre bishops sent vicars-general into France to develop clandestine missions of clergy. Intrepid leaders, such as abbe Linsolas in Lyon and abbe Dubourg in Toulouse, organized their fellow non-jurors to purify desecrated churches and say Mass. They also cultivated networks of lay chefs deparoisse and pious women to spread the word about imminent arrivals of non-jurors, hide them from authorities when necessary, and lead private prayer sessions when no priests could be present. Anxious to restore the sacramental life of their followers, non-jurors also conducted clandestine baptisms, marriages, funeral ceremonies, and even first communion ceremonies (when local officials looked the other way). These rituals often also staked out the legitimacy of the Roman Church over the Constitutional Church or republican culture: for example, in 1796 the refractory priest Durancon of the diocese of
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