Avignon rebaptized the three-month-old 'Jean-Baptiste Mucius-Scaevola' with the simple saint's name 'Pierre'.
Some non-juror leaders, notably abbe Emery, the former director of the Sulpicians in Paris, advised the priests to make peace with the regime, take the promise of submission of 1795, and regain public access to churches and public worship. Many other refractories, allied with royalism, argued against any cooperation whatsoever with the republic. This issue reached a head after the left-wing coup in the autumn of 1797, when the Directory demanded that all priests swear an oath of 'hatred of royalty'. Only about one-fifth of the refractories of 1791 acceded to this oath. The rest faced the risk of deportation or exile. Enforcement of this anticlerical policy was particularly harsh in the areas newly occupied by French armies: 8,000 of the 10,000 priests condemned to deportation were Belgians. Local opposition to the policy in both France and Belgium meant that most sentences were never carried out. Several thousand priests were nonetheless imprisoned and 256 were deported to French Guiana.
In situations where clergy were unavailable, lay believers remained intent on collective, public ritual. While parishioners led each other in hymns and prayer all over France, in certain areas lay leaders, often schoolteachers, went so far as to perform 'white Masses' without any priest present. Rare was the lay minister who dared to consecrate the communion host, though they replicated the rest of the Mass, complete with vestments, clerical gestures, and Latin chants. Some distributed 'blessed bread', performed funerals and benedictions, or sang vespers ormorningprayer. While these lay cults existed in parts ofthe Vendee, Poitou, Brittany, Lyonnais, and Franche-Comte, they seem to have been especially prevalent and persistent (often even continuing beyond the Concordat) in areas later known for weak devotion and post-Concordat shortages of clergy, such as the Paris Basin and other parts of north-central France.
Without clerical oversight, many laity resurrected and transformed popular cultural practices from the ancien régime. In some cases, they fused religious and political expression. For example, in the west local people unofficially canonized quite a few victims of the civil war, whether 'bleu' (prorevolution-ary) or 'blanc' (royalist/counter-revolutionary). In the spring of 1796 a band of counter-revolutionary chouans murdered Perrine Dugue, a nineteen-year-old daughter of a republican family. Neighbouring pro-revolutionary Catholics in the Mayenne declared her a martyr and a saint and flocked to her grave, which became a site of miracle cures and pilgrimages drawing hundreds of faithful. Other similar local cults sprang up and persisted, despite the attempts of both republican and clerical authorities to suppress them. These novel saints' cults
Was this article helpful?