In any case, the proclamations of toleration and civil rights for Protestants and Jews did not necessarily mean the acceptance of such principles by the general population. Alsace and Lorraine would experience waves of popular anti-Semitism throughout the revolutionary period, encouraged on occasion by elements of the elites. And in the wake of the Dom Gerle affair, the southern towns of Montauban and Nimes were torn by episodes of sectarian violence leading to the deaths of several hundred people - both incidents intensified by social tensions between Catholic workers and wealthy Calvinist merchants and manufacturers. Throughout large areas of southern France, Catholic populations now came to view the Revolution as a 'Protestant attack' against their faith.
In the meantime, a combination of circumstances was pushing the majority of the National Assembly towards a reorganization of the Catholic clergy far more sweeping than most of its members would ever have imagined just one year earlier. With the church's loss of the three pillars of its independent endowment - landed property, tithes, and seigniorial dues - and with the state's commitment to assume the financial support of the clergy, ecclesiastics were converted into a corps of 'civil servants', whose status was to be governed in part by the logic of efficient budgetary management. Yet the views of the majority in the Assembly were also coloured by political hostility towards an alignment of bishops and conservative Catholics who were increasingly associated with opposition to the whole Revolution. It was in a mood of anger and frustration with such opposition, combined with a desire for fiscal restraint, that the majority adopted the 'Civil Constitution of the Clergy' on 12 July 1790.
The package of legislation reforms, assembled in the Ecclesiastical Committee by a small group of Gallican lawyers and Jansenist sympathizers, was by almost any standard extraordinarily radical. In an effort to impose a more rational administration, the 135 dioceses of ancien régime France were reduced to 83, designed to coincide with the new civil administrative 'departments'. The posts of cathedral and collegiate canons, of chaplains, and of virtually all those holding positions without cure of souls were eliminated, and the thousands of clergymen who held such positions were retired with modest pensions - joining the ranks of the regular clergy and the bishops who had lost their dioceses. Episcopal revenues were also vastly diminished, while the revenues of the parish priests were standardized, bringing higher incomes for some and lower for others, depending on the amount they had received under the ancien régime. In the future, moreover, all new bishops and parish priests would be chosen by the same lay electoral assemblies which selected
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