l'état throughout the 1840s appeared to place the church on the side of the opponents of the regime who, much to their own surprise, found themselves in power after the revolution of 1848 which ushered in the Second Republic.

For a brief moment, the revolution of February 1848 appeared to hold out the tantalising prospect of reconciliation between the church and a Republic that was not unsympathetic to religious sensibilities. Many on the republican left preached a social gospel in which the image of 'Christ the revolutionary' featured prominently On the Catholic side, even Louis Veuillot was prepared to give the new regime the benefit of the doubt, as was the liberal Catholic Montalembert, while there was even a Christian democrat circle headed by Frederic Ozanam, the abbe Maret and the Dominican Henri Lacordaire which expressed its enthusiasm for the Republic in its newspaper L'Ere Nouvelle. Harmony was short-lived, however. In the wake of the violence of the June Days (which claimed the archbishop of Paris, Mgr Affre, as one of its 2,000 victims) Catholics of all shades (apart from the Ere Nouvelle group) rallied to the 'party of order' - essentially the former Orleanist elite - which took control of the Republic.

In return, the regime gratefully conceded many of the demands which the parti catholique had been seeking in the field of education throughout the 1840s. The Falloux Law of May 1850 (named after the liberal Catholic minister of education who sponsored the bill in parliament) gave the church the freedom to expand its secondary school provision, though the state preserved the monopole universitaire at the tertiary level - a concession which went too far for intransigent Ultramontanes like Louis Veuillot, who split the parti catholique by demanding nothing less than complete liberte d'enseignement for the church throughout the educational sector.3 And, as we have seen, it was the veuillo-tiste current that increasingly dominated French Catholicism in the 1850s and 1860s.

Under the Second Empire of Napoleon III, the emperor was keen to retain the support of the church as an agent of social control. Much to the satisfaction of the clergy and the likes of Veuillot, he initially provided tangible evidence of his good will, helping to defeat the Roman Republic and to restore Pius IX to his throne in 1849. He also raised clerical salaries and encouraged the proliferation of church schools, especially those run by female religious orders. If liberal Catholics such as Montalembert were soon disillusioned -the latter's brochure Catholic interests in the nineteenth century (1852) denounced the perils of absolute power for spiritual as much as political freedom4 - the church hierarchy and

3 Cf. A. de Falloux, Le parti catholique: ce qu'il a ete, ce qu'il est devenu (Paris: A. Bray, 1856).

4 C. de Montalembert, Les intérêts catholiques au dix-neuvième siècle (Paris: J. Lecoffre, 1852).

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment