the extreme left wanted to abolish the concordat altogether: the moderate republicans appreciated the hold which it allowed them to exercise over the clergy, notably by suspending the salaries of priests who stepped out of line. The separation of church and state was not a republican priority in the 1880s in the first phase of the French culture war.
Indeed, for a brief moment there were signs of detente. The new pope, Leo XIII (1878-1903), was anxious to stay on good terms with the moderate leaders of the Third Republic. Convinced that there was no viable royalist alternative to the republican regime, he was anxious to see French Catholics join forces with conservative republicans in the face of a mounting challenge from the left. In his encyclical of February 1892, Au milieu des solicitudes, he explicitly exhorted French Catholics to rally to the Republic. Traditionalists were dismayed, and refused to heed the pope's call. The majority of the French episcopate was likewise less than enthusiastic. But some laymen, headed by Albert de Mun, Jacques Piou and Etienne Lamy, reacted positively and worked for the construction of a broad-based Catholic-republican conservative alliance. At the same time, and largely in response to Leo XIII's celebrated encyclical on social justice Rerum Novarum (1891), there emerged a second generation of Christian Democrats - some of them priests like the abbes Garnier, Naudet, Six and Lemire, others laymen like Georges Fonsegrive, founder of the influential journal La Quinzaine in 1894, and Marc Sangnier, founder of Le Sillon (the Furrow) in 1899 - who concerned themselves above all with the plight of the industrial working class.
Though Rome soon grew alarmed at the divergent tendencies which marked the second Christian Democracy and forbade social Catholics to engage directly in political action in the encyclical Graves de Communi of 1901, both the Ralliement and social Catholicism helped to prepare the ground for new initiatives which would move French Catholics on from their traditional attachment to the alliance of throne and altar. In Lower Brittany, supposedly one of the most backward and 'clerical' regions in France, social Catholics championed a regionalist but non-separatist version of the republican ideal against the secular, 'Jacobin' and unitary conception of the nation. Elsewhere, in other strongly Catholic regions, such as the southern Massif Central, Savoy, Franche-Comte and Lorraine, it was eminently clear that the predominantly Catholic electors were prepared to endorse the Republic, despite its anticlerical overtones. Separation of church and state, as has been said, was not inevitable.
On the other hand, it is misleadingto give the impressionthatthe culture war existed only in the minds of crusading Catholics and anticlerical intellectuals. It was fought also on the ground, nowhere more so than in Brittany, where
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