03 October 2011

The Resilient French Church

Let us not forget that the French Church has had all its property confiscated and its religious orders exiled not once but twice, the second time by the government of Émile Combes. And yet, despite these efforts, which seemed pretty successful at the time, the French Church keeps on coming back. Now why is that?
Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith answers.

For background on the 1905 French law of separation of Church and State and its wideranging effects on Church property, priests, and religious, see this. Pope St. Pius X issued the encyclical Vehementer Nos in response to the law, condemning it as most pernicious:
Our soul is full of sorrowful solicitude and Our heart overflows with grief, when Our thoughts dwell upon you. How, indeed, could it be otherwise, immediately after the promulgation of that law which, by sundering violently the old ties that linked your nation with the Apostolic See, creates for the Catholic Church in France a situation unworthy of her and ever to be lamented?