Vehementer nos

With the encyclical Vehementer nos ( against the separation of church and state in France) turned on February 11, 1906 Pope Pius X against this movement. The encyclical is addressed to the French people, the French episcopate and the clergy.

  • 2.1 The guardian of the separation
  • 2.2 Extracts from the encyclical

Historical Background

The law on the separation of church and state in France was of the Parliament of the III. Republic adopted towards the end of the eighth legislative period (1902 -1906) with a majority of 367 to 246 votes. The Left Bloc was instrumental in that Émile Combes became Prime Minister. The two socialist Aristide Briand and Jean Jaurès submitted together a bill. Briand did not want to destroy but to set limits in order to maintain tolerance, justice and secularism of the state church.

Demand for freedom of religious ties

The public debate on secularism began on 21 March 1904 in the House of Representatives and on July 3 the text was adopted with 341 votes against 233. If the representatives of secularism in the law saw only a policy of separation of church and state, as it was felt by the Catholics as a policy of plunder. In about twenty departments occurred in the inventory riots. In the Senate, announced Clemenceau, who had just taken over the Home Office that they would waive the forced inventory. " Counting the candlestick ," he said, "is not a human life worth it."

Resistance from Rome

Pope Pius X opposed the separation of church and state in his encyclical Vehementer nos. He rebelled against the unilateral abrogation of the Concordat and turned his fierce criticism against the establishment of the cult associations. The Assembly of French bishops declared their consent to the encyclical, but did not want to break with the government. Therefore, they agreed in principle to the status of associations that were under the authority of the bishop.

Impact of the encyclical

Resistance and protests, such as in the north of France became more frequent after Pius X had called the law of separation in his encyclical as godless. Mid- March 1906 the government stopped the controversial inventory action, and with the law of January 2, 1907, leaving the state's churches the priests with the legal formula, they are " owners without legal title". Already confiscated church lands were distributed to charities. Church and State were henceforth separated.

The guardians of separation

In education, however, this separation was a fiction. The parochial schools existed as "private" on - and you can leave today on government subsidies. To date, the French elite can gladly raise their children in parochial schools - about 10,000 establishments ( with less than ten percent of working children and non-residents), which claim about 13 percent of the total national education budget. But the guardians of the secular state remain vigilant. When the liberal education minister François Bayrou wanted to pick the limitation of State aid to Catholic schools in the nineties, also protesting hundreds of thousands against the project, with success.

Excerpts from the encyclical

It is the state ( France), who broke the Concordat on one side, the church had been deprived by force and was basically trying to tear out the hearts of his fellow citizens each residue of religion.

" The hatred we will love, the error of the truth, the insults and invective oppose forgiveness, and ask God that the enemies of religion may cease to pursue this "

"The Church is essentially an unequal society, that in it there are two categories, the shepherds and the flock ... And these categories are mutually so different that to look for the right and authority only in the circle of the shepherds, to lead all members to target the community and conduct; in terms of the majority, so she has no other duty than that allow to lead and follow as obedient herd their pastors ... "