The enterprise is difficult, I am not concealing that fact from myself, it is not without danger even since I am proposing nothing less than to oppose with all my power the sinister ways of a highly suspicious government which persecutes and destroys all who do not support it; but I am unafraid, for I place all my trust in God, because I seek only His glory and the salvation of the souls he has redeemed by His Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom alone be honour and glory and power for ever and ever.
Diary of the Aix Christian Youth Congregation, 25 April 1813, O.W. XVI,
To help us to touch something of what Eugene is referring to, here are two extracts from the Imperial Catechism that Napoleon had published in 1806.
Question: What are the duties of Christians toward those who govern them, and what in particular are our duties towards Napoleon I, our emperor?
Answer: Christians owe to the princes who govern them, and we in particular owe to Napoleon I, our Emperor, love, respect, obedience, fidelity, military service, and the taxes levied for the preservation and defence of the empire and of his throne. We also owe him fervent prayers for his safety and for the spiritual and temporal prosperity of the state.
Question: Why are we subject to all these duties toward our emperor?
Answer: First, because God, who has created empires and distributes them according to his will, has, by loading our emperor with gifts both in peace and in war, established him as our sovereign and made him the agent of his power and his image upon earth. To honour and serve our emperor is therefore to honour and serve God himself. Secondly, because our Lord Jesus Christ himself, both by his teaching and his example, has taught us what we owe to our sovereign. Even at his very birth he obeyed the edict of Caesar Augustus; he paid the established tax; and while he commanded us to render to God those things which belong to God, he also commanded us to render unto Caesar those things which are Caesar’s.