Yvon Beaudoin writes:

It was on July 12, 1790 also that the decree of the civil constitution of the clergy, was issued. It was sanctioned by the king on August 24. By the decree of November 27, 1790, the new bishops appointed by an assembly of active citizens were obliged in the future to ask for canonical installation, no longer from the Pope, but from the archbishop. Moreover, the bishops, parish priests and public servants were obliged to swear that they accepted the Constitution. As a result, the clergy split into two camps: those who swore acceptance of the Constitution and those who did not swear to accept it; they were known as recusants. On March 10, 1791, Pope Pius VI condemned the civil constitution of the clergy. It was in the wake of these events that the recusants were persecuted and many of them left the country; churches were closed and a systematic dechristianisation was set in motion. Charles Auguste André de Mazenod, vicar general of Marseilles, and Fortuné, the vicar general of Aix, great uncle and uncle of Eugene, both of them recusants, left Provence in September of 1792 to join their family in Turin. During almost all of the reign of the First Republic, Eugene was in Italy. He says very little about it, but he often mentions Napoleon.

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    The picture becomes a lot clearer to me now, especially with regard to Eugene’s view of the Church. For him and his family this was not fleeing simply because of their nobility, but also because of the familial involvement with and in the Church as experienced by his uncle and great uncle. The deep wounding that had to have come about as a result of living as they had to, making decisions that no one should be asked to make.

    Not the first time in history that this happened to the Church, nor would it be the last. We, I see it occurring in more than one place in our world today. Most certainly it is seen in the refugee crisis that exists today, so many fleeing because of persecution for a number of reasons, but also in the name of religion. And here in North America we do it here as well under the guise of ‘good business’, we hear how ‘that’s the way it is now, everybody does it and if you want to get ahead in this world you’ll do it too’.

    I have not always understood some of Eugene’s strong feelings about some of the clergy of his time when he would speak of them, now the picture is a little clearer.
    I think of how he came to love so greatly, when he was bishop of Marseille and how he loved the poor, and wondering how it was for him to love some of those he came in contact with who had agreed with the governments ‘of the day’. He would have to love them also if he was to be true to himself.

    The picture becomes much clearer now as we go more deeply into Eugene’s reality of life. Fernand Jette said that we need to know the history if we are going to follow and share in Eugene’s charism. In looking at Eugene’s history and milieu I then must be able to look at my own. I am not very comfortable this Friday morning.

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