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Civil Constitution of the Clergy

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ACU Non Juring Priests

A non-juring priest

The Civil Constitution of the Clergy (French: Constitution civile du clergé) was a law instituted on 12 July 1790 during the French Revolution.


The law determined that clergymen would no longer answer to the Pope in Rome, but instead to France and the revolutionary government, and would be paid and overseen by the state. The church thus became part of the French administration, which sought to ensure that its representatives were loyal to the revolution.

Clergymen were also required to swear an oath to the law, although many of them refused and were labeled "non-juring" or "refractory" priests. Several of them were physically assaulted for their loyalty to the Vatican, while Pope Pius VI sent a condemnation of the law shortly after it was passed. The Pope's opposition to the law and the revolution in general would lead to further emnity between the revolutionaries and the clergymen.


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