Concordat of 1801

The Concordat of 1801 was an agreement between Napoleon Bonaparte and Pope Pius VII, signed on 15 July 1801 in Paris.[1] It remained in effect until 1905. It sought national reconciliation between revolutionaries and Catholics and solidified the Roman Catholic Church as the majority church of France, with most of its civil status restored. This resolved the hostility of devout French Catholics against the revolutionary state. It did not restore the vast church lands and endowments that had been seized upon during the revolution and sold off. Catholic clergy returned from exile, or from hiding, and resumed their traditional positions in their traditional churches. Very few parishes continued to employ the priests who had accepted the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary regime. While the Concordat restored much power to the papacy, the balance of church-state relations tilted firmly in Napoleon's favour. He selected the bishops and supervised church finances.[2][3]

Allegory of the Concordat of 1801, by Pierre Joseph Célestin François
Leaders of the Catholic Church taking the civil oath required by the Concordat.
The Signing of the Concordat between France and the Holy See, 15 July 1801. Artist: François Gérard, (1770-1837). Musée National du Château de Versailles, Versailles

Napoleon and the Pope both found the Concordat useful. Similar arrangements were made with the Church in territories controlled by Napoleon, especially Italy and Germany.[4]