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 Chapels~Mass~Holy sanction 
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Post Chapels~Mass~Holy sanction
Just how religious were many people back then,some went to mass,two or three times a day,others hardly went at all !!

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Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:55 pm
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Post Re: Chapels~Mass~Holy sanction
Ah, if only one could judge religious faith by numbers of masses attended.

In any country where there's an official religion, it's always hard to judge what is sincerity and what is obligation. Certainly, the level of hypocrisy - bishops with mistresses, for instance - was sometimes breathtaking in Old Regime France. But there were also very pious members of the clergy, and the public.

Louis XVI and his siblings were of course notoriously devout. Louis XV didn't act like he was, but he wasn't the only one to send his mistresses away when it looked like he might die (sometimes it seems like believers think God is really stupid....). There were even people who practiced witchcraft (which one would think, by the standards of the time, was like buying a one-way ticket downwards) who showed surprising signs of Christian faith at the same time.

It is striking that when the revolutionaries began executing nuns and priests and tearing down churches, there was no huge outcry. One would think if the majority of France WAS devout, they would have been ready to die rather than to let some of the really horrible things (and I'm completely secular) happen.

But no. Which suggests to me most people then, as now, just wanted to get along. And do whatever their neighbors were doing (i.e., going to mass or desecrating churches, all depending...).

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Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:43 pm
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Post Re: Chapels~Mass~Holy sanction
jimcheval wrote:
It is striking that when the revolutionaries began executing nuns and priests and tearing down churches, there was no huge outcry. One would think if the majority of France WAS devout, they would have been ready to die rather than to let some of the really horrible things (and I'm completely secular) happen.

But no. Which suggests to me most people then, as now, just wanted to get along. And do whatever their neighbors were doing (i.e., going to mass or desecrating churches, all depending...).

As I am not a practicing Catholic or Christian, this is why it is not a passionately close issue to me. Yet, on an intellectual level, I have always thought your way on this. I don't think people on the whole "hated" God, they equated corruption and inequality with the Catholic Church in France, it was ingrained in the way of life and part of the "system".

Yet, most people always need comfort, particularly when life was so fragile and precious, and they did create the cult of the Supreme Being in the end anyway! I think they just wanted to started afresh. In my opinion, if there was some positives to come out of the Revolution and ensuing years, the burgeoning concept of the separation of Church and the creation of "State" was a good one.

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Mon Jun 08, 2009 11:13 pm
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Post Re: Chapels~Mass~Holy sanction
Quote:
they did create the cult of the Supreme Being in the end anyway!


Not to quibble, but I don't know that "they" did. Robespierre, who would have made a great Puritan fanatic, did. But Robespierre, if you ever watch "Lost", strikes me as a creepy little twitch along the lines of Ben Linus, exactly the kind of unpopular, rule-loving kid you DON'T want suddenly getting life and death power.

I wouldn't make any generalizations about the rest of the population from his own decidedly personal ideas.

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Tue Jun 09, 2009 6:05 am
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Post Re: Chapels~Mass~Holy sanction
I think that, as always happens, even then there were people who were religious and people who were less, and weren't at all. But it is more difficult to distinguish between the different attitudes towards religion because of the official role religion had the. Nowadays, religion is felt as a personal matter of choice, so you can immediately recognize a believer from his going to Mass, taking part in religious activities, etc. In the ancient regime, I have the impression that the "form" of Christianity was very pervasive (much more people went to Mass, than now, for example), but how many of them will have been really believers? As it came out in various other threads, external piety could co-exist with atittudes in sharp contrast with Christian principles (adultery is just one of the most evident).
In the same, I also don't believe that most people hated Christianity in itself, let alone God: I guess they saw the Church (may it be right or wrong) as part of a system they had come to hate. But probably many people who assaulted churches and monasteries continued to believe in Jesus and in the God, also because it's quite hard to change the believes that one has been thaught since childhood. And the Church itself, in its turn, was very far from being a monolithic organisation: in it many different realities coexisted, from the great noble prelates to simple country priests...All these people came from completely different social and personal milieus.
Well, this is just my impression, but obviously I would be curious to learn more...

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Sat Jul 18, 2009 2:20 pm
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