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After successfully committing a 'coup d'état' against the French Directory in 1799, and then one month later declaring himself First Consul with the support of a popular vote, Napoleon Bonaparte was convinced that coming to terms with the Catholic Church would be crucial to the success of his ventures. The Catholic Church had been at odds with the French since the National Assembly had issued the Civil Constitution of the Church, in which the church lands were confiscated and the Church became a department of the state, rejecting all authority from the pope.

The main terms of the Concordat of 1801 between Napolean and Pope Pius VII included:

  • a declaration that "Catholicism was the religion of the great majority of Catholics" but not the official state religion, thus extending religious tolerance to Jews and Protestants
  • the papacy had the right to select bishops
  • the state would pay clerical salaries and the clergy swore an oath of allegiance to the state
  • the church gave up all their claims for the church lands that were confiscated during the French Revolution
  • the French Revolutionary Calendar would be abolished and be replaced by the traditional Gregorian Calendar (the Church was angry about the revolutionary calendar because it abolished the Sabbath)

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