The French Revolution & the Catholic Church



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The French Revolution is often heralded as bringing with it the birth of the modern era. With the arrival of “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité” came the fall of the French monarchy and “The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”. These ideals have contributed to our modern understanding of human rights and continue to inform many of the values that drive liberal democracies to this day.
But the French Revolution also brought about the Reign of Terror and the guillotine. During that time churches in France were ransacked, confiscated and destroyed.
In order to make sense of the conflicted history of the revolution and how the Vatican and global Church responded to these changes, we spoke to Fr. Mark Lewis, rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

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