This week in Christian history: Catholic theologian dies; pope martyred; France abolishes tithes

France abolishes mandatory Church tithes — August 4, 1789

The Storming of the Bastille in 1789, which began the French Revolution.
The Storming of the Bastille in 1789, which began the French Revolution. | Public Domain

This week marks the anniversary of when the French National Assembly, having only recently taken power during the French Revolution, abolished the national tithe.

Part of the August decrees, which were aimed at abolishing feudal law in general in France, the measure greatly reduced the income for the French Catholic Church.

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“Tithes of every description, as well as the dues which have been substituted for them, under whatever denomination they are known or collected (even when compounded for), possessed by secular or regular congregations … are abolished,” read Article Five, which provided a few exemptions.

As the Revolution continued, however, the National Assembly would take greater measures to marginalize the Catholic Church and even attempt to violently stamp it out.

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