This book investigates the problems that committed Catholics allegedly faced if they sought careers in state employment under the Third French Republic. Using ministerial and Masonic archives, the book explores the broad divergence of practice between individual ministries and between particular governments. It also examines the factors that underlay these discriminatory attitudes - notably the claims of Catholic involvement in the right-wing subversive activities of the late 1890s at the time of the Dreyfus affair. It investigates the increased difficulties that French Catholics faced after the change of pope in 1903. Later chapters explore the degree to which wariness towards committed Catholics in the public services evaporated under later regimes - despite the traumas of the Vichy years.
"Not the least of this volume's strengths is its evocation of a bygone era when family values sustained rather than undermined the welfare state." Philip Nord, Princeton University "Maurice Larkin's work is unquestionably important to our understanding of the politics of preferment and exclusion on the basis of religious belief in modern France. Larkin is the preeminent scholar of the Catholic Church and religious politics in modern France. This little book, his revision of the Wiles lectures given at Queens University, Belfast, in 1986, is important and ground-breaking scholarship. At the same time, the issues it addresses evoke our understanding of the shaping of the political culture of individuals and groups who have been marginalized by prejudice and discrimination...This work is a professional historian's delight as Larkin brings to this study a fascinating ability to convey the complicated diplomatic and domestic relations between various Catholic groups and anti-regime forces.' Myrna Chase, History "The suthor writes in a clear and forceful, often witty, style which is a joy to read. This valuable, well-researched, and remarkable work clarifies the church-state problem such as the attitudes of the Vatican, the role of the Grand Orient in supporting republican policies, especially in the Affaire des fiches of 1904." Walter D. Gray, The Catholic Historical Review "An engaging and valuable study." Choice