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Periodical Literature (France)

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The first periodical published in France was the "Gazette de France", founded in May, 1631, by the physician Théophraste Renaudot. It first appeared weekly, in four pages; in 1632 it had eight pages divided into two parts, one called the "Gazette", the other "Nouvelles ordinaires de divers endroits". It soon had a monthly supplement, entitled "Relations des nouvelles du monde reçues dans tout le mois", and then additional pages called "Extraordinaires". From 1652 to 1665 the "Muse Historique", edited by Loret, related in verse the happenings of each week. The "Mercure Galant", founded in 1672 by Donneau de Visé, was a literary and political journal which in 1724 became the "Mercurede France". In 1701, in opposition to the "Nouvelles de la République des Lettres", which the philosopher Bayle edited from Holland, appeared a publication called "Mémoires pour servir à 1'histoire des sciences et des beaux arts, recueillis par l'ordre de S. A. Mgr. le prince souverain de Dombes". It was edited by the Jesuits and is known in history as the "Journal de Trévoux", and was maintained until the suppression of the Society of Jesus. The "Année Littéraire", edited by Fréron (1754-76), was a formidable opponent of the philosophes, and especially of Voltaire, whose doctrines it combatted. It was published every ten days. An Anglo-French paper, the "Courrierde Londres", was founded in London in 1776. It appeared twice a week, and was very influential in developing the Revolutionary spirit. The first French daily was founded in 1777 and was called the "Journal de Paris ou la Poste du soir". The "Gazettede France" became a daily in 1792.

At the beginning of the eighteenth century twenty journals were printed in Paris, and at the outbreak of the Revolution this number had been trebled. Between May, 1789, and May, 1793, about a thousand periodicals saw the light. The most important organ of the Royalist opposition was called the "Actes des Apôtres", to which such writers as Rivarol, Bergasse, and Montlosier contributed under the editorship of Peltier. Under the Directory forty journals suspected of Royalism were suppressed and their editors deported. The Consulate would tolerate only thirteen political dailies, and the First Empire only four. The "Journal des Débats", owing to the idea of its founders, the Bertin brothers, of uniting with it a literary feuilleton written by the critic Geoffroy, took first rank under the Empire. Geoffroy's influence was important from a religious point of view, for in his feuilletons he voluntarily treated all the philosophical questions, and carried on a most intelligent campaign against Voltaireanism.

Under the Restoration Catholicism was defended by the "Gazettede France", the "Quotidienne" the "Mémorial religieux", the "Défenseur", the "Catholique", the "Correspondant", the "Mémorial", and the "Conservateur". The last-named was one of the most important; Châteaubriand, Bonald, Lammenais, and the Cardinal de La Luzerne were among its contributors. But even then the divisions among Catholics weakened the influence of their Press. Under the Restoration the Voltairean spirit had in the Press of the Left a representative who was very formidable to religious ideas namely the pamphleteer Paul-Louis Courrier. The Gallican spirit was represented in the "Drapeau Blanc" by the Comte de Montlosier, while the Monarchist journal, the "Constitutionnel", in order to retain a certain clientele, systematically published, several times a week, absurd and calumniating tales concerning the clergy. The systematic Anticlerical Press in France dates from the period of the Restoration, and at the same time a large section of the Monarchist press was hostile to the Church. In his book on the "Congregation" M. Geoffroy de Grandmaison has drawn up a list of eighteen anticlerical articles published by the "Constitutionnel" in the single month of September, 1826.

Under the Monarchy of July the first noteworthy incident was the publication of the "Avenir" (see LAMENNAIS). The Legitimist Press, of Catholic tendencies, offered a vigorous opposition to the Monarchy of July, the chief organs being the "Quotidienne" (see LAURENTIE) and the old "Gazette", of which the Abbé de Genonde was long the principal editor. Crétineau-Joly issued a provincial journal, the "Gazette du Dauphiné", a fearless instrument of Catholic and Legitimist propaganda. The first really serious attempt at Catholic journalism belongs to this period. On Sunday, 3 Nov., 1833, appeared the first number of the "Univers religieux, politique, scientifique et littéraire". Its motto was: "Unity in what is certain, liberty in what is doubtful, charity, truth, and impartiality in all." It was founded by the Abbé Migne. Offsetting the "Ami de la Religion" and the "Journal des villes et des campagnes", which were of Gallican tendencies, the "Univers", with which the "Tribune", founded by Bailly, was soon merged, represented the most distinctly Roman tendency. Montalembert became associated with the "Univers" in 1835; Louis Veuillot contributed to it his first article in 1839. The "Univers", as the centre of the Catholic campaigns for liberty of instruction, assured a widespread circulation to the claims of the bishops and the speeches of Montalembert and Lacordaire. The "Opinion Publique", founded in 1848 by Alfred Nettement, was a Royalist Catholic journal, which was assured a literary reputation by the contributions of Barbey d'Aurevilly and Armand de Pontmartin. In the same year, at the instance of Ozanam and the Abbé Maret, Lacordaire founded the "Ere Nouvelle", which within three months received 3200 subscriptions, chiefly among the younger clergy, but which did not last long.

Under the Second Empire several very serious discussions occupied the attention of the Catholic Press: viz., the use of the pagan classics in secondary studies (see GAUME); the controversy aroused by the baptism of the Jewish child Mortara, of Bologna, who had been baptized during a serious illness by a Christian servant without the knowledge of his parents, and subsequently reared as a Christian at the command of the Pontifical Government; and the discussions concerning the Roman question. In the course of the discussions on the last-named topic the "Univers" was suppressed by an imperial decree of 29 Jan., 1860, as being guilty of having "compromised public order, the independence of the State, the authority and the dignity of religion". It reappeared 15 April, 1867, and played a very important part during the years preceding the Vatican Council. The "Français", founded 1 April, 1868, by Augustin Cochin and Mgr Dupanloup, received contributions from the Duc de Broglie, M. Thureau-Dangin (at present permanent secretary of the French Academy), and the future minister Buffet, and was constantly engaged in controversy with the "Univers".

The law of 29 July, 1881, definitely established the complete freedom of the press, and submitted to juries formed of simple citizens the political suits brought by officials against newspapers. The law of 1893 against Anarchist abuses was a restriction of the absolute liberty of the Press, but this law is seldom enforced. The characteristic fact of the history of the Press under the Third Republic is the development of five-centime journals, inaugurated as early as 1836 by the foundation of the "Presse" under the auspices of Emile de Girardin.

At the present time the two Catholic journals of Paris are the "Univers" and the "Croix". For the former, see FRANCE. The "Croix" is published by the Maison de la Bonne Presse, which originated in the foundation in 1873 of the "Pèlerin", a bulletin of societies and an organ of pilgrimages, which in 1867 became an illustrated journal, amusing and sometimes satirical; its present circulation is 300,000. In 1880 a monthly review, the "Croix", was founded, which became a daily in June, 1883, after the second penitential crusade to the Holy Places organized by the Assumptionists. After the Associations Law the Maison de la Bonne Presse was purchased in 1900 by M. Paul Féron-Vrau; it employs a staff of about 600 persons. For its great journal, the "Croix", it has throughout the country more than 10,000 committees and nearly 50,000 promoters. It has more direct subscriptions than any Parisian journal, and its circulation places it fourth in rank. It costs one sou (five centimes), and since 1 Jan., 1907, has had six large pages. For purposes of propaganda there is a smaller paper issued daily, which is delivered in quantities to the clergy for 8 or 9 centimes weekly. The "Croix du Dimanche", appearing weekly, besides the news of the week, gives agricultural information in a supplement called the "Laboureur". The "Croix illustrée" has appeared since 24 Dec., 1900, and soon reached a circulation of 50,000 copies. The Ligue de l'Ave Maria founded Oct., 1888, under the inspiration of Admiral Guicquel des Touches, has had a monthly, the "Petit Journal bleu", since 1897, with a circulation of over 100,000. Its direct subscription price is only 25 centimes yearly, and a number of copies for propaganda may be secured for a half-centime per copy.

The Maison de la Bonne Presse also publishes the "Action Catholique" (founded 1899), a monthly review; the "Chronique de la Bonne Presse", a weekly, founded 25 April, 1900, to give information concerning the movement of ideas in the Press; the "Conférences", a semi-monthly review which supplies accounts of conferences; the "Fascinateur", which gives notes on photographic slides and views for Catholic conferences; the "Cosmos", a popular scientific review, founded by the Abbé Moigno in 1852; the "Contemporains", founded in 1892, which each week gives the biography of some celebrated person; "Echos d'Orient", founded in 1896 and devoted to Oriental and Byzantine questions; "Questions Actuelles", a weekly, founded in 1887, which publishes all recent documents bearing on political and religious questions; the "Revue d'Organization et de Défense Religieuse", founded in 1908, a semi-monthly review, which studies religious questions from a legal standpoint; the "Mois Littéraire et Pittoresque", a popular review founded in 1899; the "Vies des Saints", founded in 1880; "Nöel", for children, founded in 1895; and two reviews devoted to the two capitals of Christendom: "Rome", founded Dec., 1903; and "Jérusalem", founded July, 1904. In a single year 350,000 letters reach the Maison de la Bonne Presse.

Another Parisian Catholic daily is the "Démocratie", founded by M. Sangnier, former president of the "Sillon". The first number appeared a few days previous to the Encyclical of Pius X on the "Sillon" (Aug., 1910), and the publication has continued with the authority of Cardinal Merry del Val. The "Libre Parole", an anti-Semitic journal founded in 1891 by M. Edouard Drumont, has since 1910 been marked by a Catholic tendency owing to the collaboration of several members of the Association Catholique de la Jeunesse Française. At Saint-Maixent (Deux-Sèvres) has been founded the Maison de la Bonne Presse de l'Ouest, which publishes parochial bulletins and almanacs. The circulation of the bulletins equalled (1908) nearly 100,000 monthly copies for 300 parishes, that of yearly almanacs nearly 200,000 copies for more than 800 parishes.

By means of fourteen combinations the "Croix" of Paris is transformed into a local journal, partly general in character, but always retaining its title of the "Croix". Under the title of "Libert pour tous" the Maison de la Bonne Presse de l'Ouest publishes a four-page journal; two pages forming the common section figure in all the local journals which wish to borrow them, the other two form the special section and vary according to locality. In August, 1905, M. Paul Féron-Vrau founded the "Presse Régionale", a society for the creation or purchase in each diocese of a number of Catholic journals. At present this society owns the "Expressde Lyon", the "Nouvellistede Bretagne" at Rennes, the "République de l'Isère" at Grenoble, the "Journal d'Amiens", the "Express de l'Ouest" at Nantes, the "Eclair de l'Est" at Nancy, and the "Eclair Comtois" at Besançon.

The "Nouvellistes", which are journals with Royalist tendencies, are all Catholic. Bordeaux, Rennes, and Rouen have such publications. The best known is the "Nouvellistede Lyon", noted for its political news. In the north the Catholics have numerous local journals; the Lille "Dépêche", the "Journalde Roubaix", and the "Croix du Nord" have together about 170,000 subscribers. The "Onset-Eclair" has a wide circulation in Catholic Brittany. The departments of the South have no Catholic journal capable of combating seriously with the "Dépêchede Toulouse", a radical anticlerical journal and one of the most powerful political organs in France, The organization of the "Presse pour tous", founded in 1903 by Mme Taine, widow of the celebrated philosopher, collects subscriptions for the distribution of good papers among study circles or shops having many customers.

The Catholics of France founded in 1905 the "Agence de la Presse nouvelle", a telegraphic agency for Catholic news. It supplied the news for 1908 to about one hundred papers. There is also a religious and social information-bureau, the object of which is to centralize the religious news of various countries, and which as early as 1908 had correspondents in forty-two dioceses. The most important French Catholic review is the "Correspondant", issued on the 10th and 25th of every month. It was at first (March 1829) a semi-weekly paper. Its founders were Carné Cazalès, and Augustin de Meaux, and its motto was Canning's words: "Civil and religious liberty throughout the world". Its object was to reconcile Catholicism and modern ideas. During the Monarchy of July it underwent various vicissitudes. In 1853 Montalembert wished to build it up in order to offset the influence of Louis Veuillot and the "Univers" and he secured the co-operation of Albert de Broglie, Falloux, and Dupanloup. Its frequent praise of English parliamentary institutions aroused the suspicions of the empire. The "Correspondant" was at one with the "Univers" in defending the temporal power of the pope, and also felt at times the harshness of the imperial police. During the Vatican Council there was sharp conflict between the "Univers", which was for Infallibility, and the "Correspondant", which was against it. Under the Third Republic the "Correspondant" was successively edited by MM. Léon Lavedan, Etienne Lamy of the French Academy, and Etienne Trogau, and endeavoured to show, according to the terms of its programme of 1829, that Catholicism "still holds within its fruitful breast the wherewithal to satisfy all the needs, wishes, and hopes of humanity". The "Bulletin de la Semaine", published since 1905, gives weekly a number of documents and articles of present interest on religious questions. Founded by M. Imbart de La Tour, this paper, while not concerning itself with dogmatic questions, recalls in certain respects, by the spirit of its religious policy, the tendency of the "Correspondant" during the pontificate of Pius IX.

In 1856 the Jesuits Charles Daniel and Jean Gagarin founded the "Etudes de théologie, de philosophic et d'histoire", with the aim of furthering Russia's return to the Catholic Church. This soon became a semimonthly, dealing with all important religious questions and entitled "Etudes religieuses, historiques et littéraires, publiées par des Pères de lan Compagnie de Jésus". Consequent on the decrees of 1880 against congregations it was suspended, but resumed publication in 1888. In 1910 was founded the "Recherrches", wherein the Fathers of the Society of Jesus treat the most interesting problems of religions knowledge. The Assumptionists own the "Revue Augustinienne"; the Dominicans the "Revue Thomiste" (1893), and the "Revue de la Jeunesse" (1909), published in Belgium. Since 1892 the Dominicans of Jerusalem have owned the "Revue Biblique". The Institut Catholique of Paris has a bulletin; many of the professors of the Catholic University of Lyons contribute to the "Université Catholique" of that city. The Catholic University of Angers has the "Revue des Facultés Catholiques de l'Ouest"; the Institut Catholique of Toulouse the "Bulletin d'histoire et littérature reigieuse". There are two Catholic philosophical reviews: the "Revue de Philosophie", founded in 1900 by M. Peillaube, in connexion with the school of philosophy which is striving for a compromise between Thomism and contemporary results in physiology and psychology; and the "Annales de philosophie chrétienne", founded in 1828 by Augustin Bonnetty. The chief editors of the latter are MM. Laberthonnière and Maurice Blondel, and its motto the saying of St. Augustine: "Let us seek as those who would find, and find as those who would still seek".

The "Revue des Questions Historiques", founded in 1866, does great credit to Catholic learning. Its present editor is M. Jean Guiraud, professor at the University of Besançon. Since 1907 the French Benedictines who have emigrated to Belgium have created the "Revue Mabillon", an important review of Benedictine history. The "Revue d'histoire de l'Eglisede France" (Analecta Gallicana) was founded in 1910. The two chief reviews for the clergy are the "Ami du clergé", published at Langres since 1878, and the "Revue du Clergé Français", published at Paris since 1894. The "Revue pratique d'Apologétique", founded in 1905, is edited by Mgr Baudrillart, rector of the Paris Institut Catholique. A characteristic of recent years is the issue of political and social bulletins published by various female Catholic sodalities and intended for Catholic women. One of the chief reviews of the Catholic social movement is the "Chronique socialede France" (formerly "Chronique du Sud Est") the organ of the group which organized the Semaines sociales. A powerful movement of Catholic social journalism is due to the bureaux of the Action populaire organized at Reims (see FRANCE). The periodical yellow pamphlets issued by the Action Populaire between 1903 and 1911 have reached the number of 236. Besides its annual "Guides sociaux" it publishes a theoretical review of social studies, founded in 1876 by the organization of Catholic workmen as the "Association Catholique", now called the "Mouvement social, revue catholique internationale". It issues a popular social review called the "Revue verte", or "Revue de l'Action populaire". Finally, the Action populaire publishes "Brochures périodiques d'Action reigieuse", which are unquestionably the most interesting sources of information with regard to the undertakings of the Church of France since its separation from the State.


Sources

TAVERNIER, Du journalisme, son histoire, son rôle politique et religieux (Paris, 1902); Guide d'Action Religieuse, published by the Action populaire of Reims (1908).

About this page

APA citation. Goyau, G. (1911). Periodical Literature (France). In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11675a.htm

MLA citation. Goyau, Georges. "Periodical Literature (France)." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11675a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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