Separation of Church and State in Europe

Examines the role the French Revolution had in diminishing the influence and power of the church in state and public affairs.

Of the many significant structural and ideological changes which have taken place in Europe’s history, the French Revolution represents an important social shift in the relations between the people and the Church as a privileged partner with the State. By discussing how the French Revolution produced a dramatic and structural limitation in the relation of the Church to the state, I do not wish to suggest that the revolution resulted in a complete separation of the church and state. It does, however, signal important factors that contributed to the diminishing role of the Church in state and in public affairs.