cartoon representation of the confiscation of church lands
This legislation (and legislation imediately before and after it) significantly reduced the power of the Catholic Church. The Church had been the largest landowner in France. The state took over this fortune in property and issued a paper currency, assignats, backed by confiscated church property. Priests were now employed by the state. Clergymen were required to swear an oath to the new constitution. Many refused to swear the oath and were placed under arrest.