Thursday, September 2, 2010

September Massacres

Let us not forget the September Martyrs. (Thanks to Richard.)
As the Revolution moved on, its leadership came more and more into the hands of extremists. In 1792, the radical Jacobins determined to punish with death not only the aristocrats, but clergy who had refused the oath.
The “non-jurors” - those who had refused the oath - were arrested en masse in August, 1792, and herded into several Parisian monasteries out of which the resident monks had been driven. These prisoners were priests, bishops and religious from many dioceses. Then on September 2, a band of violent armed men, perhaps 150 in number, was sent by the “Committee of Vigilance” to one after the other of these temporary prisons. One detail arrived at the Abbey of St. Germain just when a number of prisoners got there, transferred from other places of detention.
The executioners shot them down in cold blood. Then they went to the old Carmelite monastery, where another group of cutthroats joined them. They ordered all the prisoners to come out into the garden, even the oldest and most disabled. The clerics had already discussed once more the question of taking the oath, and all had agreed they could not and would not subscribe to it. 

Now the gang fell upon the first priests they met and cut them down. Then they called out, “The Archbishop of Arles!” Archbishop John du Lau of Arles was praying in the chapel. When summoned, he came out and he said, “I am he whom you seek.” Thereupon, they cracked his skull, stabbed him and trampled him underfoot. Then the leader set up a “tribunal” before which the imprisoned were herded and ordered to take the oath. All refused; so, as they passed down the stairway, they were hacked to pieces by the murderers. The bishop of Beauvais had earlier been wounded in the leg. When summoned, he answered, “I do not refuse to die with the others, but I cannot walk. I beg you to have the kindness to carry me where you wish me to go.” For a moment, his courtesy silenced the assassins. But, when he, too, refused the oath, he was killed like the rest.
Later on the purge was carried out elsewhere in France. Some 200 clergymen fell that September, and they were only a small percentage of the 1500 clergy, laymen and laywomen who were massacred in 1792 alone.
Pope Pius XI beatified 191 of the priest martyrs, in 1926, assigning to them the title of “Blessed John du Lau and Companions, Martyrs.”


CR Wall said...

How endlessly evil was the revolution. It is still hard to comprehend how such wickedness could overtake so many.

Elena, will we on this site be observing anything special to remember the anniversary of our queen, MA, in October?

elena maria vidal said...

I was going to have a post about the execution but any other ideas are welcome!

lara77 said...

I think that in all France's long history there was never a period of such utter depravity and evil. That such a civilized people could lower themselves to such savagery never ceases to amaze me. When I think of France I think of Joan of Arc standing in the glorious cathedral at Rheims for the coronation of King Charles.Who could have predicted what lay in store for this people that drove the English from the soil of France? Has France EVER BEEN the same since the horrors of the Terror?

elena maria vidal said...

It is sad but as France was once one of the first nations to embrace the Faith perhaps it will someday lead the way back.

HJ33 said...

One of the most notorious victims of this event was the Princesse de Lamballe.
She was one of the late Queen's closest confidants and amis. When she was brought before a revolutionary impromptu-trial, held at the La Force prison, she was obliged to swear an oath to not only "liberty, and equality," but also forsaking the French Monarchy and everything to do with it and to embrace a radical, revolutionary model. In response, she said, "Readily to the former; but I cannot to the latter: it is not in my heart." With these words, she sealed her fate - with death. The rest is history. Very sad ending of how "the mighty fall."

elena maria vidal said...

Merci, Madame. I have several posts on the Princesse and she is included in my books as well.

elena maria vidal said...

And you may enjoy this: