Thursday, November 01, 2007

1557: What about St. Bartholomew's Day?

I will not make a habit of responding to comments on an earlier blog with a new blog but I feel obligated to do so here. Timothy, in his comment below insinuated that Catholic persecution of Protestants was more myth than reality. I wish he were correct but he is not.

I don't want to get into "Catholic Bashing," because I am not anti-Catholic. I was baptised in the Catholic Church, I have counseled Catholics attending Evangelical Churches not to submit to re-baptism and I even attend Catholic Mass this very morning.

I worked last Sunday and I will so again this Sunday, therefore I will not be able to attend Bethel (PCA). At such times I attend worship services during the week. Sometimes it is at a local Episcopal Church (where I can celebrate the Eucharist) and other times it is at the Catholic Church near my home. I'm sure I attend Mass more than many of my Catholic friends.

I discussed Henry VIII and his appointed Protestant persecutor and executioner, St. Thomas More, in my comment to Timothy below. Now let's move from England to France.

In 1572 French Catholics, massacred tens of thousands of French Protestants (the Huguenots). The slaughter was the brainchild of the queen mother Catherine de' Medici and was agreed to by here son King Charles IX. The blood lust began in Paris, and the first ones killed were of the Protestant nobility, who were in the city to celebrate the marriage of a Catholic princess to a Protestant prince.

The leadership of French Protestants was decimated and never recovered from the blow. Tens of thousands of French Protestants were murdered for their faith and thousands upon thousands more fled France to save their lives. The French Huguenot refuges settled in the English colonies here in America and around the world. They also fled to other Protestant held parts of Europe and maintained great resentment toward the Catholics who slaughtered their French coreligionist.

Modern Popes would be appalled by the slaughter of so much innocent blood, but not Pope Gregory XIII. To his credit, the Pope did not know of the massacre beforehand, but he did have a Te Deum (a hymn of joy and thanksgiving) sung to celebrate the event. He also commissioned a number of paintings and had a coin struck to commemorate the event.

I can touch on many events in many other parts of Europe at that time, but there is no need to continue (at this time) with this subject. The Catholics had the biggest sticks then and the Popes encouraged Catholic rulers to use those sticks on the Protestants when ever they could. We should not forget that Protestants were able to do thier on share of persecuting too.

It is all shameful, but attempts to deny these horrors, or even to discount them, like like I think Timothy did below, will only harm the important need we have for love and reconciliation in the Church of Jesus Christ. We all have dirty laundry and in this case some of it is visible for everyone to see. Throwing a basket over it and saying that it is not there will not fix the problem.

Coram Deo,

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