Pius VI: Quare Lacrymae

Introductory Note

One of the aims of The Josias’s is to translate integralist texts into English. From the commentaries and disputations of the great Baroque scholastics, to the writings of 20th century continental traditionalists, to the teachings of the popes before Leo XIII— many of the most important integralist writings are not yet available to anglophone readers. We begin our series with Quare Lacrymae, a speech of Pope Pius VI’s, which arguably begins the “modern” phase of Catholic social teaching.

In Quare Lacrymae one can sense the shock that went through Europe at the regicide of Louis XVI. The old order of Christian Europe had been shaken to its foundations. As Alan Fimister argues, this forced the Papacy to address certain theoretical questions such as the following: « What is the relationship between Church and state? What is the relationship between Catholicism and Democracy? And, what are the social and geographical frontiers of the state’s moral obligations? » (p. 23) These questions were to be treated systematically in the great encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII, but Pope Pius VI already anticipated some of the main points. Thus Quare Lacrymae condemns the false notion of liberty spread by the Revolutionaries. Hilaire Belloc famously argued that the opposition between the Revolution and the Church amounted to a misunderstanding, that the true principles of the Revolution were compatible with Catholicism. While it is certainly true that some of the revolutionaries attempted to recover some of the genuine insights of classical political philosophy, nevertheless the dominant understanding of ‘liberty’ was reconcilable neither with Plato and Aristotle nor with Sacred Scripture.

Quare Lacrymae is mainly concerned with showing that King Louis XVI’s death was a martyrdom. Pius VI can appeal to Louis XVI’s moving last will and testament, but in order to prove the point he has to show that the cause of his death was odium fidei. In order to prove this, Pope Pius argues that the main thrust of the revolution was against the Catholic religion. In the course of his argument he makes a bold claim about the connection between Calvinism and Enlightenment philosophy—anticipating in certain respects recent arguments by the likes of Brad Gregory.

The Translation was made by our contributor Coëmgenus. A printable version can be found here. The Latin text can be found here.

Quare Lacrymae

Acts of our most holy lord Pope Pius VI in secret consistory on Monday, June 17, 1793, on occasion of the killing of Louis XVI, Most Christian King of France.

translated by Coëmgenus

Venerable brothers,

§1. Why should tears and sobs not choke off Our words? Would not groans, rather than speech, better represent that pain of soul We are forced to express, as We inform you of the horrible spectacle of cruelty and barbarity done at Paris on the 21st of January this year?

§2. By a conspiracy of impious men, the most Christian king Louis XVI has been condemned to death, and the sentence has been carried out.

But what sort of a sentence this was, and with what reason it was passed, We will briefly call to your attention: it was brought about without authority and without law by the National Convention – for that Convention, when the form of the more excellent monarchical regime[1] had been abolished, placed all public power at the disposal of the People, who are governed by no reason or counsel; who perceive no distinction of things; who judge few things by truth, and many by opinion; who are inconstant, and easy to deceive and lead into every base deed; who are ungrateful, arrogant, and cruel; who rejoice in human blood, in slaughter and in funerals; and who are filled with pleasure by the pains of the dying, just as was seen in the amphitheaters of the ancients.[2] When the more savage part of this People, not content to have rejected the imperial power of their king, wished even to rob him of his life, they decreed those men to be judges who had accused him, and who had openly revealed a mind hostile to him; and in the process of judgment itself some even more wicked men were called forth, so that the number of those condemning might prevail over the others. But as they could not increase this number, the king was sacrificed by less than the number required by law.[3] From so many wicked and perverse judgments, from so many stolen votes, what sad, horrible, and in all ages execrable thing could not be feared and expected? But because the horror of such an evil deed had deterred many from the crime, stirring up great controversy among the delegates, it was found necessary to cast votes again, the result of which, even though it proceeded from the votes of conspirators, they pronounced legitimate. Here we must pass over many other things done contrary to law, and completely null and invalid, as can be read in the august speeches of the defense attorneys,[4] and everywhere in the public papers. We also omit what the king was forced to endure and suffer before his final punishment. For in the meanwhile he was taken in to long custody in different prisons, from which he did not come forth except to appear in the dock before the Convention; his confessor was put to death; he was sequestered from his beloved royal family, and subjected to other sorts of hardships to bring him pain and disgrace, at which no one in whom there was any shred of humanity would not shudder, especially since Louis’s nature was known and perceived by all to be gentle, beneficent, clement, patient, loving towards his people, devoid of severity and rigor, easy and most indulgent towards all. It was by this nature that he was induced to convoke the Estates of the realm that were demanded, and which came crashing down on royal authority and finally on his own head. But We cannot pass over what all men perceive of his virtues from his own testament, written by his own hand, out of the inmost feelings of his soul, and published everywhere. What beauty of virtue was in him, what spiritual ardor for the Catholic religion, what signs of true piety towards God? What pain, what repentance for, even unwillingly, ascribing his name to acts contrary to the discipline and faith of the orthodox Church! Hence when he had almost been destroyed by such adverse circumstances growing worse each day, he could employ the saying of James I, King of Britain, when he said that charges were brought against him in the meetings of the Commons, not because he had plotted any crime, but because he was king, which was held to be worse than any crime.[5]

But here let Us cease for a moment to speak of Louis, so that We may adduce a most powerful example from history, quite relevant to Our argument, and which is confirmed by the brilliant testimonies of ingenious writers.[6]

§3. When Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, daughter of King James V of Scotland, and widow of King Francis II of France, assumed the titles and insignia of the kings of England, which the English had already granted to Elizabeth, she bore many difficulties brought about by her rival and by factious Calvinists through plots and through force. Often shut up in prison, often brought before judges for examination, she declined to respond, since she said a Queen was bound to give an account of her life to God alone. In the end, tormented frequently and in many ways, she responded, cleared herself of the accused crimes, and proved her innocence. But the judges did not on that account restrain themselves from the wickedness they had undertaken; as if she were guilty and already convicted, they passed on her a sentence of death, and on the scaffold that royal head was cut off.

§4. Benedict XIV reasoned about this event in book 3 of his work De Servorum Dei Beatificatione, chapter 13, no. 10, with these words: If an inquiry into the martyrdom of this queen were set up (which has not yet been set up), a clear opposition to her martyrdom might be derived from the sentence passed on her, and from the impious ravings against her by the heretics, and in particular by George Buchanan, in his infamous book titled Detectio Mariæ.[7] But if the true cause of death is examined, which is to be found in the hatred of the Catholic religion that remained in England as long as she survived—if her unconquered constancy is considered, by which she rejected the offered condition of abandoning the Catholic religion—if one looks to the admirable strength with which she bore death—if one attends, as one ought to attend, to her professions, both before death and during death, that she had lived always as a Catholic, and was very willing to die for the Catholic faith—if one does not overlook, as one ought not overlook, the very clear reasons proving that not only the falsehood of the crimes attributed to Queen Mary, but also the iniquitous sentence of death, clearly supported only by calumnies, truly proceeded from hatred of the Catholic religion, and so that the heretical dogmas might remain undisturbed in England—in light of these, nothing, perhaps, is lacking of those things which are necessary for true martyrdom.

§5. We know from Augustine that it is not the suffering but the cause that makes a martyr,[8] and it was for this very reason that Benedict XIV, when he declared that he considered Mary Stuart as a martyr, began by considering[9] whether it is sufficient for martyrdom, that a tyrant be moved to inflict death out of hatred against the faith of Christ, even if he takes the occasion of death from another thing, which itself does not pertain or only accidentally pertains to the same faith of Christ; and decided affirmatively, led by the reason that an act takes its true character not from the occasion or impulsive cause, but from the final cause; and for this reason it is enough for martyrdom, if the persecutor is moved by hatred of the faith to bring about killing, even if the occasion of death comes from some other thing, which on account of circumstances may not pertain to the faith.

§6. Now let Us return to King Louis. If the authority of Benedict XIV is weighty, if his opinion is to be taken very seriously, since he revealed his thinking about the martyrdom of the Stuart queen, why should We not agree with him in the case of the martyrdom of King Louis? There is the same sympathy, the same intent, the same bitterness of the case; hence there ought to be the same merit. And who could ever doubt that this king was killed primarily out of hatred of the faith, and as an attack on Catholic dogmas? For a long time the Calvinists in France had begun to work towards the ruin of orthodox religion; but first they had to prepare the people’s souls, and imbue them with impious doctrines, which from that time they did not cease to spread among the masses through books replete with treachery and sedition,[10] and they joined to their own aims the work of perverse philosophers. Such and so pernicious a crime of these artificers of impiety was decried at the General Convention of the French clergy in 1745.[11] We Ourselves, having foreseen from the beginning of Our pontificate this detestable activity of faithless men, announced the great danger it betokened to all the bishops of the Catholic Church in an Encyclical letter,[12] in which We exhorted them with these words: Remove the evil from your midst, that is, tear away the poisoned books from the eyes of your flock with force and sedulity. And if Our exhortations and warnings had been successful, we would not now mourn that the intended ruin of kings and kingdoms had proceeded this far. For when these despicable men perceived that they had made much progress, and that the time for accomplishing their designs was at hand, they began, in a book published in 1787, to profess openly the assertion of Hugues Rosier (or of whoever was the author of his book):[13] Indeed it is praiseworthy to remove a supreme ruler who is unwilling to follow the reformed religion,[14] and who does not join the party of the protestants for the same religion.

§7. The expression of such wicked thinking, only a little before Louis fell to his miserable lot in life, has made it clear to all that it was the origin of his troubles; and so it is to be considered certain that such fruits as came forth in France proceeded from wicked books, as from a poisoned root. So it is written in a widely-published biography of the most villainous Voltaire, the human race should be eternally grateful to him as the first author of the public revolution, who by stimulating the people to understand and to use their power, destroyed that formidable bulwark of despotism, that is, religious and priestly authority; for while it stood, they say, the yoke of tyranny could never have been broken, since both stood as mutual supports to each other, and from the overthrow of one, the downfall of the other must necessarily follow.[15] Now, singing this triumph of a kingdom overcome and religion routed, they proclaim the splendor of the riches, glory and fame of impious writers as of victorious commanders. And it was then, when by these arts they had seduced to their party the great multitude of the people, blandishing (or rather, mocking) them more and more with gifts and promises, they invented that specious name of liberty, and called all to its raised signs and banners. This, then, is that philosophical liberty, which works to corrupt souls and deprave morals, so that all order of the laws and of all things is overturned. Therefore the convention of French clergy decried it,[16] for creeping into the souls of the people through false ideas, and We Ourselves in the aforementioned Encyclical spoke of it in these words: Furthermore, these most wretched philosophers go so far as to dissolve all those bonds by which men are joined among themselves and with their rulers and held to their duties, they clamor and retort ad nauseam that man is born free, and is not subject to the rule of any man; society, therefore, is a multitude of feckless men, so that stupidity prostrates itself before the priests, who deceive it, and before the kings, who oppress it, so that the concord between the priesthood and the empire is nothing but a tremendous conspiracy against man’s inborn liberty.

§8. To this false and lying name of Liberty, these vaunted[17] patrons of the human race have added the equally deceiving name of Equality, that is, among men who have come together in civil society, as if, since they were subject to various affections of the soul, and go off in various and uncertain movements, each according to his own desire, there could be no one who by authority and force might prevail over them, coerce them, moderate them, and call them back to their duties from perverse plans of action, lest society itself should collapse into anarchy and be totally destroyed through the reckless force of numerous and conflicting desires; like a harmony, which is composed of the agreement of several sounds, and which, if the chords and voices do not combine in an appropriate temperament, turns into turbulent and clearly dissonant noises. Next, once they set themselves up, in the phrase of St. Hilary of Poitiers, as correctors of rulers, and judges of religion (though the duty of religion is the work of obedience), they began to pass new and unheard-of judgments on the Church herself and on her constitution. From this workshop came forth that sacrilegious Constitution, which We, in Our response of March 10, 1791, refuted, while exposing thirty of the subscribed bishops. Wherefore it seems that here one may appropriately make use of a text of St. Cyprian:[18] How does it happen, that heretics should judge a Christian, that the injured should judge the healthy, that the wounded should judge the whole, that the fallen should judge the standing, that the guilty should judge a judge, that the sacrilegious should judge a priest? What remains, but that the Church should yield to the Capitol? Those among the various orders of the citizenry who were still faithful, and who continually refused to bind themselves by an oath to the new constitution, were doomed immediately to misfortunes and then to death. Suddenly they were slaughtered indiscriminately, a furious rage was unleashed against a great number of ecclesiastics, and bishops were slain, who should have been venerated with great devotion and reverence, as Christ taught by his own example, for as St. Cyprian relates,[19] until the day of his Passion he observed the honor due to the high priests and the priests, even though these neither feared God nor acknowledged Christ. Finally, from every group of men, many were killed, and those whose punishment was milder were expelled from their ancestral homes, without distinction of age, sex, or condition. But even though it had been decreed that everyone might freely practice religion as they liked, as if the way to eternal salvation were open through any religion whatsoever,[20] nevertheless the Catholic religion alone was prohibited; it alone paid a penalty as of a capital crime with blood poured out in the squares, in the streets, in the houses; nor could others find protection with outside authorities to whom they had fled, since they were caught on the spot, entrapped with tricks and treachery, and slain. But this is the nature of heresies, this is the manner of heretics, already arisen in the ancient ages of the church,[21] and confirmed in the unusually tyrannical practice of the Calvinists, especially in France,[22] who by force and threats compelled all to agree with them.

§9. From this uninterrupted series of impieties begun among the French, who cannot clearly perceive that it is due to hatred of religion that that party first undertook those machinations, with which all Europe is now shaken and convulsed,[23] and that (as no one can deny) Louis himself was put to death?

Indeed, they attempted to assemble against him many crimes committed for political reasons, but among these his extraordinary firmness of soul stood forth, on account of which he refused to approve or sanction the decree banishing Catholic priests into exile,[24] and likewise sent a letter to the Bishop of Clermont committing himself to the restoration of Catholic worship in France as soon as possible.[25] Would this not be enough to justify thinking and saying that Louis is a martyr? Even the sentence of death passed against Mary Stuart was based on crimes of agitating and conspiring against the state of the republic, with only occasional mention of religion;[26] but nevertheless Benedict XIV, rejecting the fictions recorded in the sentence, judged that the true origin of that condemnation, much more important than the other reasons, was the same hatred of religion; and therefore a cause for martyrdom existed.[27]

§10. But on this point, We have heard, they object to calling Louis a martyr on the grounds that he approved the Constitution rejected by Us in Our response to the bishops mentioned above. But some judge that that this was not the case, and claim that when the constitution was shown to the King for him to sign it, he hesitated thoughtfully, and declined to sign it because he feared that signing it would have the force of approval. But one of his ministers (whose name they relate, and whom the King trusted greatly) answered him that signing it would mean nothing more than that it was a true and authentic copy of the Constitution, so that We, to whom he was to send it, should not be able to doubt it in any way; and so he was easily led by this apparently straightforward argument to sign it. He suggests this in his last will and testament, when he says that he signed it against his own wishes; and indeed it would seem that he disagreed with himself and was at odds with himself, if, having sincerely approved it, he later firmly rejected it, that is, when he refused to sign the decree by which nonjuring priests were sent into exile, and when in his letter to the Bishop of Clermont he declared that he wanted to reestablish Catholic worship in France. But however this took place (for We Ourselves are not committed to any view), and even if We concede that Louis was induced through carelessness or some error to approve the Constitution by signing it, should Our opinion of his martyrdom change on that account? We are prevented from this by the King’s subsequent unequivocal and solemn repudiation, and by his death itself, which as We have already demonstrated was inflicted on him out of hatred of the Catholic religion, so that it clearly seams almost impossible to detract at all from the honor of his martyrdom, considering that in the case of St. Cyprian, who believed otherwise about the baptism of heretics than was justified by the truth, God purged what was still to be purged, as if pruning a fruitful branch with the glorious shears of martyrdom, as St. Augustine relates in as many words in numerous places.[28]

§11. It is the same as when a question was put to the Congregation of Rites, as to whether it was an obstacle to the martyrdom of John de Britto of the Society of Jesus that he had practiced the forbidden Chinese rites while at the mission at Madurai. The Suffragans did not hesitate to resolve the question in the negative – that is, that it was not an obstacle – on the argument that the Servant of God had recanted of the practice of those rites with his blood, through his subsequent martyrdom; but they were divided as to whether it was appropriate to issue a decree in his favor, lest it would be taken as an occasion for contending that the Congregation had declined to continue the prohibition of those rites. But Benedict XIV took all the difficulty onto himself by decreeing that the issuing of the degree was no reason to infer that the Apostolic See wished to distance itself from the constitutions of his Predecessors by which the aforementioned rites had been prohibited, but at the same time he endorsed the idea that the venerable John had made a recantation not with ink, but with blood, decreeing that the contrary objections were no reason why there should be any discussion of doubt about martyrdom or the reasons for martyrdom in the cause of the venerable Servant of God John de Britto, nor should there be any doubt about the signs and miracles that are said to have been accomplished through his intercession; and this decree was passed and published on July 2, 1741. Instructed by this decree, We consider Louis’s recantation to be true and proved beyond any doubt, written both in ink and in the pouring out of his noble blood; and We trust that We need not much diverge from the judgment of Benedict, not by issuing a similar decree, but by remaining firm in the conclusion We have already pronounced on the martyrdom of King Louis, notwithstanding his approval (if indeed he approved) of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy.

§12. Oh France, France! called by Our Predecessors the mirror of all Christendom, and the unmoved firmament of the Faith, inasmuch as you do not follow others in your fervor for the Christian faith and devotion to the Apostolic See, but rather lead them![29] How you have today been turned away from us! How hostile your mind has become to true religion! How you have become the most dangerous of all those who have ever beset it! But even if you wished to, you cannot ignore that the safety and solidity of kingdoms is the religion of faith, inasmuch as it restrains both the abuse of power and license among the subjects; and for this reason the envious enemies of royal powers aspire to subvert the Catholic faith, so that they might bring them down.[30]

§13. Oh again France! you who demanded to be given a Catholic king, because the fundamental laws of the kingdom would not permit any king but a Catholic one,[31] see today that you have killed the Catholic king you had for the very fact that he was Catholic!

§14. So far gone was your fury against the king, that it would not even be satisfied with his murder. You wished even to vent your rage on a dead man, and on his lifeless body, and so you commanded that his corpse should be taken and buried in a dishonorable grave.[32] But in the case of Mary Stuart, a measure of royal dignity had been observed after she was killed. Her body was brought into the castle, embalmed, placed in a coffin, and prepared for burial … and it was enjoined on her servants and ministers, that they should remain in that place, and that preserving her pristine appearance and splendor they should withdraw nowhere else, until she should be committed to some honorable tomb.[33] What, in the end, could you have earned by this insatiable hatred, except disgrace and infamy, and the offense, hatred, and indignation of all kings and princes, much greater than that which blazed against Elizabeth of England![34]

§15. O day of triumph for Louis, to whom God gave endurance in his persecution, and victory in his passion! We believe that he happily exchanged an impermanent royal crown, and lilies that quickly fade, for another, permanent crown woven of the immortal lilies of the angels.

§16. What We, meanwhile, must do in Our role of apostolic ministry, we learn from a letter of St. Bernard to his friend Eugenius,[35] in which he exhorted him to take pains, so that the unbelieving might be converted to the faith, the converted might not fall away, and those fallen away might return. And We have before Our eyes the example of Our Predecessor Clement VI, who did not decline to avenge the death of Andrew, king of Sicily, inflicting heavy penalties on those who killed him and conspired against him, as is written in his apostolic letters.[36] But what can We accomplish, and what progress can We make with that people, who not only disregarded Our warnings, but insulted Us with the gravest offenses, usurpations, injuries, and calumnies, and even proceeded so far in audacity and insanity as to compose spurious letters in Our name agreeing with their errors? Let Us therefore leave them – for so they would have it – obstinate in their miserable depravity, and let Us trust that the innocent blood of Louis will somehow cry out and plead that that people might acknowledge and condemn its stubbornness in heaping up crimes,[37] and consider the kinds of bitter punishments, which God, the most just avenger of crimes, is accustomed to inflict on a people for the commission of less serious sins.[38]

§17. We have wished to say these things among you all, as a kind of solace for a most bitter event. And so that We may make an end of speaking, what remains is for Us to invite you to perform with Us a solemn funeral for the dead king, as is customary. Even though this funeral office of Our prayers might seem unnecessary for him, who is believed to have attained the name of Martyr, as St. Augustine says: the Church does not pray for martyrs, but rather commends herself to their prayers;[39]nevertheless this opinion of Augustine ought to be understood and explained of him who is not yet believed to be a martyr by human conviction, but is confirmed as such by the judgment of the Apostolic See.[40]

Therefore, on a day that will be indicated to you, Venerable Brothers, let Us together with you publicly perform a customary funeral for the most Christian King Louis XVI.


[1] Bossuet, Politique tirée des propres paroles de l’Ecriture sainte, Book II, article 1 (Vol. VII of his works, pp 289-291, Paris, 1748):

«Proposition 7: Monarchy is the most common, the oldest, and also the most natural form of government.

«Proposition 8: Monarchical government is best.

«Proposition 9: Of all monarchies, the successive or hereditary monarchy is the best.»

Adam Contzen, Politicorum, sive de perfectæ reipublicæ formâ, Book I, Chapter 21, §9 confirms that the Holy Fathers concurred in this view (Justinian, Cyprian, Athanasius, Jerome, St. Thomas, etc.); nor will you easily find disagreement from those who, having been raised in a free republic, held honors and magistracies.

[2] Contzen, op. cit., Chapter 22, §10.

[3] La vie et la martyre de Louis XVI, avec un examen du décret régicide, by M. de Limon, Ratisbonne, 1793, p54:

« O unfortunate ones! Do not pass this horrible sentence, call off this dreadful sacrifice: your count is an error, and this error is the greatest of assassinations. Of the 736 members, whose votes must necessarily have been counted, 369 votes were needed to have a majority of just one, and there were only 365 – as all the newspapers attest – and so Louis XVI was sacrificed by the minority. And what yet would have happened, if from those 365 votes, one subtracted the vote of that one which nature and law obliged to recuse himself; and subtracted the votes of all those fanatical pamphleteers who for a long time had sought the death of the King as a party opposed to him, and who for that reason could never be allowed to serve as his judges; and subtracted the votes of all the Deputies who, having expressed their opinion that he should live, heard their ballots counted among the opinions for his death, without daring, as Valazé alone dared, to post up in all the public squares both their condemnation and their formal denial of the odious falsity of the Secretaries; and subtracted the votes of those imposter priests who apostatized a second time in order to become executioners; and subtracted the votes of the abominable Dupont, who, belying the heavens, the earth, all nature, and his own conscience, does not believe, but professes hypocritically that there is no God? O unfortunate one! How shall I believe in your justice, when you deny the justice eternal? »

Idem., Examen du décret régicide, Vingt-unième Prévarication, art. 28, p. 73:

« If of twelve jurors, three votes are enough to acquit the accused, 10 out of 12 (that is, five sixths) are needed to condemn him, and the Convention commanded the assassination of the King by the simple plurality of 366 votes out of 721; even though, on this understanding, he had 234 votes above what was needed to save him. But there is more. The king was slain by the minority, and I shall show this by going over the errors of their calculation.

« The Convention was composed of 748 members, and included the Deputation of Avignon. One had died, leaving 747. Eleven were absent on official business, leaving 736. Those who were voluntarily absent without cause, or on a pretended pretext of illness, did not express an opinion, and clearly did not wish to vote for death; and Sieur Castel, who was carried into the Assembly, as sick as he was, to request banishment, is the proof of this. Now of the 736 members, 369 votes were needed to have a majority of jusft one, and there were only 366, as all the newspapers attest. And what yet would have happened, if from those 366 votes one subtracted the vote of that unnatural relative, whom all the laws obliged to recuse himself; and subtracted the vote of those apostate priests; and the votes, like that of Valazé, that were counted as for death by the deceitful secretaries, even though they were cast to save the king’s life; and subtracted the votes of all the deputies, all the pamphleteers who had earlier demonstrated their hatred of the King, and who ought to have been excluded from the jury; and subtracted the vote of the atheist Dupont, who does not believe in God, and wants us to believe in his justice; and all those weak deputies, who were forced by violence and threats to vote against their own wishes.

« Thus a minority of three votes accomplished, with so-called legality, and in the name of a corrupted or paralyzed nation, the greatest of assassinations.

« Manuel, while shaken by the awakening of his conscience, was afraid of those who had accomplished so great and so horrible an event by five votes, in the calculation most favorable to crime, and gave his resignation. Kersaint, himself so violent against the King, and who had been so mad as to declare him guilty, followed the example of Manuel, and the Convention, terrified of his remorse, made a second appeal the next day. »

[4] Défense de Louis prononcée à la Barre de la Convention nationale par le citoyen Desèze, l’un de ses défenseurs officieux. Paris, L’Imprimerie nationale, 1792.

[5] De Institutione Principis ad Henricum Filium, Book II, De officio regis in subditos, § Hic e Ministerio., in the collected works of King James, p. 72 (Frankfurt / Leipzig, 1689).

[6] Spondani Continuatio Annalium Ecclesiasticorum, Tom. II ad annum 1587. §1–6.

Natalis Alexandri Historia sæculorum 15mi et 16mi, Chapter 13, Article 6 (Vol. 9, p. 242, col. 2 ad fin. of the collected works, Venice, 1778).

Fleury, Histoire Ecclésiastique ad annum 1586, §107–112 (Vol. 36, Paris, 1751).

Tempesti, Storia della vita e gesta di Sisto V (Vol 1, Book XX, from the beginning to §XI).

Multiple Writers, ed. Samuele Jebb, De vita et rebus gestis Mariæ Scotorum Reginæ, Franciæ Dotariæ, Vol. II

[7] This can be found together with another book of the same author, entitled Actio contra Mariam, in the collection of Samuel Jebb, Vol. 1, pp 237–250, but is followed by Mariæ Vindiciæ, by Obertus Bernestapolius on p 383 of the same volume.

[8] Letter CCIV.4; Ennaratio in Psalmis XXXIV, II.1; Ennaratio in Psalmis LXVIII, I.9; Sermones de Sanctis, CCLXXV.1 and CCLXXXV.2; Contra Cresconium III.51.

[9] Op. cit., XIII.12

[10] Procès verbal du Clergé dans l’année 1745, séance LVI, p. 106:

« The books used by the Sect spread more than ever; they are no longer distributed silently and in secret, but in the assemblies; they were on sale for considerable sums at two assemblies held at Vivarais last October and November. The Catechism of Osterwald, recently recommended by their Synod, was printed this year at Toulouse. »

[11] Idem., p. 110:

« Their preachers take great pains to maintain them in these ideas. They even dare to publish that the time of liberty has come, and it is known that one of them in the Dauphiné has had the audacity to produce an edict on this subject – audacity which had to be suppressed by a letter from M. d’Argenson to Monsieur the first President of the Parlement of Grenoble. … These preachers who dogmatize with impunity in several dioceses, and whose number increases daily, are for the most part people without discernment, without discipline, and who lack even the commission required among them for preaching: many are foreigners, and are suspect for that reason alone. The greater part of their discourse is less likely to inspire the people with truth and Christian morals, than with a cruel and implacable hate for the Catholic religion. What can become of credulous people given over to this manner of teachers? … If one adds to this situation the spirit full of fire that predominates in that country, one will be perfectly convinced that the concessions that have been made to the sectarians, the regions where they have been allowed to entrench themselves, are at risk, when one expects it least, of going up in flames. »

[12] Of December 25, 1775.

[13] La defense civile et militaire des innocents et de l’Église de Christ, Lyon, 1563.

[14] [Reading reformatæ for reformare. –Ed.]

[15] Mercure de France; Saturday, August 7, 1790. Paris, at the Bureau de Mercure, Hôtel de Tou, rue de Poitevins 18. “Life of Voltaire by the Marquis de Condorcet, followed by the Memoires of Voltaire, written by himself,” p. 26.

« It seems to me at least that it is possible to expand further on the eternal obligation the human race owes to Voltaire. The current circumstances provide a good opportunity for this. He did not see everything that he made, but he made everything that we see. Informed observers, who can write history, will prove to those who can think about it that the first author of this grand revolution, which is astonishing Europe and everywhere spreading hope among the people and unease in the royal courts, was, without a doubt, Voltaire. It was he who toppled the first and the most formidable barrier of despotism: religious and sacerdotal power. If he had not smashed the yoke of the priests, no one could ever have smashed the yoke of the tyrants. The one and the other weighed on our heads, and they stood so closely together, that once the first was shaken, the second would be shaken soon after. The human spirit does not stop more in independence than in servitude, and it was Voltaire who freed it, by accustoming it to judge in all respects those who had enslaved it. It was he who made reason a thing of the People, and if the People had not learned how to think, it would never have availed itself of its strength. It is the thought of sages that prepares political revolutions, but it is always the arms of the People that execute them. It is true that the People’s strength can become dangerous to itself: and after teaching the People how to use it, it is necessary to teach the People how to submit it to the law. But this second work, though still difficult, is not by a long way as long or as arduous as the first. »

[16] Procès verbal du Clergé de l’année 1745, Séance LVII, p110:

« The spirit of independence, and the love of a liberty opposed to all authority, have always animated that Sect, and have made known in this province the excesses of which they are capable. They will not be good subjects except insofar as they are contained by fear. »

[17] [Reading jactati for jactari –Ed.]

[18] Epist. LV ad Cornelium de Fortunato et Felicissimo contra Hæreticos, in the recent edition of Maurin, Paris, 1726.

[19] Epist. LXV ad Rogatianum, in the recent edition of Maurin – which Charlemagne marvelously included into his Capitular on the Honor of Bishops and other Priests (Baluz, Capitularia Regum Francorum, Vol. I, col. 437, Paris, 1687):

« We wish and command that all should be obedient to their priests, whether of a greater or lesser rank, from the least to the greatest, as to God on high, whom they represent in the mission of the Church. For in no way can We acknowledge how those can be faithful to Us who have shown themselves unfaithful to God and to their priests; or how those will be obedient to Us, and submit to Our ministers and deputies, who do not submit to those who play a role in the business of God and of the churches. »

And here, from the persecutions of ecclesiastics, can be derived the beginning and origin of schisms and heresies, as the worthy Cyprian argues in the cited Letter LXV.

[20] Along with many others, Archbishop Rovenius, Reipublicæ Christianæ, Book II, I.10:

« The Roman Catholic is the only religion and faith that the prince ought to accept, preserve, and defend with all his strength, if he wishes for himself and his own to be saved. Those who think otherwise, and want there to be religious liberty, are destined for fortune and the heavens, with atheists and secular persons [fortunæ cælo destinantur, cum atheis et politicis]. There is nothing more foolish than to assert that everyone can be saved according to his own religion. For Christ the Lord would have come in vain to teach us true faith in himself, in vain would so many Councils have been instituted and heresies condemned, if each could be saved according to his own religion. And how should contrary ways arrive at the same destination? Now many religions that are contrary to one another, even those that confess Christ, condemn and reject each other. How will a republic endure without a definite bond of religion? From the diversity of religions hatreds proceed, distrust arises, envy is nourished, there are divisions and strife, different associations give rise to revolutions, obedience is withdrawn, and because each religion chooses its superiors, and judges it a sacrilege to obey those opposed to itself, wars are stirred up, as innumerable examples demonstrate. And so it is absurd and ridiculous that secular persons or heretics [politici, vel hæretici] contend that liberty of religion or of is to be granted to everyone, which, however, they themselves do not grant, when they are in power. »

[21] Dissertatio II in Irenæi libros, 7 (edit. Maurin, p. 79) refers to the cruelties done by the Cataphryges at Lyon and Vienne.

St. Athanasius in his Apologia contra Arianos, 33, and in his Apologia de fuga sua, 6-7, (Edit. Maurin, Vol. I, Part I, pp 151, 212-323) describes the cruelties of the Arians.

St. Jerome tells of the cruelties of the Origenists (Letter CXXVII, 9; edit. Vallars, Vol I, col. 951).

St. Augustine refers to the cruelties of the Donatists: Letter L (edit. Maurin, Vol II, col. 116); Letter CXI (ibid., col. 319); Letter CXXXIV (ibid., col. 397); Contra Cresconium, III.xliii.39 (ibid., Vol. IX, col. 459).

[22] Nicholas Coeffeteau, pro Sacra Monarchia Ecclesiæ Catholicæ, Preface (Vol. I, p. 2):

« Calvin succeeded Luther: a tempest in France, a disruption of the peace. … He founded that bloody-minded Sect, which while affairs were flourishing in France did not dare to raise its head, but seizing the chance to attack during the tender age of Francis II and Charles IX, wore down the most Christian kingdom with civil wars. For while that storm raged through that most prosperous kingdom, temples were razed to the ground, altars were overturned, tombs were dug up, priests of God were slaughtered, holy virgins were violated, punishments were inflicted on Catholics, and massacres decreed, and even King Charles IX was attacked not only by plots, but was even confronted with open force. »

Gabutius, De vita et rebus gestis S. Pii V, Book II, chapter 7, further describes the hostile and barbarous impieties committed by the Calvinists.

Nicolas Bailly, Historia vitæ Emundi Augerii, Book I, chapter 7.

[23] The same was done by Elizabeth, who stirred up riots and rebellions, etc. (Jebb, p. 179).

[24] Desèze, Défense, pp. 29-30.

[25] Ibid., p. 30

[26] The sentence promulgated by Elizabeth against Mary is contained in the collection of Jebb (Vol. II, pp. 153, 613).

[27] It is the custom of heretics, and especially of Calvinists, to make false accusations, and to accuse Catholics of grave crimes (Jebb, p. 159).

Journal de l’Assemblée du Clergé de l’an 1641 (MS, p. 674):

« Thus on all sides the expulsion from the Assembly (of certain bishops sent back to their dioceses for defending the Ecclesiastical Immunity) was without reason, as those who suffered it were without crime; but it is known that when justice is lacking, pretext suffices for those who want one way or another to accomplish their passion. The ewe has not troubled the water, but the wolf accuses her of it, not because she has erred, but because he wants to devour her. »

[28] Letter XCIII to Vincentius Rogatista, 40; Letter CVIII to MAcrobius, 9 (Vol. II, col. 247, 309); Contra Gaudentium Donatistarum, II.9, (Vol. IX, col. 671, in Maurin’s edition, Paris).

[29] Gregory IX, to the colleges of Canons at Rheims, Paris, and other places, in Raynald, ad annum 1227, no. 9.

Alexander III to Louis VII the Young, in Duchesne, Historiæ Francorum Scriptores, Vol. IV, p. 595.

Innocent III to Philip Augustus, King of the French, Letter LXIV (in Baluz, Epistolarium Innocenti III, Vol. I, p. 717).

[30] Bl. Gregory X., in a letter to Alfonso, King of Portugal (in Raynald, ad annum 1273, §25).

[31] Natalis Alexandri Historia Ecclesiastica sæculorum XV et XVI, Vol IX, Art. 2 post scholium (Venice, 1778).

[32] Vera imparziale relazione dell’assassinio ordinato dalla Convenzione nazionale, cavata dai fogli usciti di Francia. (Milan, dal Veladini, p. 12).

[33] Collection of Jebb, p. 166, near the end. On p. 655 of this collection is described how the corpse of Mary was borne magnificently and in the company of many noble men out to the church at Peterborough in England.

[34] Collection of Jebb, p. 176, 178.

[35] Liber III de Consideratione, I.3.

[36] Raynald, ad annum 1346, §44–51.

[37] Cominæ, De rebus gestis Ludovici XI, ex gallico in latinum conversi a Johanne Sleidano, Book X., p. 254:

« Surely the complaints and tears of the wretched men whom they cruelly troubled, and likewise the groans and sighs of the widows and orphans who they inhumanly robbed of their parents and spouses, and in short the lamentations and mourning of those whom they afflicted and stripped of all their fortune, will be in the place of the accusation, which they will present before the supreme tribunal of God. »

[38] Cominæ, op. cit., pp. 213, 254; Journal de l’Assemblée du Clergé 1641, p. 839ff, where many sad examples are discussed of punishments that were inflicted on the persecutors of ecclesiastics and the usurpers of goods belonging to the churches.

[39] Sermon CCLXXXIV,5. (Edit. Maurin, Vol. 5, col. 1143; Paris).

[40] Benedict XIV, op. cit., Book II, 12.11.

3 thoughts on “Pius VI: Quare Lacrymae

Comments are closed.