Magazine article The New American

French Huguenots Noted. (Letters to the Editor)

Magazine article The New American

French Huguenots Noted. (Letters to the Editor)

Article excerpt

Thank you for Mr. William Norman Grigg's article on the history of Vendeans and their pursuit of freedom in France ("The Valiant Vendeans," June 17th). The mercy of Artus, the Marquis of Bonchamps, stands as a wonderful example of virtue in an otherwise terrible age.

There is a glaring omission in this retelling of French history, however. The suffering of the Roman Catholic Church during the Reign of Terror does not begin to compare to the suffering which it imposed on French Huguenots (Protestants) during the preceding 250 years. The article fails to recount the atrocities which Roman Catholics committed on Huguenot men, women and children during the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572, which are not unlike those committed by Jacobin radicals who turned on the Roman Church of their day. It is a mistake to look at the Roman Catholic Vendeans as true champions of liberty and freedom given the history of their barbarities towards French Huguenots. They represent the counter-Reformation movement in Europe's religious history. It is the French Huguenots who should be rightly credited as pioneers of ecclesiastical and civil liberty around the world, not their oppressors. The theology of John Calvin, and Philippe du Plessis-Mornay, the Huguenot author of "A Defense of Liber ty Against Tyrants" (1579), was a direct source of inspiration to freedom fighters everywhere, from Holland to England to colonial America. The Reign of Terror can be directly attributed to the massive, forced Diaspora of French Huguenots before and after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685), who were persecuted by the Roman Catholic monarchy, which then reaped the whirlwind after purging France of her Christian populace. France is still recovering from the spiritual void brought about by the counter-Reformation. These facts, not referenced in the article, cast the Vendean struggle in a different light, but it is the light of truth, which must be told. …

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