Blesseds John Francis Burté, Apollinaris Morel, and Severin Girault: Franciscans Massacred During the French Revolution

On Sept. 2, Franciscans honor the memory of Blesseds John Francis Burté, Apollinaris Morel, and Severin Girault—Franciscan friars who were among the 116 priests and seminarians massacred on this date in 1792 at the Carmelite church and friary in Paris during the French Revolution.

A violation of divine law

The French National Assembly in 1790 had abolished religious orders and passed a law called the Civil Constitution of the Clergy that totally reorganized the Catholic Church in France under government control, with only a nominal relationship to the pope. When the pope condemned the Constitution as a violation of divine law, the government demanded that clergy take an oath to obey it; on the other hand, the pope threatened excommunication for priests who did.

Arrested as enemies of the state

In November 1791, the government declared that any “non-juring” clergy were subject to arrest as enemies of the state. These

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