Marriage And Carnage | Devotional
Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.
1572: “Kill them all!” was probably the most infamous royal quote of the 1500s because it was an order carried out with shocking brutality.
France in 1572 was a divided country with the royal family staunchly Catholic while many of the nobles and middle class had turned Protestant.
The young king Charles IX became close friends with Coligny, the leader among the Protestants, a situation that irked his mother, the domineering Catherine de Medicis.
Charles’s sister was to be married to a Protestant prince, Henry of Navarre, and while Protestants flocked to Paris for the wedding, Catherine plotted to have Coligny assassinated.
The plot failed, and Catherine feared a vengeful uprising of the Protestants. She pressured Charles to take swift action. Since all the Protestant leaders were in Paris, his order to “Kill them all!” made perfect—and horrible—sense.
The mass killing began early on August 24 which in the Catholic calendar is St. Bartholomew’s Day, so the bloodbath is known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.
Henry of Navarre, the Protestant who had married the king’s sister six days earlier, was spared, but his entourage was slaughtered. Protestants were brutally murdered and their homes and shops pillaged.
Catholic mobs took it on themselves to murder Protestants and so much blood was shed that the king finally ordered it stopped.
The king lied and announced the massacre was done because a Protestant plot against the royal family had been revealed.
The massacre turned the surviving Protestants, who had mostly been peaceful citizens, against the government and made them willing to use force in the cause of their faith.
The gory Wars of Religion would continue for another twenty years, ending when Henry of Navarre became king of France, turned Catholic, and extended toleration to the Protestants—but the path to peace proved long and bloody.
Prayer: Lord, teach your servants to fight with spiritual weapons, not the weapons of this world. Amen.
J. Stephen Lang's favorite game is Trivial Pursuit, and his favorite book is the Bible. Lang is a best-selling author whose titles include: Know the Bible in 30 Days, The Complete Book of Bible Trivia, 1,001 Things You Always Wanted to Know About the Bible, etc.