Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Bartholomew Massacre, The.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

The common belief that France remained loyal to the Vatican while the northern nations rebelled against it in the sixteenth century is entirely wrong. In spite of the expulsion of Calvin (a Frenchman), who claimed to have 300,000 followers in France, and the bloody persecution from 1540 to 1550 of Protestants (or Huguenots) everywhere, the Reform ideas spread rapidly. The heir to the throne and his brother and sons and some of the highest nobles embraced them, and in the second half of the sixteenth century the Huguenots sustained three civil wars against the King's armies. Pope Clement VII had married a girl of his degenerate Medici family to the equally degenerate prince who became Henry II, and after the premature death of that monarch, in 1559, Catherine de Medici reopened France to the Jesuits, and they fabricated a Huguenot plot to sack and burn Paris. This infamous fraud led the Catholic nobles to conspire to destroy the Huguenots, who had come to Paris in large numbers for the marriage of the young King's sister to one of their sect. At midnight of August 23-24 (St. Bartholomew's Day), 1572, the royal troops were discharged upon the Huguenots of Paris, and the Catholic citizens joined in the massacre. The order was sent also to the provinces, and led to days of carnage.
      Catholic apologies are here even meaner than in the case of the Albigensian Massacre. The Catholic Encyclopaedia asserts that "the majority of historians" deny that the massacre was organized; an entirely false statement which is refuted by the writer's later admission that Catherine had long meditated such a crime and had won her son to support it, and that the royal troops had been assembled for the purpose. The article further says that the historians Ranke and Martin admit that only 2,000 were killed at Paris, and that the Pope ordered rejoicing at Rome only because he had received news that the King and Queen had escaped a murderous Huguenot plot. The truth is that Ranke (The Popes of Rome, 1866, II, 47) and Martin (Histoire de France, 1878, IX, 270-350) and the great majority of non-Catholic historians insist that the massacre was organized. Martin gives one of the most shuddering accounts of what he calls "the orgy of crime." He tells of brutal murders in the royal palace under the eyes of the King and Queen, and describes Queen Catherine and her maids callously making obscene jokes over the dead bodies of Huguenots they had known, and Catholic boys killing babies in the cradle. Catholic contemporaries say that 10,000 were killed at Paris. The figure of 2,000 which Martin accepts is for one day at Paris. He finds the total number of victims about 20,000. Ranke, a more critical student, says 50,000; which means that the Catholics killed, and more brutally, more than twice as many people in a few days as the French revolutionaries killed (mainly on political grounds) in three years. As to Pope Gregory XIII, the haste with which he ordered bonfires and the singing of the Te Deum might plausibly be excused on the ground which Catholic apologists now imagine - the Pope never alleged it - but it is not disputed that he went on, while messengers with a true account continued to arrive, to strike a gold medal with the inscription "Slaughter (strages) of the Huguenots," and for weeks or months he had Vasari painting pictures of "the glorious triumph over a perfidious race." The French Court, which was sobered by the anger and disgust of Europe and now invented the lie about the danger to the King and Queen, tried in vain to restrain the Pope's indecent joy. Ranke quotes Cardinal Santorio referring long afterwards to "the famous St. Bartholomew's Day which was most joyful to Catholics." Martin's long account, separately published in Blackie's French Historical Series (1919), requires little correction, except that his figures are too low. M. Wilkinson's Problem of St. Bartholomew's Massacre (1925) is a Catholic tract.


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