Washington D.C., Apr 25, 2023 / 10:40 am
Five French priests who were executed by an anticlerical insurrectionist government in Paris in 1871 were beatified as martyrs on Saturday, April 22, in a Mass in which increased security precautions were taken in light of recent political unrest.
“As pastors inspired by apostolic zeal, the priests were united in their witness to the faith to the point of martyrdom, which they suffered in Paris in 1871 during the so-called Paris ‘Commune,’” Pope Francis said the day after the beatification Mass — Sunday, April 23 — after his Regina Caeli address. “A round of applause for the new Blesseds!”
The five priests beatified on Saturday as martyrs, recognized by the Vatican as dying because of “hatred of their faith,” were Father Henri Planchat of the Congregation of St. Vincent de Paul and four priests who were part of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary: Father Ladislas Radigue, Father Polycarpe Tuffier, Father Marcellin Rouchouze, and Father Frézal Tardieu.
The priests were executed by firing squad on May 26, 1871, during the Haxo Street massacre that took place at the end of the two-month reign of the Paris Commune, the revolutionary and anti-Catholic movement that controlled Paris from March 18–May 28, 1871. The insurrection was defeated by French troops in a “Bloody Week” that saw as many as 20,000 killed.