ROME (AP) – Pope Francis has declared that five Catholic priests who were killed during the revolutionary government of the Paris Commune which took control of Paris in 1871 were martyrs who were killed out of “hatred for the faith” .
The declaration of martyrdom means that the five priests can be beatified, the first major step towards a possible canonization, without the Vatican having to confirm a miracle attributed to their intercession.
In announcing Francis’ decree on Thursday, the Vatican identified only two of the priests: Enrico Planchart and Ladislao Radigue. The other three priests belonged to two other religious orders. They were all killed on May 26, 1871, in Paris.
The Paris Commune was hostile to the Catholic Church, which it accused of “complicity in the crimes of the monarchy”. He confiscated church funds, seized church property, and arrested hundreds of priests, nuns and monks.
Although it only ruled for two months, the Commune was very influential, particularly separating Church from State, a policy that exists today in another form. Meanwhile, some 26 churches have been closed and many Catholic schools forced to go secular.
When the French National Army regained control, the Communards, as they were called, gunned down scores of priests and the Archbishop of Paris in retaliation during what became Bloody Week.