This historical document, figuratively speaking, is one of first nuclear bombs of the European Christian world. Almost all the historians declared that it was a breakthrough, while Louis XIV committed a serious error by revoking it. And one would hardly find an authoritative opinion speaking openly about the danger of this beau geste made by His Majesty’s grandfather.
L’Edict de Nantes was signed in April 1598, (precisely 420 years ago), and it granted to the Protestants enormous rights. Without getting into details of the French national environment, Henri IV gave the Calvinists a high status, equal to the Catholics, special civil rights, permitted them to spread their religion all over the kingdom, to work in any field they wanted etc. On one hand, these measures instantly ceased the religious war inside the country. But on the other, Henri IV opened the gates to the liberal Evil that would eat up the kingdom almost 200 years after.
Besides mockery at the true Christian Faith, the Protestants united free-thinkers, representatives of religious sects and other suspicious currents and plenty of other eccentric persons who did not see anything good in the Catholic Christianity and dreamed to destroy its core and to replace it with their own religion. – I guess they would be happy to celebrate their victory in the 21st century. – It is known that they were Protestants who published false Bibles and perverted sacred Christian texts. We may only wonder what moral principles this sort of people had if they dared to change the Scriptures yet in the 17th century!
I should notice that Henri IV was born a Protestant. When it happened that he had to ascend the throne, he instantly changed his religion and became a Catholic. “Paris vaut une messe”/ “Paris is worth a mass” he said and this quote expresses his attitude to the religious situation in France. However Louis XIV’s grandfather did not comprehend it well. Certainly, when he became the king, the kingdom was exhausted with the religious conflicts & other problems, but, unfortunately, no matter his name le Bon, Henri IV was not the best sovereign. He was a good soldier, friend, a great amateur of the female beauty, but not the king. The peace he established was fragile and l’Edict de Nantes signing aggravated the situation.
So, when in 1685 Louis XIV revoked this document it was already late. Protestantism took its roots all over France, formed its own lobby, if I might say so, and slowly began to oust the Catholicism. It gathered various forms of the Royal opposition, preparing the ground for a new age of “Libertè, egalitè, fraternitè”…
Vive le Roy! 🙂