January 21 – He was put to death, just for being a king

January 20, 2014

His Last Will and Testament

Portrait of King Louis XVI of France, painted by Antoine-François Callet.

Portrait of King Louis XVI of France, painted by Antoine-François Callet.

The last Will and Testament of Louis XVI, King of France and Navarre, given on Christmas day, 1792.

In the name of the Very holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

To-day, the 25th day of December, 1792, I, Louis XVI King of France, being for more than four months imprisoned with my family in the tower of the Temple at Paris, by those who were my subjects, and deprived of all communication whatsoever, even with my family, since the eleventh instant; moreover, involved in a trial the end of which it is impossible to foresee, on account of the passions of men, and for which one can find neither pretext nor means in any existing law, and having no other witnesses, for my thoughts than God to whom I can address myself, I hereby declare, in His presence, my last wishes and feelings.


I leave my soul to God, my creator; I pray Him to receive it in His mercy, not to judge it according to its merits but according to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ who has offered Himself as a sacrifice to God His Father for us other men, no matter how hardened, and for me first.

Louis XVI and his last confessor, Abbé Edgeworth

Louis XVI and his last confessor, Abbé Edgeworth

I die in communion with our Holy Mother, the Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church, which holds authority by an uninterrupted succession, from St. Peter, to whom Jesus Christ entrusted it; I believe firmly and I confess all that is contained in the creed and the commandments of God and the Church, the sacraments and the mysteries, those which the Catholic Church teaches and has always taught. I never pretend to set myself up as a judge of the various way of expounding the dogma which rend the church of Jesus Christ, but I agree and will always agree, if God grant me life the decisions which the ecclesiastical superiors of the Holy Catholic Church give and will always give, in conformity with the disciplines which the Church has followed since Jesus Christ.

Louis XVI at the Foot of the Scaffold, Painting by Charles Benazech

Louis XVI at the Foot of the Scaffold, Painting by Charles Benazech

(h/t to Tea at Trianon)

In his allocution to the Secret Consistory on June 17, 1793, concerning the execution of King Louis XVI of France, Pope Pius VI stated: “After having abolished the monarchical form of government, which is the best, [the Convention] transferred all public power to the people.”

Pii VI Pont. Max. Acta (Rome: Typis S. Congreg. De Propaganda Fide, 1871), Vol. 2, p. 17 in Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Nobility and Analogous Traditional Elites in the Allocutions of Pius XII: A Theme Illuminating American Social History (York, Penn.: The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993), Appendix IV, p. 391.


Also of interest:

Alone, Marie Antoinette confronts the revolutionary mob

Frequently, great institutions are not overthrown, they self-destruct

The Priesthood of the Nobility—Allocution of Benedict XV to the Roman Patriciate and Nobility on January 5, 1920

While hunting, Marie Antoinette took pains not to damage the harvest

Marie Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria, Queen of France and Capetian Widow


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