St. Louis and The Holy Name Of God

April 16, 2015

King St. Louis IX of France holding the Crown of Thorns. Statue outside Basilique du Sacré-Coeur in Paris.

King St. Louis IX of France holding the Crown of Thorns. Statue is outside Basilique du Sacré-Coeur in Paris.

St. Louis, King of France, was one of the gentlest and most pious of monarchs. One thing only did he punish with great severity, and this was disrespect to, and profanation of, the Holy Name of God.

At that time, as in our own days, nothing was more dishonored than God’s holy Name. To put an end to this great evil, as far as lay in his power, he formulated a law for the punishment of all who were found guilty of this great sin. Then, having assembled all the members of the great Court in one of the largest apartments of the palace, the doors of which he caused to remain open, he read in a loud voice the terms of the decree; after which he pronounced an eloquent discourse, setting forth the enormity of the crime, and his determination to punish without mercy all who would willfully be guilty of it.

St. Louis_IXMost of those who came to the knowledge of the new law carefully refrained from every form of blasphemy or word of disrespect to the Name of God; but there were some who, trusting to the well-known clemency of the King, placed no restraint upon their tongues. Among these was one who occupied a high position in the city of Paris. The King, hearing of this, summoned the offender to his presence, and having in words inspired by his zeal for the honor of God showed him the malignity of the sin, ordered his tongue, the member through which it had been committed, to be pierced with a red-hot iron.

Many of the inhabitants showed great indignation at this action of the King, and did not hesitate to shower upon him the heaviest maledictions.

Painting of St. Louis by Georges Rouget

Painting of St. Louis by Georges Rouget

He was in a short time informed of their conduct towards him; but he would not consent to their receiving any punishment, saying that from his heart he pardoned them, because the words they uttered were not against God, but only against himself.

Afterwards, referring to this matter, he said: “Would to God that my tongue should be pierced with a hot iron, if only by suffering this I might be able to root out of my kingdom every word of blasphemy or dishonor against God s most holy Name!” And when someone praised him for his zeal, he answered: “I prefer to hear the maledictions that are poured forth against me when I cause to be executed the law I have passed, than to hear the words of praise you are lavishing upon me.”


The Catechism In Examples Vol. III By the Rev. D. Chisholm Pg. 112-114.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 470


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