of The Tablet's first edition
State of the Church
His Holiness, on the 27th of April last, delivered an allocation in secret consistory, detailing the names of several pious clergymen and missionaries who, within the last few years, in Cochin China and Tonquin, have earned the crown of martyrdom, by their unflinching adherence to the Catholic faith. We regret that we can only give a brief epitome of this interesting document. His Holiness commenced by reminding his hearers that he had long mourned over the afflictions of the Christians in Tonquin and the adjoining regions, adding, however, that he had found consolation for his sorrow in the unconquered courage of many among them, whom no fear of danger, nor bonds, nor stripes, nor the aspect of immediate death, had been able to weaken in their faith. "And seeing that accredited testimonies of the mighty things done of late years in those countries have reached this Holy See, we have esteemed it our duty to proclaim in this your full assembly, the virtues of those who have given up their bodies for the faith of Christ, and with you to glorify Christ himself in his triumphant soldiers."
The first case mentioned is that of the missionary Marchaud, who, in 1835, was thrown into a dungeon by the King of Cochin-China, and after a multitude of torments was put to death in the month of November of that year. A few days afterwards, a native youth, the only son of a widowed mother, after having courageously endured captivity for two years, was beheaded.
In 1837, the Presbyter John Charles Cornay, and a faithful native of the name of Francis Xavier Carr, suffered in Tonquin; the former, after a captivity of three months, during which he had been cruelly scourged; the latter, after twenty months' imprisonment, during the whole of which time he was subjected to the most opprobrious treatment.
His Holiness passes over in silence many martyrs whose names have not reached him, and among whom there were many women, and then proceeds to enumerate others, as having suffered at a more recent period:-
The Presbyter Francis Jarrard, and a native youth, were suffocated in September 1838.
The venerable brother Ignatius Delgado, of the order of preachers, Bishop of Mellipotamens, and Vicar Apostolic in the East, after having discharged the duties of his mission for forty years, fell, in his old age, into the hands of the unfaithful, and died in prison, while the King's confirmation of the sentence for his execution was on its way. The body of the deceased prelate was afterwards exposed to every public indignity. His head was cut off, and exposed to public view for three days, and afterwards to heavy weights, was thrown into the river, whence it was withdrawn at the end of four months, in a perfectly uncorrupted condition.
His coadjutor, the venerable brother Dominicus Henares, of the same order, Bishop of Fesseitens, was beheaded in the month of June; two native Christians obtaining, at the same time, the crown of martyrdom.
A native priest, of the name of Bernard DuÍ, eighty-three years of age, during thirty of which he had officiated in his sacred character, of his own accord delivered himself up to the soldiers; and, having resisted every temptation and inducement to betray his faith, was beheaded, in defiance of the laws of the country, according to which, death cannot be inflicted on any prisoner above the age of eighty.
The names of several glorious martyrs, chiefly native priests, follow, and his Holiness concludes by praying God to grant "That the faculty of rightly judging of these things be not wanting, and that this Holy See may be enabled to judge of the triumph of so many new martyrs, and propose them to the veneration of the Faithful. In the mean time, we entertain the firm hope, that the author and consummator of our faith, Christ the Lord, by whose assisting grace they were enabled to remain strong in the fight, may now behold his spouse the Church glittering with the fresh blood of her sons, and may deliver her from the calamities with which she is afflicted, and especially that in those regions watered with blood, the fruits of justice may be developed in the increased number of believers!"