Is Paris worth 6,000 Masses?

Henri de Navarre, ancestor of Louis XV,
who said "Paris is worth a Mass".
I have been reading Louis XIV by David Ogg, who has a very entertaining and fast-paced style. It's an old book, first published before the Second World War. He talks about Louis XV, great-grandson of the Sun King and quotes some interesting statistics:
In 1744 the new king, Louis XV, was dangerously ill and it seems that over 6,000 citizens of Paris spontaneously arranged for Masses to be said at Notre Dame for his speedy restoration. The king made a miraculous recovery. About a decade later, the same thing happened, and this time 600 Mass stipends are recorded in the books of Notre Dame. And the monarch revived again. When the king really was on his death bed, in 1774, only three Masses were said for his health. And the king passed on to his eternal reward.

Now, three possible conclusions could be drawn, I suggest: first, King Louis XV became less popular as time went on, or, secondly, the belief in the Divine Right of Kings (which is of course an erroneous belief, anyway) waned, so that he was less important to people in their spiritual heart of hearts, or lastly that over those three decades the cosmpolitan population of Paris became steadily less religious, so that by 1774 they no longer believed in the miraculous intervention of the Almighty.
It can all happen very quickly, after all. Fifteen years later, the French Revolution triggered a wave of sacrileges: the bodies of saints and kings exhumed and exposed to public ridicule, statues representing the godess of Reason enshrined upon the altars and given public adoration, priests and nuns, murdered, raped and exiled ...

In Ireland, in my lifetime, Sunday attendance at church has fallen from about 90% to 25%. It is a fairly young population, so many of these people have just stopped practising their religion.

Henry VIII:
"Monks, monks, monks."
A last thought about Masses: Henry VII left £250 for 10,000 Masses to be said for his and other souls. The will of  his son, Henry VIII, made on 30 December, 1546, contains a provision for an altar over his tomb in St. George's Chapel in Windsor where daily Mass shall be said "as long as the world shall indure", and it sets out a grant to the dean and canons of the chapel of lands to the value of £600 a year for ever to find two priests to say Mass and to keep four obits yearly and to give alms for the King's soul: all this, despite the fact that Henry VIII had outlawed, in 1531, all provisions for Masses to be said any more than 20 years after someone's death. Henry VIII died on 28th January 1547, and the stipulations of his will regarding the Masses for his soul were soon ignored. (Source, Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911.)


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