In May of 1567, Guy de Bres was sitting in prison in Valenciennes.  His date with the executioner was approaching.  Meanwhile, he had visitors.  Among them was a Roman Catholic bishop, Francois Richardot.  Richardot was a mover and shaker in the Roman Catholic Church.  Though he never went on to be pope, Richardot was much like the sixteenth-century equivalent of Cardinal Ratzinger.  He was renowned as a preacher and some of his extant sermons give specific instructions about how to debate with the Reformed regarding such things as the Mass.  In 1563, Richardot was at the Council of Trent and he delivered the opening discourse at the twenty-fourth session.  He preached the funeral sermon of Emperor Charles V.  He was well-known to the Reformers.  In a letter to Renee, the Duchess of Ferrara, Calvin described Richardot at length, warning the Duchess of him.  This Bishop of Arras took on de Bres in two sessions and extensively discussed with him the differences between their two religions.  De Bres was debating with one of the most highly respected Roman Catholic polemicists of his day.  I’m working on a critical translation of the one debate for which we have a record.  If everything goes well, it will hopefully be published later this year in The Confessional Presbyterian.

Leave a Reply