We often read the term "Counter-Reformation" as if the Church suddenly rose up in arms to fight the re-formers. In truth reformation is a constant process in the Church as is shown by its many saints over the millennia through that time and even to today. The Church seeks to reform but there are those who seek to re-form her in their own image. Like the need for reform, this is nothing new in the Church and still continues to this day.
The price of standing by her and trying to reform the Church is often resistance from both outside and inside the Church. A friend and I agreed years ago that, as Christ shows us, if they are not trying to kill you, you are not doing it right.
We have many accounts of the early martyrs, many of which are certainly more speculation than fact. For me, it is in reading the more modern accounts like this one or that of St. Kolbe which bring the older less reliable ones to new truth.
Finally, I have read that a Protestant offered Fidelis sanctuary, a statement to both men.
From Gruesch he went to preach at Seewis, where, with great energy, he exhorted the Catholics to constancy in the faith. After a Calvinist had discharged his musket at him in the Church, the Catholics entreated him to leave the place. He answered that death was his gain and his joy, and that he was ready to lay down his life in God's cause. On his road back to Gruesch, he met twenty Calvinist soldiers with a minister at their head. They called him a false prophet, and urged him to embrace their sect. He answered: "I am sent to you to confute, not to embrace your heresy. The Catholic religion is the faith of all ages, I fear not death." One of them beat him down to the ground by a stroke on the head with his backsword. Fidelis rose again on his knees, and stretching forth his arms in the form of a cross, said with a feeble voice "Pardon my enemies, O Lord: blinded by passion they know not what they do. Lord Jesus, have mercy on me. Mary, Mother of God, succor me!." Another sword stroke clove his skull, and he fell to the ground and lay in a pool of his own blood. The soldiers, not content with this, added many stab wounds to his body with their long knives, and hacked-off his left leg, as they said, to punish him for his many journeys into those parts to preach to them.
Things to Think About