The guestbook of the clergy and congregations written by one of his predecessors, Father Calixte Boulesteix, in 1925, is a precious “directory”. It lists, in fact, the 23,418 priests, 9,281 monks and 14,797 nuns who took part in the Great War, in one way or another, in all the countries allied to France. The two volumes of course pay homage to the 4,953 deaths of the clergy whose photos they publish.
Silencing an infamous rumor
This exceptional and exhaustive document published by Bonne Presse, Bayard’s ancestor, was prefaced by a booklet signed by the Catholic writer Henry Bordeaux, of the French Academy. Titled The blood of priests, its presentation text justifies this work in order to silence “the infamous rumor” which, from 1915 onwards, attempted, once again, to discredit the commitment of Catholics, presenting them as “hidden” and agents of Rome, unpatriotic .