18 August 2017

Léo Taxil in Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône (13)

Léo Taxil (or Marie Joseph Gabriel Antoine Jogand-Pagès to give him his actual full name), who was born in Marseille 1854 and died in Sceaux 1907), appears in a photo in a painted wooden plaque with Thérèse de Lisieux at the head in Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde. Taxil was a novelist, non-fiction writer, polemicist, journalist, first anti-clericalist (for example À bas la calotte (1879) and then fervent anti-masonic writer. And something of a joker.

His, er, conversion to Catholicism came in 1885, when he began vociferously attacking free-masonry. His work Le Diable au xixe siècle (1895) was co-written by a Carl Hacks, although the name on the cover was 'Dr Bataille', supposedly being the confessions of a certain Diana Vaughan describing a satanic cult practised by free-masons. The book was a huge success with Catholics, and Thérèse was moved by the text enough to send a letter to Vaughan and write a play called Le Triomphe de l'humilité. In 1897 Taxil was forced to admit that Diana Vaughan was a mere typist and that the whole thing was a joke. Under police protection, Taxil left Paris.

Some photos of the church interior:

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