Why did Joan of Arc executed?

I have watched Joan of Arc but I am not sure if my understanding is correct.

I just want to know who were the ones who killed Joan of Arc and why did they executed her? Was it the catholic church that executed her?

I have a facebook friend and she posted me a video, a part of Joan of Arc movie. She is from other religion. And on the video it says something like this, " this is what the big religion Roman Catholic did to does who worship Jesus. They were burned alive that’s why people join them because they were afraid to get executed." Something like that.


I don’t know what to explain to her. I need help. Thanks!

Here’s the details of the trial and death of Joan of Arc in easy bullet points:

Joan claimed that Saint Margaret, Saint Catherine, and Saint Michael spoke to her.

Joan’s trial for heresy was politically motivated in the midst of the Hundred Years war between England and France (think Shakespeare’s Henry V in order to get a picture of the political climate).

England resented Joan’s support of the French crown. Joan’s reputation as a French prophetess and saint needed to be destroyed if England were to have a “divine claim” on northern France. The person and success of Joan of Arc symbolized that God was on the side of the French.

Under ecclesiastical law, Bishop Cauchon lacked jurisdiction over the case against Joan of Arc.

Clerical notary Nicolas Bailly, commissioned to collect testimony against Joan, could find no adverse evidence. Without evidence the court lacked grounds to initiate a trial. They opened a trial anyway.

Contrary to canon law, Joan was denied a legal adviser.

Joan asked for French churchean to be present at her trial. Her request was denied.

Asked if she knew she was in God’s grace, she answered: ‘If I am not, may God put me there; and if I am, may God so keep me.’” Notary Boisguillaume later testified that at the moment the court heard this reply, “Those who were interrogating her were stupefied.”

Several court functionaries later testified that the official transcript was altered in her disfavor. Many clerics served under compulsion, including the inquisitor, Jean LeMaitre, and a few even received death threats from the English.

According to church law, a woman under trial should have been placed in an ecclesiastical prison under the supervision of nuns. Instead, the English kept Joan in a secular prison guarded by male soldiers. Joan complained “a great English lord had entered her prison and tried to take her by force.”

Bishop Cauchon denied Joan’s appeals to the Council of Basel and the pope, which should have stopped his proceeding.

The twelve articles of accusation that summarize the court’s finding contradict the already doctored court record.

Joan, being illiterate, signed an abjuration that she could not read. The court later substituted a different abjuration for the official record.

Joan claimed that she wore male clothing and armor so that she would not be molested or raped by males on the battle field and in camp. Joan was intent on preserving her virginity.

She was condemned and sentenced to burning at the stake on 30 May 1431, tied to a tall pillar in the Vieux-Marche in Rouen,

She begged two priests, Father Martin Ladvenu and Father Isambart de la Pierre, to hold a crucifix before her as she burned so that she could see Jesus Christ.

The English burned her body twice to reduce her remains thoroughly to ashes. They cast all her ashes into the Seine River in order to prevent any collection of relics. Their action reveals that there was already a strong belief among the populace that Joan was a saint.

Her executioner, Geoffroy Therage, later stated that he “greatly feared to be damned” on account of his part in the death of Joan of Arc.


25 years later that she was found innocent of all heresy charges by the Pope

Gary’s account is informative and correct. Here’s some more information, including some background info:

England and France had been at war for a long time (the Hundreds Year War). England was decisively winning, having taken much French territory and winning every battle. Their captured territory included the city of Reims,which is where French kings were traditionally crowned. This effectively prevented the French prince and heir, Charles-7, from becoming king.

The French waged an “old fashioned” war with mounted heavy knights, while the English deployed many “modern” longbow archers whose arrows could pierce armor and kill knights (and their mounts) at distance.

After receiving visions by two saints and the Archangel Michael, she approached the dauphin (next in succession, but uncrowned) prince and asked to lead the French army to recover the conquered regions and allow him to be crowned king.

She was an illiterate, sixteen or seventeen-year-old peasant girl, and she wanted to command the French army. Ha ha ha. But she took the prince aside and told him something secretly (we do not know what it was), and he reversed his decision and put her in charge (I’m leaving a LOT out here - this took two years, and a trial for witchcraft (she was vindicated), before she won her request).

The French Generals (one of whom was nicknamed “Satan”) thought Charles intended her to only be a figurehead for the troops to rally around. But she insisted she was in charge, and effectively took control of the French Army. Charles had appointed her “General-in-Chief of armies” and not just a figurehead, and she brought that authority to bear upon the French generals, who VERY reluctantly accepted the orders of the Prince/King. But they still thought they could control Joan. After all, they were trained military veteran generals. Joan would be putty in their hands.

Guided by her visions, she led the Army to an astonishing victory at Orléans. Against the ardent advice of her generals, she immediately attacked the city after they refused to surrender, and won a decisive victory against a fortified and vastly superior force.

This is one of several consecutive decisive victories (of an army that had not won a victory in a very long time), including the recapture of the city of Reims, allowing the prince to be crowned King. After that, she continued to reclaim captured territory in a “bloodless march,” in which the English occupiers surrendered immediately upon hearing of Joan’s advance.

Joan had fulfilled all that her visions told her to do. But she was on a roll, and did not wish to stop there. Alas, her forces lost a battle, and Joan was injured and captured, and held in Marguy by Burgundian troops (allied with England). In those days, it was typical for a “high value” capture to be ransomed. The Burgundians (in northern France) held Joan for nearly six months, demanding a ransom of 61,125 francs to return her to her people. Everybody expected Charles-7 to pay the ransom - after all, he has been crowned king by Joan’s military victories. It was a high price, but not completely unreasonable. Yet, Charles, for reasons unknown, shamefully refused to pay the ransom.

The English, however, were willing to pay to get their hands on the woman who had defeated them so badly. So the Burgundians sold her to the English for a handsome (but not as high) price.

The English did not have any real problem with Joan’s military victories. Had she simply led her troops to victory, the English would have little reason to complain. Strange things happen in warfare. It would have been unusual for a woman to command troops, but
nothing else would have really bothered them.

THE PROBLEM THAT THE ENGLISH HAD was that Joan had attributed her astonishing success to visitations and instructions by two Saints and an Archangel. Both England and France were Catholic, but if Joan’s claims were true, it would mean that GOD was taking sides with the French. If her visions were true, GOD HIMSELF had orchestrated the decisive English defeats (of an unconquered and fortified veteran army against a feckless, defeated enemy attacking from an undefended open field).

It seemed obvious to everyone, both English and French, that such a victory could not have possibly been attained without some sort of supernatural assistance. The French attributed it to God, but the English attributed it to Satan. The English believed that Joan’s supernatural visitors were really demons in disguise, and that Satan himself had engineered the defeat of so many English forces, using Joan as a tool of his ambition.

They put her to many trials, at which she astonished these learned theologians by her shrewd replies. They finally decided to obtain a confession through torture. This horrified her so much that, in a moment of weakness, she recanted her testimony regarding the visions. She was thus spared execution.

But this also meant she was transferred from a Church jail to a regular jail. Church jails were reserved for those facing charges of heresy, and they were administered in a morally upright fashion (for the time). In a regular jail, however, women could be subject to all sorts of abuses, often including rape. Shortly after being transferred to the regular jail, she reasserted her claims of saintly visions and consented to execution. Some people theorize that she had actually been raped, and this prompted her action, while others think that the threat of rape was enough to prompt her action. The Church considers her a virgin, and there is no decisive historical evidence to the contrary.

These last two posts are excellent! I got more out of these posts than the handful of movies I saw about St. Joan.

Yes they were excellent posts. Surprisingly Mark Twain even wrote a book on Joan of Arc. It was good.

In regards to movies, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc HAS to be be, win, show, and place, the WORST, MOST-BIASED, AND OUTRIGHT INACCURATE piece of anti-Catholic and anti-religious propaganda put out in the last few decades. (The late Hank Reinhardt, co-founder of Atlanta Cutlery walked out of the theater half way through–but heard later than hecklers were shouting out “BURN THE WITCH!!” at the screen.

Who portrayed Joan in that movie?

I wonder if Joan is seen as a heroine in France today.

St. Jeanne d’Arc is one of two Patronesses of France, the other being St. Thérèse de Lisieux.

France also has several male Patron Saints (although technical St Michael is an angel):
Saint Martin of Tours; Saint Louis; Saint Rémi; Saint Michael.

:thumbsup: Thanks! I love her story.

Mila Jovovich–and i believe the director Luc Bresson was at the time (1999) her boyfriend so the movie was largely a vehicle for her career (she’s much better at killing fast zombies) per Wikipedia, the movie cost 60 milion and raked in only 67 million

If anyone wonders why I despise The Messenger so much its because on my journey back to the Church, if I had been less knowledgable Joan’s history I might have been swayed by that tripes propaganda. I and my wife attended a movie night at a local parish and the priest showed that movie–and he actualy liked it!:eek: I’m not surprised that that priest has left the Church to join an ulta-liberal schismatic group–I heard him on NPR of all things (if you nreally want his name and the parish I’ll supply it privately)

I have not seen “The Messenger” and I am glad of that. I had heard a lot from reviewers I respected that it was way off.

The best thing to do to know about St. Joan is to read the documents of her trial. They are nothing at all like any movie I have seen about her. I did like the movie about her that was played by Leelee Sobieski.
Even that was not perfect, but it was not bad. I believe it was a made for TV movie.

I am saddened to hear that a priest would fall for the nonsense of “The Messenger”. Priests need our prayers.

Thank you for your post.

Awesome post, Gary!:thumbsup:

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