France lost a humiliating six-month war to Germany in January 1871. Afterward, French National Guardsmen joined political progressives in a revolt against the restorative national government that had gotten them into the bloody mess. In March 1871, they organized a Commune in Paris with a progressive government independent of the Third Republic ruling from Versailles. It lasted for two months.
One aspect of the Commune was its hostility toward the Latin Church. Communards forbade religious instruction in church schools. They seized control of church money, buildings, and property. In the end, they shot Georges Darboy, Archbishop of Paris, as well as dozens, perhaps hundreds, of priests and religious, for no good purpose.
Once French troops loyal to the government overthrew the Commune, tens of thousands of progressives in Paris were murdered, imprisoned, or exiled at a more leisurely pace for no good purpose. These wanton acts were followed by the construction of the spectacular Basilica of Sacré Coeur on Montmartre at the former site of the Paris Commune.
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