Did Joan Die a Martyr?
The sanctity of Joan and her Beatification do not rest on the question of her martyrdom. Her Canonization will be amply justified without it. Yet there are many defenders of her claim to the martyr's crown. Who dies for any virtue dies a martyr. Did she die for the preservation of her purity? The resumption of male attire for virtue's sake was the direct cause of her condemnation. The larger cause was her refusal to abjure. But as far as the English were concerned, and the Burgundians, the cause of her death was her victorious campaign for France; and this, for her, was a work ordained by Heaven. For her mission she died. Would she have been spared if she abjured her Voices and her mission, and quietly dropped out of sight? What ever Cauchon might do—and he could not be trusted—the English would never have let the Maid go free; nor, in all likelihood, have let her live even as a captive. The hate of her great foes of France -the University and its party- was caused by Joan's opposition to their ambitions, plans, and plots. In the general tradition of Christians
since her day, Joan is often spoken of as a martyr. Her Voices spoke of her martyrdom – and this is important to remember.