From that time, in spite of occasional indulgences shown to the Reformers, due to his desire to conciliate the Protestant powers, Francis gave a free hand to the party of repression, of which the most active and most pitiless member was Cardinal de Tournon; and the end of the reign was sullied by the massacre of the Waldenses (1545) Francis introduced new methods into government.
In Italy the Waldenses (without, however, any mystical leaning), in the south of France and elsewhere the numerous sect or sects.
The later years of Francis's reign were noteworthy for the horrible massacre of the Waldenses and the martyrdom of fourteen from the group of Meaux, who were burnt alive in 1546.
He had written to the Waldenses that it is better not to baptize at all than to baptize little children; now he was cautious, would not condemn the new prophecy off-hand; but advised Melanchthon to treat them gently and to prove their spirits, less they be of God.
The Waldenses withdrew altogether from the ministrations of the church, and chose ministers for themselves whose merits were recognized by the body of the faithful.
Like St Francis, Waldo adopted a life of poverty that he might be free to preach, but with this difference that the Waldenses preached the doctrine of Christ while the Franciscans preached the person of Christ, Waldo reformed teaching while Francis kindled love; hence the one awakened antagonisms which the other escaped.
This account sufficiently shows the difference of the Waldenses from the Cathari: they were opposed to asceticism, and had no official priesthood; at the same time their objection to oaths and to capital punishment are closely related to the principles of the Cathari.
The name Waldenses was given to the members of an heretical Christian sect which arose in the south of France about 1170.
The Waldenses of Savoy and France, the Brethren (small communities of evangelical dissenters from the medieval faith) of Germany, and the Unitas Fratrum of Bohemia all used the same catechism (one that was first printed in 1498, and which continued to be published till 1530) for the instruction of their children.
A company of Waldenses founded a second settlement in 1658, at Stony Brook, about 2 m.