Francois Marie Benjamin Richard - Encyclopedia

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FRANCOIS MARIE BENJAMIN RICHARD (1819-1908), archbishop of Paris, French prelate, was born at Nantes on the 1st of March 1819. Educated at the seminary of St Sulpice he became successively vicar-general of Nantes, bishop of Belley, and in 1875 coadjutor of Paris. In 1886 the death of Archbishop Guibert was followed by Mgr. Richard's appointment to the see of Paris, and in 1889 he received a cardinal's hat. In January 'goo the trial of the Assumptionist Fathers resulted in the dissolution of their society as an illegal association. Next day an official visit of the archbishop to the Fathers was noted by government as an act of a political character, and Mgr. Richard was officially censured. His attitude was in general exceedingly moderate, he had no share in the extremist policy of the Ultrambntanes, and throughout the struggle over the law of Associations and the law of Separations he maintained his reasonable temper. He presided in September 1906 over an assembly of bishops and archbishops at his palace in the rue de Grenelle, a few days after the papal encyclical forbidding French Catholics to form associations for public worship, but it was then too late for conciliation. In December he gave up the archiepiscopal palace to the government authorities. He was then an old man of nearly ninety, and his "eviction" evoked great sympathy. Cardinal Richard died on the 29th of January 1908.

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