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Louis-Edouard-Desire Pie

Louis-Edouard-Désiré Pie

Cardinal, born at Pontgouin, Diocese of Chartres, 1815; died at Angouleme, 1880. He studied at the Seminary of Chartres and at St. Sulpice, was ordained 1839, became Vicar-General of Chartres, 1844, and Bishop of Poitiers 1849. He created many parishes, established in his Seminary a canonical faculty of theology, founded for the missions of the diocese the Oblates of St. Hilary and brought the Jesuits to Poitiers and the Benedictines to Solesmes and Ligugé. To his initiative were largely due the resumption of the provincial synods in France, the promotion of St. Hilary's cultus and the erection of the national shrine of the Sacred Heart at Montmartre. He is however, best known for his opposition to modern errors, and his championship of the rights of the Church. Regarding as futile the compromises accepted by other Catholic leaders, he fought alike all philosophical theories and political arrangements that did not come up to the full traditional Christian standard. His stand in matters philosophical was indicated as early as 1854-55 in two synodal instructions against "the errors of the present day and of philosophy".

In politics a staunch follower of the Comte de Chambord, he trusted but little the other regimes under which he lived. To Napoleon III who had declared untimely certain measures suggested by the bishop, Pie said one day: "Sire, since the time has not come for Christ to reign, then the time has not come for government to last". Such was the vigour with which he stigmatized the imperial insincerity regarding the independence of the Papal States that he was denounced to both the Council of State and the Holy See. The former pronounced him guilty of abuse of power, but Cardinal Antonelli valiantly stood by him. At the Vatican Council he did not sign the postulation petitioning for the definition of papal infallibilty, but once it was placed on the programme of the council, he proved one of the best exponents and defenders of it. As a reward for his loyal services, Leo XIII made him Cardinal, 1879. Sincerely attached to his diocese, Mgr. Pie had refused all offers of preferment: a seat at the national Assembly, the Archbishopric of Tours, and even the primatial See of Lyons. His works, full of doctrine and unction, were published serially during his lifetime at Poitiers, but were later collected into "Oeuvres épiscopales", 10 vols., Paris, s.d., and "Oeuvres sacerdotales", 2 vols., paris, s.d.


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