Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Der Französische Exilklerus Im Fürstbistum Münster (1794-1802)

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Der Französische Exilklerus Im Fürstbistum Münster (1794-1802)

Article excerpt

Der Französische Exilklerus im Fürstbistum Münster (1794-1802). By Bernward Kröger. [Veröffentwicklungen des Instituts für Europälsche Geschichte Mainz, Abteilung für Abendländische Religionsgeschichte, Band 203.] (Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern. 2005. Pp. xii, 299. euro39.90.)

Although a dissertation for the University of Munster, this work is worthy of a mature scholar. It is extensively researched and well written. More importantly, it fills a gap in our knowledge and understanding of the impact of the French Revolution on neighboring portions of Europe, in this instance the "kleine Vaterland" in Westpahlia, the Bishopric on Münster.

The Bishopric of Münster was, during the period in question, and for much of the preceding century, joined in personal union with the Electorate of Cologne, and held at this time by the youngest son of Empress Maria Theresa, Maximilian Franz of Austria. His chief minister in Cologne was Franz Wilhelm von Spiegel, his vicar general in Munster was Franz von Fürstenberg. Both were in clerical orders, and members of the cathedral chapter of Münster, but they differed significantly in outlook and influence. This was pertinent to the reception of the clergy who streamed across the frontiers from persecution in revolutionary France.

Kröger provides the reader with sufficient background concerning the situation in France from the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789 to the intense persecution suffered by the clergy during the Reign of Terror. He then discusses the reception of those who fled into exile as a consequence of that persecution. In addition to the two individuals named above, one of the exiles himself played a role in organizing and furthering the reception of the exiled clergy in the Westphalian bishopric. This was Claude-Joseph de Sagey, vicar general of the diocese of LeMans. Sagey argued that the exiled clergy were defending universal Catholicism, and thus Catholics everywhere had a moral obligation to support and assist them. This attitude was very similar to that of Fürstenberg, who carried the cathedral chapter and local sentiment in this direction. In addition, the Westphalian argued that Christian charity required extending help to all who suffered for the Faith. Spiegel, on the contrary, opposed an extensive presence of French clergy in the Bishopric, arguing that they were responsible for their own troubles, as the clergy had sided with the Third Estate against the nobility at the outbreak of the Revolution, and they were,further, a drain on resources needed to prosecute the war against France. …

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