Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Louis Veuillot

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Louis Veuillot

Article excerpt

Louis Veuillot. By Pierre Pierrard. [Politiques & Chretiens, 12.1 (Paris: Beauchesne Editeur. 1998. Pp. ix, 273. 180 FF paperback.)

M. Pierrard opens his book with a disclaimer that he has never liked people filled with certitude, especially in religious matters. Nevertheless, he accepted without hesitation the invitation to write a book on the "Catholic absolutist" editor-in-chief of L'Univers, Louis Veuillot. Pies-rard believes Veuillot was probably the greatest Catholic journalist of all time and one of the very best in the nineteenth, journalism's golden, century. He asserts that contemporary historians' tendency to ignore Veuillot derives from the evolution of religious sensibility against intransigence and leads to a wide gap in the understanding of the period.

Veuillot is described as "an autodidact of genius," an excellent writer whose best work was as a journalist. Although his private life was distinguished by gentleness, modesty, and politeness toward his family and friends, his journalistic career was marked by strident polemics, irony, and cunning wit. A convert to Catholicism,Veuillot used his pen as a sword against "libres penseurs" and to defend"the true faith.'

Convinced throughout his life that he expressed the opinion of the great majority of Catholics, Veuillot's career was marked with disagreements with many bishops as well as other lay leaders. Mgr. Sibour, Archbishop of Paris, and Mgr. Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans, felt that Veuillot was overstepping his role as a lay journalist and introducing demagogy and laicism into the Church. But other bishops, like Mgr. Parisis of Arms, defended Veuillot, claiming that in a time when priests were not heard in the world at large, lay preaching through the vehicle of the press was necessary. …

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