Desire Mercier - Cardinal Archbishop of Malines

Discussion in 'Non-Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Aug 28, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    DESIRE MERCIER (1851-), Cardinal Archbishop of Malines, Belgium, was born Nov. 21 1851 at Broine l'Allemt, in the Walloon portion of Brabant, of a bourgeois family.

    After finishing his course at the college of St. Rombaut at Malines, he entered the larger seminary of that town, and on April 5 1874 was ordained priest. He continued his theological studies at Louvain, and in 1877 was appointed professor of philosophy at the lesser seminary of Malines. In 1882 he was appointed to the recently created chair of Thomist philosophy at Louvain, and during the ensuing years was active in the scheme for founding the Institut Superieur de Philosophie at Louvain, which was finally opened in 1894.

    In Feb. 1906 Monsignor Mercier was appointed Archbishop of Malines in succession to Archbishop Goossens, and in 1907 he was created a cardinal. Soon after the outbreak of war in 1914 he was summoned to Rome to attend the funeral of Pope Pius X. and the election of his successor, and it was therefore not until his return to Belgium that he became fully aware of the incidents of the German invasion. He personally inquired into many of the allegations against the invading army, and as a result issued his famous pastoral letter "Patriotism and Endurance."

    In this he strongly protested against the cruelties which had been inflicted on the Belgian population, at the same time recommending submission to the authorities in everything that was just. This pastoral was widely read, in spite of all the efforts of the German authorities, and the cardinal declined in any way to retract his words. Henceforth, ,during the four years of the German occupation, he did not cease to protest against violations of right and justice by the Germans, and was often in conflict with the military authorities, as his correspondence with the German governor shows.

    Some of his protests were successful and on Oct. 17 1918 Baron von der Lancken, head of the political department at Brussels, announced to him the impending liberation of political prisoners. The dignity and courage of the cardinal's conduct were universally recognized.

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