Hugues-Félicité Robert de Lamennais (or De La Mennais) (19 June 1782 – 27 February 1854) was a French Catholic priest, philosopher and political theorist. He was one of the most influential intellectuals of Restoration France. Lamennais is considered the forerunner of liberal Catholicism and social Catholicism.
His opinions on matters of religion and government changed dramatically over the course of his life. He initially held rationalistic views, but in part due to the influence of his brother, Jean-Marie, came to see religion as an antidote for the anarchy and tyranny unleashed by revolution. He derided Napoleon, in part because of the Organic Articles, in which France acting unilaterally amended the Concordat of 1801 between France and the papacy. Lamennais assailed the Gallican view of the relationship between civil authority and the Church and was for a time a staunch ultramontane.
Lamennais was born at Saint-Malo in the ancient Province of Brittany on 19 June 1782, the son of a wealthy merchant who had recently received a coat of arms from the king. He lost his mother at the age of five and as a result, he and his brother, Jean-Marie, were sent for education to an uncle, Robert des Saudrais at La Chênaie, an estate near Saint-Malo. Resistant to any kind of discipline, his uncle would lock him in the library where he spent long hours reading Rousseau and Pascal, among others, and acquired a vast and varied learning. Revolution was to have a profound effect on Lammennais. His family sheltered non-juring priests. Father Vielle said Mass on occasion in the dark at La Chênaie.
Of a sickly and sensitive nature, and shocked by the events of the French Revolution, Lamennais developed a morbid frame of mind. He first held rationalistic views, but partly through the influence of his brother Jean-Marie and partly as a result of his philosophical and historical studies, he came to see the power of faith and religion. He voiced his convictions in Réflexions sur l'état de l'église en France pendant le 18ieme siècle et sur sa situation actuelle, published anonymously in Paris in 1808. The idea for this work and the materials were due to Jean-Marie, but the actual writing was done almost exclusively by Félicité. It recommended religious revival and active clerical organization and the awakening of an ultramontane spirit. Napoleon's police deemed the book dangerously ideological and tried to suppress it.
Lamennais devoted most of the following year to translating Louis de Blois's Speculum Monachorum into French, which he published in 1809 under the title Le Guide spirituel.
In 1811 Lamennais received the tonsure and became professor of mathematics in an ecclesiastical college at Saint-Malo founded by his brother, who had been ordained a Catholic priest in 1804. When the school was closed by imperial authority the following year, Félicité withdrew to La Chênaie, while his brother became vicar-general of the diocese of Saint-Brieuc.
In 1814 he published, with his brother, De la tradition de l'Église sur l'institution des évêques (1814), in which he strongly condemned Gallicanism and the interference of political authority in ecclesiastical affairs. It was provoked by Napoleon's nomination of Jean Siffrein Maury as Archbishop of Paris in accordance with the provisions of the Concordat of 1801.
Lamennais hailed the Bourbon restoration of 1814, which he witnessed in Paris, because he saw Louis XVIII as a force for religious regeneration. During the Hundred Days, he escaped to London, where he worked in Kensington at an institution for the children of poor immigrants. After the final overthrow of Napoleon in 1815, he returned to Paris. Lamennais sought in religion a remedy for the anarchy and tyranny unleashed by revolution. He undertook the study of theology and was ordained a subdeacon on 21 December. At this time he considered joining the Jesuits, however the prospect of a novitiate year led him to decide to become a secular priest. It was in Saint-Brieuc, in February 1816 that Lamennais received the diaconate. He was ordained by the Bishop of Rennes on 9 March 1817.
The first volume of his great work, Essai sur l'indifference en matière de religion, or Essay on Indifference in Matters of Religion, appeared in 1817 and established his reputation throughout Europe. He became, according to Lacordaire, "a humble priest with all the authority once enjoyed by Bossuet". His experience of Napoleon persuaded him that the state had no right to interfere in religion. Lamennais denounced religious indifference by the state and toleration while advocating for a restoration of the pre-Revolutionary authority of the Catholic Church. He contended that private judgment, introduced by Martin Luther into religion, by Descartes and Leibniz into philosophy and science, and by Rousseau and the Encyclopedists into politics, had resulted in practical atheism and spiritual death. He asserted that ecclesiastical authority, founded on the absolute revelation delivered to the Jewish people, but supported by the universal tradition of all nations, was the sole hope of regenerating the European communities.
Three more volumes (Paris, 1818–1824) followed and met with a mixed reception from the Gallican bishops and monarchists, but with the enthusiastic support from the younger clergy. Three Roman theologians examined his work and Pope Leo XII gave it his formal approval. Lamennais visited Rome at the pope's request. He was offered but refused membership in the College of Cardinals.
Lamennais also published works of piety, for example, a widely read French version of The Imitation of Christ with notes and reflections (1824), Guide du premier âge, Journée du Chrétien, and Recueil de piété (1828). The failure of a publishing house aimed at spreading this pious literature resulted in his own financial ruin.
On his return to France he took a prominent part in political work. Together with Chateaubriand and the Comte de Villèle he was a regular contributor to Le Conservateur littéraire. However, when Villèle became the chief supporter of absolute monarchy, Lamennais withdrew his support and started two rival organs, Le Drapeau blanc and Le Mémorial catholique. He authored a pamphlet criticizing the 1825 Anti-Sacrilege Law introduced by Villèle's administration. Various other minor works, together with De la religion considérée dans ses rapports avec l'ordre civil et politique (1825–1826) kept his name before the public.
He retired to La Chênaie and gathered a group of disciples, including Montalembert, Lacordaire and Maurice de Guérin. He espoused ultramontanism and aimed to create an organized body of opinion to campaign against Gallicanism, the control and influence of the state in church matters. Les Progrès de la revolution et de la guerre contre l'église, or On the Progress of the Revolution and the War against the Church, (1828) marked his complete renunciation of royalist principles and from that time on he advocated on behalf of a theocratic democracy.
J.P.T Bury suggests that Lamennais and his associates found inspiration in a Belgian Liberal Catholic movement centered in Malines and led by Archbishop de Méan's vicar-general, Engelbert Sterckx. Largely Catholic Belgium seceded from the Netherlands in 1830 and established a constitutional monarchy. Sterckx, who became archbishop in 1832 found a way not merely to tolerate the new liberal constitution, but to expand the Church under the new liberties guaranteed.
Lamennais founded L'Avenir, the first issue of which appeared on 16 October 1830, with the motto "God and Liberty." His social theories became more radical. The paper was aggressively democratic, demanding rights of local administration, an enlarged suffrage, separation of church and state, universal freedom of conscience, instruction, assembly, and the press. Styles of worship were to be criticized, improved or abolished in absolute submission to the spiritual, not to the temporal authority. His views were opposed by the bishops and supported by the younger clergy, but he lost even their support when he said priests should not be paid by the state. With the help of Montalembert, he founded the Agence générale pour la défense de la liberté religieuse, which became a far-reaching organization with agents throughout France who monitored violations of religious freedom. As a result, the periodical's career was stormy and its circulation opposed by conservative bishops.
Although pressured by the French government and the French hierarchy, Pope Gregory XVI would have preferred not to make an official issue of the matter. However, Lamennais, Montalembert, and Lacordaire suspended their work and in November 1831 set out to Rome to obtain the Pope's approval. Archbishop Quelen of Paris had warned Lammenais that he was being unrealistic and was viewed as a demagogue in favor of revolution. As Quelen was a Gallican, Lammenais ignored him. After much opposition, they gained an audience, but only on condition that their political project should not be mentioned. Metternich, whose Austrian troops ensured the stability of the Papal States, pressed for a condemnation. A few days later they received a letter from Cardinal Pacca, advising their departure from Rome and suggesting that the Holy See, while admitting the justice of their intentions, would like the matter left open for the present.
Lacordaire and Montalembert departed immediately, but Lamennais stayed on until Gregory's letter to the Polish bishops, which denounced the Polish revolution against the Tsar, dashed his last hopes. Gregory thought the Polish revolutionaries were seeking to undermine Russian Tsar Nicholas I's efforts to support the Catholic royalist cause in France by forcing him to divert his troops to suppress the uprising in Poland. While staying in Munich, Lamennais received the 1832 encyclical Mirari vos, which condemned religious pluralism in general and certain of Lamennais's ideas advanced in L'Avenir without mentioning his name. After this, Lamennais and his two lieutenants declared that out of deference to the pope they would not resume the publication of L'Avenir and dissolved the Agence générale as well.
Lamennais retired to La Chênaie, an estate near Saint-Malo, Brittany. He communicated his resentment and political beliefs only through correspondence. The Vatican in turn demanded his frank and full adhesion to the encyclical Mirari vos. Lamennais refused to submit without qualification and in December 1833 renounced his ecclesiastical functions and abandoned all external profession of Christianity.
In May 1834, Lamennais penned Paroles d'un croyant, or Words of a Believer, (1834) a collection of aphorisms that denounced the established social order—what he called the conspiracy of kings and priests against the people—and declared his rupture with the Church. In the encyclical Singulari nos of 25 June 1834, Pope Gregory XVI condemned the book as "small in size, [but] enormous in wickedness" and censured Lamennais' philosophical system.
The Paroles marked Lamennais' turn to a Christian socialism that inspired a whole generation of socialists. His radical ideas reflected an overlap of Catholic and socialist discourses that can be traced back to the 1820s.
Sometime after 5 April 1836 he was imprisoned at Ste. Pelagie, a prison for debtors.
Lamennais was increasingly abandoned by his friends and in 1837 published Les Affaires de Rome, des maux de l'Église ci de la société, in which he provided his perspective on his relations with Gregory XVI.
After this, Lamennais penned several articles in the Revue des Deux Mondes, the Revue du Progrès and Le Monde, and published the pamphlets Le Livre du peuple (1837), De l'esclavage moderne (1839), Politique a l'usage du peuple (1839), Discussions critiques (1841), Du passé et de l'avenir du peuple (1841), Amschaspands et Darvands (1843), in which he espoused popular sovereignty and attacked contemporary society and the public authorities. After the publication of Le Pays et le gouvernement (1840), he was censored and imprisoned for a year in 1841.
From 1841 to 1846 Lamennais published the four volumes of Esquisse d'une philosophie, a treatise on metaphysics, which detailed his departure from Christianity. The third volume, an exposition of art as a development of the aspirations and needs of worship, formed its core. Lamennais also published Les Evangiles, a French translation of the Gospels with added notes and reflections.
In 1846 Lamennais published Une voix de prison, written during his imprisonment.
Lamennais sympathized with the Revolution of 1848 and was elected a deputy for Paris to the Constituent Assembly. He drew up a plan for a Constitution, which was rejected as too radical. After this, he confined himself to silent participation in the sessions. He also started the newspapers Le Peuple constituant and La Révolution démocratique et sociale, espousing radical revolution. Both papers quickly ceased publication. He was also named president of the Société de la solidarité républicaine. He remained a deputy in the legislative assemblies until Napoleon III's 1851 coup, which depressed and isolated him once more.
After 1851, he occupied himself with La Divine Comédie, a translation of Dante's Divine Comedy, and refused several attempts to reconcile him to the Church. He died in Paris in 1854 and was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in a common grave, without funeral rites, mourned by political and literary admirers.
There are two complete works in ten volumes, the first published in 1836-1837 as Œuvres complètes de la Mennais, the second published in 1844 as Œuvres complètes de Lamennais. Both are incomplete.
The Anti-Sacrilege Act (1825–1830) was a French law against blasphemy and sacrilege passed in April 1825 under King Charles X. The law was never applied (except for a minor point) and was later revoked at the beginning of the July Monarchy under King Louis-Philippe.Charles Vilain XIIII
Viscount Charles Ghislain Guillaume Vilain XIIII (15 May 1803 – 16 November 1878) was a Belgian politician, serving as governor of East Flanders, Minister of Foreign Affairs and President of the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium.English College, Rome
The Venerable English College (Italian: Venerabile Collegio Inglese), commonly referred to as the English College, is a Catholic seminary in Rome, Italy, for the training of priests for England and Wales. It was founded in 1579 by William Allen on the model of the English College, Douai.
The current Rector is Monsignor Philip Whitmore.Hugues (given name)
Hugues is a masculine given name most often found in francophone countries, a variant of the originally Germanic name "Hugo" or " Hugh". The final s marks the nominative case in Old French, but is not retained by modern pronunciation (such as in English : Charles, Giles, James, etc.). The old oblique case Hugon (Huon, Yon) disappeared.
Notable people bearing this name include:
Crusader kings of Cyprus:
Hugues I de Lusignan (1194/1195–1218)
Hugues II de Lusignan (1252/1253–1267)
Hugues, Bishop of Dié, (c. 1040–1106)
Hugues Absil (born 1961), French painter
Hugues Aubriot (13??-1382/1391), French administrator and heretic
Hugues Aufray (born 1929), French singer
Hugues Le Bars (1950–2014), French film music composer
Hugues IV de Berzé (1150/1155–1220), French knight, crusader and poet
Hugues Bousiges (born 1948), French civil servant
Hugues Briatte (born 1990), French rugby union player
Hugues Broussard (born 1934), French Olympic swimmer
Hugues Capet (c.939–996), first King of the Franks
Hugues Cosnier (????-1629), French engineer
Hugues de Châteauneuf (1053–1132), French Bishop, theologian and Catholic saint
Hugues Cuénod (1902–2010), Swiss singer opera and musical stage singer
Hugues-Wilfried Dah (born 1986), Burkinabé footballer
Hugues Delorme (1868-1942), French poet, comedian, playwright and journalist
Hugues Doneau (1527–1591), French law professor
Hugues Duboscq (born 1981), French Olympic breaststroke swimmer
Hugues Dufourt (born 1943), French composer and philosopher
Hugues Fournel (born 1988), Canadian Olympic canoeist
Hugues le Grand (898–956), Duke of the Franks and Count of Paris
Hugues Heney (1789–1844), Canadian lawyer and politician
Hugues Krafft (1853–1935), French photographer
Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais (1782-1854), French priest, philosopher and political theorist
Hugues Lapointe (1911– 1982), Canadian politician and lawyer
Hugues Legault (born 1974), Canadian swimmer
Hugues de Lionne (1611–1671), French statesman
Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle (1531–1595), French-born 52nd Grand Master of the Order of Malta
Hugues-Bernard Maret, Duc de Bassano, (1763–1839), French statesman and journalist
Hugues Obry (born 1973), French fencer and Olympic medalist
Hugues Occansey (born 1966), French basketball player
Hugues de Pairaud (12??-13??), French leader of the Knights Templar
Hugues Panassié (1912–1974), French jazz critic and producer
Hugues de Payens (c.1070–1136), French co-founder of the Knights Templar
Hugues C. Pernath (1931-1975), Belgian writer
Hugues de Pierrepont (????-1229), French Bishop of Liège
Hugues Claude Pissarro (born 1935), French painter
Hugues Portelli (born 1947), French politician
Hugues Randin (1628–c.1680), French-born Canadian engineer
Hugues Rebell (1867-1905), French author
Hugues de Poitiers, (????-1187), French Benedictine monk
Hugues de Romans (c. 1040–1106), French papal legate and Archbishop of Lyon
Hugues de Roussan (born 1955), Canadian handball player and Olympic competitor
Hugues de Saint-Cher (ca. 1200–1263), French Dominican friar and cardinal and theologian
Hugues Sambin (ca. 1520–1601), French sculptor
Hugues Sweeney (born ???), Canadian artist and web designer
Hugues Taraval (1729-1785), French painter
Hugues Tshiyinga Mafo (born 1983), Democratic Republic of Congo sprinter
Hugues Wembangomo (born 1992), Democratic Republic of Congo-born Norwegian footballer
Hugues Zagbayou (born 1990), Ivorian football playerJean-Jacques Lartigue
Jean-Jacques Lartigue, S.S., (June 20, 1777 – April 19, 1840) was a Canadian Sulpician, who served as the first Catholic Bishop of Montreal.Jean-Marie de Lamennais
The Very Rev. Canon Jean-Marie-Robert de Lamennais (or de la Mennais) (1780–1860) was a Breton Catholic priest, and brother of the noted philosopher Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais, whom he influenced in their youth. He was a leading figure in the revival of the Catholic Church in France after the French Revolution, involved in founding three religious institutes as part of this effort.
Pope Paul VI proclaimed him to be Venerable in 1966 and his cause of canonization is ongoing.Jovan Stejić
Jovan Stejić (Stari Arad, Habsburg Monarchy, 1803 – Belgrade, Principality of Serbia, 23 November 1853) was a Serbian writer, philologist, critic of Vuk Karadžić's reform and medical doctor.Julio Meinvielle
Father Julio Meinvielle (31 August 1905 – 2 August 1973) was an Argentine priest and prolific writer. A leading Roman Catholic Church thinker of his time, he was associated with the far right tendency within Argentine Catholic thinking. As a polemicist he had a strong influence on the development of nacionalismo.Kiprijonas Nezabitauskis
Kiprijonas Juozas Nezabitauskis-Zabitis (Polish: Cyprian Józef Niezabitowski, 12 September 1779 – 10 July 1837) was a Lithuanian Roman Catholic priest and poet. He was half-brother of Kajetonas Nezabitauskis. After studies at Vilnius University and Vilnius Priest Seminary, Nezabitauskis was ordained as a priest in 1803 and worked as a parish priest in Varniai and Veliuona. After the Uprising of 1831, he fled Tsarist persecutions first to East Prussia and then to France. In 1836, he became director of a school established by Polish émigrés in Nancy, France, but died just a year and half later.
In Lithuania, Nezabitauskis joined the Samogitian literary movement (an early predecessor of the Lithuanian National Revival) which supported and promoted the use of the Lithuanian language. He published a translated work on beekeeping, contributed material to a Lithuanian grammar textbook, and began working on a Lithuanian–Polish dictionary. It appears that he abandoned the dictionary after the letter K due to losing support from professor Ivan Loboiko and Count Nikolay Rumyantsev. His brother Kajetonas claimed authorship of both the dictionary and the beekeeping work. In exile, Nezabitauskis wrote a collection of 18 epic poetry works plus a modification of a ballad Birutė by Silvestras Teofilis Valiūnas. This was one of the first political and philosophical poetry works in Lithuanian. The manuscript was discovered in 1909 and first published in 1931. He also translated and published excerpts from works by Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais and Adam Mickiewicz that were very popular among Polish émigrés in France.Liberal Catholicism
Liberal Catholicism was a current of thought within the Catholic Church. It was influential in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, especially in France. It is largely identified with French political theorists such as Felicité Robert de Lamennais, Henri Lacordaire, and Charles Forbes René de Montalembert influenced, in part, by a similar contemporaneous movement in Belgium.
Being predominantly political in nature, liberal Catholicism was distinct from the contemporary theological movement of modernism. It is also distinct from both the attitude of Catholics who are described as theologically "progressive" or "liberal".Marcellin Jobard
Jean-Baptiste-Ambroise-Marcellin Jobard (17 May 1792 – 27 October 1861) was a Belgian lithographer, photographer and inventor of French origin. Founder of the first significant Belgian lithographic establishment, first photographer in Belgium on 16 September 1839, director of the Musée de l’Industrie de Bruxelles (Industry Museum of Brussels) from 1841 to 1861, Jobard played a role, nowadays underappreciated, in the artistic, technological, scientific and industrial development of Belgium during the Dutch period and the reign of Leopold I.Maurice de Guérin
Georges-Maurice de Guérin (4 August 1810 – 19 July 1839) was a French poet. His works were imbued with a passion for nature whose intensity reached almost to worship and was enriched by pagan elements. According to Sainte-Beuve, no French poet or painter rendered "the feeling for nature, the feeling for the origin of things and the sovereign principle of life" as well as Guérin.Popular Democratic Party (France)
The Popular Democratic Party (French: Parti démocrate populaire, PDP) was a Christian democratic political party in France during the Third Republic. Founded in 1924, it represented the trend of French social Catholicism, while remaining a party embodying the ideology of centrism. The party's ideology was inspired by the popularism of Luigi Sturzo's Italian People's Party. The PDP was a co-founder in 1925 of the International Secretariat of Democratic Parties of Christian Inspiration (SIPDIC).The PDP had its roots in French Catholicism and various Christian movements inspired by Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais and later continued by Marc Sangnier's Le Sillon, the Young Republic League and the Popular Liberal Action (ALP), the party of republican Catholics founded in 1902 and dissolved in 1919.Proletariat
The proletariat ( from Latin proletarius "producing offspring") is the class of wage-earners in an economic society whose only possession of significant material value is their labour-power (how much work they can do). A member of such a class is a proletarian.
In Marxist theory, a dictatorship of the proletariat is for the proletariat, of the proletariat, and by the proletariat. On the Marxist view, this will endow the proletarian with the power to abolish the conditions that make a person a proletarian and, thus, build communism.Prosper Guéranger
Prosper Louis Pascal Guéranger, O.S.B. (commonly referred to as Dom Guéranger, 4 April 1805, Sablé-sur-Sarthe, France – 30 January 1875, Solesmes, France) was a French Benedictine monk and priest, who served for nearly 40 years as the Abbot of Solesmes Abbey (which he founded in the abandoned Priory of Solesmes). Through his efforts, he became the founder of the French Benedictine Congregation (now the Solesmes Congregation), which re-established monastic life in France after it had been wiped out by the French Revolution. Guéranger was the author of The Liturgical Year, which covers every day of the Catholic Church's Liturgical cycle in 15 volumes. He was well regarded by Pope Pius IX, and was a proponent of the dogmas of papal infallibility and the Immaculate Conception.
Guéranger is credited with reviving the Benedictine Order in France, and the implementation of the Tridentine Mass in France, though he is also regarded as the grandfather of the Liturgical Movement, which led to further reform of the Mass of the Roman Rite beyond its Tridentine form. The cause for his canonization is currently being studied by the Holy See, which has approved the title for him of Servant of God.Simon Bruté
Simon William Gabriel Bruté de Rémur (March 20, 1779 – June 26, 1839) was a French missionary in the United States and the first bishop of the Diocese of Vincennes, Indiana. President John Quincy Adams called Bruté "the most learned man of his day in America."Singulari Nos
Singulari Nos (subtitled On The Errors Of Lammenais) was an encyclical issued on June 25, 1834 by Pope Gregory XVI. Essentially a follow-up to the better-known Mirari Vos of 1832, Singulari Nos focused strongly on the views of French priest Hughes Felicité Robert de Lamennais, who did not see any contradiction between Catholicism and then-modern ideals of liberalism and the separation of Church and State.Systematic theology
Systematic theology is a discipline of Christian theology that formulates an orderly, rational, and coherent account of the doctrines of the Christian faith. It addresses issues such as what the Bible teaches about certain topics or what is true about God and his universe. It also builds on biblical disciplines, church history, as well as biblical and historical theology. Systematic theology shares its systematic tasks with other disciplines such as constructive theology, dogmatics, ethics, apologetics, and philosophy of religion.Traditionalism in the Catholic Church
Traditionalism, in the context of 19th-century Catholicism, refers to a theory which held that all metaphysical, moral, and religious knowledge derives from God's revelation to man and is handed down in an unbroken chain of tradition. It denied that human reason by itself has the power to attain to any truths in these domains of knowledge. It arose, mainly in Belgium and France, as a reaction to 18th-century rationalism and can be considered an extreme form of anti-rationalism. Its chief proponents were Joseph de Maistre, Louis de Bonald, and Hugues Felicité Robert de Lamennais. Their doctrines were advocated in a modified form by Louis Eugène Marie Bautain, Augustin Bonnetty, Casimir Ubaghs, and the philosophers of the Louvain school. The fundamental distrust of human reason underlying traditionalism was eventually condemned in a number of papal decrees and finally ruled out by the dogmatic constitution Dei Filius during the First Vatican Council in 1870.
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