The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Pius VII (1800-1823)
Consistory of October 20, 1800 (II)
Celebrated in Rome


(3) 1. BORBÓN Y VALLÁBRIGA, Luis María de (1777-1823)

Birth. May 22, 1777, Cadalso de los Vidrios, archdiocese of Toledo, Spain. Son of former Cardinal Luis Antonio Jaime de Borbón y Farnesio (1735) and Maria Teresa de Vallábriga y de Rozas. He was also known as Luis María Vallábriga, count of Chinchón. Because of the "Pragmatic Sanction", his father had given up the last name Borbón.

Education. Studied at the University of Toledo, where he obtained doctorates in theology and canon law in 1794.

Early life. Archdeacon of Talavera, Toledo, 1793.

Priesthood. Granted dispensation to receive ordination being two years under the canonical age and outside the canonical time for ordinations, March 13, 1799.

Episcopate. Elected archbishop of Seville, March 15, 1799. Granted dispensation to receive the episcopal consecration under the canonical age of twenty three years, March 16, 1799. Consecrated, June 2, 1799, Aranjuez, by Cardinal Antonio Sentmanat Cartellá, patriarch of the West Indies; the co-consecrators are not known. Named Grande de España, first class, August 4, 1799. Granted the last name Borbón and the arms of the Royal House, the Order of Charles III, June 1800.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of October 20, 1800; received the title of S. Maria della Scala, deaconry elevated pro illa vice to title, October 20, 1800; he was not present in Rome and the red hat, biretta and ring were sent to him. Transferred to the metropolitan and primatial see of Toledo, retaining the administration of the archdiocese of Seville, December 22, 1800. Named marquis of San Martín de la Vega, grand chancellor of Castille, and counselor of State. In 1809, Emperor Napoléon I Bonaparte occupied Spain. The cardinal escaped Toledo and went to Andalucía together with the members of the Junta Central Suprema. At the beginning of 1810, the Junta convoked elections for new Cortes and abolished itself creating a Council of Regency, presided by the bishop of Orsense, January 29, 1810. The Cortes were constituted on September 24 of that same year, in Cádiz. The Council ceded the Cortes the government of the country. Among the many liberal laws issued by the Cortes, the cardinal signed a decree abolishing the Tribunal of the Inquisition. A constitution which all, including the king, had to obey was approved by the Cortes on March 19, 1812. When the president of the Council of Regency refused to sign the constitution, he was expelled from the country and the cardinal, the only member of the royal family present in in Spanish soil, was recognized as regent of the kingdom in August 1812 until the return of Ferdinand VII. On December 11, 1813, Napoléon I accepted defeat in Spain and signed the Treaty of Valençay with Ferdinand VII, recognizing him as king of Spain. On January 6, 1814, a Council of Regency, formed by the cardinal and two generals, was established in Madrid. The Cortes, with a majority of conservatives, met in Madrid on January 14, and did not accept the Treaty of Valençay, or Ferdinand as king, until he swore the Constitution of 1812. On May 4, 1814 a coup restored King Ferdinand VII's absolute power. The cardinal was forced to resign the administration of the archdiocese of Seville, May 19, 1814; the resignation was accepted by the pope, December 29, 1814. After several attempts against the absolute regime of the king, he was forced by Lieutenant Colonel Rafael Riego on March 7, 1820 to accept the constitution of 1812, and a Junta Provisional Consultiva presided by the cardinal (who had already issued a pastoral letter supporting the constitution) was established. For three years, until his death, he presided the junta and was counselor of State.

Death. March 19, 1823, Madrid. Exposed in the metropolitan cathedral of Toledo and buried in the sacristy of that cathedral in a neoclassic sepulchre made of alabaster and sculpted in Rome in 1824 by Valeriano Salvatierra.

Bibliography. Guitarte Izquierdo, Vidal. Episcopologio Español (1700-1867). Españoles obispos en España, América, Filipinas y otros países. Rome : Instituto Español de Historia Eclesiástica, 1994. (Publicaciones del Instituto Español de Historia Eclesiástica; Subsidia; 29), p. 139-140; LeBlanc, Jean. Dictionnaire biographique des cardinaux du XIXe siècle : contribution à l'histoire du Sacré Collège sous les pontificats de Pie VII, Léon XII, Pie VIII, GrégoireXVI, Pie IX et Léon XIII, 1800-1903. Montréal : Wilson & Lafleur, 2007. (Collection Gratianus. Série instruments de recherche), p. 169-171; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VI (1730-1799). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, p. 238; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi. Volumen VII (1800-1846). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 6 and 46, Rodríguez López-Brea, Carlos M. Don Luis de Borbón, el cardenal de los liberales (1777-1823). [Toledo] : Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-La Mancha, 2002; Rodríguez López-Brea, Carlos M. Dos Borbones, cardenales primados en Toledo. [Cuenca] : Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, Gabinete del Rector, 2001.

Links. Biography, in Spanish; portraits and biography, in Spanish; his engraving by Tomás López Enguídanos; his portrait by Francisco de Goya; and his genealogy. 10a 1b; and another portrait also by Francisco de Goya.

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