The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Pius VII (1800-1823)
Consistory of May 16, 1823 (XIX)


(99) 1. LA FARE, Anne-Louis-Henri de

Birth. September 8 (1), 1752, château de Bessay, Lesson, diocese of Luçon, France. Of an old noble family. Third of the seven children of Louis-Joseph-Dominique, marquis de La Fare, and Gabrielle-Paule-Henriette Gazeau. Baptized, November 4, 1752, Bessay. Grand-nephew of Cardinal François-Joachim de Pierre de Bernis (1758).

Education. Collège Louis le Grand, Paris (under the direction of Abbé Labdan); Collège Harcourt, Paris, 1764; Saint-Sulpice Seminary, Paris (licentiate in theology). Received the clerical tonsure, February 23, 1766. Received the subdiaconate, April 1, 1775, in Saint-Nicolas-de Chardonnet; diaconate, September 23, 1775.

Priesthood. Ordained, September 21, 1776, abbey church of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes, Soissons. Provided of numerous prebends and benefices after insistent requests: abbot commendatario of Moreilles in 1776; of Licques in 1783; prior de Stenau; Cardinal de Bernis obtained for him the priorate of Saint-Onésime de Donchery. In the diocese of Dijon, vicar general in 1778; and dean of Sainte-Chapelle du Roi. Elected agent general of the clergy of the États de Bourgogne in 1784; he participated in that capacity in the administration of the province and in the Assemblée des Notables from February to May 1787; his performance during the assembly earned him the promotion to the episcopate. Member of the Académie de Dijon, 1784.

Episcopate. Elected bishop of Nancy, December 17, 1787; he had been presented by the king of France the previous October 7. Consecrated, January 13, 1788, cathedral of Dijon, by René des Montiers de Mérinville, bishop of Dijon, assisted by François Moreau, bishop of Mâcon, and by Jean-Baptiste Chilleau, bishop of Chalons. Elected deputy of the clergy of the bailliage of Nancy to the États généraux on April 6, 1789, he was charged with delivering the opening discourse in the church of Saint-Louis of Versailles on May 4. He was one of the signatories of Exposition des principes de la constitution du clergé that was redacted by the bishops deputized to the National Assembly in 1790. Did not accept the Civil Constitution of the Clergy he and went into exile in January 1791 to Sarrebruck and then to Trier; the following year, to Mannheim and finally, to Vienna; because of the threat of war, he retired to Budapest from November 1805 to February 1806; later, to Sternberg in Moravie from May to December 1806. He was named by Louis XVIII, who was also in exile, chargé d' affaires before the imperial Court in 1795 to look after the interests of the French princes and the needs for the emigrants in Austria; he occupied the post until 1808. From 1807 to 1814, he acted as commissary to verify the payment of the pensions to the reprocessed soldiers of the army of Condé; he refused in 1808 to join the king in England (he had taken Austrian citizenship). He did not continue any less to be interested in the affairs of his diocese, asking the Austrian bishops to find places of asylum for its clergy and plead the cause of the Jesuits. He arranged the wedding of the daughter of King Louis XVI to the Duke of Angoulème. He did not resign the government of the diocese as requested by the Concordat of 1801 because he saw in this agreement the absolute decomposition of the old Gallican Church, the sanction of the plundering of the ecclesiastical goods, and the installation of insufficient structures in the pastoral plan; he was charged to transmit the protestation of the bishops from London to Rome; he abstained from any act of jurisdiction and was excluded from the amnesty of the emigrants of April 1802 because of his activities as a royalist agent. In 1808, he became chaplain of Madame Royale, the daughter of King Louis XVI, Marie-Thérèse de France, duchess of Angoulème; he received, on December 19, 1814, the title of first chaplain of the latter, who had become Madame la Dauphine, at the time of the return of the royal family to France. Member of the Royal Privy Council. Returned to France at the end of 1814. In January 1815, he was part of a commission charged with locating, exhuming and transferring the mortal remains of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette. At the request of the king, he resigned secretly (until the new concordat progressed decisively) the government of the diocese, November 15, 1815; the resignation was accepted and published, November 8, 1816. He sought refuge in Gand during the Hundred Days. He was attached to the Grand Chaplaincy by being assistant of the grand chaplain in September 1816; he used his influence to help reach the episcopate several of his condisciples of Saint-Sulpice; and formed part of the commissions charged with helping the emigrants without resources and the new organization of the church of France. Promoted to the metropolitan see of Sens, October 1, 1817 (when the diocese of Auxerre was suppressed, its title was added to Sens, June 3, 1823); received the pallium that same day; he had been nominated by the king of France on August 8; took possession of the see on October 31, 1821; the delay in taking possession has been attributed to difficulties concerning the application of the Concordat of June 11, 1817. Even though he had denounced the Concordat of 1801 and all the acts of Pope Pius VII since 1797, King Louis XVIII refused to name him his ambassador before the Holy See. Duke and peer of the French Kingdom, October 31, 1822.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of May 16, 1823; received the red biretta by brief of the following May 22; sent by the French king on June 22, 1823; received the red hat, November 20, 1823; and the title of S. Maria in Traspontina, November 24, 1823. Participated in the conclave of 1823, which elected Pope Leo XII. After his promotion to the cardinalate his title of count was changed to that of duke. Minister of State and member of the Privy Council of King Louis XVIII in August 1824. On May 29, 1825, in the metropolitan cathedral of Reims, he delivered the opening sermon of the ceremony of consecration of King Charles X of France.In 1825, he was part of a commission charged with the preparation of the project of a school of the high ecclesiastical studies, coupled with La Sorbonne University, Paris; the project was rejected by a part of the French episcopate in fear of the control of the state over the clerical formation and the Gallican past of the university. Participated in the conclave of 1829, which elected Pope Pius VIII.

Death. Thursday, December 10, 1829, at 4 a.m., château des Tuileries, Paris. Exposed in the church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, Paris, where the funeral took place on Monday, December 14, 1829, celebrated by Hyacinthe-Louis de Quelen, archbishop of Paris; that same day, the body was translated to Sens and buried in the crypt of the archbishops in the metropolitan cathedral. He and Cardinal Anne-Antoine-Jules de Clermont-Tonnerre, archbishop of Toulouse, were the only survivors of the episcopate of the Ancien Régime.

Bibliography. Berton, Charles. Dictionnaire des cardinaux, contenant des notions générales sur le cardinalat, la nomenclature complète ..., des cardinaux de tous less temps et de tous les pays ... les détails biographiques essentiels sur tous les cardinaux ... de longues études sur les cardinaux célèbre ... Paris : J.-P. Migne, 1857 ; Facsimile edition. Farnborough ; Gregg, 1969, col. 890-891; Brye, Bernard de. Consciences épiscopales en exil (1789-1814). À travers la correspondance de Mgr de La Fare, évêque de Nancy. Paris : Éditions du Cerf, 2004; Brye, Bernard de. Un évêque d'Ancien Régime à l'épreuve de la Révolution : le cardinal A.L.H. de la Fare, 1752-1829. Paris : Publications de la Sorbonne, 1985. (Publications de la Sorbonne. Série Histoire moderne, 16); Chapeau, O.S.B. André and Fernand Combaluzier, C.M. Épiscopologe français des temps modernes, 1592-1973. Paris : Letouzey et Ané, 1974, p. 359-360; 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, Grégoire XVI, Pie IX et Léon XIII, 1800-1903. Montréal : Wilson & Lafleur, 2007. (Collection Gratianus. Série instruments de recherche), p. 497-501; 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. 300; 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. 16, 43 and 342.

Links. Biography, in German; biography, in French; biography, in French, under "LE CARDINAL DE LA FARE"; biography, also in French; and another biography, also in French (under Lafare); Fisquet, Honoré-Jean-Pierre, "Anne-Louis-Henri Cardinal de la Fare (1821-1829)", La France pontificale (Gallia Christiane), pp. 167-173; and his engraving, Vatican Library.

(1) This is according to Chapeau, Épiscopologe français des temps modernes, 1592-1973, p. 359; Fisquet, "Anne-Louis-Henri Cardinal de la Fare (1821-1829)", linked above; and his third biography in French, also linked above; his biography in German; and his second biography in French, linked above, indicates that he was born on September 9, 1752.

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