Saturday, May 19, 2018

Cardinal Fesch

From Shannon Selin:
“Uncle Fesch,” on the other hand, – only six years older than Napoleon – was very much a part of Letizia’s household. He entered the seminary of Aix-en-Provence in 1781, was ordained as a priest in 1785, and became the archdeacon of Ajaccio cathedral at age 24. When Letizia and her family fled Corsica for Toulon in 1793, Fesch accompanied them. As the Catholic Church was suppressed during the French Revolution, Fesch was compelled to unfrock himself and engage in other occupations. Napoleon wrote of him in 1795:
[H]e is just what he always was, building castles in the air and writing me six-page letters on some meticulous point of speculation. The present means no more to him than the past, the future is all in all. (1)
When Napoleon was given command of the French Army of Italy, he found Fesch a post as a commissary. Basically Fesch was involved in contracting the army’s supplies, a role in which he turned a tidy profit for himself. Fesch’s fortunes continued to rise when Napoleon became First Consul. Fesch returned to the cloth and helped Napoleon and Pope Pius VII negotiate the Concordat of 1801, which reestablished the Catholic Church in France. As a reward, in 1802 he was made Archbishop of Lyon. The following year he became Cardinal Fesch. (Read more.)

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