Noailles, Louis Antony De

, cardinal and archbishop of Paris, commander of the order of the Holy Ghost, proviseur of the house and society of the Sorbonne, and superior of that of Navarre, was the second son of Anne dukede Noailles, peer of France, and born May 27, 1651. In consequence of his birth, he became lord of Aubrach, commander of the order of the Holy Ghost, duke of St. Cloud, and peer of France. He was bred with great care, and his inclination leading him to the church, he took holy orders; and proceeding in the study of divinity, he performed his exercise for licentiate in that science with reputation, and was created D. D. of the Sorbonne, March 14, 1676. Three years afterwards the king gave him the bishopric of Cahors, whence he was translated to Chalons on the Marne, in 1680. He discharged the duties of both these dioceses with a distinguished vigilance, and a truly pastoral charity; so that, the archbishopric of Paris becoming vacant in 1695, by the death of Francis de | Harlay, his majesty chose the bishop of Chalons to fill that important see. Invested with this dignity; he applied himself wholly to the affairs of it, and made excellent rules for the reformation of the clergy.

As he considered that one principal branch of the episcopal province is to maintain sound doctrine, and to keep the flock committed to his care from being tainted with erroneous opinions, he vigorously opposed the growing errors of Quietism, which he had before condemned at Chalons; and now made it his business to root out of the capital of France. He proceeded against them, not only by judicial sentences, but likewise by instructions in his pastoral, charges. Among these he printed, in 1697, “A Pastoral Letter upon Christian Perfection, and the interior Life,” against the illusions of those mystics. At the same time, he testified an equal zeal against the errors of Jansenism; and in order to preserve his flock from that infection, he drew up a pastoral letter upon the questions then agitated concerning predestination and grace, cautioning them on one hand against the errors which were condemned by the popes, and explaining to them at large what was the rule of faith in relation to mysteries, according to the principles of St. Austin, and the fathers who embraced his doctrine.

By another ordinance, in 1703, he likewise condemned the resolution of the “Case of Conscience,” which had been signed by forty doctors of the Sorbonne, in favour of Jansenius, the same year, respecting the distinction between the fact and the right. These maintained, that the five propositions, though rightfully condemned by the decrees of the popes, yet were not in fact taught by Jansenius, as was declared in those decrees. In the same spirit of pastoral vigilance, he did not content himself with preserving the sacred depositum of faith inviolate among the full-confirmed Catholics, but made it his business also to instruct the new converts, by a letter addressed particularly to them. With the like care, when Mr. Simon, an author of great fame, published his French version of the “New Testament,” with a paraphrase and notes, which were thought by our prelate of a bad tendency, he considered himself bound in duty to prohibit the reading of that book, in order to prevent the ill effects it might occasion by falling into the hands of the simple and unwary. In June 1700 he was created a cardinal, at the nomination of the French king, and assisted in the conclave held that year, in which | Clement XI. was elected pope having, a little before, in the same year, sat president in an assembly of the clergy, where several propositions, concerning doctrine and manners, were condemned. He also presided afterwards in several of these general assemblies, both ordinary and extraordinary. In 1715, he was appointed president of the council of conscience at Rome, notwithstanding he had refused to accept the constitution Unigenitus.

This celebrated bull brought our cardinal into a great deal of trouble on this account. Pasquin Quesnel, one of the fathers of the oratory, publishing his New Testament, with moral reflections upon every verse, in 1694, our cardinal, then bishop of Chalons, gave it his approbation, and recommended it to his clergy and people in 1695; and, after his removal to Paris, procured a new edition, corrected, to be printed there in 1699. But as the book contained some doctrines in favour of Jansenism, the Jesuits took the alarm, and, after writing several pieces, charging the author with heresy and sedition, obtained, in 1708, a decree of pope Clement XI. condemning it in general. Although this decree could neither be received nor published in France, not being conformable to the usage of that kingdom, the book was condemned, without mentioning the decree, by some French bishops, at whose solicitation Lewis XIV. applied to his holiness to condemn it by a constitution in form, which was granted; and, in 1715, appeared the famous constitution “Unigenitus,” condemning the “Moral Reflections,” and 101 propositions extracted from the work. The pope also condemned all such writings as had been already published, or should hereafter be published in its defence. But the king’s letters patent, for the publication of this bull, were not registered in the parliament without several modifications and restrictions, in pursuance of a declaration made by a great number of bishops, that they accepted it purely and simply, although at the same time they gave some explications of it in their pastoral instructions. Cardinal Noailles, and some other prelates, not thinking these explications sufficient, refused absolutely to accept it, till it should be explained by the pope in such a manner as to secure from all danger the doctrine, discipline, and liberty, of the schools, the episcopal rights, and the liberties of the Gallican church. The faculty of divines at the Sorbonne declared, that the decree which was made March 5, 1714, | for accepting the bull, was false. The four bishops also of Mirepoix, Seine’s, Montpelier, and Boulogne, appealed from it, March 4, 1717 and the same day the faculty of divines at Paris adhered to their appeal. This example was followed by several faculties of divines, monasteries, curates, priests, &c, and cardinal deNoailles, having appealed, about the same time, with the four bishops, published his appeal in 1718. However, he retracted this appeal, and received the constitution some time before his death, which happened in his palace at Paris, May 4, 1729.

His corpse was interred, according to the direction of his last will, in the grand nave of the metropolitan church in that city, before the chapel of the Virgin Mary, where a monument of black marble was erected, with a Latin inscription to his memory. Some notion of the character of the cardinal de Noailles may be collected from the preceding circumstances: and we are farther told by his biographers, that his conduct through life discovered exemplary piety, and attention to the promotion of learning, good conduct, and regularity of the clergy; for which purpose he zealously maintained ecclesiastical discipline. He was mild, affable, as easy to the poor as to the rich, and very charitable. 1