1849 Pastoral Letter from the Roman Catholic Cardinal Archbishop of Bourges, France

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On offer is a printed Roman Catholic pastoral letter dated 1849, and intended as an open letter to clergy and members of the church in the jurisdiction. Its author was Jacques-Marie Antoine Célestin Dupont, the Cardinal Archbishop of the Diocese of Bourges, France. 

Dupont was born in 1792 in Sardinia. He was ordained a priest in 1815. In 1823, he was appointed Bishop and over the next 36 years served in several dioceses. His various postings were not without controversy. He was a reformer, sent into several large dioceses to bring about much-needed changes and this frequently did not sit well with local clergy or the people of the diocese. In 1847, he was made a Cardinal. He maintained close relationships with the court of Louis Phillippe – the so-called July Monarchy. Dupont passed away in 1859 in Bourges, France.

He begins his long letter with this exhortation:

La belle recommendation, nos tres-chers freres, que celle de l'apotre St. Pierre exhortant les fideles a rendre leurs ames chastes par obeissance toute fraternelle, en s'appliquent avec plus de soin a s'aimer les uns les autres d'un coeur simple et sans defiance.

[Translation: The beautiful recommendation, our dearest brothers, that the apostle St. Peter exhort the faithful to make their souls chaste by fraternal obedience, apply themselves with more care to love each other with a simple heart and without hesitation].

The front cover carries the coat of arms of Cardinal Du Pont. The letter is issued over his printed signature and sealed with his coat of arms. It also bears the printed signature of his secretary, Jean Figier.

This document offers a valuable insight into the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in mid-19th century Europe. Pastoral letters such as this one were frequently sent out at particular times of the year, coinciding with ecclesiastical seasons, such as Lent or Christmas. However, they were not limited to any particular event or celebration. In this case, this Pastoral Letter was published for the Lenten season of 1849, the 40 day.period preceding Easter.

The document measures 10.75 inches by 8.5 inches. It is a 16-page, printed document. The binding is a simple threaded binding that is intact and in good condition. The pages have some staining due to age but otherwise the document is in very good condition.

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