Cornelius Richard Anton van Bommel

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Painting In Rolduc Abbey

Cornelius Richard Anton van Bommel (born at Leyden 5 April 1790, died 7 April 1852) was a Dutch Bishop of Liège.

He was educated at the college of Willingshegge near Münster, and later at the advanced school of Borght. Against strong opposition he entered the seminary of Münster and was ordained priest in 1816 by Bishop Gaspard Droste de Vischering.

On his return to the Netherlands he founded a college for young men at Hageveld, near Haarlem. The college was closed in 1825 in consequence of the royal decree that subjected all the educational institutions to State control. King William offered van Bommel the presidency of another college, but met with a firm refusal.

The Catholics and Liberals joined forces in opposing the arbitrary policy of the Government, and van Bommel took a prominent part in the agitation that forced the king to promulgate the Concordat concluded with Pope Leo XII. Under the provisions of the Concordat, van Bommel was nominated to the See of Liège and consecrated on 15 November, 1829. He took no active part in the revolution of 1830, but as Bishop of Liège he was forced to sever his connection with the Netherlands. He organized the seminary, revived Catholic elementary education, and gave the first impetus to the foundation of a Catholic university.

Bishop van Bommel was a defender of the primacy of the Holy See, an opponent of Freemasonry, and an advocate of religious education. At the reorganization of public instruction in 1842, his educational views were put in force in those gymnasia and technical schools which the State maintained wholly or in part.

His writings comprise three volumes of Pastoral Letters, and a number of pamphlets on ecclesiastical and educational questions.

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