Educated at the seminary of St Sulpice he became successively vicar-general of Nantes, bishop of Belley, and in 1875 coadjutor of Paris. In 1886 the death of Archbishop Guibert was followed by Mgr. Richard's appointment to the see of Paris, and in 1889 he received a cardinal's hat.
In January 1900 the trial of the Assumptionist Fathers resulted in the dissolution of their society as an illegal association. The next day an official visit of the archbishop to the Fathers was noted by the government as an act of a political character, and Mgr. Richard was officially censured. His attitude was in general exceedingly moderate, he had no share in the extremist policy of the Ultramontanes, and throughout the struggle over the law of Associations and the law of Separations he maintained his reasonable temper.
He presided in September 1906 over an assembly of bishops and archbishops at his palace in the rue de Grenelle, a few days after the papal encyclical forbidding French Catholics to form associations for public worship, but it was then too late for conciliation. In December he gave up the archiepiscopal palace to the government authorities. He was then an old man of nearly ninety, and his eviction evoked great sympathy.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- "François-Marie-Benjamin Richard de la Vergne". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
|Catholic Church titles|
|Archbishop of Paris
Michelangelo Celesia, OSB Cas
|Oldest Living Cardinal
April 14, 1904 – January 27, 1908
Anton Josef Gruscha