Wilhelm Emmanuel Freiherr von Ketteler

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Wilhelm Emmanuel Freiherr von Ketteler
Bishop of Mainz
Bischof ketteler.jpg
Bishop von Ketteler
Church Catholic Church
Diocese Diocese of Mainz
Personal details
Born 25 December 1811
Münster
Died 13 July 1877
Burghausen
Catholic
Social Teaching
Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg

Pope Leo XIII
Quod Apostolici Muneris
Rerum Novarum

Pope Pius XI
Quadragesimo Anno

Pope Pius XII
Social teachings

Pope John XXIII
Mater et Magistra
Pacem in Terris

Vatican II
Dignitatis Humanae
Gaudium et Spes

Pope Paul VI
Populorum progressio

Pope John Paul II
Laborem Exercens
Sollicitudo Rei Socialis
Centesimus Annus
Evangelium Vitae

Pope Benedict XVI
Deus Caritas Est
Caritas in Veritate

Pope Francis
Lumen fidei

General
Social teachings of the Popes
Subsidiarity
Solidarity
Tranquillitas Ordinis

Notable figures
Gaspard Mermillod
René de La Tour du Pin
Heinrich Pesch
Dorothy Day
Óscar Romero
Joseph Bernardin
Hilaire Belloc
G. K. Chesterton
Thomas Woods

Freiherr[1] Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler (25 December 1811 – 13 July 1877) was a German theologian and politician who served as Bishop of Mainz. His social teachings became influential during the papacy of Leo XIII and his encyclical Rerum Novarum.

Early life and ordination[edit]

Ketteler was born in Münster in Westphalia. In 1828 he finished the Matura in Brig, Switzerland far away from his home.[citation needed] He studied theology at Göttingen, Berlin, Heidelberg and Munich, and was ordained priest in 1844. He resolved to consecrate his life to maintaining the cause of the freedom of the Church from the control of the State. This brought him into collision with the civil power, an attitude which he maintained throughout a stormy and eventful life.

Scholar and politician[edit]

Ketteler was rather a man of action than a scholar, and he first distinguished himself as the deputy for District of Tecklenburg and Warendorf at the Frankfurt National Assembly,[2] a position to which he was elected in 1848, and in which he soon became noted for his decision, foresight, energy and eloquence.

Bishop[edit]

In 1850 he was made bishop of Mainz, by order of the Vatican, in preference to the celebrated Professor Leopold Schmidt, of Gießen, whose Liberal sentiments were not agreeable to the Papal party. When elected, Ketteler refused to allow the students of theology in his diocese to attend lectures at Giessen, and ultimately founded an opposition seminary in the diocese of Mainz itself.

Educator[edit]

He also founded religious institutes of School Brothers and School Sisters, to work in the various educational agencies he had called into existence, and he labored to institute orphanages and rescue homes. In 1851, he founded the congregation of the Sisters of Divine Providence, with Stephanie Amelia Starkenfels de la Roche. At the death of St. Vincent de Paul, he spent two hours telling the story of his life and his miracles.[citation needed]

Death and legacy[edit]

He died at Burghausen, Upper Bavaria in 1877.

In Mainz, "Workers' Day" is celebrated in honor of the Bishop. The Herz-Jesu-Kirche, Mainz was built in the honour of Ketteler. The fuchsia cultivar "Baron de Ketteler" is named after him. Ketteler's nephew, Klemens von Ketteler, was Germany's envoy in China and was murdered during the Boxer Rebellion.[citation needed]

He is cited in Pope Benedict's encyclical Deus Caritas Est for his role in the Catholic social tradition.

Views[edit]

Protestantism[edit]

In 1861, Ketteler published a book on reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants in Germany, Freiheit, Autorität, und Kirche; in it, he proposed the founding of a prayer society "for the Reunion of Christendom".[3] Ketteler was friends with Julie von Massow, a Lutheran woman from Prussian nobility, who indeed founded such a prayer society.[4]

Church rights[edit]

In 1858, Ketteler threw down the gauntlet against the State in his pamphlet on the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany. In 1863 he adopted Lassalle's socialist views, and published his Die Arbeitfrage und das Christenthum.

Papal infallibility[edit]

When the question of papal infallibility arose, he opposed the promulgation of the dogma on the ground that such promulgation was inopportune. But after the dogma was defined, he submitted to the decrees (in August 1870).

Kulturkampf[edit]

He was the warmest opponent of the State in the Kulturkampf provoked by Prince Otto von Bismarck after the publication of the Vatican decrees, and was largely instrumental in compelling that statesman to retract the pledge he had rashly given, never to "go to Canossa."

Battle of Sedan[edit]

To such an extent did Bishop von Ketteler carry his opposition, that in 1874 he forbade his clergy to take part in celebrating the anniversary of the Battle of Sedan, and declared the Rhine to be a "Catholic river."

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Regarding personal names: Freiherr was a title, before 1919, but now is regarded as part of the surname. It is translated as Baron. Before the August 1919 abolition of nobility as a separate estate, titles preceded the full name when given (Prinz Otto von Bismarck). After 1919, these titles, along with any nobiliary prefix (von, zu, etc.), could be used, but were regarded as part of the surname, and thus came after a first name (Otto Prinz von Bismarck). The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.
  2. ^ Goyau 1913.
  3. ^ Unitas, Volume 15. Society of the Atonement. 1963. p. 90. 
  4. ^ Fleischer, Manfred (1969). "Lutheran and Catholic Reunionists in the Age of Bismarck". Church History 38 (1): 43–66. 
Attribution
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Georg Anton Brinkmann
Prince-Episcopal Delegate for
Brandenburg and Pomerania

1849–1850
Succeeded by
Leopold Pelldram
Preceded by
Petrus Leopold Kaiser
Bishop of Mainz
1850–1877
Vacant
Title next held by
Paul Leopold Haffner
interim Administrator Christoph Moufang