Albert-Léon-Marie Le Nordez

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Albert-Léon-Marie Le Nordez (Montebourg 1844- 1922) was a French bishop of Dijon, from 1898, who was at the centre of a controversy leading to the 1905 separation in France of the Catholic Church and the state.


A critical report on Le Nordez, accusing him of being a free mason, was sent by a parish priest to Benedetto Lorenzelli, papal nuncio in France, and forwarded to Mariano Rampolla, Cardinal Secretary of State, in 1902. .[1]

Under Rampolla's successor, Rafael Merry del Val, Le Nordez was in 1904 summoned to Rome, to consult with the new Pope Pius X.[2] Le Nordez went to Rome in July in a blaze of publicity,[3] and was kept “in retreat”.[4] He resigned his see in September.

This was coupled with a related disciplinary story, that of Pierre-Joseph Geay, bishop of Laval. It caused a diplomatic crisis, against a background of suspicions that these bishops had been targets because of their sympathies for French Republican politics.[5] France broke off relations with the Holy See, a situation that lasted another 17 years. The French politician Émile Combes announced on 30 July that “la volonté du Saint-Siège rend sans emploi les relations diplomatiques entre le Vatican et la France” (the wishes of the Holy See make useless the diplomatic ties between the Vatican and France).[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maurice Larkin, Religion, Politics, and Preferment in France Since 1890: La Belle Epoque and its Legacy (1995), p. 60.
  2. ^ Catholic Encyclopedia: France
  3. ^ New York Times story, July 28, 1904, Thursday (PDF)
  4. ^ New York Times story, August 28, 1904, Sunday (PDF)
  5. ^, in French
  6. ^ [1], in French]