François-Marie-Benjamin Richard

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His Eminence

François-Marie-Benjamin Richard

Cardinal, Archbishop of Paris
Cardinal Richard.jpg
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
Term ended28 January 1908
PredecessorJoseph-Hippolyte Guibert
SuccessorLéon-Adolphe Amette
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Via (1889-1908)
Ordination21 December 1844
by Denis Auguste Affre
Consecration11 February 1872
by Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert
Created cardinal24 May 1889
by Pope Leo XIII
Personal details
Birth nameFrançois-Marie-Benjamin Richard
Born(1819-03-01)1 March 1819
Nantes, France
Died28 January 1908(1908-01-28) (aged 88)
Paris, France
BuriedNotre Dame de Paris
Previous post
MottoFaites sur toutes choses que Dieu soyt le mieux aymé
Coat of armsFrançois-Marie-Benjamin Richard's coat of arms
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Title as SaintServant of God

François-Marie-Benjamin Richard de la Vergne (French pronunciation: ​[fʁɑ̃swamaʁjəbɑ̃ʒamɛ̃ ʁiʃaʁ dəla vɛʁɲ]; 1 March 1819 – 27 January[1] 1908) was a French cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church and served as the Archbishop of Paris.

His cause of canonization has commenced and he has the title of Servant of God.


Early life and priesthood[edit]

François-Marie-Benjamin Richard was born in 1819 in Nantes and was one of eleven children.

Richard was educated at the seminary of St Sulpice where he studied theology from October 1841. He was ordained to the priesthood on 21 December 1844 by the Archbishop of Paris Denis Auguste Affre. He served as a parish priest from 1845 to 1846 before he was sent to Rome for further studies that spanned from 1846 to 1849. He was later made the Vicar-General of Nantes on 1 August 1850 and occupied that post until 1869.[2]


Pope Pius IX appointed Richard as the Bishop of Belley on 22 December 1871. He received episcopal consecration on 11 February 1872 in Paris and was later made the Titular Archbishop of Larissa in 1875. That same year, he was appointed as the Coadjutor of Paris. In 1886 the death of Archbishop Guibert was followed by Richard's appointment to the see of Paris.

Cardinalate and death[edit]

The cardinal lying in state in 1908.

Pope Leo XIII elevated him into the cardinalate on 24 May 1889 as the Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria in Via.

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 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.

Richard participated in the papal conclave of 1903 that saw the election of Pope Pius X.

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.

Richard died in 1908 of congestion of the lungs and was buried in the cathedral of Notre Dame.

  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Richard, François Marie Benjamin" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 23 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 297.


External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert
Archbishop of Paris
Succeeded by
Léon-Adolphe Amette