Gustav Adolf, Cardinal Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingfürst

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A portrait of Cardinal Prince Gustav Adolf zu Hohenlohe-Schillingfürst
by Adolfo Müller-Ury (1882-1884)

Gustav Adolf, Cardinal Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingfürst, (1823–1896) was a member of the Hohenlohe family of Germany, claiming descent from Eberhard, one of the early dukes of Franconia. He became a cardinal of the Catholic Church.

Hohenlohe was born in Rotenburg an der Fulda, in the Electorate of Hesse, on 26 February 1823, the son of its ruler, Franz Joseph, 5th Prince of Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, and Princess Caroline Friederike Constanze of Hohenlohe-Langenburg.[1] His father was a Catholic, while his mother was a Lutheran. In the standard compromise of the era, he and his brothers were raised in the faith of their father, while his sisters were raised in that of their mother. He took Catholic holy orders in 1849 and became in 1857 the titular bishop of Edessa in Mesopotamia and almoner to Pope Pius IX. He was appointed a cardinal in June 1866, with the titular church of Santa Maria in Traspontina.[2]

The Cardinal-Prince was a brother of Prince Chlodwig zu Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Bavaria until its unification with the German Empire.[3] Through this connection, he endeavored to prevent the policy of Kulturkampf, aimed at destroying Catholic institutions, which was promoted by Prince Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of the Empire.

Hohenlohe was sent to Rome in 1872 as Ambassador to the Holy See, but his appointment was rejected by Pope Pius IX, possibly as a result of the open opposition he and his brothers had shown to the ultramontane position of that pope. He returned to Rome in 1876 and subsequently gained the favor of Pope Leo XIII, and went on to spend the rest of his ecclesiastical career in Italy. In July 1878 he became the archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. In May 1879 he was named the Cardinal-Bishop of Albano, which office he resigned in December 1883. A year later he was given the title of Cardinal-Priest of the Church of San Callisto, until 1895, when his title was transferred to that of San Lorenzo in Lucina. [4]

Hohenlohe died in Rome on 30 October 1896 and was buried in the Teutonic Cemetery, reserved to German nationals serving the institutions of the Church in Rome.[5]

His portrait was apparently painted by the Swiss-born American artist Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862-1947) during the two years he spent studying in Italy 1882-1884, and was probably signed "Ad. Muller". Its present whereabouts is unknown.