Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A French cardinal, writers, and statesman, b. in 1748 at Pondichery, where his father held an administrative position; d. in Paris, 1824. He studied in France at the Jesuit "College de la Fleche" and at St. Sulpice. Ordained priest, he became vicar-general at Aix in 1772; administrator of Digne, 1778; Bishop of Alais, in Languedoc, 1784. Although a prominent member of the Assembly of Notables of Languedoc in 1786 and in 1788, he was not delegated to the Etats Generaux of 1789. In 1791, Bausset was one of the first bishops who endorsed the "Exposition of Principles on the Civil Constitution of the Clergy ". He declined to take the oath and passed to Switzerland. Returning to France in 1792, he was incarcerated, but set free when Robespierre fell (9 Thermidor). He then returned to Villemoison, where he began his literary career. After the Concordat of 1801 Bausset cheerfully resigned his see into the hands of Pius VII. Ill health prevented his appointment to one of the newly-formed sees, but Napoleon made him a canon of St. Denis (1806) and a member of the council of the University of France (1808). Under the Restoration, he became president of the University council and peer of the realm (1815); Member of the French Academy (1816); Cardinal (1817), and Minister of State (1821). The valuable library and manuscripts of Bausset were bequeathed to St. Sulpice.

The career of Bausset as educator and statesman deserves no special notice; he was guided by, more than he guided, the policy of the two regimes under which he served. From his pen we have, besides several minor writings, "Exposé des principes sur le serment", with a long introduction by Emery (Paris, 1796); "Notices historiques" on Cardinal Boisgelin Talleyrand (Paris, 1821); two considerable biographies: "Histoire de Fénelon" (Versailles, 1809; Paris, 1823; ed. Migne, 1826) and "Histoire de J.-B. Bossuet, évêque de Meaux" (Paris, 1814, 1819; Versailles, 1821; Besançon, 1847). The original documents concerning Fénelon he had from the Abbé Emery, Superior of Saint-Sulpice. Bossuet's manuscripts, not yet purchased by the National Library, he borrowed from Lamy, a bookseller into whose hands they had fallen. The purity of his style won for Bausset the decennial prize awarded by the Institute of France to the best biography. Still, that very purity often passes into a tiresome sameness which fails to suggest either the winning qualities of Fénelon's character or the elevation of the Eagle of Meaux. As a historian, Bausset fails in critical acumen and judicial impartiality. His "Histoire de Fénelon" is so much of a panegyric that, especially in the delicate and intricate question of the Quietist movement, it needs to be supplemented and corrected by such works as those of Griveau and of Crouslé. It is said that the "Histoire de Bossuet" was written as an offset against the partiality which Bausset had shown to Fénelon ; if so, Bausset had a strange way of rehabilitating the subject of his second biography, praising Bossuet's Gallicanism as Bossuet himself, tormented in his last years by the "Defensio cleri gallicani", would not have wished it praised. Brunetière calls Bausset's "Histoire of Bossuet" "la plus franchement gallicane de toutes".


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 15:35-37, 42-49
35 Someone may ask: How are dead people raised, and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 56:10-12, 13-14
10 In God whose word I praise, in Yahweh whose word I ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:4-15
4 With a large crowd gathering and people from every ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 20th, 2014 Image

Sts. Andrew Kim Taegon, Paul Chong Hasang, and Companions
September 20: Feastday: September 20 The evangelization of Korea began ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter