Archbishop of Reims, b. at Turin, 1642; d. at Reims, 1710. The son of Michel Le Tellier and brother of Louvois (both ministers of Louis XIV ), he studied for the Church, won the doctorate of theology at the Sorbonne, and was ordained priest in 1666. Provided, even before his ordination, with several royal abbeys, he rapidly rose to the coadjutorship of Langres, then to that of Reims, and became titular of that see at the age of twenty-nine. His administration was marked by zeal and success along the lines of popular education, training of clerics, parochial organization, restoration of ecclesiastical discipline, extirpation of Protestantism from the Sedan district, etc. The importance of his see together with the royal favour brought him to the front in the affairs of the Church in France. As secretary of the Petite Assemblée of 1681, he reported for the king and against the pope on all disputed points: the extension of the royal claim called régale , the forcible placing of a Cistercian abbess over the Augustinian nuns of Charonne, and the expulsion of the canonically elected vicars capitular of Pamiers. The famous Gallican Assembly of 1682 was convened at his suggestion. Elected president with Harlay, he caused the bishops to endorse the royal policy of encroachment upon church affairs, and even memorialized the pope with a view to make him accept the régale . His comparative moderation in the matter of the four Gallican propositions was due to Bossuet, who remarked that "the glory of the régale would only be obscured by those odious propositions." As president of the Assembly (1700) which undertook to deal with Jansenism and Laxism already judged by the pope, Le Tellier was unduly lenient with the Jansenists and severe with theologians of repute. The same holds true of the various controversies in which he took part: the "Version of Mons," the theory of philosophical sin, Molinism, etc. In spite of grave errors due less to lack of loyalty to the Holy See than to early education, royal fascination, and dislike for the Jesuits, Le Tellier is remembered as a successful administrator, an orator of some merit, a promoter of letters, a protector of Saint John Baptist de la Salle , Mabillon, Ruinart, etc., and a bosom friend of Bossuet, whom he consecrated, and visited on his deathbed, and whom he induced to write the "Oraison funèbre de Michel Le Tellier." His manuscripts, in sixty volumes, are at the Bibliothèque Nationale of Paris, and his library of 50,000 volumes at the Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève.
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.
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