SUHARD, Emmanuel Cardinal (1874-1949)
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French cardinal; archbishop of Paris from 1940 until his death. Elevated to the cardinalate in 1935. He was instrumental in the founding of the Mission of France and the Worker-Priest Movement, to bring the clergy closer to the people.
MS – Manuscript: Several words in the handwriting of Cardinal Suhard (third person) on his two-sided engraved calling card. Untranslated.
During WWII, Suhard was detained in his residence by Nazi forces (June 1940) and addressed a message to Hitler in October 1941 in an effort to save the hostages of Nantos and Chateaubrant. From 1945-58 he was president of the assembly of cardinals and archbishops of France and, thus, the principal spokesman for the Church in France. He then served as the assembly’s vice president under Cardinal Lienart until 1949. President Charles DeGaulle was not impressed with Suhard’s wartime record. Perhaps the words of author Madeleine L’Engle best convey Suhard’s attitude about that turbulent period:”To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.”
In the 1940s, Pius XII sent nuncio Paolo Marella to France with the goal of stamping out the Worker-Priest movement that the Pope believed Cardinal Emmanuel Célestin Suhard had been supporting despite his protests otherwise. Although Suhard’s death in 1949 greatly eased Pius’s task, it was not until the archbishop succeeded Angelo Roncalli (the future Pope John XXIII) as Nuncio to France on 15 April 1953 that the suppression was achieved.