Retz, Jean-François-Paul de Gondi, Cardinal de

(1613-1679)
   political figure, satirist, writer
   Born at the château of Montmirail, Jean-François-Paul de Gondi was destined for the church, although, as he said, he "had neither the taste nor the disposition for it." Despite a stormy youth, he was well educated, learned seven languages, and studied both sacred and profane literature. From 1638 to 1642, he took part in plots against Cardinal Richelieu, then devoted himself to an ecclesiastical career. in 1644, named coadjutor to his uncle the archbishop of Paris, he became known for his popular sermons, earned the hostility of anne of Austria and Cardinal mazarin, and joined the fronde, but then changed sides to the court faction. Made cardinal in 1651 by Pope Innocent X, who detested Mazarin, Cardinal Retz was imprisoned by the latter in 1652, was named archbishop of Paris in 1654, then was exiled to Rome. In 1657, his pamphlet against Mazarin was circulated. Forced to resign as archbishop of Paris (where he never exercised his ministry) in 1662, he was reinstated in 1664. He retired to the abbey of saint-Denis, where he was buried, with king louis XIV forbidding that even the least monument be erected in his memory.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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