Antonelli, Leonardo

Antonelli, Leonardo cardinal-bishop of Velletri and Ostia, and dean of the Sacred College, was born at Sinigaglia, Nov. 6, 1730. His attachment to the Jesuits met with opposition from pope; Clement XIV, who had abolished this order. It has been said of Antonelli that he came into the world a hundred years too late. Acting as if Europe were still under the temporal and spiritual power of the pope, he fulfilled the functions of prefect of the Propaganda with all the bias of a Roman- prelate of the 13th century. During the French Revolution he was one of the chiefs of the assembly of the State, and proposed, in concert with the fiscal Barbieri, more extreme measures. In the meantime, he supported the vote of Jan. 15, 1791, for the sanction of the civil constitution of the clergy, decreed by the National Assembly of France, July 12, 1790. In 1800 he concurred in the election of Pius VII, and accompanied that pontiff on his voyage to Paris in 1804. He was driven from Rome in 1808 by the French, but was conveyed to Spoleto, and died at Sinigaglia, Jan. 23, 1811. In his youth he had written the pope's brief of interdiction of the duke of Parma, which gave to Voltaire the idea of a piquant article entitled Le Royaume mis en Interdit. Nevertheless, his letter to the bishops of Ireland showed that he held the same opinions of intolerance that were ascribed to him earlier. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.

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