The name of a German noble family, many members of which were prelates of the Church.
Archbishop of Mainz and Bishop of Würzburg and Worms, b. at Eschbach in the Westerwald, 6 August, 1605; d. at Würzburg, 12 February, 1673. When sixteen years old he became a cleric (an expectant for a canonicate) at the cathedral of Würzburg, and in 1625 at that of Mainz. He became cathedral canon at Würzburg in 1629, and at Worms in 1630. In 1635 he was made provost of Kronberg and of St. Burkard at Würzburg. On 16 August, 1642, he became Bishop of Würzburg ( deacon, 1642; priest, 1645); on 18 November, 1647, he was made Archbishop of Mainz, and in 1663 Bishop of Worms. His foreign policy was mainly directed towards the maintenance of peace, but this policy did not always meet with approval and often failed in its object. On the other hand his administration of all domestic affairs was excellent, and as a ruler he was not below the best of his era. His contemporaries gave him the honourable titles of "The Wise", "The German Solomon ", and "The Cato of Germany ". He succeeded in repairing the injuries inflicted upon his domains by the Thirty Years' War, settled the disputes as to territory with the neighboring rulers, reorganized the higher civil service, and improved the administration of justice. To compensate for the scarcity of priests and to raise the standard of the secular clergy he called to Mainz and Würzburg the Bartholomites, an institute founded by Bartholomew Holzhauser ( Institutum clericorum saecularium in communi viventium ); in 1654 he transferred to them the administration of the ecclesiastical seminary at Würzburg, and in 1660 also that of the gymnasium founded by him at Munnerstadt. In 1662 he established a seminary for priests at Mainz. Urged by the Jesuit Spee, he suppressed the trial of witches in his domains, and thus contributed, as far as was in his power, to the abolition of this miserable delusion. He was surrounded at his court by a large number of distinguished men, statesmen, diplomats, scholars, and pious ecclesiastics.
Bishop of Würzburg (1719-24).
Bishop of Bamberg and Würzburg (1729-46). The last three prelates were brothers, and nephews of Lothar Franz.
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