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Publicist, b. at Couzon-sur-Saone, 17 Dec., 1829; d. at Bourg, 10 May, 1904. After excellent classical studies at the lesser seminary of Largentière, he entered the telegraphic service, in which capacity in 1855, during the Crimean War, he directed the telegraphic bureau of Varna, the first landing-place of the Franco-Russian troops. In 1870 as telegraphic director at Versailes he was attached to the service of telegraphic communications of the army of Le Mans . In 1875 he left the telegraphic service, and assumed the editorship of the "Journal de l'Ain", in which he defended the cause of religious liberty. His campaigns against the laws of scholastic secularization were widely noted. His activity as a writer was very great. His "Fables" (1851) and his "Fabuliste Chrétien" (1875) were welcomed in many houses of education. A number of historical and judicial romances from his pen have long been read, especially "Cineas, ou Rome sous Néron" (1869), which was translated into several foreign languages. But his most lasting works are historical: "Pius IX, son histoire, sa vie, son siècle" (1874), reprinted nineteen times; "Vie de Dom Marie-Augustin, Marquis de Ladouze, fonateur de la Trappe de Notre Dame des Dombes" (1876); "Vie de l'abbé Olivieri, fontateur de l'oeuvre du rachat des jeunes negresses" (1877); "Histoire des Martyrs de Gorcum, du Japon et autres canonisés par Pie IX" (1882); "Vie de Dom Bosco" (1887); "Vie du Père Chevrier, fonateur du Prado à Lyon" (1894); and "Histoire de Napoleon III" (2 vols., 1896). Mention should also be made of the controversial pamphlet published in 1891 and entitled "Le Concordat, qu'on l'observe loyalement ou qu'on le dénonce"; it should always be consulted for the religious history of the republic. In this pamphlet Villefranche struck at the policy which, according to a captious formula, was in favour of the strict application of the Concordat, and which, in fact, resulted in despoiling the Church of certain of its rights on the pretext that they were not explicitly contained in the concordatory text.

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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 between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.

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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

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