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Moriz Lieber

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Politician and publicist, b. at the castle of Blankenheim in the Eifel, 1 Oct., 1790, d. at Kamberg, in Hesse-Nassau, 29 Dec., 1860; a man of eminent ability, great learning, and the highest culture, from his youth to his death a true Christian and a faithful son of the Church, and an intrepid champion of her rights and interests.

His earliest literary activity was the translation of prominent Catholic works from foreign tongues, seeking thus to combat the spirit of "enlightenment" and rationalism which had been rampant in Germany since the days of Joseph II. He first published under the title "Die Werke des Grafen Joseph von Maistre" (5 vols., Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1822-24), the three principal works of de Maistre : "Du pape", "De l'Eglise gallicane dans son rapport avec le souverain pontife, and "Les soirées de Saint-Pétersbourg". He also translated John Milner's "The End of Religous Controversy" under the title "Ziel und Ende religiöser Kontroversen" (Frankfort 1828; new ed., Paderborn, 1849), and Thomas Moore's "Travels of an Irish Gentleman in Search of a Religion": "Reisen eines Irländers um die wahre Religion zu suchen" (Aschaffenburg, 1834; 6th ed, 1852). In answer to the pamphlet "Bruchstück eines Gespräches über die Priesterehe" (Hadamar, 1831), in which an anonymous "friend of the clergy and of women " attacked the celibacy of the Catholic priesthood, Lieber wrote "Vom Cölibat" (Frankfort, 1831). As a member of the Lower Chamber of Nassau, he published "Blick auf die jüngste Session der Landesdeputierten zur Ständeversammlung des Herzogthums Nassau" (Franfort, 1832).

Lieber's name became known, however, throughout Germany by his manly championship of the Archbishop of Cologne, Clemens August von Droste-Vischering, who had been imprisoned by the Prussian Government. In his defence he issued under the pseudonym of "A Practical Jurist" the powerful polemic, "Die Gefangennehmung des Erzbischofs von Köln und ihre Motive" (3 parts, Frankfort, 1837-38).

Effective as were his published writings for the liberties and interests of the Church, even more valuable were his professional opinions and advice. Thus he was entrusted by the assembly of bishops at Würzburg in 1848 and by the first conference of the bishops of the ecclesiastical Province of the Upper Rhine held at Freiburg in 1851, with the commission to draw up a memorial to the Government. His greatest services, however, were rendered in the cause of Catholic association and the catholic press. He took a prominent part in the founding of "Der Katholische Verein Deutschlands". He presided at its sessions held in 1849 at Breslau, and in 1867 at Salzburg, the predecessors of the great Catholic congresses, and as president of the Breslau Congress he drew up the protest of the "Katholische Verein Deutschlands" against the proposals for reform made by the Freiburg professor, J.B. Hirscher, in his work "Erörterungen über die grossen religiösen Fragen der Gegenwart" (3 parts, Freiburg im Br., 1846-55). In the conflict between the ecclesiastical Province of the Upper Rhine and the Government, Lieber interposed with a second pamphlet, "In Sachen der oberrheinischen Kirchen-provinz" (Freiburg im Br., 1853); and, especially in his last years, as a member of the Upper Chamber of Nassau he was an energetic champion of the interests of the Church, for which he also used his personal influence with his duke, who had appointed him counsellor of legation. His philanthropy is evidenced by his erection of a hospital at Kamberg, towards the foundation of which his father had left a rich bequest.

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