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Wilhelm Molitor

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(Pseudonyms, ULRIC RIESLER and BENNO BRONNER)

A poet, novelist, canonist and publicist, born at Zweibruecken in the Rhine Palatinate, 24 August, 1819; died at Speyer, 11 January, 1880. After studying philosophy and jurisprudence in Munich and Heidelberg (1836-40), he held various juridical positions in the service of the State from 1843-9. But feeling himself called to the priesthood, the pious young jurist studied theology at Bonn (1849-51) and was ordained priest on 15 March, 1851. In the same year he became secretary to Bishop Weis of Speyer ; on 11 November, 1857, he was elected canon of the cathedral chapter and, soon after, appointed custos of the cathedral, and professor of archæology and homiletics at the episcopal seminary. He took part in the consultations of the German bishops at Bamberg (1867), Würzburg (1868), and Fulda (1869). In 1868 Pius IX summoned him to Rome as a consultor in the labours preparatory to the Vatican Council. From 1875-7 he was a member of the Bavarian Landtag. He was the chief promoter of the Catholic movement in the Palatinate, and advanced the Catholic cause especially by founding the "Pfälzicher Pressverein", the daily paper "Rheinpfalz" and the "Katholische Vereinsdruckerei". His pronounced ultramontane principles made him unacceptable to the Bavarian Government, which in consequence repeatedly prevented his election to the See of Speyer. He is the author of numerous poems, dramas, novels, sketches on the questions of the day, and a few juridical treatises. A collection of his poems was published in 1884; his "Domlieder" in 1846. His dramas are: "Kynast" (1844); "Maria Magdalena" (1863, 1874); "Das alte deutsche Handwerk" (1864); "Die Freigelassene Neros" (1865); "Claudia Procula" (1867); "Julian der Apostat" (1867); "Des Kaisers Guenstling", a tragedy of the times of the martyrs (1874); "Die Blume von Sicilien" (1880, 1897); "Dramatische Spiele", containing the dramatic legend "Sankt Ursulas Rheinfahrt", the comedy "Die Villa bei Amalfi ", and the dramatic tale "Schön Gundel" (1878); and his three festive plays, — "Weihnachtsbaum" (1867), "Das Hans zu Nazareth" (1872), and "Die Weisen des Morgenlands" (1877). His novels are: Die schöne Zweibrückerin", 2 vols. (1844); "Der Jesuit" (1873); "Herr von Syllabus" (1873); "Memoiren eines Todtenkopfs", 2 vols. (1875); "Der Caplan von Friedlingen" (1877); "Der Gast im Kyffhäuser" (1880). His juridical works are: "Ueber kanonisches Gerichtsverfahren gegen Cleriker" (1856); "Die Immunität des Domes zu Speyer" (1859); "Die Decretale Per Venerabilem " (1876). He also wrote three volumes of sermons (1880-2); "Das Theater in seiner Bedeutung und in seiner gegenwärtigen Stellung" (1866); "Ueber Goethes Faust" (1869); "Brennende Fragen" (1874); "Die Grossmacht der Presse" and "Die Organisation der Katholischen Presse" (1866); and a few other works of minor importance. In collaboration with Huelskamp he wrote "Papst Pius IX in seinem Leben und Wirken", 4th ed. (1875) and in collaboration with Wittmer "Rom, Wegweiser durch die ewige Stadt" (1866, 1870).


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