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Bonal, François de


French prelate; b. Bonal, near Agen, France, May 9, 1734; d. Munich, Sept. 5, 1800. He was director general of the Carmelites, and became bishop of Clermont in 1776. He led an austere, apostolic life. He played an important role in the French Revolution. As deputy to the Estates General of 1789, he was named president of the ecclesiastical committee of the assembly and fought anticlerical measures until he was forced to resign. He took the oath of loyalty to the civil constitution in February 1790, but not to the civil constitution of the clergy in January 1791. His letter of April 1791 advising Louis XVI not to receive the Sacraments from the civil clergy, was introduced later in the trial of the king. Bonal immigrated to Brussels and The Hague (1794). He was captured by French troops, and condemned to deportation. Impoverished, he went to Altona in Prussia, then to Fribourg in Switzerland, and finally to Munich.

In April 1798, he signed the Instruction sur les atteintes partées à la religion, published by French refugee bishops in Germany, and before his death he dictated a spiritual testament giving his last instructions to his diocese. He was buried in the Capuchin monastery in Munich.

Bibliography: abbÉ boeuf, Mgr. de Bonnal (Paris 1910). g. wagner, Catholicisme 2:120. r. limouzin-lamothe, Dictionnaire de biographie française 6:903.

[w. e. langley]

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