Choiseul du Plessis Praslin, Gilbert de
CHOISEUL DU PLESSIS PRASLIN, GILBERT DE
Bishop; b. Paris 1613; d. Paris Dec. 31, 1689. He was a doctor at the Sorbonne by 1640; he was consecrated bishop of Comminges in 1644 then transferred to Tournai in 1671. Choiseul, a model pastor, visited every corner of his diocese, reformed his clergy, and founded many schools and seminaries. He showed a deep love for his flock by raising money to feed the poor during a famine and by ministering personally to victims of the plague. Choiseul was one of the first to champion the Jansenists of port-royal against their critics both at Rome and at the court. He was one of 11 French bishops who petitioned the pope "to allow this important dispute … to continue a little longer." One biographer claims that Choiseul gave Jansenist ideas an important foothold in the diocese of Tournai, particularly among the clergy (F. Desmons, 372). Choiseul's sympathies for a sect condemned by Rome probably account also for his belligerent defense of the "Gallican Liberties." In his place Bishop Bossuet drafted the famous Articles of 1682 largely because Choiseul, the former head of the committee, had wanted to claim still greater autonomy for the French Church. Choiseul's important writings include Memoires touchant la religion (3 v. Paris 1681–85), Lettre pastorale sur le culte de la Vierge (Tournai 1907); Les Psaumes, cantiques et hymnes de l'Église, traduit en français, many editions of which are without place or date of publication.
Bibliography: m. h. laurent, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912–) 12:757–758. r. metz, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 2:1075–76. f. desmons, Gilbert de Choiseul, évêque de Tournai, 1671–89 (Tournai 1907).
[j. q. c. mackrell]