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Darboy, Georges


Archbishop of Paris, author; b. Fays-Billot (Haute-Marne), France, Jan. 16, 1813; d. Paris, May 24, 1871. Of humble birth, he was ordained (1836), became curate at St. Dizier (1837) and professor at the major seminary in Langres (183945), chaplain at the Lycée Henri IV, Paris (1845), honorary vicar-general of Paris (1852), and prothonotary apostolic and archdeacon of St. Denis (1855). In addition to his ecclesiastical duties in Paris, he translated (1845) the works of the Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite whose authenticity he accepted, and the Imitation of Christ, with reflections (1852). He composed Les Femmes de la Bible (184649) and Les Saintes femmes (1851), which went through several editions, and also Vie de Saint Thomas Becket (1858), and other works. He became bishop of Nancy (1859) and archbishop of Paris (Jan. 16, 1863). Darboy was a pious and dedicated bishop, but in the tradition of gallicanism, an upholder of episcopal independence of Rome. His unwarranted attempt to make canonical visitations of the houses of the Jesuits and Capuchins in his diocese drew a severe letter from Rome (1865).

At vatican council i Darboy was one of the most influential members of the minority group opposed to the definition of papal infallibility. He spoke against its opportuneness, and appeared to oppose it also on doctrinal grounds. Together with Bishop dupanloup he sought unsuccessfully the aid of the French Emperor Napoleon III to block the discussion in the Council. Darboy joined the group that left Rome on the eve of the final vote (July 18, 1871) to avoid participation in it. After the definition was approved, he subscribed to it. Darboy conducted himself with heroism during the Prussian siege of Paris (187071) and refused to exile himself when the communards gained control of the city. He was arrested, held as a hostage, and shot in the prison yard of La Roquette while blessing his executioners.

Bibliography: j. a. guillermin, Vie de Mgr. Darboy (Paris 1888). j. a. foulon, Histoire de la vie et des oeuvres de Mgr. Darboy (Paris 1889). c. butler, The Vatican Council, 2 v. (New York 1930). a. dansette, Religious History of Modern France, tr. j. dingle, 2 v. (New York 1961). a. largent, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 4.1:141144. f. guÉdon, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 14:8486.

[r. w. reichert]

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