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Frankenberg, Johann Heinrich


Archbishop of Malines and primate of Belgium (17591801); b. Grosglogau, Silesia, Sept. 18, 1726; d. Breda, Holland, June 11, 1804. As the scion of an old Silesian noble family, he studied philosophy in Breslau and theology at the Collegium Germanicum in Rome, where, when still a young student, he drew the attention of Pope Benedict XIV. In 1750, he was ordained and made assistant to the apostolic vicar and later archbishop of Gorizia, Karl Michael Count Attems. He was dean of the Chapter-house in Prague (1754) and dean of Bunzlau, Bohemia (1755). On Jan. 20, 1778, Frankenberg was appointed archbishop of Malines by maria theresa, and he was created a cardinal by Pope Pius VI.

josephinism, the system that Maria Theresa had introduced into her patrimonial dominions, was felt only mildly in the Belgian Church, so that Cardinal Franken-berg could discharge his office of metropolitan without great difficulty. As early as 1782, however, Emperor Joseph, disregarding the totally different Belgian conditions, thwarted the attempt of the Belgian episcopate to proceed collectively in the problem of mixed marriages, which had become acute because of the Emperor's proclamation of his Tolerance Decree on Dec. 13, 1781. In 1786, in the matter of the erection of a general seminary at Louvain, the ruler provoked the public opposition of Cardinal Frankenberg, who refused to send his pupils to the seminary founded and conducted by the government. Frankenberg was called to Vienna, where the Emperor tried in vain to win the archbishop over to his views. Back in Malines, supported by the other Belgian bishops, he continued his opposition until in August 1789, a popular uprising forced the Emperor formally to decree the reestablishment of the episcopal seminaries. But when open civil war broke out in October, the cardinal fled in order to escape imprisonment. When Austrian rule and, in its wake, religious peace, were reestablished, Frankenberg returned to his diocese. A few years later, he opposed French measures hostile to the Church, and was forced to leave the country (1797). The cardinal went first to Borken, in Münsterland, and, when the Prussians expelled him, to Breda.

Bibliography: h. benedikt, Neue deutsche Biographie (Berlin 1953) 5:349350. h. hoffmann, Schlesische Lebensbilder v.4 (Breslau 1931).

[f. maass]

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