Goossens, Pierre Lambert

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Archbishop of Mechelen, organizer of Catholic education in Belgium; b. Perck, Belgium, July 17, 1827; d. Mechelen, Jan. 2, 1906. From his family, which was in comfortable circumstances, he inherited distinguished manners. After a solid humanistic training, and his ordination (Dec. 25, 1850), he acted as professor (1851) and pastor at St. Rombaut in Mechelen, where he demonstrated great pastoral zeal and administrative ability. He became secretary to the archbishop of Mechelen (1856), vicar-general (1878), bishop of Namur (1883), archbishop of Mechelen (24 March 1884), and cardinal (1889).

During the politicoreligious difficulties in Belgium caused by the pressures of secular liberalism, and the disagreement between liberal and ultramontane Caththolics, he was entrusted on different occasions with conciliatory missions by the government and the Holy See. As archbishop he upheld the Catholic party. He maintained unity by taking inspiration, although only after some delay, from Leo XIII's rerum novarum; and by keeping peace between conservatives and democrats. He promoted social works and favored the political advancement of the working class. Convinced, however, of the necessity of having the bourgeoisie in the directing role, he created for their benefit ten establishments for instruction in the humanities. Penetrated as he was with a sense of authority, he slowed the renewal of thomism and the personal efforts of Mercier.

Bibliography: j. muyldermans, Zijn Eminentie Kardinaal Goossens (Mechlin 1922). p. pirri, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche (Freiburg 1957), 2 4:1055.

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