According to conflicting sources, the Harlay family originated either from the French-Comté (France) or from England, and was extinguished in 1717; it gave to France several distinguished magistrates and prelates.
Achille de, jurist; b. March 7, 1536; d. Oct. 21, 1619. He succeeded his father, Christopher, as court president of the Parlement of Paris in 1572, becoming in 1582 first president of this body. He was among the most respected men of the legal profession of his age and a leader of the Gallican movement. He served faithfully King Henry III and opposed vehemently the Catholic League and the Guise family. After the Day of Barricades (May 12, 1588), when Paris was temporarily taken over by the Guises and the king had fled, Harlay contemptuously rejected an offer of cooperation with the League. After the assassination of Henry of Guise (1588), instigated by Henry III, the prominent jurist was arrested by the League rebels and imprisoned in the Bastille. Liberated a few days after the assassination of Henry III, Harlay joined Henry of Navarre, the Protestant pretender to the vacant throne. When Henry had won the religious-civil war, and had abjured Calvinism, Harlay became one of Henry's most intimate advisers. Under Henry IV he continued his Gallican struggles against papal supremacy in the interest of absolute monarchy. He always disliked Jesuits, and after the assassination of Henry IV, he openly accused them of instigating the crime. As an ardent opponent of ultramontanism, he took the initiative in the royal condemnation of the books of Juan de mariana and Robert Cardinal bellarmine. He resigned in 1611 because of ill health. His only book, entitled Coutume d'Orléans, was published in 1585.
Achille de (Baron de Sancy), littérateur, bishop; b. Paris, 1581; d. Paris, Nov. 20, 1646. As a young man he received three abbeys and became bishop of Lavour. After the death of his older brother in 1601, he first became a professional soldier and then served as French ambassador to the Sultan of Turkey (1610–19). He was a protector of the Jesuits against the Turkish persecutions and thus suffered the violent hostility of the Turkish government. He resigned, returned home, and entered the Congregation of the Oratory. He loyally served Louis XIII and Cardinal de richelieu, was confessor of Queen Henrietta of England, and received from Richelieu the bishopric of Saint-Malo (1631). There he acted as one of the ecclesiastical judges who persecuted, on the instruction of Richelieu, several bishops of Brittany involved in the rebellion headed by the Duke of Montmorency. An expert in modern and Oriental languages, his famous collections of ancient Hebrew Bibles are preserved in the National Library of Paris. He also wrote Latin poetry and political tracts, and was editor of Richelieu's Memoirs.
François I de, theologian, archbishop of Rouen; b. Paris, 1586; d. Chateau de Gaillon, March 22, 1653. As a brilliant and young student of theology, he received at the age of 17 the benefices of the very rich Abbey of Saint-Victor. His Roman sympathies brought him recognition and some opposition from his Gallican superiors. Appointed coadjutor of Cardinal Joyeuse, Archbishop of Rouen (1614), he succeeded Joyeuse as archbishop (1616). His zealous religious and social reforms soon caused conflict with the Jesuits, resulting in the creation of the theological school in the archiepiscopal palace. When his well-known ambition to become a cardinal was not satisfied, he turned angrily against the papal court with a satirical pamphlet entitled Ecclesiasticae historiae liber primus. This pamphlet was considered a complete reversal of the archbishop's previous attitudes in theological matters. He avoided official censure only by a full retraction.
Harlay-Chanvallon, François de, archbishop, nephew of François I; b. Aug. 14, 1625; d. Conflans, Aug. 6,1696. After a distinguished collegiate career, he began, immediately after graduation, his outstanding career as prelate and courtier. As a graduation gift he received the rich Abbey of Junièges from his uncle, the archbishop of Rouen. He succeeded upon the latter's resignation (1651) despite the opposition of (St.) Vincent de Paul, who criticized the political ambitions and the private life of the young prelate. He became archbishop of Paris in 1671 and an intimate adviser of Louis XIV in Church matters. The great ambition of his life was to succeed Cardinal Mazarin as prime minister. The archbishop had to be satisfied with an appointment as director of the affairs of the regular clergy. The king, however, transformed the Archdiocese of Paris into a ducal peerage for the archbishop and his successors. Archbishop Harlay-Chanvallon consecrated the secret marriage of Louis XIV and Mme. de Maintenon and had an important part in the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685). He was a relentless enemy of Jansenism and Protestantism. He was a brilliant and successful administrator of the most important diocese in France. However, he had many political and ecclesiastical critics, and his private life was much criticized.
Bibliography: f. t. perrens, L'Église et l'état … sous Henri IV et la régence de Marie de Médicis, 2 v. (Paris 1872). a. jean, Les Évêques et archevêques de France depuis 1682 jusqu'à 1801 (Paris 1891). v. martin, Les Origines du gallicanisme, 2 v. (Paris 1939). k. hofmann, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 5:13.
"Harlay." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 13, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/harlay
"Harlay." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 13, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/harlay