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Migazzi, Christoph Anton


Count, Prince-archbishop of Vienna; b. Innsbruck, Nov. 23, 1714; d. Vienna, Sept. 15, 1803. Migazzi studied theology at the Collegium Germanicum in Rome and jurisprudence in Innsbruck; he became a priest and was a canon in Brixen and later in Trent. Soon after being appointed auditor of the Roman Rota for the German nation in 1745, he enjoyed the complete confidence of Empress maria theresa. She entrusted him with diplomatic negotiations, had him appointed coadjutor to the archbishop of Malines in 1751, and in 1752 sent him to Spain where, as Austrian ambassador, he concluded a treaty of alliance.

On March 22, 1756, Migazzi was appointed coadjutor to the bishop of Waizen, Hungary. When the bishop died in June of 1756, Migazzi was recalled from his ambassadorial post in Madrid to undertake the care of his diocese. Then, when Cardinal Trautson, Archbishop of Vienna, died (March 10, 1757), Migazzi was elected his successor and appointed Prince-archbishop of Vienna (March 18).

When in 1761 Pope Clement XIII named Migazzi cardinal, this scion of an impoverished Tyrolese noble house seemed to have reached the aim of his earthly ambitions. In reality, his elevation to the episcopal See of Vienna brought a tragic turn in Migazzi's life. Up until then he had served his revered empress, whose unremitting favor he had enjoyed and whose wishes he had been able to fulfill unreservedly in honorable positions. He now had to oppose her when she attempted to subordinate the Austrian Church to the State. Migazzi tried unsuccessfully to defend ecclesiastical rights in hundreds of written petitions and memoranda.

Maria Theresa, although withdrawing her former nearly absolute confidence from a servant who now had become a spokesman for the Church, never failed to show him respect. Emperor joseph ii, however, not only drew the last consequences from his system of josephinism without any regard to Migazzi's protests, but also exhibited a scarcely veiled contempt for his person. In a letter to a bishop, the emperor compared the great St. Christopher, carrying the child Jesus in his arms, with that other "great" Christopher who allowed himself to be carried away by his canon Fast, a fearless defender of the Church. Migazzi later protested once more against Josephinism as reconfirmed by Leopold II; the emperor wrote, "Memoires of Cardinal Migazzi; of no significance," on the petition. The sorely afflicted archbishop died at Vienna and was buried in St. Stephen's cathedral.

Bibliography: j. oswald, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiberg 195765) 7:410. c. wolfsgruber, Christoph Anton Kardinal Migazzi (2d ed. Ravensburg 1897). f. maass, ed., Der Josephinismus: Quellen zu seiner Geschichte in Österreich 17601850, 5 v. (Fontes rerum AustriacarumII.7175; Vienna 195161), passim. m. c. goodwin, The Papal Conflict with Josephinism (New York 1938).

[f. maass]

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