Friday, October 12, 2007

The Washington Post on Cardinal Mieczyslaw Ledochowski

Miss Warfield’s Reputed Fiance

The Washington Post, January 15, 1913

Count Vladimir Ledochowski, whose engagement to Miss Louise Warfield has lately been reported, and who is said to be now on the way to this country, bears a name that is very familiar on this side of the Atlantic . For his uncle, the late Cardinal Ledochowski, was for many years perfect of the propaganda, to which in those days the Roman Catholic Church in the United States and Canada was subject.

The cardinal was extremely friendly to Americans, perhaps just because of the fact that he was of Polish origin, being at the head of one of the oldest houses of the Polish nobility. He used to be known as the “red pope”, in order to distinguish himself from the white Pope, who was the pontiff, and from the black pope, who was the general in chief of the order of the Jesuits.

He was the only cardinal in the history of a church that is nearly 2,000 years old who was created a member of the sacred college while in a prison, and who received the red biretta in a penitently cell.

The prison in which he was incarcerated when he became cardinal was that of Ostrow, in Prussian Poland, and he had been arrested and cast into jail by orders of the late Prince Bismarck, owing to his refusal as archbishop and as primate of the Province of Posen to submit to the so-called Falk church laws.

Two Full Years in Prision

He spent two full years in prison before being liberated and sentence to exile, and he then proceeded to Rome where he lived as the honored guest, first of Pius IX and then of Leo XIII, exercising a potent influence at the Vatican. So much so, indeed, that before Bismarck would consent to a cessation of the so-called Culterkampf, he insisted that Cardinal Count Ledochowski should leave Rome and cease to be a member of the Pope’s immediate entourage.

After Bismarck ’s fall the cardinal became not merely reconciled to the Prussian government, but a particular friend of the present Emperor William to such a degree that he came to be looked upon at Rome as the principle representative of the kaiser’s interests in the sacred college. He held the chieftainship of the propaganda until forced by blindness to resign from office.

Count Vladimir Ledochowski is a man in the neighborhood of 50, is a chamberlain of Emperor Francis Joseph, a lieutenant colonel of lancers, and until a year ago formed part of the household of the widowed duchess Maria Josefa, sister of the King of Saxony and mother of that young archduke, Charles Francis, who is at the present moment the second heir to the throne of Austria.

Count Vladimir’s younger brother, Count Joseph Ledochowski, about eleven years ago was forced to resign his commission of captain in the Sixteenth hussar regiment of the Austrian army, and likewise his titular office of chamberlain to the emperor, under circumstances that created a great deal of sensation at the time....

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