Emmanuel Célestin Suhard

Emmanuel Célestin Suhard (French pronunciation: ​[emanɥɛl selɛstɛ̃ sɥaʁ]; April 5, 1874 – May 30, 1949) was a French Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Paris from 1940 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1935. He was instrumental in the founding of the Mission of France and the Worker-Priest Movement, to bring the clergy closer to the people.

Emmanuel Célestin Suhard
Archbishop of Paris
AppointedMay 11, 1940
Term endedMay 30, 1949
PredecessorJean Cardinal Verdier, P.S.S.
SuccessorMaurice Cardinal Feltin
Other postsCardinal–Priest of S. Onofrio
OrdinationDecember 18, 1897
by Lucido Cardinal Parocchi
ConsecrationOctober 3, 1928
Created cardinalDecember 16, 1935
by Pope Pius XI
Personal details
BornApril 5, 1874
Brains-sur-les-Marches, France
DiedMay 30, 1949 (age 75)
Paris, France
BuriedNotre-Dame de Paris
DenominationRoman Catholic
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MottoIn fide et lenitate

Early life and educationEdit

Emmanuel Suhard was born in Brains-sur-les-Marches, Mayenne, to Emmanuel Suhard (d. May 1874) and his wife Jeanne Marsollier. Suhard entered the minor (October 1888) and major seminaries (October 6, 1892) in Laval. He then went to Rome to study at the Pontifical French Seminary and the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he received a gold medal for his grades. From the Gregorian he also obtained doctorates in philosophy and theology, and a licentiate in canon law. He was ordained to the priesthood on December 18, 1897, in the private chapel of Cardinal Lucido Parocchi, and then finished his studies in 1899.

Priestly ministryEdit

Returning from Rome in June 1899, Suhard was made Professor of Philosophy at the Grand Seminary of Laval on the following September 30. He began teaching theology in 1912, and was made the seminary's vice-rector in 1917. In 1919, he became a titular canon of Laval's cathedral chapter.

Episcopal ministryEdit

On July 6, 1928, Suhard was appointed Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux by Pope Pius XI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 3 from Bishop Grellier, with Bishops Florent de La Villerabel and Constantin Chauvin serving as co-consecrators.

Pius XI later appointed Suhard to become the Archbishop of Reims on December 23, 1930, and created him Cardinal in the consistory of December 16, 1935. Suhard was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1939 papal conclave that selected Pope Pius XII, who named him Archbishop of Paris on May 11, 1940.[1]

During World War II, the Cardinal was detained in his archiepiscopal residence by Nazi forces on June 26, 1940, and addressed a dispatch to Hitler on October 26, 1941, to save the hostages of Nantes and Châteaubriant. From 1945 to 1948, he was President of the Assembly of Cardinals and Archbishops of France and thus the spokesman of the Church in France. He then served as the Assembly's Vice-President, under Cardinal Achille Liénart, until 1949.

Later lifeEdit

Suhard died in Paris, at age 75. He was buried in the crypt of the archbishops in Notre-Dame Cathedral on June 8, 1949.[2][3]


Like most of the French clergy during that time, Suhard initially supported Marshal Pétain's Vichy government. In July 1942, during the deportation of the Jews of Paris, he appealed to Pétain to maintain 'the exigencies of justice and the rights of charity.'[4] He was subsequently confined to his palace for some time by Nazi German troops.[citation needed]

Charles de Gaulle was unimpressed by Suhard's wartime record, however. Upon returning to Paris in August 1944, de Gaulle excluded Suhard from the service at Notre Dame de Paris and refused to meet with him.[5]

The Cardinal was influential in establishing the Territorial Prelature of Mission of France[6] and the Worker-Priest movement.[7]

This quote was attributed to him via Madeleine L'Engle. "To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist."

Another quote attributed to him from Donald Cozzen's The Changing Face of the Priesthood: "One of the priest’s first services to the world is to tell the truth."[8]


  1. ^ "Suhard, Emmanuel Célestin – Dictionary definition of Suhard, Emmanuel Célestin". encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  2. ^ Cheney, David M. "Emmanuel Célestin Cardinal Suhard [Catholic-Hierarchy]". www.catholic-hierarchy.org. Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  3. ^ Miranda, Salvador. "SUHARD, Emmanuel-Célestin (1874-1949)". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. Florida International University.
  4. ^ Plunka, Gene A. (2012), Staging Holocaust Resistance, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, p. 106, ISBN 978-1-349-35055-1
  5. ^ Dame, ENR/PAZ // University Communications: Web // University of Notre. "Believing: Lives that make sense // News // Notre Dame Magazine // University of Notre Dame". magazine.nd.edu. Retrieved 2017-05-30. Peter Hebblethwaite (2005). John XXIII: Pope of the Century. A&C Black. pp. 96–99. ISBN 978-0-86012-387-3.
  6. ^ TIME Magazine. Priest to the People February 27, 1950
  7. ^ TIME Magazine. Not Cassocks But Coveralls November 5, 1965
  8. ^ "The Changing Face of the Priesthood | Commonweal Magazine". www.commonwealmagazine.org. Retrieved 2019-10-04.

External linksEdit

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Thomas-Paul-Henri Lemonnier
Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux
Succeeded by
François-Marie Picaud
Preceded by
Louis Luçon
Archbishop of Reims
Succeeded by
Louis-Augustin Marmottin
Preceded by
Jean Verdier, PSS
Archbishop of Paris
Succeeded by
Maurice Feltin
Preceded by
President of the Assembly of Cardinals and Archbishops of France
Succeeded by
Achille Liénart