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Franz Wilhelm, Count von Wartenberg

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Bishop of Osnabrück and cardinal, eldest son of Duke Ferdinand of Bavaria and his morganatic wife Maria Pettenbeckin, born at Munich, 1 March, 1593; died at Ratisbon, 1 December, 1661. He was educated by the Jesuits, at Ingolstadt (1601-8), and at the Germanicum in Rome (1608-14). In 1621 he became manager of the governmental affairs of the Elector Ferdinand of Cologne, who appointed him president of his council and brought him to the Diet of Ratisbon in 1622. On 26 Oct., 1625, he was elected Bishop of Osnabrück, receiving papal approbation 25 April, 1626. The Catholic Faith in Osnabrück was then in a deplorable condition. The three preceding bishops had been Protestants and had replaced most of the Catholic priests by Protestant preachers. Cardinal Eitel Friedrich, who succeeded them, endeavoured to restore the Catholic religion but soon died. With the help of Tilly Wartenberg took possession of his see (12 March, 1628), which had been occupied by Danish soldiers. He began the work of Counter-Reformation with great zeal; drove the Protestant preachers from the city and restored the churches to the Catholics. He eliminated the anti-Catholic element from the city council; took the system of education into his own hands; turned the former Augustinian convent over to the Jesuits whom he engaged as teachers at the Gymnasium Carolinum; restored various religious communities and established new ones; held synods and visitations, enforced the Tridentine decrees where possible and, in 1631, founded a university which, however, was destroyed by the Swedes in 1633.

Wartenberg was commissioned with the execution of the Edict of Restitution (1629) in Lower Saxony, and was elected later to the provostry of the collegiate church of Bonn. He was chosen Bishop of Verden (1630), Minden (1631), and appointed Vicar Apostolic of Bremen by Innocent X (1645). In 1633 Osnabrück capitulated to the Swedes and Wartenberg had to yield his see to Gustavus of Wasaburg, an illegitimate son of Gustavus Adolphus. During his forced exile, Wartenberg, who had not yet received any of the major orders, was ordained priest and consecrated bishop at Ratisbon in 1636. In 1641 he went to Rome and upon his return was elected Coadjutor Bishop of Ratisbon cum jure successionis, succeeding on 9 April, 1650. In the negotiations of the Peace of Westphalia (1645-8) he represented the Catholic electors. Though preventing the intended secularization of his see by the Swedes, he had to yield to the stipulation that after his death the See of Osnabrück should be alternately administered by a Protestant and by a Catholic bishop. Wartenberg was to keep the See of Osnabrück, but the Sees of Verden, Minden, and Bremen fell into the hands of Protestants, Wartenberg, however, retaining spiritual jurisdiction over them. On 18 Dec., 1650, he took possession of the See of Osnabrück and laboured to restore the Catholic religion. On 5 April, 1661, he was created cardinal-priest by Alexander VII.


GOLDSCHMIDT, Lebensgesch. des Kard. Priesters Franz Wilhelm (Osnabruck, 1866); MEURER, Franz Wilhelm in Mittheilungen des hist. Vereins zu Osnabruck, X, XI, XXI; FORST, Politische Korrespondenz des Grafen F. W. von Wartenberg aus den Jahren 1621-31 in Publikationen aus den k. preussischen Staatsarchiven, LXVIII (Leipzig, 1897).

About this page

APA citation. Ott, M. (1912). Franz Wilhelm, Count von Wartenberg. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Ott, Michael. "Franz Wilhelm, Count von Wartenberg." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 15. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Thomas M. Barrett. Dedicated to the memory of Cardinal Franz Wilhelm von Wartenberg.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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