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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > H > Francis Xavier Haberl

Francis Xavier Haberl

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An historian of sacred music, editor, born at Oberellenbach, Lower Bavaria, 12 April, 1840; died at Ratisbon, 5 Sept., 1910. He made his classical and theological studies at Passau, Bavaria where he was ordained priest, 12 August, 1862. Showing decided aptitude for music, be was given every opportunity for study of the art, and was entrusted with the direction of music in the seminary. From 1867 to 1870 Haberl resided in Rome, where he was active as choirmaster at the German national church, Santa Maria del Anima, and also made historical and archæological researches. From 1871 to 1882 he directed the choir at the Ratisbon cathedral, his incumbency forming one of the most brilliant periods in the history of this famous institute. In 1874 Haberl founded a school for church musicians at Ratisbon, thus realizing the desire of his predecessors and co-workers in the cause of church music reform. This school, which began with three professors, Dr. Haberl, Dr. Jacob, and Canon Haller, and only three pupils, has since become the centre whither priests and laymen from every country in Christendom have gone to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge to execute reform measures in their dioceses. By his foresight and practical wisdom Haberl not only secured permanency for the school in the shape of endowment, but he built next to it a church, dedicated to St. Cecilia, where pupils are given opportunities for practising the knowledge they have acquired in theory. In 1868 Haberl re-edited the Medicæa version of the Gregorian chant, and the Holy See declared his edition authentic and official for the universal Church. This form of the chant has since been superseded by the traditional version now in course of publication under the name of "Editio Vaticana".

As president of the St. Cecilia Society, which position he held from 1899 until his death, as editor of "Musica Sacra" and "Fliegende Blätter für Kirchenmusik", the official organ of the society, as the author of "Magister Choralis", now in the twelfth edition, and of innumerable articles on historical, theoretical, and scientific subjects, but especially as director of the school which he founded, Dr. Haberl was always the champion of the spirit and authority of the Church in musical matters and a bulwark against the modernizing tendencies of the present day. For thirty years he gathered data and material for a critical edition of the works of Palestrina, completed in 1908 in thirty-three volumes, the first ten of which were prepared by the joint labour of Th. de Witt, J.N. Rauch, Fr. Espagne, and Fr. Commer. A similar edition of the works of Orlando Lasso, undertaken by him in company with Dr. Sanberger, he left unfinished. In a time of frequent and vehement controversies, of which he was often the object, Dr. Haberl was always a model of charity.


Musica sacra (Ratisbon, 1910); Fliegende Blätter für Kirchenmusik (Ratisbon, 1910); RIEMANN, Musiklexikon (Leipzig, 1908).

About this page

APA citation. Otten, J. (1914). Francis Xavier Haberl. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: The Encyclopedia Press.

MLA citation. Otten, Joseph. "Francis Xavier Haberl." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 16 (Index). New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1914. <>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. March 1, 1914. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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