Włodzimierz Czacki 1835-1888

Born in Pavlivka (formerly Poryck) on the 16th of April, 1835. In 1851 he settled down in Rome taking up lodgings with his aunt Zofia Odeschalchi (nee Branicki), who played a significant role in the life of Polish residents and immigrants in the Eternal City. In that period he met the distinguished poet Zygmunt Krasiński - with whom he struck up a friendship – as well as many other eminent thinkers, including August Cieszkowski, Hieronim Kajsiewicz, or Maurycy Mann. In 1858 Czacki published his poetic work Wiązanka; two years later, another one - Zorza wieczności, and in the following year, one more, this time called Ostatnia próba. In 1862, his best volume appeared, entitled Bądź co bądź. In 1868 he was ordained priest. Highly appreciated by Pope Pius IX, he moved up in the Vatican hierarchy and was, for instance, in charge of the Pope’s correspondence. Besides, he anonymously wrote the following pamphlets: Reponse á la brochure: ‘Le Pape et le congres’ par un gentilhomme Polonais (1860), La Pologne et la Catholicité (List o Polsce i Państwie Kościelnym, 1860), Les Catholoques et l’Eglise de Pologne (1863), Rome et la Pologne (1864; Polish edition – 2002), and Stanowisko duchowieństwa polskiego w dzisiejszym położeniu (1867). He also published a treatise called A’la veille du concile (1869), and a work entitled Kościół i postępowość (1868); he wrote shorter articles, too. In 1870 he joined the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; then Pius IX made him the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. Although the contemporary Cardinal Secretary of State - Giacomo Antonelli, disfavoured his Czacki’s preferment, his career continued unhindered. In 1879 he became the Archbishop of Salamina. In the same year he also began his mission as Pope Leo XIII’s nuncio in Paris. It was a difficult task on account of the specificity of the relations between the Church and the State in the republican France. In 1882 he was made Cardinal and returned to Rome, where he spent the final years of his life grappling with ill health, yet still playing an important role at the papal court. He died in Rome on the 8th of March, 1888.


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