John XXIII (Bergamo, 1881- Rome, 1963)

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Letter signed “+Ange Jos. Roncalli – n[once] a.[postolique]”, dated Paris 12 August 1952. The future Pope, who was then Apostolic Nuncio in Paris (1944-1953), addresses the Superior of the Seminary of the Mission de France in Liseux, in order to obtain information on Canon Louis Pihour, Vicar General of Nantes “…pris en considération pour être élevé à la dignité épiscopale… Je me permets d’attirer votre attention sur ce que la présente lettre et toute la correspondance, à laquelle elle donne lieu, forment l’objet du secret du Saint-Office…”. Roncalli asks his correspondent to kindly complete the questionnaire on the back of the sheet, twelve points relating to the health of the vicar of Nantes, his piety, his studies, and publications, his conduct, his character, his reputation, his attitude towards the Holy See, etc., a proper investigation aimed at assessing whether this ecclesiastic was worthy and capable of government “…un diocèse, un grand diocès, ou plutôt un petit…”. Important document, carrying the cachet “très urgent”, et secret as it mentions on the front : “Sub secreto sancti officii – Violatio hujus secreti, quocumque modo, etiam indirecte commissa, plectitur excommunicatione a qua nemo, ne ipse Emus Poenitentiarius, sed unus Summus Pontifex absolvere potest”. A brilliant teacher, with an innate sense of justice and loved by all his students, Louis Pihour had replaced the first vicar Félix Guiller, called to the episcopal headquarters in Pamiers. An unrelenting defender of free education, his influence was preponderant within the diocese of Nantes. 1 p. On paper of the Apostolic Nunciature in France. In fine condition.