Michele Viale-Prelà

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Michele Cardinal Viale-Prelà (lithograph by Josef Kriehuber , 1853)

Michele Cardinal Viale-Prelà , also Michele Viale Prelà (born September 29, 1798 in Bastia , Corsica , † May 15, 1860 in Bologna ), was cardinal and archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church .


Michele Viale-Prelà was the fourth child and second son of the wealthy Corsican Paolo Agostino Viale († 1808) and his wife Nicoletta Prelà. He decided to pursue an ecclesiastical career. On his mother's side, he had an uncle, Tommaso Prelà (1765–1848), the two popes, Pius VI. and Pius VII. had looked after as personal physician.

Michele Viale-Prelà was ordained priest in 1823 . Between 1828 and 1836 he was assistant to the papal nuncio in Switzerland, after which he worked for two years with the State Secretary of the Papal States . He then took on the role of nuncio in Munich from 1838 and was appointed bishop in 1841 . The episcopal ordination received his July 18, 1841 Rome Cardinal Luigi Lambruschini , co-consecrators were Fabio Maria Asquini , secretary of the Congregation for Bishops and Regulars , and Archbishop Lodovico Altieri , nuncio in Austria. From 1845 he served the Vatican as nuncio at the imperial court in Vienna. On March 15, 1852 he was by Pope Pius IX. first elevated to cardinal in pectore , published on March 7, 1853 as cardinal priest of the Roman titular church Santi Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio . During his time as apostolic nuncio in Austria he donated, among others, Franz Joseph Rudigier the episcopal ordination in 1853. In 1855 he was appointed Archbishop of Bologna . The appointment was unusual because he had never been a parish priest himself and was always on the Vatican government staff. He had even been discussed as the successor to State Secretary Giacomo Antonelli .

In Bologna he succeeded the politically more moderate Archbishop Carlo Oppizzoni . Took the first measures, the Archbishop Viale-Prelà, included provisions which ensure compliance with religious rules and commandments in the Papal States should ensure belonging city. The newspaper L'osservato bolognese , which he founded, served primarily to combat liberal ideas. He wanted to strengthen religious awareness in his diocese with proselytizing campaigns in which he relied on members of the Jesuit order.


Prelá is best known to posterity for his role in the Edgardo Mortara case . The kidnapping of the supposedly emergency baptized Jewish child Edgardo Mortara, which happened with his tolerance, caused a sensation in the second half of the 19th century and played a role in the Kulturkampf .


  • Constantin von Wurzbach : Viale-Prelà, Michael . In: Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich . 50th part. Imperial and Royal Court and State Printing Office, Vienna 1884, pp. 259–264 ( digitized version ).
  • David Kertzer: The Abduction of Edgardo Mortara. A child in the hands of the Vatican. Hanser, Munich 1998, ISBN 978-3-446-19488-5 .
  • Philippe Bountry: Prélats Référendaires et officers de curie en fonctions sous la restauration (1814–1846) . In: Souverain et pontife. Recherches prosopographiques sur la Curie Romaine à l'âge de la Restoration (1814–1846) . École française de Rome, Rome 2002, margin no. 600–601 (French, online edition [accessed March 29, 2018]).

Web links

Commons : Michele Viale-Prelà  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Kertzer, p. 47
  2. Kertzer, p. 48
  3. Kertzer, p. 51
predecessor Office successor
Carlo Oppizzoni Archbishop of Bologna
Filippo Maria Guidi