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Heinrich Bruck

Ecclesiastical historian and bishop, b. at Bingen, October 25, 1831; d. November 4, 1903

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Bruck, HEINRICH, ecclesiastical historian and bishop, b. at Bingen, October 25, 1831; d. November 4, 1903. He followed for some time the cooper’s trade. After a course of studies under the direction of a distinguished ecclesiastic, Dr. Joseph Hirschel, he entered the seminary at Mainz. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1855, exercised for some time the sacred ministry, made a postgraduate course at Munich under Dollinger, and at Rome, and in 1857 was appointed to the chair of ecclesiastical history in the seminary of Mainz. He continued to teach until his elevation to the episcopate, with the exception of the years from 1878 to 1887, when the seminary was closed by order of the Government. In 1889 he became a canon of the cathedral; he received also several positions of trust in the administration of the diocese. In 1899 he was chosen Bishop of Mainz; as such he directed the diocese with zeal and intelligence. The merit of Bruck consists chiefly in his literary activity. Perhaps his best known work is his manual of church history, “Lehrbuch der Kirchengeschichte” (Mainz, 1874; 8th ed., 1902). It has been translated into English, French, and Italian, all of which translations passed through second editions before 1899, an evidence that its excellent qualities were widely appreciated. The author shows himself possessed of extensive knowledge not only in history, but also in theology and canon law. A more special work is his “Geschichte der katholischen Kirche in Deutschland im neunzehnten Jahrhundert”—”History of the Catholic Church in Germany in the Nineteenth Century”, in five volumes (1887-1905) It contains a rich store of information, arranged with thoroughness and sound critical judgment, and was received with universal approval by Catholic scholars. He was also the author of an account of rationalistic movements in Catholic Germany (1865), a life of Dean Lennig (1870), and a work on secret societies in Spain (1881).


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