French cardinal; archbishop of Paris
ALS - Autograph Letter Signed; one and one-half page on heraldic crested stationery; December 1930. Reads:
Written to (likely) Major General Henri Lasson (1862-1951) who was the military secretary general of the Presidency of the Republic and head of the military household of President Gaston Doumergue (who occupied the Elysee from 1924-31) during the administration of President Doumergue. Reads: Paris, Dec. 30, 1930, My General, I am taking the liberty of entrusting this letter to you for the President. It is of the utmost importance that it be delivered to him without delay. What an incomparable welcome I received yesterday at the Elysee! I was deeply moved. Thank you so much. I owe you so much! Accompanied by a small color reprint image of Verdier from a stained glass panel. Other possible generals referenced include: Henry Joseph Etienne Gouraud (1867-1946) military governor of Paris, then chief of staff of the armed forces; and Maxime Weygand, chief of staff in 1930.
It is likely that Cardinal Verdier thanked the General after a reception at the Elysee and entrusts the letter to give to the president. According to the archives of the Archdiocese, Verdier ordered the destruction of his archives shortly before his death in 1940, knowing that the Nazi's were seizing such material. Almost nothing is left in their archive of Verdier.
During his episcopate, Verdier built over 100 churches to minister to working class neighborhoods that had sprung up around Paris. An advocate of social justice, he regularly denounced racism from his cathedral pulpit, making pointed reference to Nazi Germany. Verdier, along with Cardinals Schuster and van Roey, supported Pope Pius XI in his condemnation of Kristallnacht. He often slipped away from his office to work in a soup kitchen run by the Little Sisters of Paris. He also was a strong opponent of Fascism, describing World War II as …a crusade…We are struggling to preserve the freedom of people throughout the world, whether they be great or small peoples, and to preserve their possessions and their very lives. No other war has had aims that are more spiritual, moral, and, in sum, more Christian.
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