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DUKE OF BRUNSWICK - LÜNEBURG - WOLFENBÜTTEL
A convert to the Catholic faith, b. 4 October, 1633; d. 27 March, 1714. In 1685, with his brother August Rudolph, he became co-regent of the duchy, and on the latter's death (1704) succeeded to the throne. He was a very gifted and well educated man, the most scholarly prince of his time, and, in the history of German literature, ranks as pioneer in the department of historical romance. He was also an accomplished dramatist and hymnwriter. His bent, however, was toward the study of the Fathers, and the points of variance between Catholics and Lutherans. He often conversed on such subjects with theologians of both sides, among them the Hildesheim canon, Rudolph May, and Amadeus Hamilton, a Theatine. He entered the Church secretly 10 January, 1710, but soon, in deference to the advice of Clement XI, made public his conversion in the presence of the Archbishop of Mainz. While he safeguarded officially the actual ecclesiastical and political conditions in his duchy, he devoted himself earnestly to the interests of Catholicism. Among other works, he published, in Latin and German, a learned apology for his conversion entitled "Fifty Motives for preferring the Catholic religion to all others." It was soon suppressed, and is therefore a very rare book; an Italian translation of it was sent to Clement XI. The Duke built Catholic churches in Brunswick and Wolfenbuettel, and obtained papal approval for their administration by the Bishops of Hildesheim. In a document signed 3 February, 1714, by his sons August and Ludwig, he provided that in the future the exercise of the Catholic religion should be free in his State. Two of his daughters, Henrietta and Augusta Dorothea, followed his example, and returned to the mother church.
STREBER in Kirchenlex.; I, 976, 78; RAESS, Convertitenbilder, IX, 137.
THOMAS J. SHAHAN