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Historian, b. at Budesheim, Bingen, Germany, 19 Jan., 1807, d. at Mainz, 15 Dec., 1856. He studied under Klee at Mainz and Bonn and under Möhler at Tübingen. After his ordination to the priesthood, 18 Dee., 1830, he was named assistant priest at Bingen. In 1835 he was appointed to a parish at Giessen, and to the chair of moral theology in the local theological faculty. His transfer to the professorship in Church history followed in 1837. The publication of the first volume of his Church history in 1841 aroused a storm of indignation among Protestants, to whom his accurate though not flattering account of the Reformation was distasteful. The Hessian Government hastened to pension the fearless teacher (19 Nov., 1842). This measure caused intense indignation among the diocesan Catholic clergy, who denounced the Protestant atmosphere of the university. Riffel retired to Mainz, where Bishop von Ketteler appointed him in 1851 professor of Church history in his newly organized ecclesiastical seminary. Death put a premature end to the teaching of this Catholic educator, who contributed largely to the restoration of a truly ecclesiastical spirit among the German clergy. He wrote: "Geschichtliche Darstellung des Verhältnisses zwischen Kirche und Staat", Mainz, 1836; "Predigten auf alle Sonn- und Festtage des Jahres", Mainz, 1839-40, 3rd ed., 1854; "Christliche Kirchengeschichte der neuesten Zeit", Mainz, 1841-46; "Die Aufhebung des Jesuitenordens", 3rd ed., Mainz, 1855.
GOYAU, L'Allemagne religieuse: le Catholicisme, II (Paris, 1905), 313.