Attitudes des catholiques et de l'épiscopat devant les problèmes posés par l'organisation de leur presse à Bruxelles (1831-1843).

The Belgian Catholics, Their Bishops And The Establishment Of A Catholic Press In Brussels (1831-1843): The triumph of the belgian revolution in 1830 was followed by a strong development of the liberal (i.e. anticlerical) press. The catholic newspapers were few, weak and had to struggle to survive. This appears more clearly than elsewhere in the capital, Brussels : the one important catholic paper L'Union, disappeared in 1838 and no strictly catholic press organ survived. The catholic laity felt this situation to be nothing short of a political disaster, but when they went for help to the bishops, they found that these, especially the primate of Belgium, archbishop Sterckx of Malines, wanted to stay aloof from catholic journalism. The idea was that a catholic press would interfere with the liberty of action of the episcopate. Sterckx took the same position when in 1841 Dieudonné Stas started the Journal de Bruxelles : the archbishop refused to help develop a new catholic press ! But this was not the view of all the bishops : Mgr. Van Bommel, from Liège, took the opposite stand and he had from 1840 his own newspaper La Gazette de Liège. What he wanted was stricly a paper of his own. Indeed there was a catholic paper in Liège, Le Courrier de la Meuse, published by the above mentionned Stas, but the bishop and that journalist held different views. This brought Van Bommel to publish La Gazette de Liège and drove Stas away from Liège to Brussels. Actually Stas was thinking farther ahead : he wanted a general coordi- nation of all the catholic papers. According to this, the Journal de Bruxelles was supposed to be the leading catholic newspaper of the whole country, giving guidance in the political and religious field to the provincial and local newspapers. Many bishops supported that plan. Sterckx was adamant in his opposition. At last, he agreed to give Stas some money, but refused to recognize the Journal de Bruxelles as an authorized catholic paper. The most he was ready to do, was to denounce the "bad newspapers" as a danger to the faith of the catholics.