De initiatieven op persgebied van de Westvlaamse bisschoppen (1834-1852).

Bishops In West-Flanders And Catholic Press: The problem of developing a catholic press existed in the deeply catholic province of West-Flanders as it existed elsewhere in Belgium, but it was tackled more energetically by the bishops of Bruges than by some of their collègues. Mgr. Boussen, the first bishop of the new see of Bruges, was first of all an opponent of the ideas of Lamennais. This goes to explain that if he wanted a catholic newspaper in his bishopric, it was at least to some extent to interfere with the fight between conservative and progressive catholics. He was deeply aware of the part that the press could play and gave all the help he could to the endeavours of Plas (see the article by Cordewiener). He had been previously the secretary of the bishop of Ghent. This accounts for the part he played in the struggles in East-Flanders. As for his own way of using the press as a politico-religious weapon, he did not control narrowly the catholic papers - especially the Nouvelliste des Flandres - but went out of his way to help them. He gave money, he forbade the reading of liberal papers, and he encouraged the most distinguished clerics of his diocese to write articles. At least, that is what the bishop did as long as Le Nouvelliste des Flandres seemed able to survive. When it become clear that that catholic paper was on the brink of complete disaster, the bishop took strong measures : the hapless proprietor had to accept stringent directives and a new editor : Pierre Lebrocquy. The name was also changed to La Patrie (1848). But even that did not help : new measures had to be taken by the successor of Mgr. Boussen, Mgr. Malou. This important prelate brought together a number of wealthy catholics, especially members of the nobility and from the old families of the catholic establishment; with their help, he raised the money needed to buy outright the paper. One of the most famous journalists available, Amand Neut, was put in charge. We happen to know all the conditions - ideological and financial - of the agreement concluded between the bishop and the new team of editors.