Monsignor Bauer

Monsignor Bauer

Monsignor Marie-Bernard Bauer was the Chaplain of the Tuileries in Paris, eventually attaining the rank of bishop. A distinguished pulpit orator, in 1867 he became father confessor to the Empress Eugénie. On 17 November 1869 he delivered the dedicatory address at the opening of the Suez Canal, expressing the hope that Christianity and Islam, two faiths with common roots and a history of violent competition, might be reconciled in the canal’s union of ‘splendid Orient and marvellous Occident.’

Born Paul Bauer in the Jewish faith at Budapest in Hungary, during an adventurous youth he tried all sorts of professions, including painting and photography. He was converted to Catholicism by the Carmelite priest Augustin (real name: Hermann Cohen) and became a member of the Carmelite Order. After the downfall of the Second Empire, however, Bauer exchanged his bishopric for the turf, and became a fancier of racehorses. [Source: The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906].

His name crops up occasionally in British newspapers throughout the rest of the century. On 10 August 1882 the Glasgow Evening Post described him as 'a well known figure on the Paris Bourse. At the fall of the empire he renounced the priesthood and took to finance.' Two years later he was described as haunting 'the coulisse of the Bourse and of the opera house' (Liverpool Echo, 6 March 1884). On 17 June 1899 The Era reported that he 'was recently married to a ballet dancer of the Vienna Opera House.'

He died in Paris at his home in the rue Marbeuf on 14 May 1903 and was buried in Père Lachaise cemetery. 'A singular personage in Paris social life has disappeared in the person of ex-Monsignor Bauer, who was formerly the brilliant chaplain of the Tuileries. M. Bauer, who was of Jewish extraction, began life as a stockbroker's clerk, but suddenly abandoned that calling and entered the seminary of St Sulpice. After his ordination his eloquence attracted Napoleon III, who offered him a Court chaplaincy, with the special task of teaching the Prince Imperial elocution. Mgr. Baur drew large congregations, and on several occasions he occupied the pulpit at Notre Dame. He accompanied the Empress Eugenie to Egypt, and delivered a magnificent discourse at the inaugural ceremony of the Suez Canal' (Bournemouth Daily Echo, 19 May 1903).

Photographed by the great Disdéri of Paris.


Code: 127060
© Paul Frecker 2023