The Restoration granted a certain amount of liberty to the press. In 1814, Adrien Le Clère et Pierre Joseph Picot founded L’Ami de la religion et du roi, a publication dealing with church affairs, politics and literature. It appeared twice weekly. Thanks to its large number of correspondents, the journal could offer news and teachings on the catholic life of the dioceses of France and of other countries as well.
After the July 1830 Revolution, the journal continued to appear three times per week under the simplified title Ami de la religion. When Mr. Picot died in 1835, several directors succeeded him and, in 1862, the journal ceased publication.
Bishop de Mazenod recognized the usefulness of this journal and sent in a dozen articles to be published. For example, on October 29, 1828, he asked them to publish a letter from the clergy of Marseilles addressed to Bishop Fortuné treating of the expulsion of the Jesuits. On this occasion, he wrote to Mr. Picot that this journal was perhaps seen “as the source of solid teachings and the religious annals of our time.” On August 25, 1836, he asked Father Guigues to take out a subscription for the house of Notre-Dame de l’Osier, since it is a “journal that a religious community needs.”
When Abbé Philibert Dupanloup was appointed bishop of Orleans, Bishop de Mazenod wrote him an October 3, 1849 letter in which he told him how much he valued the journal, a value that would be enhanced by the new bishop’s contribution and cooperation. “I hope,” he said, “that your elevation to the episcopacy will not prevent you from lavishing your care on a work that is so useful or that, guided by your wisdom, will continue to justify the confidence our French clergy have put in it. It suffices to tell you, My Lord, that I will not cease taking a keen interest in the success of this publication. Its daily contribution to discussions surrounding a plethora of questions which resurface every day can not fail to render great service to the cause of religion and be a great help to the clergy...”
On March 25, 1854, the bishop of Marseilles wrote a letter to Mr. Cognat, the editor of L’Ami, telling him that he had already sent him a patron’s subscription of 500 francs, but that he had too many works to maintain for him to contribute more to the journal “which will not be able to recover from its fatal decline.”
Yvon Beaudoin, o.m.i.