Home/ Historical Writings / Church & Denominational History / Rev. James Maccaffrey / History of the Catholic Church
History of the Catholic Church
Book 1 From the Renaissance to the French Revolution - Volume 1
Chapter 6 Theological Controversies and Studies
Schwane, Dogmengeschichte der neuren zeit, 1890. Turmel, Histoire de la theologie positive du concile de Trente au concile du Vatican, 1906. Denzinger-Bannwart, Enchiridion Symbolorum, 11th edition, 1911. Duchesne, Histoire du Baianisme, 1731. Linsenmann, Michael Baius, 1863.
The Catholic doctrine on Grace, round which such fierce controversies had been waged in the fifth and sixth centuries, loomed again into special prominence during the days of the Reformation. The views of Luther and Calvin on Grace and Justification were in a sense the very foundation of their systems, and hence it was of vital importance that these questions should be submitted to a searching examination, and that the doctrine of the Catholic Church should be formulated in such a way as to make cavilling and misunderstanding impossible. This work was done with admirable lucidity and directness in the fifth and sixth sessions of the Council of Trent, but nevertheless these decrees of the Council did not prevent the theories of Luther and Calvin being propagated vigorously, and from exercising a certain amount of influence even on some Catholic theologians who had no sympathy with the religious revolt.
Amongst these might be reckoned Michael Baius (De Bay, 1513-89) a professor at the University of Louvain and John Hessels, one of his supporters in the theological controversies of the day. They believed that Catholic apologists were handicapped seriously by their slavish regard for the authority and methods of the Scholastics, and that if instead of appealing to the writings of St. Thomas as the ultimate criterion of truth they were to insist more on the authority of the Bible and of the works of the Early Fathers, such as St. Cyprian, St. Jerome, and St. Augustine, they would find themselves on much safer ground, and their arguments would be more likely to command the respect of their opponents. Hence at Louvain, in their own lectures, in their pamphlets, and in private discussions, they insisted strongly that Scholasticism should make way for positive theology, and that the Scriptures and patristic literature should take the place of the Summa. Not content, however, with a mere change of method they began to show their contempt for traditional opinions, and in a short time alarming rumours were in circulation both inside and outside the university that their teaching on Original Sin, Grace, and Free-will, was not in harmony with the doctrine of the Church. The Franciscans submitted to the judgment of the Sorbonne a number of propositions (18) selected from the writings or lectures of Baius and his friends, and the opinion of the Sorbonne was distinctly unfavourable. As the dispute grew more heated and threatened to have serious consequences for the university and the country, Cardinal Granvelle, believing that the absence of the two professors might lead to peace, induced both to proceed to the Council of Trent as the theologians of the King of Spain (1563). Though the opinions of Baius found little sympathy with the Fathers of Trent, yet since the subjects of Original Sin and Grace had been discussed and defined already, nothing was done. On his return (1564) from the Council of Trent Baius published several pamphlets in explanation and defence of his views, all of which were attacked by his opponents, so that in a short time the university was split into two opposing camps.
To put an end to the trouble the rector determined to seek the intervention of Rome. In October 1567 Pius V. issued the Bull, Ex omnibus afflictionibus, in which he condemned seventy-nine propositions selected from the writings or lectures of Baius without mentioning the author's name.  The friends of Baius raised many difficulties regarding the reception and the interpretation of the papal document, and though Baius himself professed his entire submission to the decision, the tone of his letter to the Pope was little short of offensive. The Pope replied that the case having been examined fully and adjudged acceptance of the decision was imperative. Once more Baius announced his intention of submitting (1569), and so confident were his colleagues of his orthodoxy that he was appointed dean of the theological faculty, and later on chancellor of the university. But his actions did not correspond with his professions. Various arguments were put forward to weaken the force of the papal condemnation until at last Gregory XIII. was forced to issue a new Bull, Provisionis nostrae (1579), and to send the learned Jesuit, Francisco Toledo, to demand that Baius should abjure his errors, and that the teaching of Pius V. should be accepted at Louvain. The papal letter was read in a formal meeting of the university, whereupon Baius signed a form of abjuration, by which he acknowledged that the condemnation of the propositions was just and reasonable, and that he would never again advocate such views. This submission relieved the tension of the situation, but it was a long time before the evil influence of Baianism disappeared, and before peace was restored finally to Louvain.
The system propounded by Baius had much in common with the teaching of Pelagius, Luther, and Calvin. His failure to recognise the clear distinction between the natural and the supernatural was the source of most of his errors. According to him the state of innocence in which our first parents were created, their destination to the enjoyment of the Beatific Vision, and all the gifts bestowed upon them for the attainment of this end were due to them, so that had they persevered during life they should have merited eternal happiness as a reward for their good works. When, however, man sinned by disobedience he not merely lost gratuitous or supernatural endowments, but his whole nature was weakened and corrupted by Original Sin which, in the system of Baius, was to be identified with concupiscence, and which was transmitted from father to son according to the ordinary laws of heredity. This concupiscence, he contended, was in itself sinful, as was also every work which proceeds from
it. This was true even in case of children, because that an act be meritorious or demeritorious Free- will was not required. So long as the act was done voluntarily even though necessarily, it was to be deemed worthy of reward or punishment, since freedom from external compulsion was alone required for moral responsibility.
From the miserable condition into which man had fallen he was rescued by the Redemption of Christ, on account of which much that had been forfeited was restored. These graces procured for man by Christ may be called supernatural, not because they were not due to human nature, but because human nature had been rendered positively unworthy of them by Original Sin. The justice, however, by which a man is justified, consisted not in any supernatural quality infused into the soul, by which the individual was made a participator of the divine nature, but implied merely a condition in which the moral law was observed strictly. Hence justification, according to Baius, could be separated from the forgiveness of guilt, so that though the guilt of the sinner may not have been remitted still he may be justified. In sin two things were to be distinguished, the act and the liability to punishment. The act could never be effaced, but the temporal punishment was remitted by the actual reception of the sacraments, which were introduced by Christ solely for that purpose. The Mass possessed, he held, any efficacy that it had only because it was a good moral act and helped to draw us more closely to God.
(b) The Molonist Controversy.
See bibliography VI. (a). Molina, Liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis ... concordia, 1588. Augustin Le Blanc, Historia congregationis de auxiliis, etc., 1699, 1709. Elutherius, Historia controversiarum de auxiliis, etc., 1705-15. Schneeman, Enstehung und Entwicklung der thomistich-molinistischen Kontroverse, 1880. Gayraud, Thomisme et Molinisme, 1890. Dummermuth, S. Thomas et doctrina praemotionis physicae, 1886. Frins (S.J.), S. Thomas Aquin, doctrina de cooperatione Dei, etc., 1892. Dummermuth, Defensio doctrinae S. Thomae, etc., Responsio ad P. Frins, 1895.
The teaching of St. Thomas on Grace was the teaching followed generally, not merely by the Dominicans, but by most of the theologians belonging to the secular clergy and to the other religious orders. When, however, the systems of Calvin and Luther began to take root some of those who were brought into close contact with the new doctrines arrived at the conclusion that the arguments of their opponents could be overcome more effectually by introducing some modifications of the theories of St. Thomas concerning the operation of Grace and Free-will. The Jesuits particularly were of this opinion, and in 1584 the general, Aquaviva, allowed his subjects to depart in some measure from the teaching of the Summa. This step was regarded with disfavour in many influential quarters, and induced scholars to be much more critical about Jesuit theology than otherwise they might have been. In their College at Louvain there were two Jesuit theologians Lessius (1584-1623) and Hamel, who both in their lectures and theses advanced certain theories on man's co-operation with Grace and on Predestination, that were deemed by many to be dangerously akin to the doctrine of the Semi-Pelagians (1587). The fact that the Jesuits had been the consistent opponents of Baianism induced Baius and his friends to cast the whole weight of their influence against Lessius. A sharp controversy broke out once more in the Netherlands. The Universities of Louvain and Douay censured thirty-four propositions of Lessius as Semi-Pelagian, while the Universities of Ingolstadt and Mainz declared in favour of their orthodoxy. The matter having been referred to Rome, Sixtus V. imposed silence on both parties, without pronouncing any formal condemnation or approval of the propositions that had been denounced (1588).
The controversy in the Spanish Netherlands was only the prelude to a much more serious conflict in Spain itself. In 1588 the well-known Jesuit, Luis de Molina (1535-1600) published at Lisbon his celebrated work, Concordia liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis etc. with the approbation of the Dominican, Bartholomew Ferreira, and the permission of the Inquisition. Hardly had the work left the printing press than it was attacked warmly by Domingo Banez (1528-1604), the friend and spiritual director of St. Teresa, and one of the ablest Dominicans of his time. He had been engaged already in a controversy with the Jesuit, Montemaior, on the same subject of Grace, but the publication of Molina's book added new fuel to the flame, and in a short time the dispute assumed such serious proportions that bishops, theologians, universities, students, and even the leading officials of the state, were obliged to take sides. The Dominicans supported Banez, while the Jesuits with some few exceptions rallied to the side of Molina. The latter's book was denounced to the Inquisition, but as a counterblast to this Banez also was accused of very serious errors. If Molina was blamed for being a Semi-Pelagian, Banez was charged with having steered too closely to Calvinism. In the hope of restoring peace to the Church in Spain Clement VIII. reserved the decision of the case to his own tribunal (1596).
To get a grasp of the meaning of the controversy, it should be borne in mind that in all theories concerning the operation of Grace three points must be safeguarded by all Catholic theologians, namely, man's dependence upon God as the First Cause of all his actions natural as well as supernatural, human liberty, and God's omniscience or foreknowledge of man's conduct. Following in the footsteps of St. Thomas, the Dominicans maintained that when God wishes man to perform a good act He not only gives assistance, but He actually moves or predetermines the will so that it must infallibly act. In this way the entire act comes from God as the First Cause, and at the same time it is the free act of the creature, because the human will though moved and predetermined by God acts according to its own nature, that is
to say, it acts freely. In His eternal decrees by which God ordained to give this premotion or predetermination He sees infallibly the actions and conduct of men, and acting on this knowledge He predestines the just to glory ante praevisa merita. According to this system, therefore, the efficaciousness of Grace comes from the Grace itself, and is not dependent upon the co-operation of the human will.
Against this Molina maintained that the human faculties having been elevated by what might be called prevenient Grace, so as to make them capable of producing a supernatural act, the act itself is performed by the will co-operating with the impulse given by God. Man is, therefore, free, and at the same time dependent upon God in the performance of every good act. He is free, because the human will may or may not co-operate with the divine assistance, and he is dependent upon God, because it is only by being elevated by prevenient Grace freely given by God that the human will is capable of co-operating in the production of a supernatural act. It follows, too, that the efficaciousness of Grace arises not from the Grace itself but from the free co-operation of the will, and that a Grace in itself truly sufficient might not be efficacious through the failure of the will to co-operate with it. The omniscience of God is safeguarded, because, according to Molina, God sees infallibly man's conduct by means of the scientia media or knowledge of future conditional events (so called because it stands midway between the knowledge of possibles and the knowledge of actuals). That is to say He sees infallibly what man would do freely in all possible circumstances were he given this or that particular Grace, and acting upon this knowledge He predestines the just to glory post praevisa merita. The main difficulty urged against Molina was, that by conceding too much to human liberty he was but renewing in another form the errors of Pelagius; while the principal objection brought forward against the Dominicans was, that by conceding too much to Grace they were destroying human liberty, and approaching too closely to Calvin's teaching on Predestination. Needless to say, however much they differed on the points, both the followers of St. Thomas and the friends of Molina were at one in repudiating the doctrines of Calvin and Pelagius.
A special commission (Congregatio de Auxiliis), presided over by Cardinals Madrucci and Arrigone, was appointed to examine the questions at issue. The first session was held in January 1598, and in February of the same year the majority of the members reported in favour of condemning Molina's book. Clement VIII. requested the commission to consider the evidence more fully, but in a comparatively short time the majority presented a second report unfavourable to Molina. Representatives of the Dominicans and Jesuits were invited to attend in the hope that by means of friendly discussion an agreement satisfactory to both parties might be secured. In 1601 the majority were in favour of condemning twenty propositions taken from Molina's work, but the Pope refused to confirm the decision. From 1602 till 1605 the sessions were held in the presence of the Pope and of many of the cardinals. Among the consultors was Peter Lombard, Archbishop of Armagh. The death of Clement VIII. in March 1605 led to an adjournment. In September 1605 the sessions were resumed and continued till March 1606, when the votes of the consultors were handed in. In July 1607 these were placed before the cardinals for their opinions, but a little later it was announced that the decision of the Holy See would be made public at the proper time, and that meanwhile both parties were at liberty to teach their opinions. Neither side was, however, to accuse the other of heresy. Since that time no definite decision has been given, and, so far as the dogmas of faith are concerned, theologians are at full liberty to accept Thomism or Molinism.
Rapin, Histoire du Jansenisme depuis son origine jusqu' en 1644, 1861. Paquier, Le Jansenisme, etude doctrinale d'apres les sources, 1909. Dechamps, De haeresi jansemiana ab Apostolica Sede proscripta, 1654. Du Mas, Histoire des cinque propositions de Jansenius, 1699. Saint-Beuve, Port Royal, 3rd edition, 1867- 71. Seche, Les derniers Jansenistes, 1891. Van den Peereboom, Cornelius Jansensius septieme eveque d'Ypres, 1882. Schill, Die Constitution, Unigenitus, 1876. Fuzet, Les Jansenistes du XVIIe siecle, 1876.
The influence exercised by Baius, and the ideas that he implanted in the minds of his students had a very disturbing effect on the University of Louvain. Amongst those who fell under the sway of Baianism at this period the best known if not the ablest was Cornelius Jansen (1585-1638). He studied at Utrecht, Paris, and Louvain. While in this latter place he formed a resolve to join the Society of Jesus, but for some reason or another he was refused admission, a slight which accounts in some measure for the continued antipathy he displayed during his life towards the Jesuits. At Louvain, too, he was associated very closely with a brilliant young French student, John du Verger de Hauranne (1581-1643), better known as the Abbot of St. Cyran, whom he accompanied to Paris and afterwards to Bayonne, where both lived for almost twelve years. During these years of intimate friendship they had many opportunities of discussing the condition and prospects of the Catholic Church, the prevalence of what they considered Pelagian views amongst theologians, the neglect of the study of the Fathers, above all of St. Augustine, the laxity of confessors in imparting absolution and allowing their penitents to receive Holy Communion, and the absolute necessity of returning to the strict discipline of the early Church. In 1617 the two friends separated, Jansen returning to Louvain, where he was appointed to a chair of scriptural exegesis, and du Verger to Paris, where he took up his residence though he held at the same time the commendatory
abbacy of St. Cyran. As professor of Scripture Jansen showed himself both industrious and orthodox, so that in 1636 on the nomination of Philip IV. of Spain he was appointed Bishop of Ypres. From that time till 1639, when he passed away, he administered the affairs of his diocese with commendable prudence and zeal.
During the greater portion of his life he had devoted all his spare moments to the study of the works of St. Augustine, especially those directed against the Pelagians, and he had prepared a treatise on Grace, in which treatise he claimed to have reproduced exactly the teaching of St. Augustine. This work was finished but not published when he took seriously ill, and the manuscript was handed over by him to some friends for publication. Before his death, however, he declared in presence of witnesses that "if the Holy See wishes any change I am an obedient son and I submit to that Church in which I have lived to my dying hour."  Notwithstanding various efforts that were made to prevent publication Jansen's book Augustinus was given to the world in 1640.
Like Baius Jansen refused to recognise that in the condition of innocence, in which man was constituted before the Fall, he was endowed with numerous gifts and graces, that were pure gifts of God in no way due to human nature. Hence he maintained that by the sin of our First Parents human nature was essentially corrupted, and man fell helplessly under the control of concupiscence, so that, do what he would, he must of necessity sin. There was therefore in man an irresistible inclination impelling him towards evil, to counteract which Grace was given as a force impelling him towards good, with the result that he was drawn necessarily towards good or evil according to the relative strength of these two conflicting delectations. It followed from this that merely sufficient grace was never given. If the Grace was stronger than the tendency towards evil it was efficacious; if it was weaker it was not sufficient. Yet, whether he acted under the impulse of Grace or of concupiscence, man acted freely, because, according to Jansen, absence of all external pressure was all that was required to make an act free and worthy of praise or blame.
The book Augustinus created a profound sensation among theologians. It was hailed as a marvel of learning and ability by those who were still attached secretly to the school of Baius as well as by the enemies of the Jesuits. A new edition appeared in Paris only to be condemned by the Holy Office (1641) and by Urban VIII. in the Bull, In Eminenti (1642). Various difficulties were raised against the acceptance of the papal decision in Louvain and in the Netherlands, and it was only after a long delay and by threats of extreme measures that the Archbishop of Mechlin and those who followed him were obliged to submit (1653).
The real struggle regarding Augustinus was to be waged, however, in Paris and France. There, the Abbot of St. Cyran had been busily at work preparing the way for Jansen's doctrine, by attacking the modern laxity of the Church, and advocating the necessity of a complete return to the rigorous discipline of the early centuries. He had made the acquaintance of the family of the celebrated lawyer, Antoine Arnauld, six of whose family had entered the convent of Port Royal, of which one of them, Angelique,  was then superioress, while his youngest son, Antoine, a pupil of St. Cyran, was destined to be the leader of the French Jansenists. St. Cyran insisted on such rigorous conditions for the worthy reception of the Eucharist, that people feared to receive Holy Communion lest they should be guilty of sacrilege, and for a similar reason many priests abstained from the celebration of Mass. He attacked the Jesuits for their laxity of doctrine and practice in regard to the Sacrament of Penance. He himself insisted on the absolute necessity of perfect contrition and complete satisfaction as an essential condition for absolution. These views were accepted by the nuns at Port Royal and by many clergy in Paris. On account of certain writings likely to lead to religious trouble St. Cyran was arrested by order of Cardinal Richelieu (1638) and died in 1643. His place was taken by his brilliant pupil, Antoine Arnauld, who had been ordained priest in 1641, and who like his master was the determined opponent of the Jesuits. In 1643 he published a book entitled De la frequente Communion, in which he put forward such strict theories about the conditions required for the worthy reception of the Eucharist that many people were frightened into abstaining even from fulfilling their Easter Communion. Despite the efforts of St. Vincent de Paul and others the book was read freely and produced widespread and alarming results.
The condemnation pronounced by Urban VIII. (1642) against Augustinus, though accepted by the king, the Archbishop of Paris, and the Sorbonne, found many staunch opponents. It was contended that the condemnation was the work of the Jesuits rather than of the Pope, that it was based on the groundless supposition that the system of Jansen was identical with that of Baius, and that as no individual proposition in Augustinus had been condemned people were perfectly free to discuss the views it contained. To put an end to all possibility of misunderstanding Cornet, syndic of Paris University, selected from Augustinus five propositions, which he believed contained the whole essence of Jansen's system, and submitted them to the Sorbonne for examination (1649). Owing to the intervention of the Parliament of Paris in favour of the Jansenists the propositions were referred to the Assembly of the Clergy (1650), but the vast body of the bishops considered that it was a question on which a decision should be sought from Rome.
Accordingly eighty-five of the bishops addressed a petition to Innocent X. (1651) requesting him to pronounce a definitive sentence on the orthodoxy or unorthodoxy of the five propositions, while a minority of their body objected to such an appeal as an infringement of the liberties of the Gallican Church. A commission, some of the members of which were recognised supporters of the Jansenists, was appointed by the Pope to examine the question, and after prolonged discussions extending over two years Innocent X. issued the Bull, Cum occasione (1653), by which the five propositions were condemned. The Bull was received so favourably by the king, the bishops, and the Sorbonne that it was hoped the end of the controversy was in sight.
The Jansenists, however, soon discovered a new method of evading the condemnation and of rendering the papal letters null and void. They admitted that the five propositions were justly censured, but they denied that these propositions were to be found in Augustinus, or, if they were in Augustinus, they contended they were there in a sense quite different from that which had been condemned by the Pope. To justify this position they introduced the celebrated distinction between law and fact; that is to say, while admitting the authority of the Church to issue definite and binding decisions on doctrinal matters, they denied that she was infallible in regard to questions of fact, as for example, whether a certain proposition was contained in a certain book or what might be the meaning which the author intended to convey. On matters of fact such as these the Church might err, and the most that could be demanded of the faithful in case of such decisions was respectful silence. At the same time by means of sermons, pamphlets, and letters, by advice given to priests, and by the influence of several religious houses, notably Port Royal, the sect was gaining ground rapidly in Paris, and feeling began to run high against the Jesuits. The antipathy to the Jesuits was increased and became much more general after the appearance of the Lettres Provinciales (1656-57) written by Pascal (1623-62). The writer was an exceedingly able controversialist, and in many respects a deeply religious man. From the point of view of literature the Provincial Letters were in a sense a masterpiece, but they were grossly unfair to those whom they attacked. 
The Sorbonne offered a strong opposition to the Jansenists, as did also the bishops (1656). In the same year Alexander VII. issued the Bull, Ad Sanctam Petri Sedem, by which he condemned the distinction drawn between law and fact, and declared that the five propositions were to be found in Augustinus and were condemned in the sense in which they were understood by the Jansenists. The Assembly of the Clergy having accepted this Bull drew up a formulary of faith based on the teaching it contained. The greater part of the Jansenists either refused entirely to subscribe to this formulary, or else subscribed only with certain reservations and restrictions. The nuns at Port Royal were most obstinate in their refusal. As they persisted in their attitude notwithstanding the prayers and entreaties of the Archbishop of Paris he was obliged reluctantly to exclude them from the sacraments. One of the principal objections urged against the acceptance of the formulary being that the Assembly of the Clergy had no authority to prescribe any such profession of faith, Alexander VII. at the request of many of the bishops issued a new constitution, Regiminus Apostolici (1664), in which he insisted that all priests secular and regular and all members of religious communities should subscribe to the anti-Jansenist formulary that he forwarded.
Most of the Jansenists refused to yield obedience even to the commands of the Pope. They were strengthened in their refusal by the fact that four of the French bishops set them a bad example by approving publicly in their pastorals the Jansenist distinction between law and fact. The Council of State promptly suppressed these pastorals (1665), and at the request of Louis XIV. Alexander VII. appointed a commission for the trial of the disobedient bishops. In the meantime, before the commission could proceed with the trial, Alexander VII. died, and was succeeded by Clement IX. (1667). Several of the French bishops addressed a joint letter to the new Pope, in which by a rather unfair use of extracts from the works of theologians they sought to excuse the attitude of their brother bishops, and at the same time they hinted to the king that the controversy was taking a course likely to be fraught with great danger to the liberties of the Gallican Church. Louis XIV., who had been hitherto most determined in his efforts against the Jansenists, began to grow lukewarm, and the whole situation in France was fast becoming decidedly critical. Some of the French bishops offered their services as mediators. Through their intervention it was agreed that without expressly retracting their pastorals the bishops should consent to sign the formulary drawn up by the Pope, and induce the clergy to do likewise. The bishops signed the formulary, and held synods in which they secured the signatures of their clergy, but at the same time in their conversations and in their addresses they made it perfectly clear that they had done so only with the Jansenist restrictions and reservations. The announcement of their submission pure and simple was forwarded to the Pope without any reference to any conditions or qualifications, and the Pope informed the king that he was about to issue letters of reconciliation to the four bishops. Before the letters were forwarded, however, rumours began to reach Rome that all was not well, and a new investigation was ordered. Finally, in view of the very critical state of affairs it was decided that the Pope might proceed safely on the documents received from the nuncio and the mediators without reference to the information acquired
from other sources. In January 1669 the letters of reconciliation were issued. The Jansenists hailed the Clementine Peace as a great triumph for their party, and boasted publicly that Clement IX. had receded from the position taken up by his predecessor, by accepting the Jansenist distinction between law and fact. That their boasting was without foundation is sufficiently clear from a mere cursory examination of the papal letters. The Pope makes it perfectly evident that the letters were issued on the assumption that the bishops had subscribed without any reservation or restriction. He states expressly that he was firmly resolved to uphold the constitutions of his predecessors, and that he would never admit any restriction or reservation.
(d) The Immaculate Conception.
Passaglia, De Immaculat. Concept. B.V.M., 3 vols., 1855. Strozzi, Controversia dell' Immacolata Concezione, 1700. Roskovany, De Beata Virgine in suo conceptu immaculata, 1873-92. Le Bachelet, L'Immac. Conc., 1903. Bishop, The Origins of the Feast of the Conception of B.V.M., 1904. Ullathorne, The Immaculate Conception of the Mother of God, 1904.
From the days of Dons Scotus the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was received very generally by the universities and theologians. The Dominicans, feeling themselves called upon to support the views of St. Thomas, who argued against the Immaculate Conception as understood in his own time, opposed the common teaching. The question was brought before the schismatical assembly at Basle (1439), where it was defined that the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin was in harmony with reason and Scripture, and should be approved and accepted by all Christians. This teaching was confirmed by several provincial synods in France and Germany, as well as by many of the universities. Paris and Cologne, for example, obliged all their members to swear to defend the doctrine. Sixtus IV. bestowed indulgences on those who would observe the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (1476), but although favouring the doctrine he forbade the defenders or opponents to charge each other with heresy (1483). When in the discussions on Original Sin at the Council of Trent the subject was raised, no formal decision was given because the Fathers were determined to direct all their attention to the doctrines that had been rejected by the Reformers. At the same time the opinion of the Fathers was expressed clearly enough, since they declared that in their decrees regarding the universality of Original Sin they did not mean to include the Immaculate Virgin Mary (V. Sess. 1546). Pius V. condemned a proposition of Baius, in which it was laid down that Christ alone escaped the guilt of Original Sin, and that the Blessed Virgin suffered death on account of the guilt she contracted by her descent from Adam (1567). A Spanish Franciscan, Francis of Santiago, having claimed that he had a vision in support of the doctrine, a sharp controversy broke out in Spain, to end which Philip III. besought the Pope to give a definitive decision. Paul V. contented himself, however, with renewing the decrees of his predecessors Sixtus IV. and Pius V. forbidding charges of heresy to be bandied about by the disputants (1616), but in the following year he forbade any public defence of the theses directed against the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. Gregory XV. though unwilling to yield to the request of the Spanish Court for a formal definition, prohibited either public or private opposition to the doctrine unless in case of those who had received special authorisation from the Holy See. Finally in 1661 Alexander VII. in the constitution, Sollicitudo omnium Ecclesiarum, explained the true meaning of the doctrine, and forbade any further opposition to what he declared to be the common and pious belief of the Church.
Hergenrother, Katholische Kirche u. Christl. Staat, 1872. Parkinson, Catholic Writers on Tyrannicide (Month, March- April, 1873). Duhr. Jesuiten-Fabeln, 3 auf., pp. 659 sqq.
Whether Tyrannicide is lawful or unlawful was a question on which different views were held by theologians. The murder of the Duke of Orleans by orders of the Duke of Burgundy (1407) helped to stir up the controversy. Amongst the dependants of the Duke of Burgundy was a priest, John Parvus (Petit or Le Petit), who accompanied the Duke to Paris, and in a public assembly defended the Duke of Burgundy on the ground that it was lawful to murder a tyrant (1408). Nine propositions selected from this speech were condemned by the Bishop of Paris, by the Inquisition, and by the university (1414). The Duke of Burgundy appealed to Pope John XXIII., while the representatives of France at the Council of Constance were instructed to seek the opinion of the assembly. The discussion of the subject was complicated by political issues. As the Council of Constance was anxious to avoid all quarrels with the King of France, the Duke of Burgundy, or the Emperor, it contented itself with issuing a very general condemnation of Tyrannicide. Before the council closed, however, the question was raised once more in connexion with a book published by the Dominican, John of Falkenberg, who was a strong partisan of the Teutonic Knights in their struggle against the King of Poland, and who maintained that it was lawful to kill the King of Poland. He undertook the defence of Petit's work, and wrote strongly against the representatives of the University of Paris. The Poles demanded his condemnation, but though he was arrested and detained in prison his book was not condemned by the council. A Dominican chapter held in 1417 repudiated Falkenberg's teaching.
For a long time the subject was not discussed by Catholic theologians though Tyrannicide was defended by the leading Reformers, including Luther and Melanchthon, but during the religious wars in France and in Scotland it was advocated in theory by some of the French Calvinists such as Languet and Boucher as well as by the Scotch leader, John Knox, and put into practice by their followers against the Duke of Guise and Cardinal Beaton. [ and Influence of Rationalism in Europe, 1913, p. 164. ">5
and Influence of Rationalism in Europe, 1913, p. 164. ">5] The Jesuits in France were accused of sympathising with this doctrine during the reign of Henry IV., but there was not sufficient evidence to support such a charge. Some of their theologians may have defended the legality of rebellion in certain circumstances, but this was a doctrine in no way peculiar to the Jesuits. The only serious argument brought forward by the opponents of the Jesuits was drawn from a work published by a Spanish Jesuit, Mariana (1536-1624). It was written for the instruction of some of the princes of Spain, and was dedicated to Philip III. In many respects it was an exceedingly praiseworthy work, but the author's reference to the murder of Henry III. of France and his defence of Tyrannicide, hedged round though it was by many restrictions and reservations, gave great offence in France, and provided the enemies of the Society with a splendid weapon for a general attack upon the entire body. As a matter of fact Mariana's book did not represent the views of the Jesuits. In 1610 the general, Aquaviva, forbade any of his subjects to defend the teaching on Tyrannicide it contained.
(f) The Copernican System. Galileo Galilei.
Muller, Nicolaus Copernicus (Stimmen aus M.-Laach, 1898, Supp. 72). Hipler, Nicolaus Copernicus u. Martin Luther, 1868. Muller, Galileo Galilei, 1908. Von Gebler, Galileo Galilei und die Romische Curie (Eng. Trans., 1879). L'Epinois, La question de Galilee, 1878, The Month (Sept., 1867; March-April, 1868).
Nicolaus Copernicus (Koppernick or Koppernigk, 1473-1543) was born at Thorn, and was educated principally at Cracow, Bologna, Padua, and Ferrara. He was a canon of the chapter of Frauenberg, and most probably a priest. During his stay in Italy he was brought into contact with the new views put forward by Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa and others regarding the position of the earth in the system of the universe. His own studies let him to the conclusion that the sun was the centre round which the earth and all the heavenly bodies moved in their course. He communicated his conclusions to some of his special friends in 1531, but he hesitated to publish them on account of the ridicule that such a novel opinion was sure to excite. One of his pupils lectured at Rome on the subject, and explained the theories of Copernicus to Clement VII. (1533).
Yielding at last to the entreaties of Cardinal Schonberg, Archbishop of Capua, and Bishop Giese of Culm he entrusted his work for publication to one of his pupils, Rheticus, professor at Wittenberg, but the opposition of the Lutheran professors made it impossible to bring out the book in that city. It was finally published under the editorship of Osiander at Nurnberg in 1543. In the preface to the work Osiander made considerable changes out of deference to the views of Luther and Melanchthon, the most important of which was that he referred to the system of Copernicus as an hypothesis that might or might not be true. The work, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium was dedicated to Pope Paul III. The principal opposition to the novel views of Copernicus came from the side of the Lutheran theologians, and it was only years later, when feeling was aroused by the controversy regarding Galileo, that any suspicion of unorthodoxy was directed against Copernicus by Catholic writers. Needless to say Copernicus died as he had lived, a devoted Catholic, fully convinced that he had done good service for religion as well as for science.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was remarkable from a very early age for his abilities as a student of mathematics and mechanics. Indeed it was in these subjects and not in astronomy that he achieved his most brilliant and most lasting successes. He taught at Pisa and Padua, and was afterwards employed at the court of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. In 1609 he perfected the telescope by means of which he was enabled to make observations of the heavenly bodies, and from these observations and discoveries he was led to the conclusion that the heliocentric system as advocated by Copernicus was the only one scientifically tenable. He came to Rome, where he was welcomed by the Pope and the cardinals, and set up his telescope in the Vatican gardens (1611). At first Galileo's views excited no great opposition, but owing to the imprudent propaganda carried on by some of his own friends, notably by the Carmelite, Foscarini, a violent controversy broke out in which the scientific side of the theory was almost completely forgotten. Against Galileo it was contended that his system contradicted the Scripture, which spoke of the sun standing still in its course at the prayers of Josue, and that it was, therefore, inadmissible. At the time in Italy the ecclesiastical authorities were markedly conservative and hostile to innovations, particularly as there was then a strong party in Italy, of whom Paul Sarpi may be taken as a typical example, who were liberal and Lutheran in their tendencies and sympathies. Had the discussion been confined to learned circles no notice might have been taken of it, but once an appeal was made to the masses of the people it was almost inevitable that Galileo should have been denounced to the Inquisition.
In the circumstances a decision favourable to Galileo could hardly have been expected. The old Ptolemaic system was so closely bound up with the philosophic and scientific teaching of the age that its abandonment meant little less than a complete revolution in the world of learning. As yet the vast body of those who were specially versed in the subject treated the new theory with derision, while the arguments put forward by Galileo in its defence were so weak and inconclusive that most of them have been long since abandoned. The hostile attitude, too, of the Lutheran divines could hardly fail to exercise some influence on the Roman consultors. In 1615 Galileo appeared before the Inquisition to defend
his views, but without any result. The heliocentric system was condemned as being opposed to Scripture and therefore heretical, and Galileo was obliged to promise never again to put it forward (1616). The work of Copernicus and those of some other writers who advocated the Copernican system were condemned donec corrigantur. The decision of the congregation was wrong, but in the circumstances not unintelligible. Nor can it be contended for a moment that from this mistake any solid argument can be drawn against the infallibility of the Pope. Paul V. was undoubtedly present at the session in which the condemnation was agreed upon and approved of the verdict, but still the decision remained only the decision of the congregation and not the binding ex-cathedra pronouncement of the Head of the Church. Indeed, it appears from a letter of Cardinal Bellarmine that the congregation regarded its teaching as only provisional, and that if it were proved beyond doubt that the sun was stationary it would be necessary to admit that the passages of Scripture urged against this view had been misunderstood.
Galileo left Rome with no intention of observing the promise he had made. After the election of Urban VIII. who, as Cardinal Barberini, had been his faithful friend and supporter, Galileo returned to Rome (1624) in the hope of procuring a revision of the verdict; but though he was received with all honour, and accorded an annual pension from the papal treasury his request was refused. He returned to Florence, where he published eight years later a new book on the subject, couched in the form of a dialogue between supporters of the rival systems, the Ptolemaic and the Copernican, in which Simplicissimus, the defender of the old view, was not only routed but covered with ridicule. Such a flagrant violation of his promise could not pass unnoticed. He was summoned to appear once more before the Inquisition, and arrived in Rome in February 1633. At first he denied that he had written in favour of his views since 1616, then he pleaded guilty, confessed that he was in error, and appealed to the court to deal gently with an old and infirm man. He was found guilty, and was condemned to recite the seven penitential psalms once a week for three years, and to be imprisoned at the pleasure of the Inquisition. It is not true to say that Galileo was shut up in the dungeons of the Inquisition. He was detained only for a few days, and even during that time he was lodged in the comfortable apartments of one of the higher officials. Neither is it correct to state that he was tortured or subjected to any bodily punishment. He was released almost immediately on parole, and lived for a time at Rome in the palace of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. Later on he retired to his villa at Arcetri, and finally he was allowed to return to Florence. In 1642, fortified by the last sacraments and comforted by the papal benediction, he passed away. His body was laid to rest within the walls of the Church of Santa Croce at Florence. Most of his misfortunes were due to his own rashness and the imprudence of his friends and supporters. His condemnation is the sole scientific blunder that can be laid to the charge of the Roman Congregation. That his condemnation was not due to any hatred of science or to any desire of the Roman ecclesiastics to oppose the progress of knowledge is evident enough from the favours and honours lavished upon his predecessors in the same field of research, Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa, Peurbach, Muller (Regiomontanus), and Copernicus.
(g) Progress of Theological Studies.
Hurter, Nomenclator Literarius Theologiae Catholicae, 3 auf., 1903. Werner, Geschichte der apologetischen und polemischen Literatur der Christlichen Theologie, 1865. Turmel, Histoire de la theologie positive, etc., 1906. Slater, A Short History of Moral Theology, 1909. Gigot, General Introduction to the Sacred Scriptures, 1900. De Smedt, Introductio Generalis ad Historiam Ecclesiasticam, 1876. Benigni, Historiae Ecclesiasticae Repertorium, 1902. Collins, The Study of Ecclesiastical History, 1903.
In the latter half of the fifteenth and the first quarter of the sixteenth centuries theological studies had reached a very low ebb. The great philosophico-theological movement of the thirteenth century had spent its force, and it seemed highly probable that in the struggle with Humanism theology would be obliged to abandon its position of pre-eminence in favour of the classics. Yet as events showed the results of Humanism were far from being so harmful to theology as seemed likely at first. Zeal for the pagan authors of antiquity helped to stir up zeal for the writings of the Fathers, new editions of which were published in various centres; while at the same time the value of the spirit of historical and literary criticism, so highly prized by the devotees of Humanism, was recognised by theologians, and availed of largely in defending the authority of the documents that they cited. In the controversies with the Reformers, who rejected entirely the authority and the methods of the Scholastics, Catholic authors and controversialists were obliged to fix their attention upon the Scriptures and on the historical side of theology as evidenced in the doctrines and usages of the early centuries. The revival, too, at this period of the older religious orders, particularly the Benedictines and the Dominicans, and the establishment of new bodies such as the Jesuits and the Oratorians were in the highest degree providential. It gave to the Church the services of trained and devoted scholars, who were free to devote all their energies to the defence of Catholic interests. In the remarkable theological movement of the sixteenth century Spain and Italy held the leading place. The University of Salamanca contended with the Collegium Romanum for the supremacy once yielded freely to the theological faculty of Paris. The founder of the new school of theology, which had its seat in Salamanca but which exercised a very considerable
influence on the Jesuit teachers in Rome, Ingolstadt, and Prague, was the Dominican, Francis of Vittoria (1480-1546). Realising the necessities of the age better than most of his contemporaries he put to an end the useless discussions and degenerate style of his immediate predecessors, re-introduced the Summa of St. Thomas, insisted on supplementing it by a close study of the Scriptures and the writings of the Fathers, and inaugurated a new style of theological Latinity freed both from the barbarisms of the later Scholastics and the pedantry of the classical enthusiasts.
Amongst the Catholic theologians of Germany who defended the Church against the attacks of the Reformers may be mentioned John Eck (1486-1543) connected for the greater part of his life with the University of Ingolstadt, who in his publications proved himself the leading champion on the Catholic side against Luther; John Faber (1478-1541) the friend of Erasmus and the staunch though moderate opponent of Luther and Zwingli, whose work, Malleus Haereticorum (1524), secured for him the title of "the hammer of heretics"; John Cochlaeus (1479-1552) who published more than two hundred treatises against the Reformers, nearly all of which suffered from the haste and temper in which they were prepared; John Gropper (1503-59) whose early training as a lawyer led him at first to favour proposed compromises hardly compatible with Catholic doctrine, but who laboured earnestly to save Cologne for the Catholic Church; John Nas (1534- 90) the Franciscan Bishop of Brixen, and the Blessed Peter Canisius, S.J. (1521-97) who did more than any other man to save the entire German nation from falling under the sway of Lutheranism, thereby meriting the title of the second apostle of Germany.
Tommaso de Vio (1469-1534), surnamed Cajetan  from his place of birth, Gaeta, joined the Dominicans at an early age, taught at Padua and Pavia, and was elected general of his order (1508). Seven years later he was created cardinal and was entrusted with a mission to Germany (1518), in the course of which he sought vainly to procure the submission of Luther. During the closing years of his life he acted as one of the principal advisers of Clement VII. By his example and his advice he did much to revive theological studies amongst the Dominicans and to recall them to the study of St. Thomas. As a theologian and an exegetist he showed himself to be a man of great ability and judgment sometimes slightly erratic and novel in his theories, while from the point of view of style he was vastly superior to most of his predecessors. His principal works are the Commentary on St. Thomas (1507-22) and his explanations of nearly all the books of the Old and New Testament. Ambrosius Catharinus  (1487-1553) was born at Siena, graduated a doctor of canon and civil law at the age of sixteen, pleaded as a lawyer in the consistorial court of Leo X., joined the Dominicans at an advanced age, took a prominent part in the discussions at the earlier sessions of the Council of Trent, was appointed bishop in 1546, and died in 1553 when, as it is said, he was on the point of receiving the cardinal's hat. Catharinus was a keen controversialist, but as a theologian he was brilliant rather than solid. His strong leaning towards novelties brought him into conflict with Cajetan and in fact with the whole Dominican Order, the most cherished opinions of which he loved to attack. Dominic Soto (1494- 1560) was a student of Alcala and Paris, joined the Dominicans in 1524, taught theology at Salamanca from 1532 till 1545, when he went to the Council of Trent, where his services were invaluable especially on the question of Grace and Justification, acted for a time as confessor to Charles V., and returned finally to his chair at Salamanca. He was the last of the great commentators on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. His principal works were De Natura et Gratia, written for the information of the Fathers of Trent and De Justitia et Jure (1556). Another of the distinguished Spanish Dominicans of this period was Melchior Cano (1509-60), who had as his professor at Salamanca Francis of Vittoria. He taught at Alcala and Salamanca, accompanied Soto to the Council of Trent, was appointed bishop but resigned almost immediately, and served for some time as provincial of the Dominicans. His greatest work was the De Locis Theologicis (1563), in which as a kind of introduction to theology he endeavoured to establish scientifically the foundations of theological science. He discusses the ten loci or sources which he enumerates, namely, Scripture, Tradition, the Catholic Church, the Councils, the Fathers, the Roman Church, the Scholastics, Reason, the authority of philosophers, and the authority of historians. His style is simple, concise, and elegant.
Robert Bellarmine  (1542-1621) was born in Tuscany, joined the Society of Jesus (1560), studied at the Collegium Romanum and at Louvain, where he taught for some time, was recalled to Rome to assume charge of the new chair of controversy in the Collegium Romanum, took a prominent part in the preparation of the Clementine edition of the Vulgate, in the Congregatio de Auxiliis, and in the trial of Galileo, engaged in controversy with James I. of England in regard to the Catholic Oath, was created cardinal (1599), and appointed Archbishop of Capua (1602). Cardinal Bellarmine was a deeply religious man, severe only with himself, an indefatigable student always anxious to be just to his opponents, and specially gifted as a lecturer and writer. His greatest work was undoubtedly the Disputationes de controversis Christianae fidei articulis, in which he displayed a most minute and accurate knowledge of the religious tenets of all the sects of the Reformers. The book created such an enormous sensation in Europe at the time that special lecturers were employed at some of the Protestant universities to undertake its refutation. His commentary
on the Psalms, and the Catechism prepared by him at the request of Clement VIII. also deserve special notice. The last complete edition of his writings was published at Paris in 1870. Francis Suarez  (1548-1617) was born at Granada, joined the Society of Jesus in Salamanca (1564) and taught at Valladolid, Rome, Alcala, Salamanca, and Coimbra. Like Bellarmine Suarez was a man of great personal piety, well versed in the writings of the Fathers and in the literature of the Reformers. His works are clear and well arranged but somewhat too diffuse. The last edition (Vives) of his works was published at Paris (1856-61). John de Lugo (1583-1660) was born at Madrid, went to Salamanca to study law, and there joined the Jesuits. He lectured first at Valladolid, and later on at Rome where he attracted crowds of students, and he was created cardinal in 1643. In his works he has covered practically the entire field of dogmatic and moral theology. The best known are perhaps De Justitia et Jure and his treatises on the Incarnation, the Sacraments, the Eucharist, and the Sacrifice of the Mass. The last edition of his published works was issued at Paris (1868-9). Dionysius Petavius  (Petau, 1583-1652) was born at Orleans, studied arts and theology at Paris, entered the Society of Jesus (1605), and taught theology at Paris for twenty-two years. He was one of the best known and most respected scholars of his age. Quite apart from his merits as a theologian, his works on chronology, notably the De doctrina temporum and the Tabulae Chronologicae would have been sufficient to place him in the first rank of the scholars of his period. In theology he is chiefly remarkable for the introduction and application of the historical method in his discussion of dogma, and hence he is referred to rightly as the "Father of the History of Dogma." His principal theological work is the Dogmata Theologica (1644-50).
The splendid example of a scientific treatment of moral theology set by St. Thomas produced very little effect during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, for the simple reason that the Sentences, and not the Summa, was the text-book used generally in the schools. Following along the lines marked out by Raymond of Penafort in his Summa de poenitentia et matrimonio (1235) a large number of Summae or manuals for the use of confessors were published during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the last of them being that of Silvester Prierias, one of the earliest opponents of Luther. One of the few writers of this period who undertook to give a scientific explanation of moral principles is St. Antoninus (1389-1459), the Dominican Archbishop of Florence, in his Summa Theologica Moralis.
The rejection of the Sentences in favour of the Summa, and the reform decrees of the Council of Trent gave a new impetus to the study of moral theology during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most of the great writers of this period, Gregory of Valencia (1550-1603), Vasquez (1549-1604), Lessius (1554-1623), Banez (1528-1604), Medina (1527-81), Sanchez (1550-1610), Saurez, and De Logo devoted special attention to the underlying principles of moral theology, and in some cases to their practical application. The De Poenitentia and the Responsa Moralia of De Lugo served as models of what might be called mixed treatment, partly scientific and partly casuistical. The Theologia Moralis of the Jesuit writer, Paul Laymann (1574-1635), the Instructio Sacerdotum of Cardinal Toledo and the Medulla Theologiae Moralis of Hermann Busenbaum (1600-68), which went through forty editions in his own lifetime, may be cited as examples of this method.
The controversy regarding Probabilism did not assume a serious aspect till the rise and condemnation of Jansenism. During this period the enemies of the Jesuits pointed to the approval given to Probabilism by the Fathers of the Society as a proof of the laxity of view introduced by Jesuit theologians. Whatever may be said of the system, one thing is certain, namely, that the Jesuit theologians were not the first to put it forward. It was followed in practice long before the institution of the Society of Jesus, was enunciated clearly enough as a theory by the Spanish Dominican Bartholomew Medina (1527-81) and was adopted, at least in their solutions of particular cases, by most of the great writers during the latter half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries.
Amongst the most notable writers on ascetical theology of this period were St. Ignatius of Loyola, the author of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Teresa (1515-82) the zealous reformer of the Carmelites, St. John of God (1495-1550) the founder of the Brothers of St. John of God, the Dominican Louis of Granada (1504-88), St. Francis de Sales (1567- 1622), the two Jesuit writers Alphonsus Rodriguez (1526-1616) and Louis de Ponte (1554-1624), and Jean Jacques Olier (1608-57) the founder of the Sulpicians.
Many causes combined to bring about a great revival in Scriptural studies. The Humanist movement ensured that commentators would bring to their task a ready knowledge of Greek and a critical appreciation of the age and value of manuscripts. The study of Hebrew was taken up enthusiastically by scholars like Reuchlin, and was rendered comparatively easy by the grammars and dictionaries published by Reuchlin, Santez, Pagnino, Pelikan, and Cardinal Bellarmine. The contention of the early Reformers that the Bible was the sole source of divine revelation, though never accepted by Catholic scholars, necessitated a close study of the words and literal meaning of the sacred text. In opposition to the private interpretation of the Reformers Catholics contended that the teaching authority of the Church and the interpretation of the Fathers were the only sure guides. The distinction between deutero-canonical and proto-canonical books was ended for Catholics by the decision of the Council of Trent attributing to both equal authority. The question of the extent of inspiration was left
by the Council of Trent practically in the position in which it stood when the Council of Florence defined that God was the author of the sacred books. Many writers were inclined to hold the view that the divine assistance extended to the style and the words, while others rejected verbal inspiration. A few Catholic scholars, for example Lessius and Hamel, seemed to maintain that a book composed by human industry and without the assistance of the Holy Ghost might be regarded as inspired if afterwards the Holy Ghost testified that it contained no error. Since the Vatican Council such a view is no longer tenable.
The activity in the field of Scriptural studies is witnessed to by the edition of the Greek and Latin text of the New Testament prepared by Erasmus, by the Complutensian Polyglot published under the direction of Cardinal Ximenes (1514-17) to be followed by similar publications at Antwerp (1569-72) and at Paris (1628-45), by the edition of the Septuagint at the command of Sixtus V. and the edition of the Vulgate under Clement VIII. Amongst the great Catholic commentators of the age may be mentioned Cardinal Cajetan (+1534), the Dominican Santez Pagnino (+1541), Cornelius Jansen (1576), the Jesuit, John Maldonatus (+1583), whose commentary on the four Gospels is still unrivalled, William Estius (+1613), professor at Douay, whose views on Grace were not unaffected by the controversies then raging at Louvain, and Cornelius a Lapide, S.J. (+1673), professor at Louvain and Rome, who published an excellent commentary on the entire Scriptures.
Ecclesiastical History profited largely from the Humanist movement which brought to light many new documents, and tended to awaken a spirit of scholarly criticism. The contention put forward by the Reformers, that primitive Christianity had been completely corrupted by semi-Pagan novelties during the Middle Ages, made it imperative on Catholic scholars to direct their attention to the practices and teaching of the early centuries. New editions of the writings of the Fathers were prepared by the Dominicans, Jesuits, and by the Benedictines of St. Maur. The attempt made by the Magdeburg Centuriators to justify Lutheranism at the bar of history called forth the Annales Ecclesiastici of Cardinal Baronius (1538-1607). These Annals dealt with the history of the Church from the beginning till the year 1198. The work was continued by the Oratorians Raynaldus and Laderchi, by de Sponde, Bzovius and Augustine Theiner. The History of the Popes was written by the Augustinian Panvinio (+1568) and by the Dominican, Ciacconius (+1599). Hagiographical studies were pursued by Surius (+1578) and by the Jesuit Heribert Rosweyde (1569-1629). It was the latter who first conceived the plan of publishing the Lives of the Saints in one series. He died without having done much except to collect an immense mass of materials. The scheme was, however, taken up by other members of the society, notably, John Van Bolland (Bollandus, 1596-1665), Godfrey Henschen (1601-81) and Daniel von Papenbroeck (Papebroch, 1628-1714). These were the first of the Bollandists, and the first volume of the Acta Sanctorum appeared in 1643.
Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
the Second Week after Easter
Search Historical Writings