St. Paul Miki, of Japan

Mi-Pe

St. Paul Miki, S. J. (Japanese: 1564-1597) was the first Japanese member of any Catholic Religious order, and had it not been for his martyrdom, he would have been the first Japanese priest. After Francis Xavier's death Christianity in Japan developed so rapidly that by 1592 the number of Christians had grown to 200,000. Because several influential political leaders had become converts, and because the rulers had been favorably disposed to Christianity, the Jesuit mission prospered. In 1587, however, this all suddenly changed because the Buddhists feared this increase was precursor for a Spanish take-over, so all missionaries were ordered out of Japan. A few Jesuits obeyed the edict and left the country, but most of them remained and went undercover so as to continue to serve and be with the Catholics as their Jesuit companions had done in England, outwitting - at least for a time - Queen Elizabeth's Inquisition.
Paul Miki was the son of a well-to-do Japanese military chief, living near Kyoto, and as such had the right to wear the bright, noble kimono of the Samurai. Even as a Scholastic, before ordination, he proved himself to be an excellent disputant with Buddhist leaders. He was recognized as an eloquent speaker who preached with such fervor and eloquence that he converted many listeners who were not Christians. Just a few months before his ordination to the priesthood, he was arrested with two companions. A few weeks later the three Jesuits were crucified along with 23 other Christians. Bystanders described Miki's remarkable composure during this ordeal dressed in his Jesuit cassock (although he had the right to dress as a Samurai) and delivering one last sermon from the cross there in Nagasaki in 1597. Miki was not only the first religious but also the first martyr of Japan. (Ban, Cor, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)

Luis de Molina, S.J. (Spanish: 1535-1600) was one of the most able of all Jesuit theologians. His book Concordia liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis was attacked by the Dominican theologian, Domingo Baez. Jesuits feared the Dominican teaching would lead to Calvinism while the Dominicans felt the Jesuits leaned toward Pelagianism. The dispute lasted until Pope Paul V brought the dispute on Free Will to a close by a compromise decision, censuring neither side. Superiors of both sides made heroic efforts to find mutual understanding and charity. Luis attempted to clarify his doctrine and to dispel the misgivings of his adversaries in a work which provoked one of the fiercest and most persistent theological controversies in the post-Reformation Roman Catholic church and gave rise to Molinism , a system which attempted to reconcile grace and freewill and which was adopted in its essential points by the Society of Jesus (Ward briefly summarizes Molina's argument: "all human beings are endowed with equal and sufficient divine grace without distinction as to their individual merits, and that salvation depends on the sinner's willingness to receive grace"). It proved to be the most fateful and provocative work the Society ever published and led to the greatest outpouring of metaphysical and theological energy in the history of modern Catholic thought. The strength of opposition, notably that of the Dominicans, to Molina's doctrine ultimately forced Pope Clement VIII to appoint, in 1598, the "Congregario de auxiliis' to settle the dispute. Agreement proved impossible; in 1607 Paul V suspended its meetings, and in 1611 he forbade all further discussion of the question. (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)

Henry Morse, S.J. (English: 1595-1645) grew up as a Protestant, became a Catholic, joined the Jesuits and then was sent to the English mission where he worked for four years in a very poor district outside London. A plague broke out at the time causing a great panic. Henry went around administering the sacraments, finding medicine for the sick and preparing the dead for burial. During this time he himself fell victim to the plague three times. But then he was recognized by priest-hunters, arrested, charged with persuading Protestants to leave their faith. He was released because of his work with the plague victims and when he returned to his pastoral work in a different area, he was arrested several times but escaped. Finally he was caught, brought to Tyburn where he was hanged, drawn and quartered. He spoke to those present at his execution. "I am come hither to die for my religion. I have a secret which highly concerns His Majesty and Parliament to know. The kingdom of England will never be truly blessed until it returns to the Catholic faith and its subjects are all united in one belief under the Bishop of Rome. I pray that my death may be some kind of atonement for the sins of this kingdom." (Ban, Bas, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)

Philip Mulcaille, S.J. (Irish: 1727-1801) founded schools for poor Irish youngsters and continued to work in them long after the Suppression of the Society. Education was always an integral and prominent element of the Society's mission but the conditions of life in 17th and 18th century in Ireland did not allow the Jesuits to run their schools there in the same way as those on the continent. Saint Ignatius had specified in his Constitutions (#451): "Reading and writing should not ordinarily be taught, because the Society was limited in numbers and could not attend to everything." Philip was concerned about basic education, not having the luxury of a ready supply of youngsters who were already able to read and write and take on the challenges of the regular Jesuit curricula. A Protestant Divine, Doctor Blake, described his memories of Philip. "The classic elegance, the attic taste, the chaste refinement, the placid virtue and the Gospel simplicity of . . . the learned and venerable Mulcaille". Philip had continued to work for many years under intense pressure such that, in his own words, "Between a confessional, a pulpit and a school, and the care of a parish and a number of other daily avocations I am day after day at the oar, rowing for life." Among his concerns was the promotion of education for poor girls and he played a large part in encouraging the foundation of the Presentation Convent for this purpose in his parish. (McR)

Jerome Nadal, S.J. (Spanish: 1507-1580) was one of the First Ten Companions of Ignatius. It was he whom Ignatius sent to Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany and Austria in order to promulgate the Constitutions of the Society. He founded many schools and was an official visitor to many provinces. Ignatius entrusted to Jerome Nadal the work of publishing a famous book of pictures to help in the contemplations of the Spiritual Exercises. He did this by taking advantage of the newly discovered perspective geometry which enabled three-dimensional shapes to be displayed in the two-dimensional pages of books helped bring about the scientific revolution. These pictures provided photographic accuracy that paved the way for daVinci's technology and Galileo's science. Ignatius made the connection between these mechanical sketches and gospel images. He commissioned his vicar Jerome Nadal to find highly motivated artists and printers who knew how to draw realistic perspective pictures of the gospel stories and print them in books. Jerome also realized these new opportunities and set out to find artists and printers who knew how to draw and print these pictures. He found a willing and generous helper in the Antwerp publisher, Christopher Plantin, who pledged his effort and his capital. Together they spent the rest of their lives at the task.
Nativity scene from Jerome Nadal's book
In 1593 appeared Jerome's book Evangelical historiae imagines (Pictures of the Gospel Stories) which has been called "One of the most remarkable Counterreformation publications of the late sixteenth century." Charles Sommervogel's Jesuit Bibliography {Vol. 5 p. 1519} counts 153 engravings in Jerome's book. Perspective geometry and art arrived in China along with Matteo Ricci who carried along Jerome's Imagines as an aid for teaching the gospel message. Matteo praised Jerome's work: "This book is of even greater use than the Bible in the sense that while we are talking to potential converts, we can also place right in front of their eyes things that with words alone we would not be able to make clear." With the collaboration of Chinese artists Matteo duplicated Jerome's images adapting them for a Chinese readership, using oriental facial features. Then he brought these perspective images of science, technology and the gospel stories to the imperial court at Beijing in 1601, hoping to convince the emperor of the truths of Christianity. In doing so, he introduced perspective geometry to the Chinese. (Ban, Ham, JLx, O'M, Som)

Leonard Neale, S.J. (American: 1747-1817) was an educator from a large Maryland family; of seven brothers in the Neale family, six joined the Society. Two died prematurely, but four became priests and Leonard became Baltimore's archbishop succeeding John Carroll. Both were concerned about the restoration of the Jesuits as well as the apostolate of education and took the initiative in starting Georgetown University.
Among the hierarchy there was a serious reevaluation of Clement IV's decision to suppress the Jesuits. Cardinal Pacca in his Memoirs about his own misinformation and prejudices offers a valuable clue to the Suppression.
The Pope (Clement IV) had had anti-Jesuit masters and teachers who had inculcated maxims and opinions altogether opposed to those of the Society; and everyone knows how deep are the impressions made by early teaching. I, too, had been taught in my youth to nourish against the Order feelings of aversion and hatred which amounted even to fanaticism. Suffice it to say that I was given Pascal's famous Provincial Letters . . . and other books of a similar kind. I was in perfect good faith about these books and had not a shadow of a doubt as to their truth and accuracy.
A great many bishops missed the Society and found, in the aftermath of the French Revolution, how much they needed its special skills and became more impatient than ex-Jesuits for the restoration of the Jesuit Order. In 1788 Leonard drew up a petition for himself and 12 other ex-Jesuits in Maryland to organize a link between themselves and the Jesuits in Russia. After the restoration he considered resigning as bishop to take up again his vocation in the restored Society, but considered the needs of the infant American Church. Nevertheless he spent much of his energy trying to accelerate the restoration in spite of his observation about the increasing age of the surviving ex-Jesuits. "All members of the Society here are now grown old, the youngest being past 54. Death, therefore, holds out his threatening rod.'' (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)

Francis Neumayr, S.J. (German: 1697-1765) taught rhetoric and drama. Besides being an indefatigable teacher, he was also a preacher and moderator of sodalities in Munich. He kept up the Jesuit dramatic tradition by annually staging productions of the Munich Sodality which he published in two large volumes, under the title The Drama of Asceticism . He also produced more than 100 other works on spiritual subjects, some with engaging titles as Melancholy's Remedy and The Uprooting of Sloth . (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)

John Nidhard, S.J. (Austrian: 1607-1681) served as confessor to Mariana of Austria, the queen mother to the four-year-old Charles II of Spain. Foolishly, she made John a member of the Council of State, the inquisitor general, and in effect, the prime minister. It was a position that was embarrassing to John who felt at home only with philosophy and canon law. It was a bigger problem for the Society. John did not have the qualities needed to be head of state, and being an Austrian was suspect in the eyes of the Spanish people. Don John of Austria came to the rescue by causing such an uproar against this foreigner John Nidhard, that he left Spain, moved to Rome where he was made a cardinal by Pope Clement X. (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)

Eusebio Nieremberg, S.J. (Spanish: 1595-1658) taught philosophy and theology in Madrid. He was sought out as a spiritual director and had a great number of regular penitents. Eusebio was an author of very influential spiritual tracts and books; perhaps the best known of his 56 works was his 1640 book Time and Eternity which has been compared to John Gerson's The Imitation of Christ . Eusebio's classic is known popularly by the author's first name: "The Eusebio". (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)




Robert de Nobili, S.J. (Italian: 1577-1656) was a brilliant member of the Roman nobility who was sent to work in Madurai in India. He quickly learned Tamil and adapted himself to the Indian culture.
Robert de Nobili
As a nobleman he was judged the equivalent of an Indian rajah, which enabled him to move about with much more freedom than other missionaries. He convinced the Roman authorities that his many converts should not be forced to abandon the signs of their caste. In 1613 a Portuguese provincial superior, unsympathetic to his methods ordered him to cease baptizing, but this edict was later countermanded by Superior General Aquaviva. The storm did not end there, however, and in 1618 a bishops' conference in Goa again condemned Robert. This decision was overturned by Pope Gregory XV who approved Robert's methods. After 39 years of work among the people of Madurai he witnessed the number of Christians grow from zero to more than 4,000. (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)

Emmanuel Nobrega, S.J. (Portuguese: 1517-1570) was a remarkable missionary who first encountered the natives of Bahia and Săo Paulo with four Jesuit companions. He is called Brazil's greatest early political figure. Upon his arrival in the New World, he told his companions: "This land is our enterprise". The daring and optimism of the Brazilian Mission were read in the sails of his ship: Unus non sufficit orbis (One world is not big enough). He also founded Salvador in Bahia in 1549 and with Bl. Joseph Anchieta, S.J. co-founded Săo Paulo in 1554 and Rio de Janeiro in 1565. He also established colleges that were giving Master's degrees by 1578. (Ban, DSB, JLx, O'M, Som)

Charles de Noyelle, S.J. (French: 1615-1686) served as the twelfth Superior General of the Society and the only one of the 29 generals apart from Ignatius Loyola who was chosen unanimously. He held the office for only four years, but these were terribly agonizing years. He had to endure continual and merciless pressure from the Spanish Hapsburgs and the French Bourbons: the latter's pressure was intensified by the Jesuit confessor of Louis XIV, François de la Chaize. When Louis XIV ordered that the Gallican Articles be taught in all Jesuit colleges attached to universities, Charles wrote emphatically to François de la Chaize: "Never shall I permit a Jesuit to teach anything disapproved by the supreme pontiff." (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)

St. John Ogilvie, S. J. (Scottish: 1579-1615) is the Church's only officially recorded Scottish martyr. Since his father had conformed to the state-established religion, young John was brought up a Calvinist. Upon reaching his 17th year, he determined to become a Catholic and went to Louvain, Belgium, where he was reconciled with the Catholic Church. He later joined the Jesuits and was ordained in Paris in 1610. Sent to work in Rouen, he kept importuning the Superior General to send him back to Scotland in response to the entreaty for Jesuits from the Earl of Angus to the Jesuit General: "Send only those who wish for this mission and are strong enough to bear the heat of the day for they will be in exceeding danger." In earlier times wholesale massacres of Catholics had taken place in Scotland but at this time the hunt concentrated on priests and for those who attended their Masses. The Jesuits were determined not to abandon the Catholic laity, but to be with them and provide the consolation of the sacraments. When captured they were tortured for information, then hanged, and, while still alive, taken down and their limbs pulled out and finally cut up into quarters and each part placed on one of the four city gates.
At last Ogilvie's request was granted and he returned to his native Scotland in 1613 to begin a brief missionary career that lasted only 11 months and ended in martyrdom. In Edinburgh and Glasgow he worked underground avoiding the Queen's priest-hunters, disguised as a soldier by the name of Watson. Ogilvie was captured and put in prison where he showed his interrogators that he was not to be bullied into acknowledging the King's supremacy in religious matters. He refused to divulge the names of the Catholics who had attended his Masses, so they applied an extreme measure of torture. He annoyed his tormentors by not crying out in pain and in fact meeting their cruelty with humor. "I make no account of you and can willingly suffer more for this cause than you are able to inflict. Your threats cheer me; I mind them no more than the cackling of geese." Asked if he feared to die he said: "no more than you do to dine." No relic of his body remains. (Ban, Bas, Cor, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)

Bl. Edward Oldcorne, S.J. (English: 1561-1606) labored in the English mission in Worcestershire for 16 years where many came to him for encouragement. He developed cancer of the throat, but he kept preaching even though it was quite painful. Edward made a pilgrimage to St. Winifred's shrine in Flintshire to seek a cure which was granted and his cancer was healed. He returned stronger and healthier than before. Then he fell victim to the "Gunpowder Plot" which was a foolish conspiracy to blow up the king and parliament. It was hatched by a small group of Catholic Englishmen who were frustrated by their Protestant rulers; all it did was provide an opportunity to renew persecution of Catholics and thereby to involve Jesuits. Edward was arrested, falsely accused and placed on the rack for five days to find names of the perpetrators and sympathizers in the plot. The rack master got no information. Edward was hanged and quartered along with another Jesuit, Brother Ralph Ashley. (Ban, Bas, Tan, Tyl)

John Paul Oliva, S.J. (Italian: 1600-1681) served as the eleventh Superior General of the Society. John Paul loved the fine arts and identified the Jesuits of Rome with the fullness of the baroque style. He sponsored three great artistic achievements: the completion of the church of Sant' Andrea al Quirinale; the adornment of the interior of the Gesů Church and decoration of Saint Ignatius Church. The great artist, Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini and John Paul Oliva were close personal friends and Bernini provided a number of illustrations for an edition of John Paul's sermons. Given a free hand at Sant' Andrea, Bernini created one of the most beautiful baroque churches in Rome. John Paul then commissioned Giovanni Battista Gaulli to decorate the austere Gesů where Gaulli produced a magnificent fresco along the nave representsThe Triumph of the Holy Name of Jesus . Brother Andrea Pozzo executed the spectacular perspective painting of the worldwide Jesuit apostolate on the ceiling of Saint Ignatius Church. (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)

St. Nicholas Owen, S.J. (English: ?-1606) was a Coadjutor Brother who was a mason and carpenter by trade, and who wonderfully used these talents creatively in the service of the persecuted Church in England. His ingenuity saved hundreds of priests from capture by the persistent bounty hunters operating during the Elizabethan inquisition. Nicholas' cleverness provided priests with safe refuge from these priest-hunters. Of his three brothers, two became priests and one became a printer of underground Catholic books and printed material for the Jesuits. Nicholas' early Jesuit companion was Edmund Campion and Nicholas was arrested when he spoke openly of Campion's innocence. Nicholas later was released; he then contacted Henry Garnet and became his associate. In time the priest hunters got to know Nicholas as "Garnet's man", while the priests knew him as "Little John". Nicholas constructed hiding places in the various mansions used as priest-centers throughout England. During the day he worked on either the interior or the exterior of the building, but always in public view so that the servants would think that he was a hired carpenter. During the evening and night, however, he worked on his concealed rooms, digging deep into the earth or chipping through thick stone walls. He always worked alone to insure secrecy. Only he and the owner of the house knew where the secret rooms were located. Nicholas had no formal novitiate, but he received his religious training in his close collaboration with his superior. In 1594, he was helping John Gerard in a London residence when both were arrested and taken to the Counter prison. Nicholas was still unknown as the mastermind behind the hiding places and was considered but a small fish in the vast ocean of Catholic disobedience. He was released and immediately returned to his inventive labors. Eventually Nicholas was again captured and brought to the Tower for intense torture so that the priest hunters could learn the location of his many hiding places. His silence infuriated his tormentors who increased his unspeakable suffering until it caused his death. The Elizabethan inquisitors learned nothing from him. John Gerard said of Nicholas that none other among the Jesuits had rendered such valuable service to the Catholic cause in England, "since, through his skill and ingenuity in devising places of concealment, he had saved the lives of hundreds of people." (Ban, Bas, Cor, JLx, Tyl)

Bl. Francis Pacheco, S.J. (Portugal: 1565-1626) was a missionary to China and Japan. On his third entrance into Japan made in disguise, Francis was captured by the Shogun's many spies and put in a prison with other Jesuits, catechists, and lay people. Among them were some young men preparing to enter the Society, and, with martyrdom imminent, Pacheco permitted them to make their vows. In 1626 they all suffered martyrdom at Nagasaki. Francis was the most experienced of all the 33 Jesuits who were martyred in Japan during the great persecution between 1617 and 1626. During these terrible years he saw thousands of Christians deny their Faith for fear of torture but he also saw thousands endure the death by slow fire. There during the next six months he formed a quasi-religious community of the fellow prisoners with regular periods of fast and prayers to strengthen themselves against the inevitable ordeal ahead. The laymen were taken last in the hopes that they would change their minds, but they were only strengthened in their resolve. (Cor, Ham, JLx, Som, Tyl)

Peter Páez, S.J. (Spanish: 1564-1622) was a missionary to Ethiopia. This favorite mission of Ignatius took a heavy toll of Jesuit lives and had a tragic ending. During its 85-year history, 1554-1639, 20 of the 56 Jesuits who tried to enter the country perished. Upon his arrival, Peter was captured by Muslims and condemned to six years in galleys. During this time he learned several languages. Peter entered Ethiopia a second time disguised as an Armenian merchant and then worked as a stone-mason. He composed a two-volume history of Ethiopia, and is said to have been the first European to reach the sources of the Nile. Eventually he was received into the court of the negus, Za-Denghal, whom he converted. This ruler, however, was assassinated shortly after his conversion. Then Paez convinced the next negus, Socinios, that Monophysitism (only one nature in Christ) was inconsistent with Christianity. When Socinios announced his conviction of the two natures in Christ, a revolt spread throughout the country thus endangering the promulgation of Catholic doctrine in Ethiopia and the reunion of the Abyssinian church with Rome. A Catholic Patriarch was sent from Rome to work with the now-Catholic Socinios to make the union with Rome succeed, but after the deaths of Paez and Socinios the succeeding negus forbade any more contact with Rome. This had less to do with adhesion to any theological convictions than to the very pragmatic fact that independence from Rome meant that this new negus was free to keep his harem and also that the leading merchants and politicians of Ethiopia would experience no restraint upon their tradition of polygamy. Up to this time resentments had been smoldering, but the new negus openly unleashed the fierce opposition to the prospect of the country's leaders being forced to adhere to the strict Catholic moral code. During the transition two Jesuits were stabbed to death, five hanged and the Patriarch fled the country. (Ban, JLx, Som)


Bl. Francis Page, S.J. (Belgian: ?-1602) belonged to a wealthy Protestant family, studied law and became a clerk for a Catholic lawyer. Francis fell in love with his employer's daughter, but she would not hear of marriage until Francis became a Catholic. He knew John Gerard, S.J., who was in London's Clink Prison at the time. He went to John for instruction, called off the marriage and decided to become a Jesuit. After ordination he returned to England, managed to elude the priest-hunters for a few years but was captured and brought to Newgate prison. Francis pointed out that he did not come under England's law since he was born in Antwerp not in England. Nevertheless he was found guilty of high treason and condemned to be hanged, drawn and quartered. (Bas, Tan, Tyl)

Dominic Parrenin, S.J. (French: 1618-1679) in collaboration with five other Jesuit cartographers constructed the famous 1735 "Jesuit Map" of China, Manchuria, and Mongolia. Some emperors, because of their respect for the learned Jesuits, allowed Jesuits to live in China and maintain a church. Even during the persecution of the Church, Jesuits such as Dominic were allowed to continue their work. Possessing a robust constitution, a dignified and majestic appearance, a facility with the different Chinese dialects, a vigorous spirit, an amazing memory and prodigious amount of learning Dominic labored in China for 43 years. (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)

Peter Pázmany, S.J. (Hungarian: 1570-1637) was known as the creator of the philosophical and theological language of Hungary . His sermons were said to have been very moving and his writings have become a landmark in the history of Hungarian literature. Both Hungary and Czechoslovakia claim him, and often compete with each other in honoring him with commemorative stamps. He was the founder of the Jesuit University of Trnava , which was the first Hungarian university. It is claimed as an original foundation both by Trnava University located in Czechoslovakia and the University of Budapest located in Hungary.
The Jesuits worked in Hungary from the earliest years of the Society, from 1561. There were three early Jesuit versions of Peter the Great : Peter Canisius in Germany, Peter Skarga in Poland and Peter Pázmány in Hungary. The latter, preserved the Faith in his country according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. "By far the greatest figure of the age was Peter Cardinal Pázmany, S.J., a former Protestant who became Catholicism's most zealous and most brilliant leader. Almost single-handedly he reconverted the greater part of Hungary to Catholicism." Just when whole families were leaving the Church he came to the rescue. He created a philosophical and theological language for Hungary. In 1616 Pope Paul V circumvented the Jesuit prohibition against ecclesiastical honors and made Peter Pázmány Cardinal and the primate of Hungary. Peter, however, entrusted to his fellow Jesuits two colleges, a university and a seminary.
By the time the Society was suppressed in 1773 the Hungarian province numbered 1,000 men in 52 houses, directing 32 colleges and 7 Centers of Higher Education. After the Suppression most of these schools continued to operate some were taken over by the government and some by other Religious Orders. Jesuits had labored for a long time in an area devastated and sacked for 150 years by the Turks and divided by religious wars. Still carrying on Peter's legacy, in this century the Hungarian Jesuits labored to prepare an elite core of Catholic intellectuals as part of a wider campaign to check the spread of totalitarism and anti-religious teaching. (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)

<Robert Persons, S.J. (English: 1546-1610) had to give up his teaching position at Oxford University, because he was a Catholic. He left England, entered the Society of Jesus and returned to England in disguise to assist the persecuted Catholics. He was especially irritated at the humiliating policy that the Catholics had to send their children to Protestant schools at their own expense. Robert became one of the foremost English Jesuits in the late 16th century. He had managed to escape back to the continent after the arrest of Edmund Campion; then he went to Spain in 1588, where he founded several seminaries for the training of English priests and was active at the court of Philip II. Written under the pseudonym 'Philopater', his responsio (responce) attacked the proclamation of Queen Elizabeth condemning Jesuits for trying to reinstate the Catholic Faith in England. Robert directed his invective against the Queen herself and elaborated on the pope's power to depose heretical sovereigns. It was because of this that his responsio is usually regarded as the most extreme evidence of exile opposition to Elizabeth and of the policies of those who believed that the hope of Catholicism in England depended on foreign intervention. When he returned to England he experienced the efficiency of the English government spy system, was captured and executed. (Ban, Bas, Cor, Ham, JLx, Som)

Dennis Petau, S.J. (French: 1583-1652) was a prince among scholars: he had mastered Latin and Greek at the age of 15 and defended in Greek his thesis for the Paris master's degree at 17. After entering the Society he taught rhetoric at Reims, La Flčche, and Paris. When he approached his main task, teaching theology, he brought together all his skills along with a profound knowledge of Sacred Scripture. He had a wide familiarity with the Fathers of the Church and councils so that he has been called the Father of Positive Theology . His five-volume work Theological Doctrines is considered a masterpiece, as he was willing to modestly admit in a letter to Superior General Vitelleschi. "In this treatise on things divine I have not followed the road trod by the old school. I have taken a new road, and I can say without pride, a road as yet untouched by any other. Putting aside that subtle kind of theology which meanders, like philosophy, though I do not know what labyrinths, I have created a simple, graceful venture, like a rapid stream, from the pure and original sources of Scripture, the councils and the Fathers." (Ban, Ham, JLx, Som)

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