Italian pulpit orator, patriot, phyilosopher, b. at Palermo, 8 Dec., 1792; d. at Versailles, 2 Aug., 1861. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1808, and in 1817, when the Society was suppressed in Sicily, joined the Theatines. Ordained a priest, he distinguished himself as a Catholic journalist and apologist, as a preacher, especially by his "Funeral Oration of Pius VII" (1823), as an exponent of the systems of de Lamennais, de Maistre, and de Bonald. He was appointed by Leo XII professor of canon law at the Sapienza, and in 1830 was elected Superior-General of the Theatines. He published his "De methodo philosophandi" in 1828 and "Bellezze della Fede" in 1839. After his generalship (1830-33) he preached in Rome. His eloquence, though somewhat exaggerated and prolix, was vehement and direct, with a noble bearing, a magnificent voice, and an affecting delivery, and it won him great renown. In Paris, though not perfectly master of French, he almost rivalled Lacordaire. With the accession of Pius IX, Ventura became politically prominent. His "Funeral Oration of O'Connell" (1847) glorified the union of religion and liberty. His eulogy of liberty on the "Morti di Vienna " sounded almost like a diatribe against kings in general. It was put on the Index; the author nobly submitted.
Ventura maintained the lawfulness of the Sicilian Revolution (cf. his "Sul riconoscimento della Sicilia, etc.", Palermo, 1848; "Menzogne diplomatiche", etc.). His ideal was an Italian Confederation under the presidency of the pope. During the exile of Pius IX at Gaeta, Ventura's position in Rome was a delicate and compromising one. Though refusing a seat in the Roman Assembly, he advocated the separation of the ecclesiastical and temporal powers, and in the name of the Sicilians recognized the Roman Republic. As commissioner from Sicily, he was present at an unseemly politico- religious ceremony in St. Peter's, but took no active part in the services. He opposed French intervention in behalf of the pope and when Oudinot attacked Rome, spoke of Pius IX in words which he bitterly regretted. On the downfall of the Triumvirs (1849), he went to Montpellier and then to Paris (1851). Here he made an ineffectual attempt to convert his former friend de Lamennais. His Conferences at the "Madeleine" etc. were published as "La raison philosophique et la raison catholique" (1852---). In 1857 he gave the Lenten Sermons at the Tuileries before Napoleon III ; these appeared as "Le pouvoir politique chrétien". Ventura's philosophical views received final expression in "La tradizione e semi-pelagiani della philosophia", "Saggio sull' origine dell' idee", "Philosophie chrétienne" (Paris, 1861). He is a moderate Traditionalist of the Bonald- Bonnetty School. Ventura's private life was irreproachable. In spite of some blunders he remained a loyal Catholic and died an edifying death. His works were published as: "Opere Complete" (31 vols., Milan, 1854-64); "Opere Postume", (Venice, 1863).
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