Skip to content

Jacques-Benigne Bossuet

A celebrated French bishop and pulpit orator, born at Dijon, 27 September, 1627, died at Paris, 12 April, 1704. For more than a century his ancestors, both paternal and maternal, had occupied judicial functions. He was the fifth son of Beneigne Bossuet, a judge in the Parliament of Dijon, and Madeleine Mouchet. He began his classical studies in the Collège des Godrans, conducted by the Jesuits, in Dijon, and, on his father's appointment to a seat in the Parliament of Metz, he was left in his native town, under the care of his uncle, Claude Bossuet d'Aiseray, a renowned scholar. His extraordinary ardour for study gave occasion to the schoolboy joke, deriving his name from Bos suetus aratro . In a very short time, he mastered the Greek and Latin classics. Homer and Virgil were his favourite authors, while the Bible soon became his livre de chevet . Speaking of the Scriptures, he used to say: "Certe, in his consenescere, in his immori, summa votorum est." Early destined to the Church, he received the tonsure when he was only eight years old, and at the age of thirteen he obtained a canonicate in the cathedral of Metz. In 1642, he left Dijon and went to Paris to finish his classical studies and to take up philosophy and theology in the College de Navarre. A year later he was introduced by Arnauld at the Hotel de Rambouillet, where, one evening at eleven o'clock, he delivered an extempore sermon, which caused Voiture's remark: "I never heard anybody preach so early nor so late." A Master of Arts in 1643, he held his first thesis ( tentativa ) in theology, 25 January,1648, in the presence of the Prince de Condé. He was ordained sub-deacon the same year and deacon the following year, and preached his first sermons at Metz. He held his second thesis ( sorbonica ) 9 November, 1650. For two years, he lived in retirement, preparing himself for the priesthood under the direction of St. Vincent de Paul, and was ordained 18 March, 1652. A few weeks later, the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred uponhim. Appointed Archdeacon of Sarrebourg (January, 1652), he resided for seven years at Metz, devoting himself to the study of the Bible and the Fathers, preaching sermons, holdings controversies with Protestants, and yet finding time for the secular affairs for which he was responsible, as a member of the Assembly of Three Orders. In 1657 he was induced by St. Vincent de Paul to come to Paris and give himself entirely to preaching.

Though living in Paris, Bossuet did not sever his connection with the cathedral of Metz ; he continued to hold his benefice, and was even appointed dean in 1664, when his father, a widower, had just received the priesthood and become a canon of the same cathedral. There are extant one hundred and thirty-seven sermons which were delivered by Bossuet between 1659 and1669, and it is estimated that more than one hundred have been lost. In 1669 he was appointed Bishop of Condom, without being obliged to reside in his diocese was consecrated i21 September, 1670, but, obeying scruplesof conscience, resigned his bishopric a year later, in which year, also,he was elected in the French Academy. Appointed preceptor to the Dauphin, 13 September, 1670, he threw himself with defatigable energy into his tutorial functions, composing all the books deemed necessary for his instruction, models of handwriting as well as manuals of philosophy, and himself giving all the lessons, three times a day. When his functions as preceptor ended (1681), he was appointed to the bishopric of Meaux. He took a prominent part in the Assembly of the French Clergy in 1682. Unlike the court bishops, Boussuet constantly resided in his diocese and busied himself with the details of its administration.. In that period he completed his long-interrupted works of historical controversy, wrote innumerable spiritual letters, took care of his religious communities (for whom he composed "Meditations on the Gospel" and "Uplifting of the Soul on the Mysteries"), and entered on endless polemics with Ellies du Pin, Caffaro, Fénelon, the Probabilists, Richard Simon and the Jansenists. From 1700, his health began to fail, which, however, did not prevent him from wrestling indefence of the Faith. Confined to his bed by illness, he dictated letters and polemical essays to his secretary. As Saint-Simon says, "he died fighting".

A list and criticism of Bossuet's chief works will be found in the following appreciation, by the late Ferdinand Brunetière. Out of one hundred and thirty works composed by Bossuet from 1653 to 1704, eighty were edited by himself, seven or eight by his nephew, the Abbé Bossuet, afterwards Bishop of Troyes ; the remainder, about forty-two, not including the "Letters" and "Sermons", appeared from 1741 to I789. The principal complete editions are: the Versailles edition 1815-19, 47 vols. in-8: Lachat (Vives), Paris, 1862-64, 31 vols. in-8; Guillame. Paris, 10 vols. in-4, No critical and chronological edition of Bossuet's complete works has been made as yet, only the sermons having been edited (in a most scientific manner) bythe Abbé Lebarcq: "Œuvres oratoires; édition critique complete, avec introduction grammaticale, préface, notes, et choix de variantes", Paris, 1890, 6 vols. in-8.

LITERARY AND THEOLOGICAL APPRECIATION OF BOSSUET

The life of this great man, perfectly simple as it was, and all of one piece with itself, may be divided into three epochs, to each of which as a matter of fact there are found to correspond, if not a new aspect of his genius, at least occupations or labours which are not altogether of the same nature and which consequently show him to us in a somewhat different light. At first, one perceives in him only the orator, the greatest, perhaps, who has ever appeared in the Christian pulpit -- greater than Chrysostom and greater than Augustine; the only man whose name can he compared in eloquence with those of Cicero and of Demosthenes (1617-70).

Appointed preceptor to the Dauphin, son of Louis XIV, he devoted himself for more than ten years entirely to this onerous task (1670-81), appearedin the pulpit only at rare intervals, returned to the studies which he had somewhat neglected, and composed for his pupil works of which the "Discourse on Universal History" is still the most celebrated. Finally, in the last period of his life (1681-l704), having become bishop of Meaux, though he still preaches regularly to his own flock, and raises his eloquent voice on solemn occasions -- to open the Assembly of the Clergy of France, in 1681, or to pronounce the funeral oration of the Prince de Condé, in 1687 -- yet it is above all the great controversialist that his contemporaries admire in him, the defender of tradition against all the novelties which sought to weaken it, the unwearying opponent of Jurieu, of Richard Simon, of Madame Guyon , and, incidentally, of Fénelon himself; he is thetheologian of xxyyyk.htm">Providence, and -- startling contrast -- on the eve of the Regency, he is "the last of the Fathers of the Church "

First Period (1627-70)

He made his first studies with the Jesuits of his native city. completed them in Paris at the College of Navarre, and, ordained priest, entered into possession of the archdeaconry of Sarrebourg, in the Diocese of Metz, no matter in what part of the world, he would without doubt have been himself. In literary history, environment commonlyshows its effects only in the formation of mediocrities. But, as there existed at Metz a large Jewish community (and in some respects, the only one in France that was recognized by the State), and as the Protestants were numerous, and still fervent, in the neighboring province of Alsace, one may believe that Bossuet's natural tendency to take religion on its controversial side was encouraged or strengthened by these circumstances. Proof of this if desired, may he found in the fact that the manuscript of one of his first sermons. "On the Law of God ", 1653, still bears this statement in his own handwriting: "Preached at Metz against the Jews "; and inthis other facet, that the first work he had printed was a "Refutation",in 1655. of the catechism of Paul Ferry, a renowned Protestant pastor ofMetz. Be that as it may, as soon as the young archdeacon began to preachhis reputation quickly spread, add very soon the pulpits of Paris were vying with one another to secure him. It may therefore be said that from 1656 to 1670 he gave himself entirely to the ministry of preaching, and asa matter of fact, three-fourths of the two hundred, or more, "Sermons" which have reached us, either complete or in fragments, date from this period. They may be distinguished as "Sermons", properly so called "Panegyrics of Saints"; and "Funeral Orations". These last number ten in all. In some editions the "Sermons on Religious Professions" ( Sermons de Virtue ), of which the most celebrated is that for the profession of Madame de la Valliere, preached in 1674, and the "Sermons for the Feasts of the Virgin", are classed by themselves.

What are the essential characteristics of Bossuet's eloquence? In the first place, the force, or, to put it, perhaps, better, the energy, of speech, or of the word, and by this I mean, inclusively, exactitude and precision, the fitness of phrase, the neatness of turn, the impressiveness of the gesture implied in his words, and, generally all the qualities of that French writer who, entertaining, with Pascal, a great horror of the artifices of rhetoric, for that very reason best understood the resources of French prose. There is nothing, in French, which surpasses a fine page of Bossuet.

The second characteristic of his eloquence is what Alexandre Vinet, though a Protestant, has not feared to call, in an essay on Bourdaloue, the depth and reach of its philosophy. He meant that while the illustrious Jesuit in his "Sermons" is always strictly and evidently Catholic, Bossuet, surely no less so, excels, besides, in demonstrating, even apart from Catholicism, the peremptory reasons in the depths of our nature and in the sequence of history why one should feel and think like a Catholic even if one were not a Catholic. Those who care to verify this opinion of Vinet may read Bossuet's sermons on "Death", "Ambition", "Providence", "The Honour of the World", "Our Dispositions in Regard to the Necessities of Life", "The Eminent Dignity of the Poor", "Submission to the Law of God ", and also the sermons for the Feasts of the Blessed Virgin. The "Sermon for the Profession of Madame de la Valliere" is another beautiful example of this philosophic character of Bossuet's eloquence.

Lastly, its third characteristic is its movement and lyric power. Bossuet -- the Bossuet of the "Sermons" and of the "Funeral Orations" -- is a poet, a great poet; and he is lyrical in his blending of personal and interior emotions with the expression of the truths which he unfolds. "The Uplifting of the Soul by the Divine Mysteries" and "Meditations on the Gospel" are titles of two of his most beautiful works, in which in his old age he,as it were, condensed the substance of his "Sermons" But it may be trulysaid that there is no sermon of his which is not either a "Meditation" or an "Uplifting of the Soul ". And is it, not strange that at the beginning of the nineteenth century these titles, "Uplifting of the Soul " and "Meditations", were applied by Lamartine and Vigny to their own public works? Such are the essential characteristics of Bossuet's eloquence, to which might easily be added a great many others, perhaps more slowly, but whichmay be found in other preachers, while those we have mentioned belong tohim alone.

Meanwhile, the reputation of the preacher was growing every day. Above all, his Lenten conferences before the Court in 1662 and in 1666 had brought him into prominence. particularly the second series, which had includedsome of his finest "Sermons". The Protestants, on the other hand, although they had no adversary more moderate than he, had none formidable; and when some startling conversion, like that of Turenne, took place, the honour or the blame of it was laid upon the Abbé Bossuet. His little book, circulated in manuscript under the title of "Exposition of the Doctrine of the Catholic Church on Subjects of Controversy", worried the Protestant divines more than had any folio in fifty years. The public voice marked him out for a bishopric. We know, too, that, though doubtless without his being aware of it, his name figured, after 1667, among the candidates forthe office of preceptor to the Dauphin, those names having been selected, by the king's command, under the direction of Colbert. It is true that Louis XIV did not favour Bossuet's appointment; he preferred the President De Périgny. In 1669, however, Bossuet was appointed Bishop of Condom. It was as Bishop of Condom that in September of that same year he pronounced the "Funeral Oration on Henerietta of France ", and was summoned to preach the Advent of 1669 at Court. When, soon after this, the daughter followed her mother to the grave, he was again summoned, in 1670, to pronounce the "Funeral Oration of the Duchess of Orléans " In the meanwhile, the President De Perigny died unexpectedly and this time the choice of Louis XIV went straight to Bossuet. He was named preceptor to the Dauphin, September, 1670, and a new period began in the history of his life.

Second Period (1670-81)

In order to devote himself solely to his task, he gave up his Bishopric of Condom, which he never saw, and returned to the profane studies which he had been obliged to abandon. He himself laid down in his letter to Pope Innocent XI, the programme he made his royal pupil follow, a programme the intelligent liberality of which it is impossible not to admire. But, while giving the closest personal attention to the Dauphin's education, his own genius completed, in a way, its process of ripening by contact with antiquity; his ideas collected themselves and gained in precision; he took conscious possession of what may be called his originality as a thinker, and made for himself his private domain, as it were, in the vast field of apologetics. And, as the other Fathers of the Church have been, in the history of Christian thought, one the theologian of the Incarnation, another, the theologian of Grace, so did Bossuet then become the theologian of xxyyyk.htm">Providence.

Here we may take a excellent example of what is today called the development, or evolution, of a dogmatic truth. The idea of xxyyyk.htm">Providence surely constituted the basis of Christian belief in all that touches the relations of man with God, and in this respect it may be said that the "Discourse on Universal History" is completely anticipated in the "City of God" of St. Augustine, or in the "The Gubernatione Dei" of Salvianus. We are perfectly willing to add that in this wide, and even slightly vague, sense it is found also in the Old Testament, and notably in the Book of Daniel.But that does not alter the fact that Bossuet in his turn appropriated this idea of xxyyyk.htm">Providence to himself, made it profoundly his own, and without any innovation -- for every innovation in this field inspired him with horror -- formed from it deductions which up to this time had never been perceived.

The idea of xxyyyk.htm">Providence, in Bossuets theology, appears to us as at once (a) the sanction of the moral law (b) the very law of history, and (c) thefoundations of apologetics.

(a) It is under the sanction of the moral law, in the first place, inasmuch as, being able to act only under the eyes of God, no act of ours is indifferent, since there is not one but is for us an occasion of, or, to put it better, a manner of acquiring, merit or demerit. It is under this aspect that the idea of xxyyyk.htm">Providence seems to have presented itself primarily to Bossuet, and that it is found in some sort scattered or diffused in his earliest "Sermons". But, since, moreover, nothing happens to us which is not an effect of God's Will, therefore we ought always to see in whatever happiness or unhappiness -- according to the worlds judgment -- may befall us only a chastisement, a trial, or a temptation, which it is for us to make a means either of salvation or of damnation. Here is the mystery of pain and the solution of the problem of evil. If we did not place entireconfidence in Providence, the existence of evil and the prosperity of the wicked would be for the human mind nothing but an occasion of scandal ; and if he did not accept our sufferings as a design of God in our regard,we should fall into despair. A source of resignation, our trust in xxyyyk.htm">Providence is also a source of strength, and it governs, so to speak, the entire domain of moral action. If our actions are moral, it is by reason of their conformity with, or at least of their analogy to, the views of xxyyyk.htm">Providence, and thus the life of the Christian is only a perpetual realization of the Will of God. We merit, according to our endeavours to know it in order to carry it into effect; and, on the contrary, to demerit consists exactly in not taking account of God's Will or warnings, whether the omission be through negligence, pride, or stubbornness.

(b) This is why the idea of xxyyyk.htm">Providence is at the same time the law of history. If the crash of empires "falling one upon another" does not in truth express some purpose of God regarding humanity, then history, or what is called by that name, is indeed no longer anything but a chaotic chronology, the meaning of which we should strive in vain to disentangle. In that case, Fortune, or rather Chance, would be the mistress of human affairs; the existence of humanity would be only a bad dream, or phantasmagoria, whose changing face would be inadequate to mask a void of nothingness. We should be fretting ourselves in that void without reason and almost without cause, our very actions would be but phantoms, and the only result of so many efforts accumulated through so many thousands of years would be the conviction, every day more clear, of their uselessness, which wouldbe another void of nothingness. And why, after all, were there Greeks and Romans? Of what use was Salamis ? Actium? Poitiers ? Lepanto ? Why was there a Caesar, and a Charlemagne ? "Let us frankly own, then, that unless something Divine circulates in history, there is no history. Nations like individuals, live only by maintaining uninterrupted communication with God, and it is precisely this condition of their existence which is called by the name of xxyyyk.htm">Providence. The hypothesis of xxyyyk.htm">Providence is the condition or the possibility of history, as the hypothesis of the stability of the laws of nature is the condition of the possibility of science.

(c) Having made xxyyyk.htm">Providence the sanction of morality, we are now led to make it the basis of apologetics. For if there be indeed more than one way which leads to God, or, in other words, many means of establishing the truth of the Christian religion, there is, in Bossuet's view, none more convincing than that which is at once the highest expression and the summing-up of the history of humanity, that is to say, "the very sequence of religion", or "the relation of the two Testaments", and, in a more objectivemanner, the visible manifestation of xxyyyk.htm">Providence in the establishment of Christianity. It was xxyyyk.htm">Providence that made of the Jewish people a people apart, a unique people, the chosen people, charged with maintaining and defending the worship of the true God throughout the pagan centuries, against the prestige of an idolatry which essentially consisted in the deification of the energies of nature. It was xxyyyk.htm">Providence that, by means of Romanunity and of its extension throughout the known universe, rendered not only possible but easy and almost necessary, the conversion of the world to Christianity. It was xxyyyk.htm">Providence, again, that developed the features of the modern world out of the disorder of barbarous invasions and reconciled the two antiquities under the law of Christ. The full importance of these views of Bossuet -- for we are only summarizing here the "Discourse on Universal History" -- will be understood if we observe that, in our day, when the Strausses and Renans have sought to give us their own version of the origins of Christianity, they have found nothing more than this and nothing else; and all their ingenuity has issued in the conclusion that things have happened in the reality of history as if some mysterious will had from all eternity proportioned effects and causes. But the real truth is that Christianity, in propagating itself, has proved itself. If the action of xxyyyk.htm">Providence is manifest anywhere, it is in the sequence of the history of Christianity. And what is more natural under the circumstances than to make of its history the demonstration of its truth ?

It was appropriate to insist here upon this idea of xxyyyk.htm">Providence, which is, in a manner. the masterpiece of Bossuet's theology. Besides the "Discourse on Universal History", he wrote other works for the education of the Dauphin; notably the "Treatise on the Knowledge of God and of Oneself" and the "Art of Governing, Drawn from the Words of Holy Scripture ", which appeared only after his death; the "Art of Governing", in 1709, and the "Treatise on the Knowledge of God ", in 1722. To the "Treatise on Free Will" and the "Treatise on Concupiscence ", also posthumous, a like origin has been assigned; but this is certainly a mistake; these two works, which contain some of Bossuet's most beautiful pages, were not written for his royal pupil, who certainly would not have understood them at all. Did he even understand the "Discourse on Universal History"? In this connection it has been questioned whether Bossuet in his quality of preceptor, did not fail in his first obligation, which was, as his critics assert, to adapt himself to his pupil's intelligence. Here we can only reply, without goingto the bottom of the question, that the end which Bossuet intended was no ordinary education, but the education of a future King of France, the first obligation incumbent upon whose preceptor was to treat him as a King. Thus, for that matter, professors in our universities never seem to subordinate their teaching to the capacity of their pupils, but only to the exigencies of the science taught. And we will add, moreover, that as the Dauphin never reigned, no one can really say how much he did, or did not, profit by a preceptor such as Bossuet was.

The education of a prince ordinarily, and naturally, ended with his marriage. The functions of Bossuet as preceptor ceased, therefore, in 1681. Hehad not been appointed Bishop of Meaux; he was made Almoner to the Dauphin, quite in accordance with usage, and the King honoured him with the title of General Councillor ( Conseiller en tous les conseils ). We may be permitted to call attention to the fact that this was only an honorary title, and one need not therefore conclude, as seems to have been done sometimes, that Bossuet took his seat, or voted, in, for instance, the Conseil des dépêches , which was the Council of Foreign Affairs or in the Conseil du Roi , which busied itself with the internal affairs of the kingdom. Butduring his preceptorship, and independancy of any participation in the councils, his authority had nevertheless become of considerable importance at Court, with Louis XIV personally. No member of the French clergy was thenceforth more in evidence than he; no preacher, no bishop. He had no reason, then, to fear that, having accomplished the education of the Dauphin, his activity would fail to find employment. In truth, the last epoch of his life was to be its fullest.

Third Period (1681-1704)

This period was the most laborious, indeed the most painful; and the impassioned struggles in which he becomes engaged will now end only with his life. But why so many struggles at the time oflife when most men seek for rest? What circumstances occasioned them? And if we recall that up to this time his existence had not been disturbed by any agitation that could be called deep, whence this sudden combative ardour? It cannot be explained without a preliminary remark. The reconciliation of Protestantism and Catholicism had been an early dream of Bossuet; and, on the other hand, France in the seventeenth century had, in general, ill chosen her side in a division which she regarded as not only regrettable from the standpoint of religion, but destructive, and even dangerous to her political unity. This is why Bossuet was to work all his lifeand with all his strength for the reunion of the Churches, and to force himself to exert every effort for the attainment of those conditions which he believed necessary to that end. Abundant and instructive details on this point are to be found in M.A. Rébelliau's charming work, "Bossuet, historien du Prostestantisme". Being, moreover, too reasonable and too well-informed not to recognize the legitimate element which the Reformationmovement had had in its time, Bossuet was convinced that it was of the greatest moment not indeed to -- in the phrase of our own day -- "minimize" the demands of the Catholic verity, but at all events not to exaggerate those demands; and, therefore,

  • to make to Protestant opinion every concession which a rigorous orthodoxy would permit; and
  • not to add anything, on the other hand, to a creed more than one difficulty of which was already repelling the Protestants.

Thus may we explain his part in the Assembly of the French Clergy in 1682; the plan of his "History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches", as well as the character of his polemics against the Protestants ; his fundamental motive in the matter of Quietism and the true reason for his fierce animosity against Fénelon ; his writings against Richard Simon, such as his "Defence of Tradition and of the Holy Fathers"; such steps as those which he took against the mystic reveries of Maria d'Agreda ; and lastly, the approbation which, in 1682 and 1702, he so loudly expressed for the renewed censures of the Assemblies of the Clergy upon the relaxed morals of the day. However, it is little to our purpose to ascertain whether Bossuet, in the course of all these controversies, more than once allowed himself to be drawn on beyond the point which he intended, especially, as he has been reproached, in the questions of Gallicanism and Quietism. The celebrated Declaration of 1682 seems to have altogether exceeded the measure of what it was useful or necessary to say in order to defend the temporal power of the prince or the independence of nations against the Roman Curia. Quietism, too, was perhaps not so great a danger as he believed it to be; nor, above all, a danger of the kind to repel Protestants from Catholicism, since, after all, it is in a Protestant country that the works of Madame Guyon are still read in our day. But to properly explain these points we should have to write volumes; it suffices here to throw some light on Bossuet's controversial work with this general remark: his essential purpose was to get rid of the reasons for resistance which Protestants drew from the substance or the form of Catholicism, in opposition to the reasons for reunion.

In this remark, also, is to be found the decisive answer to the question, often raised, and amply discussed for some years, of the Jansenism of Bossuet. Jansenism, indeed, involves two things: the "Five Propositions" -- a doctrine, or a heresy, formally and solemnly condemned; and a general tendency, very much like that of Calvin, to rationalize Christian morality and even dogma. So far as Jansenism is a heresy, Bossuet was never a Jansenist ; but so far as it is a mere tendency, an intellectual disposition and a tendency to effect a mutual drawing together of reason and faith, it is scarcely possible to deny that he leaned towards Jansenism. Quite apart from the satisfaction which his own genius, naturally attracted to order and to clarity, found in this conciliation of reason and faith, he judged this the most propitious ground of all for the reconciliation of Protestantism with Catholicism. But to this it should be added at once that Bossuet, while not adding to the difficulties of faith, made it a condition that care must be taken not to trench upon faith, and this trait it is which completes the picture of Bossuet's character. Tradition has never had a more eloquent or a more vigorous defender. Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est; this was for Bossuet, in a manner, the absolute criterion of Catholic truth. He had not difficulty in deducing from it "the immutability of morality or of dogma "; and in this precisely, as is well known, consists his great argument against the Protestants. The "History of the Variations of the Protestant churches" is nothing more than a history of the alterations, if one may say so, to which the Protestant Churches have subjected dogma, and the adjustments or adaptations of dogma which they have pretended to make to circumstances that had nothing but what was transitory and contingent. But "the truth which comes from God possesses from the first its complete perfection", and from that it follows that as many "variations" as there are, so many " errors " are there in faith, since they are so many contradictions or omissions of tradition.

This point has been reserved for the last in the present article, because no other trait of Bossuet's genius seems to have gone further towards establishing the common conception of it. It is easy to see that that conception is not altogether false ; but neither is it altogether true, nor, above all, fair when, as is often done, it is extended from the genius of the controversialist or theologian to the character of the man himself. Tradition, we repeat, has had no more eloquent or more implacable chamption; it has had none more sincere; but tradition such as he comprehended it is not all of the past, for so understood it would include even heresy and schism. Tradition, for Bossuet as for the Catholic Church, is only what has survived of the past. If Nestorian Christianities still exist today -- and some do exist -- they are as if they were not, and Nestorianism does not on that account constitute a part of the tradition of Free Thought. But for the Church, tradition is only what she has thought herself obliged to preserve out of those doctrines which have succeeded one another in the course of her development, among which she has made her choice in virtue of her magisterium , retaining some, rejecting others, without even being always obliged to condemn the latter. It can be proved, on the other hand, that, thus understood, tradition in the writings of Bossuet, and on his lips when he invokes it, does not exclude religious progress, even if, perhaps, the former does not postulate the latter as a condition. And already, doubtless, it is beginning to be half seen that the true Bossuet, even in theology, even in his long combats with the heretics, was not the unbending, irreconcilable man he is commonly painted.

This will be still better seen if we reflect that a great writer is not always the man of his style. In his sermons as in his writings, it would be impossible to deny that Bossuet has an imperious and authoritative style. He counsels nothing which he does not command, or which he does not impose; and to everything which he advances he communicates the character and force of a demonstration by his manner of expressing it. Not that many pages of a different tenor might not be cited from him, and some such will be found notably in his "Uplifting of the Soul ", his "Meditations", or his "Sermons for Festivals of the Virgin". But the habitual quality of his style, for all that, remains, as we have said, imperious and authoritative, because it is in harmony with the nature of his mind, which demands first and foremost clearness, certainty, and order. It may be said of him that, seeing all things in their relation to Providence, he expresses nothing except under the aspect of eternity. A great poet in later times has said: "Qu'est-ce que tout cela qui n'est pas éternel", and, looked at in this light, there is a perfect agreement between the style and the thought of Bossuet. But as to his character the same thing cannot be said; here every testimony alike shows us in this writer, whose accent seems to brrok no contradiction, the most gentle, the most affable, and sometimes the most hesitating of men.

Such was the true Bossuet. In his life we cannot always find the daring of his eloquence, nor in his conduct the audacity of his reasoning. This great dominator of the ideas -- one might even say of the intelligences -- of his time suffered himself to be dominated more than once by the thoroughly human dread of being disagreeable and, above all, of giving offence. "He has no joints", he himself said of one of the gentlemen of Port Royal who was somewhat lacking flexibility; to which the individual in question retorted: "And as for hi, you may tell him that he has no bones!" The strong, concise mot sums up all the reproaches that can be made against this great memory. Had his strength of character and his apostolic vigour equalled the force of his genius, he would have been a St. Augustine. Falling short of St. Augustine, a Catholic and a Frenchman may be permitted to believe that it is still something rare, something exalted among men to have been merely Jacques Bénigne Bossuet.

More Volume: J 331

Click/Touch the sub-volume below to view encyclopedia articles within the sub-volume.

1

Jáuregui, Juan de

A Spanish painter and poet, born at Seville c. 1570, or, according to some, as late as 1583; ...

× Close

1

Jíbaro Indians

Jíbaro (Spanish orthography) "forest man", i.e. native. An important tribal group of ...

× Close

1

Jörg, Joseph Edmund

Historian and politician, b. 23 Dec., 1819 at Immenstadt (Ahgau); d. at Landshut, 18 Nov., 1901. ...

× Close

Ja 49

Jaén

(GIENNENSIS) Diocese in Southern Spain. The city of Jaén, capital of the province of ...

Jaca, Diocese of

( Also JACCA; Latin JACCENSIS). Located in the Spanish province of Huesca. Jaca, the chief ...

Jackson, Henry Moore

Knight, born in Grenada, 1849; died in London, 29 August, 1908. The youngest son of the Anglican ...

Jacob

The son of Isaac and Rebecca, third great patriarch of the chosen people, and the immediate ...

Jacob of Jüterbogk

(In the world BENEDICT STOLZENHAGEN). Theologian and canonist, born of poor parents near ...

Jacobus de Teramo

(AB ANCHARANO), belonging to the family of Palladini, canonist and bishop, born in 1349 at ...

Jacopo de Voragine, Blessed

( Also DI VIRAGGIO). Archbishop of Genoa and medieval hagiologist, born at Viraggio (now ...

Jacopone da Todi

(Properly called JACOPO BENEDICTI or BENEDETTI). Franciscan poet, born at Todi in the first ...

Jacotot, Joseph

French educator, b. at Dijon, March, 1770; d. at Paris, 30 July, 1840. He studied in the college ...

Jacques de Vitry

Historian of the crusades, cardinal Bishop of Acre, later of Tusculum, b. at Vitry-sur-Seine, ...

Jacquier, François

French mathematician and physicist, born at Vitry-le-Francois, 7 June, 1711; died at Rome, 3 ...

Jaenbert

(Jaenberht, Janbriht, Janibert, Jambert, Lambert, Lanbriht, Genegberht.) Thirteenth ...

Jaffa

A titular see in the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The city of Jaffa is very ancient. Even before ...

Jaffna, Diocese of

(JAFFNENSIS.) Situated in the northern portion of Ceylon, Jaffna comprises the northern and ...

Jainism

A form of religion intermediate between Brahminism and Buddhism, originated in India in ...

Jamaica

The largest of the British West Indian islands, is situated in the Caribbean Sea, between latitude ...

Jamay, Denis

Franciscan, missionary, date and place of birth unknown; died in France, 1625; an important ...

James of Brescia

Theologian of the fifteenth century. He entered the Dominican Order at Brescia, his native ...

James of Edessa

A celebrated Syrian writer, b. most likely in A.D. 633; d. 5 June, 708. He was a native of the ...

James of Sarugh

A writer of the Syrian Church "the flute of the Holy Spirit and the harp of the believing ...

James of the Marches, Saint

Franciscan, b. of a poor family named Gangala, at Monteprandone, Italy, 1391; d. at Naples, 28 ...

James Primadicci

(Or Primadizzi.) Born at Bologna; died in the same city in 1460. As early as the year 1426 he ...

James the Greater, Saint

( Hebrew Yakob ; Septuagint Iakob ; N.T. Greek Iakobos ; a favourite name among the later ...

James the Less, Saint

THE IDENTITY OF JAMES The name "James" in the New Testament is borne by several: James, the ...

James Thompson, Blessed

(Also known as James Hudson). Martyr, born in or near York; having nearly all his life in that ...

James, Epistle of Saint

The questions concerning this epistle are treated in the following order: I. Author and ...

Janauschek, Leopold

Cistercian, born at Brünn, Moravia, 13 October, 1827; died 23 July, 1898, at Baden, near ...

Jandel, Alexandre Vincent

General of the Dominican order, born at Gerbevilliers (Lorraine), 18 July, 1810; died at Rome, ...

Jane Frances de Chantal, Saint

Born at Dijon, France, 28 January, 1572; died at the Visitation Convent Moulins, 13 December, ...

Janner, Ferdinand

Theologian, born at Hirschau, in the Upper Palatinate (Bavaria), 4 Feb., 1836; died 1 November, ...

Janow, Matthew of

A medieval ecclesiastical author, born in the fourteenth century in Bohemia ; died at ...

Jansen, Cornelius

( Also Jansens, Janssen, Janssenius or Jansenius Gandaviensis). Exegete, born at Hulst, ...

Jansenius and Jansenism

Cornelius Jansen, Bishop of Ypres ( Cornelius Jansenius Yprensis ), from whom Jansenism derives ...

Janssen, Arnold

Founder and first superior-general of the Society of the Divine Word, b. at Goch in the Rhine ...

Janssen, Johann

Historian, born 10 April, 1829, at Kanten, Germany ; died 24 December, 1891, at ...

Janssens, Abraham

Flemish painter, b. at Antwerp about 1573; d. probably in the same place about 1631. He is also ...

Janssens, Johann Hermann

Catholic theologian, b. at Maeseyck, Belgium, 7 Dec., 1783; d. at Engis, 23 May, 1853. After ...

Januarius, Saint

Martyr, Bishop of Beneventum. St. Januarius is believed to have suffered in the ...

Japan

AREA AND POPULATION Japan, called in the language of the country Nihon or Nippon (Land of the ...

Japanese Martyrs

There is not in the whole history of the Church a single people who can offer to the ...

Jarcke, Karl Ernst

Born 10 November, 1801, at Danzig, Prussia ; died 27 December, 1852, at Vienna. He belonged to a ...

Jaricot, Pauline-Marie

Foundress of the Society of the Propagation of the Faith and the Association of the Living ...

Jarlath, Saint

Patron of the Archdiocese of Tuam , born in Connaught about 445; died 26 December, ( al. , 11 ...

Jaro

Diocese in the Philippine Islands, formerly a part of the Diocese of Cebú, was made a ...

Jarric, Pierre de

Missionary writer, born at Toulouse in 1566; d. at Saintes, 2 March, 1617. He entered the ...

Jason

A Greek name adopted by many Jews whose Hebrew designation was Joshua (Jesus). In the Old ...

Jassus

A titular see of Caria, and suffragan of Aphrodisias. The city was founded by colonists from ...

Jassy

(Jassiensis). Diocese in Rumania. The town of Jassy stands in a very fertile plain on the ...

Javouhey, Venerable Anne-Marie

Foundress of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny, born at Chamblanc, Diocese of Dijon, 11 ...

× Close

Je 59

Jealousy

Jealousy is here taken to be synonymous with envy. It is defined to be a sorrow which one ...

Jean de La Bruyère

Born at Paris in 1645; died at Chantilly in 1696. He was the son of a comptroller general of ...

Jean Eudes, Blessed

French missionary and founder of the Eudists and of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity; ...

Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney, Saint

Curé of Ars, born at Dardilly, near Lyons, France, on 8 May, 1786; died at Ars, 4 ...

Jean-Gabriel Perboyre, Blessed

Missionary and martyr, born at Puech, Diocese of Cahors, France, 6 January, 1802; martyred at ...

Jeanne de Valois, Saint

Queen and foundress of the Order of the Annonciades, b. 1464; d. at Bourges, 4 Feb., 1505. ...

Jeaurat, Edmond

(EDME JEAURAT) French engraver, b. at Vermenton, near Auxerre, 1688; d. at Paris, 1738. He ...

Jedburgh

(Eighty-two different spellings of the name are given in the "Origines Parochiales Scotiæ"). ...

Jehoshaphat

( Hebrew for " Yahweh hath judged"; Septuagint 'Iosaphát ). Fourth King of Juda ...

Jehoshaphat, Valley of

(JEHOSHAPHAT). Mentioned in only one passage of the Bible ( Joel 3 -- Hebrew text, 4). In ...

Jehovah

The proper name of God in the Old Testament ; hence the Jews called it the name by ...

Jehu

The derivation of the name is uncertain. By some it is translated " Yahweh is he". I. J EHU ...

Jemez Pueblo

An Indian pueblo situated upon the north bank of the river of the same name about twenty miles ...

Jeningen, Venerable Philipp

Born at Eichstätt, Bavaria, 5 January, 1642;d, at Ellwangen, 8 February, 1704. Entering the ...

Jenks, Silvester

Theologian, born in Shropshire, c. 1656; died in December, 1714. He was educated at Douai ...

Jennings, Sir Patrick Alfred

An Australian statesman, b. at Newry, Ireland, 1831; d. July, 1897. He received his education, ...

Jephte

One of the judges of Israel. The story of Jephte is narrated in chapters xi and xii of the Book ...

Jeremias

[Hebrew Irmeyah; often in the paragogic form Irmeyahu, especially in the Book of ...

Jeremias the Prophet

( THE P ROPHET .) Jeremias lived at the close of the seventh and in the first part of the ...

Jericho

Three cities of this name have successively occupied sites in the same neighbourhood. I. A ...

Jeroboam

(Septuagint `Ieroboám ), name of two Israelitish kings. (1) J EROBOAM I was the ...

Jerome Emiliani, Saint

Founder of the Order of Somascha; b. at Venice, 1481; d. at Somascha, 8 Feb., 1537; feast, 20 ...

Jerome, Saint

Born at Stridon, a town on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, about the year 340-2; died at ...

Jerusalem (71-1099)

I. TO THE TIME OF CONSTANTINE (71-312) When Titus took Jerusalem (April-September, A.D. 70) he ...

Jerusalem (After 1291)

(1) Political History The Latin dominion over Jerusalem really came to an end on 2 October, ...

Jerusalem (Before A.D. 71)

This article treats of the "City of God", the political and religious centre of the People of ...

Jerusalem, Assizes of

The signification of the word assizes in this connection is derived from the French verb ...

Jerusalem, Latin Kingdom of (1099-1291)

The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem was founded as a result of the First Crusade, in 1099. Destroyed ...

Jerusalem, Liturgy of

The Rite of Jerusalem is that of Antioch. That is to say, the Liturgy that became famous as ...

Jesi

(ÆSINA) Diocese in the Province of Ancona, Italy, immediately subject to the Holy ...

Jesu Dulcis Memoria

A poem ranging from forty two to fifty three stanzas (in various manuscripts ), to form the three ...

Jesuit Apologetic

The accusations brought against the Society have been exceptional for their frequency and ...

Jesuit Generals Prior to the Suppression

(1) St. Ignatius Loyola (19 April 1541-31 July, 1556). The society spread rapidly, and at the ...

Jesuit's Bark

(C HINA B ARK ; C INCHONA ; C ORTEX C HINÆ ; P ERUVIAN B ARK ). Jesuit's ...

Jesuits, Distinguished

Saints Ignatius Loyola ; Francis Xavier ; Francis Borgia ; Stanislaus Kostka; Alfonso ...

Jesuits, History of the (1773-1814)

The execution of the Brief of Suppression having been largely left to local bishops, there was ...

Jesuits, History of the (1814-1912)

Pius VII had resolved to restore the Society during his captivity in France ; and after his ...

Jesuits, History of the (pre-1750)

Italy The history of the Jesuits in Italy was generally very peaceful. The only serious ...

Jesuits, Suppression of the (1750-1773)

The Suppression is the most difficult part of the history of the Society. Having enjoyed very high ...

Jesuits, The

(Company of Jesus, Jesuits) See also DISTINGUISHED JESUITS , JESUIT APOLOGETIC, EARLY JESUIT ...

Jesus and Mary, Sisters of the Holy Childhood of

(1) A congregation founded in 1835 in the Diocese of Fréjus, for the education of girls ...

Jesus Christ

Origin of the Name of Jesus In this article, we shall consider the two words -- "Jesus" and ...

Jesus Christ, Character of

The surpassing eminence of the character of Jesus has been acknowledged by men of the most ...

Jesus Christ, Chronology of the Life of

In the following paragraphs we shall endeavour to establish the absolute and relative chronology ...

Jesus Christ, Devotion to the Heart of

The treatment of this subject is divided into two parts: I. Doctrinal Explanations;II. Historical ...

Jesus Christ, Early Historical Documents on

The historical documents referring to Christ's life and work may be divided into three classes: ...

Jesus Christ, Genealogy of

It is granted on all sides that the Biblical genealogy of Christ implies a number of exegetical ...

Jesus Christ, Holy Name of

We give honour to the Name of Jesus, not because we believe that there is any intrinsic power ...

Jesus Christ, Knowledge of

" Knowledge of Jesus Christ," as used in this article, does not mean a summary of what we know ...

Jesus Christ, Origin of the Name of

In this article, we shall consider the two words which compose the Sacred Name. JESUS The word ...

Jesus Christ, Resurrection of

Resurrection is the rising again from the dead, the resumption of life. In this article, we shall ...

Jesus Mary, Religious of

The Congregation of the Religious of Jesus Mary was founded at Lyons, France, in October, 1818, by ...

Jesus, Daughters of

Founded at Kermaria, in the Diocese of Vannes , France, in 1834, for the care of the sick poor, ...

Jesus, The Society of

(Company of Jesus, Jesuits) See also DISTINGUISHED JESUITS , JESUIT APOLOGETIC, EARLY JESUIT ...

Jewish Calendar

Days From the remotest time to the present the Israelites have computed the day ( yôm ...

Jewish Tribe

( Phyle, tribus .) The earlier Hebrew term rendered in our English versions by the word ...

Jews (as a Religion)

At the present day, the term designates the religious communion which survived the destruction of ...

Jews, History of the

( Yehúd`m; Ioudaismos ). Of the two terms, Jews and Judaism , the former denotes ...

Jezabel

( Septuagint, 'Iezabél, ). Wife of Achab, King of Israel. She was the daughter of ...

× Close

Jo 163

Joachim of Flora

Cistercian abbot and mystic; b. at Celico, near Cosenza, Italy, c. 1132; d. at San Giovanni in ...

Joachim, Saint

Joachim (whose name means Yahweh prepares ), was the father of the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we ...

Joan of Arc, Saint

In French Jeanne d'Arc ; by her contemporaries commonly known as la Pucelle (the Maid). ...

Joan, Popess

The fable about a female pope, who afterwards bore the name of Johanna (Joan), is first noticed ...

Joanna of Portugal, Blessed

Born at Lisbon, 16 February, 1452; died at Aveiro, 12 may, 1490; the daughter of Alfonso V, King ...

Joannes de Sacrobosco

(John Holywood), a monk of English origin, lived in the first half of the thirteenth century as ...

Job

One of the books of the Old Testament , and the chief personage in it. In this article it is ...

Jocelin

Cistercian monk and Bishop of Glasgow ; d. at Melrose Abbey in 1199. On 22 April, 1170, ...

Jocelin de Brakelond

An English chronicler, of the late twelfth century. He was the monk of Bury St. Edmund's ...

Jocelin of Wells

(Or JOSCELINE) Bishop of Bath and Wells (JOCELINUS THOTEMAN), d. 19 Nov., 1242. He was ...

Joel

The son of Phatuel, and second in the list of the twelve Minor Prophets. Nothing is known of his ...

Joest, Jan

(V AN K ALKAR ). Otherwise JAN JOOST VAN CALCKER. Dutch painter, b. at Calcker, or ...

Jogues, Saint Isaac

French missionary, born at Orléans, France, 10 January, 1607; martyred at Ossernenon, ...

John and Cyrus, Saints

Celebrated martyrs of the Coptic Church, surnamed thaumatourgoi anargyroi because they healed ...

John and Paul, Saints

Martyred at Rome on 26 June. The year of their martyrdom is uncertain according to their ...

John Baptist de la Salle, Saint

Founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools , educational reformer, and ...

John Baptist de Rossi, Saint

(De Rubeis). Born at Voltaggio in the Diocese of Genoa, 22 February, 1698; died at Rome, 23 ...

John Beche, Blessed

( Alias THOMAS MARSHALL). English Benedictine abbot and martyr ; date of birth unknown; ...

John Berchmans, Saint

Born at Diest in Brabant, 13 March, 1599; died at Rome, 13 August, 1621. His parents watched ...

John Bosco, Saint

( Or St. John Bosco; Don Bosco.) Founder of the Salesian Society. Born of poor parents in ...

John Boste, Saint

(Or JOHN BOAST.) Priest and martyr, b. of good Catholic family at Dufton, in Westmoreland, ...

John Britton, Venerable

(Or Bretton). A layman and martyr, of all ancient family of Bretton near Barnsley in ...

John Buckley, Venerable

( Alias John Jones; alias John Griffith; in religion, Godfrey Maurice). Priest and martyr, ...

John Cantius, Saint

Born at Kenty, near Oswiecim, Diocese of Krakow, Poland, 1412 (or 1403); died at Krakow, 1473, ...

John Capistran, Saint

Born at Capistrano, in the Diocese of Sulmona, Italy, 1385; died 23 October, 1456. His father had ...

John Chrysostom, Saint

( Chrysostomos , "golden-mouthed" so called on account of his eloquence). Doctor of the ...

John Climacus, Saint

Also surnamed SCHOLASTICUS, and THE SINAITA, b. doubtlessly in Syria, about 525; d. on Mount ...

John Colombini, Blessed

Founder of the Congregation of Jesuati; b. at Siena, Upper Italy, about 1300; d. on the way to ...

John Cornelius and Companions, Venerable

John Cornelius (called also Mohun) was born of Irish parents at Bodmin, in Cornwall, on the ...

John Damascene, Saint

Born at Damascus, about 676; died some time between 754 and 787. The only extant life of the ...

John de Britto, Blessed

Martyr ; born in Lisbon, 1 March, 1647, and was brought up in court; martyred in India 11 ...

John Felton, Blessed

Martyr, date and place of birth unknown, was executed in St. Paul's Churchyard, London, 8 ...

John Fisher, Saint

Cardinal, Bishop of Rochester, and martyr ; born at Beverley, Yorkshire, England, 1459 ...

John Forest, Blessed

Born in 1471, presumably at Oxford, where his surname was then not unknown; suffered 22 May, ...

John Francis Regis, Saint

Born 31 January, 1597, in the village of Fontcouverte (department of Aude); died at la Louvesc, 30 ...

John Hambley, Venerable

English martyr (suffered 1587), born and educated in Cornwall, and converted by reading one ...

John I, Pope Saint

Died at Ravenna on 18 or 19 May (according to the most popular calculation), 526. A Tuscan by ...

John II, Pope

(533-535). The date of the birth of this pope is not known. He was a Roman and the son of ...

John III, Pope

(561-574). A Roman surnamed Catelinus, d. 13 July, 574. He was of a distinguished family, ...

John Ingram, Venerable

English martyr, born at Stoke Edith, Herefordshire, in 1565; executed at Newcastle-on-Tyne, 26 ...

John IV, Pope

(640-642). A native of Dalmatia, and the son of the scholasticus (advocate) Venantius. The ...

John IX, Pope

(898-900). Not only is the date of John's birth unknown, but the date of his election as ...

John Joseph of the Cross, Saint

Born on the Island of Ischia, Southern Italy, 1654; d. 5 March, 1739. From his earliest years ...

John Larke, Blessed

English martyr ; died at Tyburn, 7 March, 1543-4. He was rector of St. Ethelburga's ...

John Malalas

A Monophysite Byzantine chronicler of the sixth century, born at Antioch where he spent most if ...

John Nelson, Blessed

English Jesuit martyr, b. at Skelton, four miles from York, in 1534; d. at Tyburn, 3 February, ...

John Nepomucene, Saint

Born at Nepomuk about 1340; died 20 March, 1393. The controversy concerning the identity of John ...

John of Antioch

There are four persons commonly known by this name. I John, Patriarch of Antioch ...

John of Avila, Blessed

Apostolic preacher of Andalusia and author, b. at Almodóvar del Campo, a small town in ...

John of Beverley, Saint

Bishop of Hexham and afterwards of York; b. at Harpham, in the East Riding of Yorkshire; d. at ...

John of Biclaro

(Johannes Biclariensis.) Chronicler, born in Portugal, probably about the middle of the sixth ...

John of Cornwall

(JOHANNES CORNUBIENSIS, JOHANNES DE SANCTO GERMANO). John of Cornwall lived about 1176. He was ...

John of Ephesus

(Also known as JOHN OF ASIA). The earliest, and a very famous, Syriac historian. He was born ...

John of Fécamp

(Also known as JEANNELIN on account of his diminutive stature). Ascetic writer, b. near Ravenna ...

John of Falkenberg

Author, b. at Falkenberg, Pomerania, Prussia, date unknown; d. about 1418 in Italy &151; ...

John of Fermo, Blessed

More often called JOHN OF LA VERNA, from his long sojourn on that holy mountain, b. at Fermo ...

John of Genoa

(Often called Balbi, or de Balbis.) Grammarian; born at Genoa, date unknown; died there ...

John of God, Saint

Born at Montemor o Novo, Portugal, 8 March, 1495, of devout Christian parents ; died at ...

John of Hauteville

Moralist and satirical poet of the twelfth century (flourished about 1184). Little is known of his ...

John of Janduno

An Averroistic philosopher, theologian, and political writer of the fourteenth century. John of ...

John of Montecorvino

A Franciscan and founder of the Catholic mission in China, b. at Montecorvino in Southern ...

John of Montesono

Theologian and controversialist, born at Monzón, Spain ; dates of birth and death ...

John of Nikiû

An Egyptian chronicler who flourished in the latter part of the seventh century. The little we ...

John of Paris

( Called also Quidort and de Soardis). Theologian and controversialist; born at Paris, ...

John of Parma, Blessed

Minister General of the Friars Minor (1247-1257), b. at Parma about 1209; d. at Camerino 19 ...

John of Ragusa

(Sometimes confounded with John of Segovia ). A Dominican theologian, president of the ...

John of Roquetaillade (de Rupescissa)

Franciscan alchemist, date of birth unknown; d. probably at Avignon, 1362. After pursuing the ...

John of Rupella

Franciscan theologian, b. at La Rochelle (Rupella), towards the end of the twelfth century; d. ...

John of Sahagun, Saint

Hermit, b. 1419, at Sahagún (or San Fagondez) in the Kingdom of Leon, in Spain ; d. 11 ...

John of Saint Thomas

(Family name John Poinsot), theologian, born at Lisbon, 9 June, 1589; died at Fraga, Spain, 17 ...

John of Salisbury

(JOHANNES DE SARESBERIA, surnamed PARVUS). Born about 1115; died 1180; a distinguished ...

John of Segovia

A Spanish theologian, b. at Segovia towards the end of the fourteenth century; d. probably in ...

John of the Cross, Saint

Founder (with St. Teresa) of the Discalced Carmelites, doctor of mystic theology, b. at ...

John of Victring

(JOHANNES VICTORENSIS or DE VICTORIA). Chronicler, b. probably between 1270 and 1280; d. at ...

John of Winterthur

(Johannes Vitoduranus.) Historian, born about 1300 at Winterthur (Switzerland); died ...

John Parvus

Called in his day, JEHAN PETIT or LE PETIT. A French theologian and professor in the ...

John Payne, Blessed

Born in the Diocese of Peterborough ; died at Chelmsford, 2 April, 1582. He went to Douai in ...

John Rigby, Saint

English martyr ; b. about 1570 at Harrocks Hall, Eccleston, Lancashire; executed at St. Thomas ...

John Roberts, Saint

First Prior of St. Gregory's, Douai (now Downside Abbey ), b. 1575-6; martyred 10 ...

John Rochester, Blessed

Priest and martyr, born probably at Terling, Essex, England, about 1498; died at York, 11 May, ...

John Sarkander, Blessed

Martyr of the seal of confession, born at Skotschau in Austrian Silesia, 20 Dec., 1576; died at ...

John Scholasticus

( ho Scholastikos ; also called J OHN OF A NTIOCH ) Patriarch of Constantinople (J OHN ...

John Shert, Blessed

A native of Cheshire; took the degree of B.A. at Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1566. Successively ...

John Stone, Blessed

English martyr, executed at the Dane-John, Canterbury, probably in December, 1539, for denying ...

John Story, Blessed

( Or Storey.) Martyr ; born 1504; died at Tyburn, 1 June, 1571. He was educated at ...

John Talaia

Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria (481-482) at the time of the Monophysite troubles. He had ...

John the Almsgiver, Saint

(JOANNES ELEEMOSYNARIUS; JOANNES MISERICORS). Patriarch of Alexandria (606-16), b. at Amathus ...

John the Baptist, Saint

The principal sources of information concerning the life and ministry of St. John the Baptist are ...

John the Deacon

(J OHANNES D IACONUS ). Among the writers of the Middle Ages who bear this name, four ...

John the Evangelist, Saint

I. New Testament Accounts II. The Alleged Presbyter John III. The Later Accounts of John IV. Feasts ...

John the Faster

( ‘o nesteutés, jejunator ) Patriarch of Constantinople (John IV, 582-595), ...

John the Silent, Saint

(Hesychastes, Silentiarius). Bishop of Colonia, in Armenia, b. at Nicopolis, Armenia, 8 ...

John Twenge, Saint

Last English saint canonized, canon regular, Prior of St. Mary's, Bridlington, b. near the ...

John V, Pope

(685-686). A Syrian whose father was one Cyriacus; when he was born is not known; d. 2 ...

John VI, Pope

(701-705). A Greek, the date of whose birth is unknown; d. 11 January, 705. He ascended the ...

John VII, Pope

(705-707). The year of his birth is unknown; d. 18 October, 707. Few particulars of his life ...

John VIII, Pope

(Reigned 872-82) A Roman and the son of Gundus. He seems to have been born in the first ...

John X, Pope

Born at Tossignano, Romagna; enthroned, 914; died at Rome, 928. First a deacon, he became ...

John XI, Pope

Date of birth unknown, became pope in 931; d. 936. He was the son of Marozia by her first ...

John XII, Pope

Date of birth unknown; reigned 955-64. The younger Alberic, after the downfall of his mother, ...

John XIII, Pope

Date of birth unknown; enthroned on 1 Oct., 965; d. 6 Sept., 972. After the death of John XII ...

John XIV, Pope

Date of birth unknown; d. 984. After the death of Benedict VII, Bishop Peter Campanora of Pavia, ...

John XIX (XX), Pope

Enthroned in 1024; d. 1032. After the death of the last patricius of the House of Crescentius, ...

John XV (XVI), Pope

Enthroned 985; d. April, 996. After John XIV had been removed by force, the usurper, Boniface ...

John XVI (XVII)

Antipope 997-998; d. probably in 1013. After the death of John XV, Bruno, a relative of Otto ...

John XVII (XVIII), Pope

Date of birth unknown; d. 6 Nov., 1003. When Sylvester II died on 12 May, 1003, there was no ...

John XVIII (XIX), Pope

Successor of John XVII, consecrated Christmas, 1003; d. June, 1009. He was the son of a Roman ...

John XXI (XX), Pope

Born at Lisbon between 1210 and 1220; enthroned, 1276; died at Viterbo, 20 May, 1277. The son ...

John XXII, Pope

(JACQUES D'EUSE) Born at Cahors in 1249; enthroned, 5 September, 1316; died at Avignon, 4 ...

John XXIII

Antipope of the Pisan party (1400-15), b. about 1370; d. 22 November, 1419. Cardinal Baldassare ...

John, Epistles of

Three canonical books of the New Testament written by the Apostle St. John. The subject will ...

John, Gospel of

This subject will be considered under the following heads: I. Contents and Scheme of the ...

Johnson, Blessed Robert

Born in Shropshire, entered the German College, Rome, 1 October, 1571. Ordained priest at ...

Johnson, Blessed Thomas

Carthusian martyr, died in Newgate gaol, London, 20 September, 1537. On 18 May, 1537, the twenty ...

Johnson, Lionel Pigot

Born at Broadstairs on the Kentish coast, 15 Mar., 1867; died 4 Oct., 1902. He was the youngest ...

Johnston, Richard Malcolm

Educator, author, b. 8 March, 1822, at Powellton, Georgia, U.S.A.; d. at Baltimore, Maryland, 23 ...

Joinville, Jean, Sire de

Seneschal of Champagne, historian, b. in 1225; d. at Joinville, 1317. His family held an ...

Joliet, Louis

(Or JOLLIET). Louis Joliet, a discoverer and the son of a wagon-maker, was born at Quebec, ...

Joliette

(JOLIETTENSIS). Diocese created by Pius X , 27 January, 1904 by division of the Archdiocese ...

Jolly, Philipp Johann Gustav von

German physicist, born at Mannheim, 26 September, 1809; died at Munich, 24 December, 1884. His ...

Jonas

The fifth of the Minor Prophets. The name is usually taken to mean "dove", but in view of the ...

Jonas of Bobbio

(Or Jonas of Susa ) Monk and hagiographer, b. about the close of the sixth century at ...

Jonas of Orléans

Bishop and ecclesiastical writer, born in Aquitaine; died in 843 or 844. From 818, when he ...

Jonathan

(Hebrew, " Yahweh hath given", cf. Theodore; Septuagint 'Ionáthan .) Name of several ...

Jones, Inigo

A famous English architect, b. 15 July, 1573, in London ; d. 21 June, 1652, and was buried in ...

Jones, Venerable Edward

Priest and martyr, b. in the Diocese of St. Asaph, Wales, date unknown; d. in London, 6 May ...

Jordan, The

(In Hebrew Yâdên, from the root Yârâd, to descend). The difference ...

Jordanis

Historian, lived about the middle of the sixth century in the Eastern Roman Empire. His family ...

Jordanus of Giano

(DE JANO). Italian Minorite, b. at Giano in the Valley of Spoleto, c. 1195; d. after 1262. ...

Jornandes

Historian, lived about the middle of the sixth century in the Eastern Roman Empire. His family ...

Josaphat

( Hebrew for " Yahweh hath judged"; Septuagint 'Iosaphát ). Fourth King of Juda ...

Josaphat and Barlaam

The principal characters of a legend of Christian antiquity, which was a favourite subject of ...

Josaphat Kuncevyc, Saint

Martyr, born in the little town of Volodymyr in Lithuania (Volyn) in 1580 or -- according to ...

Josaphat, Valley of

(JEHOSHAPHAT). Mentioned in only one passage of the Bible ( Joel 3 -- Hebrew text, 4). In ...

Joseph

The eleventh son of Jacob, the firstborn of Rachel, and the immediate ancestor of the tribes ...

Joseph Calasanctius of the Mother of God, Pious Workers of Saint

Founded at Vienna, 24 November, 1889, by Father Anton Maria Schwartz for all works of charity, ...

Joseph Calasanctius, Saint

Called in religion "a Matre Dei", founder of the Piarists, b. 11 Sept., 1556, at the castle of ...

Joseph II

(1741-90). German Emperor (reigned 1765-90), of the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine, son and ...

Joseph of Arimathea

All that is known for certain concerning him is derived from the canonical Gospels. He was born ...

Joseph of Cupertino, Saint

Mystic, born 17 June, 1603; died at Osimo 18 September, 1663; feast, 18 September. Joseph ...

Joseph of Exeter

(JOSEPHUS ISCANUS.) A twelfth-century Latin poet; b. at Exeter, England. About 1180 he went ...

Joseph of Issachar

A man of the tribe of Issachar, and the father of Igal who was one of the spies sent by Moses ...

Joseph of Leonessa, Saint

In the world named Eufranio Desiderio; born in 1556 at Leonessa in Umbria; died 4 February, ...

Joseph's Society for Colored Missions, Saint

This organization began its labours in 1871, when four young priests from Mill Hill were put in ...

Joseph's Society for Foreign Missions, Saint

(Mill Hill, London, N.W.) A society of priests and laymen whose object is to labour for ...

Joseph, Saint

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and foster-father of Our Lord Jesus Christ . LIFE Sources ...

Joseph, Sisters of Saint

CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF ST. JOSEPH Founded at Le Puy, in Velay, France, by the Rev. ...

Josephites

(Sons of St. Joseph) A congregation devoted to the Christian education of youth, founded in ...

Josephus, Flavius

Jewish historian, born A.D. 37, at Jerusalem ; died about 101. He belonged to a distinguished ...

Joshua

The name of eight persons in the Old Testament, and of one of the Sacred Books. ( ...

Josias

(J OSIAH – Hebrew for " Yahweh supports"; Septuagint 'Iosías ). A pious ...

Josue

The name of eight persons in the Old Testament, and of one of the Sacred Books. ( ...

Joubert, Joseph

French philosopher ; b. at Martignac (Dordogne), 7 May, 1754, d. at Villeneuve-le-Roi (Yonne), 4 ...

Jouffroy, Claude-François-Dorothée de

M ARQUIS d' A BBANS . Mechanician, b. at Abbans, near Besançon, 30 Sept., 1751; d. ...

Jouffroy, Jean de

French prelate and statesman; b. at Luxeuil (Franche-Comté) about 1412; d. at the priory ...

Jouin, Louis

Linguist, philosopher, author, b. at Berlin, 14 June, 1818, d. at New York, 10 June, 1899. He ...

Jouvancy, Joseph de

(JOSEPHUS JUVENCIUS). Poet, pedagogue, philologist, and historian, b. at Paris, 14 September, ...

Jouvenet, Jean

Surnamed T HE G REAT . French painter, b. at Rouen in 1644, d. at Paris, 5 April, 1717. ...

Jovellanos, Gaspar Melchor de

(Also written JOVE-LLANOS). Spanish statesman and man of letters, at Gijon, Asturias, 5 Jan., ...

Jovianus, Flavius Claudius

Roman Emperor, 363-4. After the death of Julian the Apostate (26 June, 363), the army making ...

Jovinianus

An opponent of Christian asceticism in the fourth century, condemned as a heretic (390). Our ...

Jovius, Paulus

(GIOVIO). Historian, b. at Como, Italy, 9 April, 1483, d. at Florence, 11 Dec., 1552. Having ...

Joyeuse, Henri, Duc de

Born in 1563 and not, as is mistakenly stated in the "Biographic Michaud ", in 1567; died at ...

× Close

Ju 57

Juan Bautista de Toledo

An eminent Spanish sculptor and architect; b. at Madrid (date not known); d. there 19 May, ...

Jubilate Sunday

The third Sunday after Easter, being so named from the first word of the Introit at Mass ...

Jubilee, Holy Year of

The ultimate derivation of the word jubilee is disputed, but it is most probable that the ...

Jubilee, Year of (Hebrew)

According to the Pentateuchal legislation contained in Leviticus, a Jubilee year is the year that ...

Jubilees, Book of

( ta Iobelaia ). An apocryphal writing, so called from the fact that the narratives and ...

Juda

The name of one of the Patriarchs, the name of the tribe reputed to be descended from him, the ...

Judaism

At the present day, the term designates the religious communion which survived the destruction of ...

Judaizers

(From Greek Ioudaizo , to adopt Jewish customs -- Esther 8:17 ; Galatians 2:14 ). A ...

Judas Iscariot

The Apostle who betrayed his Divine Master . The name Judas ( Ioudas ) is the Greek form of ...

Judas Machabeus

Third son of the priest Mathathias who with his family was the centre and soul of the ...

Judde, Claude

French preacher and spiritual father; born at Rouen, about 20 December, 1661; died at Paris, ...

Jude, Epistle of Saint

The present subject will be treated under the following heads: I. The Author and the ...

Judea

Like the adjective Ioudaios , the noun Ioudaia comes from the Aramæan Iehûdai ...

Judge, Ecclesiastical

(J UDEX E CCLESIASTICUS ) An ecclesiastical person who possesses ecclesiastical ...

Judges, The Book of

The seventh book of the Old Testament , second of the Early Prophets of the Hebrew canon. I. ...

Judgment, Divine

This subject will be treated under two heads: I. Divine Judgment Subjectively and Objectively ...

Judgment, General

(Judicium Universale, Last Judgment). I. EXISTENCE OF THE GENERAL JUDGMENT 1 Few truths are ...

Judgment, Last

(Judicium Universale, Last Judgment). I. EXISTENCE OF THE GENERAL JUDGMENT 1 Few truths are ...

Judgment, Particular

A. Dogma of Particular Judgment The Catholic doctrine of the particular judgment is this: that ...

Judica Sunday

Name given to the fifth Sunday of Lent, and derived from the first words of the Introit of ...

Judith, Book of

HISTORY Nabuchodonosor, King of Nineveh, sends his general Holofernes to subdue the Jews. The ...

Julia Billiart, Saint

( Also Julia). Foundress, and first superior-general of the Congregation of the Sisters of ...

Julian and Basilissa, Saints

Husband and wife; died at Antioch or, more probably, at Antinoe, in the reign of Diocletian, ...

Julian of Eclanum

Born about 386; died in Sicily, 454; the most learned among the leaders of the Pelagian ...

Julian of Speyer

Often called J ULIANUS T EUTONICUS . A famous composer, poet, and historian of the ...

Julian the Apostate

(FLAVIUS CLAUDIUS JULIANUS). Roman emperor 361-63, b. at Constantinople in 331, d. 26 June, ...

Juliana Falconieri, Saint

Born in 1270; died 12 June, 1341. Juliana belonged to the noble Florentine family of Falconieri. ...

Juliana of Liège, Saint

Nun, b. at Retinnes, near Liège, Belgium, 1193; d. at Fosses, 5 April, 1258. At the age ...

Juliana of Norwich

English mystic of the fourteenth century, author or recipient of the vision contained in the book ...

Juliana, Saint

Suffered martyrdom during the Diocletian persecution. Both the Latin and Greek Churches mention ...

Julie Billiart, Saint

( Also Julia). Foundress, and first superior-general of the Congregation of the Sisters of ...

Juliopolis

Titular see in the province of Bithynia Secunda, suffragan of Nicaea. The city was founded under ...

Julitta and Quiricus

Martyred under Diocletian. The names of these two martyrs, who in the early Church enjoyed a ...

Julius Africanus

(c. 160-c. 240; the full name is Sextus Iulius Africanus, Greek Sextos Ioulios Aphrikanos ). ...

Julius I, Pope Saint

(337-352). The immediate successor of Pope Silvester, Arcus, ruled the Roman Church for ...

Julius II, Pope

(GIULIANO DELLA ROVERE). Born on 5 December, 1443, at Albissola near Savona; crowned on 28 ...

Julius III, Pope

(GIAMMARIA CIOCCHI DEL MONTE). Born at Rome, 10 September, 1487; died there, 23 March, 1555. ...

Jumièges, Abbey of

Jumièges, situated on the north bank of the Seine, between Duclair and Caudebec, in ...

Junípero Serra

Born at Petra, Island of Majorca, 24 November, 1713; died at Monterey, California, 28 August, ...

Jungmann, Bernard

A dogmatic theologian and ecclesiastical historian, born at Münster in Westphalia, 1 ...

Jungmann, Josef

Born 12 Nov., 1830, at Münster, Westphalia ; died at Innsbruck, 25 Nov., 1885. In 1850 he ...

Jurisdiction, Ecclesiastical

The right to guide and rule the Church of God. The subject is here treated under the following ...

Jus Spolii

(RIGHT OF SPOIL; also called JUS EXUVIARUM and RAPITE CAPITE) Jus Spolii, a claim, exercised in ...

Jussieu, De

Name of five French botanists. (1) ANTOINE DE JUSSIEU, physician and botanist, b. at Lyons, ...

Juste

The name conventionally applied to a family of Italian sculptors, whose real name was Betti, ...

Justice

Justice is here taken in its ordinary and proper sense to signify the most important of the ...

Justification

(Latin justificatio ; Greek dikaiosis .) A biblio-ecclesiastical term; which denotes the ...

Justin de Jacobis, Blessed

Vicar Apostolic of Abyssinia and titular Bishop of Nilopolis, h. at San Fele, Province of ...

Justin Martyr, Saint

Christian apologist, born at Flavia Neapolis, about A.D. 100, converted to Christianity about ...

Justina and Cyprian, Saints

Christians of Antioch who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Diocletian at ...

Justinian I

Roman Emperor (527-65) Flavius Anicius Julianus Justinianus was born about 483 at Tauresium ...

Justiniani, Benedetto

(GIUSTINIANI). Theological and Biblical writer, born at Genoa, about the year 1550; died at ...

Justiniani, Nicholas

Date of birth unknown, became monk in the Benedictine monastery of San Niccoló del Lido ...

Justinianopolis

A titular see of Armenia Prima, suffragan of Sebaste. This see is better known in history ...

Justus, Saint

Fourth Archbishop of Canterbury ; died 627 (?). For the particulars of his life we are almost ...

Juvencus, C. Vettius Aquilinus

Christian Latin poet of the fourth century. Of his life we know only what St. Jerome tells us ...

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2016 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.