Author, b. at Falkenberg, Pomerania, Prussia, date unknown; d. about 1418 in Italy &151; or, according to other accounts, in his native town. Of his early life little is known, save that he entered the Order of St. Dominic and spent his novitiate in the convent at Kammin, a town of the above-named province. The fact that he was a master in Sacred Theology indicates that for a number of years he taught philosophy and theology in his order. His prominence in medieval history is due partly to the share he took in the great papal schism which wrought such confusion in the Church during the first part of the fifteenth century, but chiefly to his involving himself in the long-standing troubles between the Teutonic Order of Knights of Livonia and the King of Poland. In opposition to the general of his order, Bernard de Datis, and to many of the brethren of his province who were firm adherents of the antipopes Alexander V and John XXIII, he was a strong and ardent adherent of Gregory XII, the legitimate pope ; and, being of a quick and passionate temperament, he carried his opposition so far as to refuse publicly in the Council of Constance to acknowledge Bernard as his superior. In the protracted and disastrous conflict between the Teutonic Order of Knights and Prussia on the one side and King Wladislaw of Poland and Duke Withold of Lithuania on the other, his sympathies for the former found expression in a book in which he undertook to show that the King of Poland and his adherents were idolators and unbelievers and that the opposition against them was noble and praiseworthy. In this violent work he maintained the principles of the licitness of tyrannicide, advocated by the Franciscan, Jean Petit: that it was lawful to kill the King of Poland and his associates ( Mansi, "Conc." XXVII, 765). A little later he wrote "Tres tractatuli" (given as appendix to the works of Gerson in the edition of Dupin, V, 1013-32) in justification of his position and against Gerson, d'Ailly, and other doctors of the University of Paris, who had condemned the works of Jean Petit. In this work, moreover, he denied the bishops the right to declare his book or any part of it heretical, claiming that in matters of faith the pope and general councils alone are infallible. By order of Nicolaus, Archbishop of Gnesen, Falkenberg was thrown into prison. The committee appointed to examine the work recommended that it be burned. A similar verdict was given by a chapter of his order assembled at Strasburg from 30 May to June, 1417 which besides condemned the author to life imprisonment. The Poles earnestly demanded the condemnation of Falkenberg by the council, but in vain. When finally in the forty-fifth (last) session they attempted to force Martin V to give a definitive sentence, he imposed silence on their representatives and declared that in matters of faith and in this particular matter he would approve only what had been decided by the general council conciliariter . On his return to Rome, Martin V took Falkenberg with him and kept him for several years in close confinement. Whether he eventually regained his liberty or died there is uncertain.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online