Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Priest and reformer, lived at Liège, Belgium, about the middle of the twelfth century. The son of poor people, he was ordained priest in a more or less legitimate way, and was probably parish - priest of St-Christophe at Liège. He began preaching against the abuses and the vices of the clergy, protesting against simony, the ordination of sons of priests, and certain customs in the administration of the Sacrament of Baptism and the celebration of Mass. Some of his opinions are not above suspicion, his ideas for instance concerning the day of rest and Masses for the dead. In time he gathered about him a popular following, for whom he translated into the vernacular the Life of the Blessed Virgin, the Acts of the Apostles , and the Epistles of St. Paul , with commentaries; these translations unfortunately have not been preserved. Probably at this period he organized the association known as Béguines, whose name cannot be derived philologically from "to beg" (i.e. to pray ), but is probably derived from the name bègue (stammerer) given to Lambert, to whom, in fact, the foundation is attributed by several contemporary and trustworthy authorities. But he also had adversaries, especially among the clergy, and it was to refute them that he wrote a defense of his theories, entitled "Antigraphum Petri". His writings reveal him a man very learned for his time ; they abound with quotations, not only from the Bible , but also from the Fathers of the Church (e.g. St. Gregory, St. Augustine, and St. Bernard), and even from profane authors like Ovid, Virgil, and Cicero. Accused of heresy, he was condemned and imprisoned notwithstanding his appeal to the Holy See . He succeeded in making his escape and went over to the antipope Callistus III, who had been recognized by Raoul of Zahringen, Prince- Bishop of Liège. He wrote to the pope several letters in justification of his doctrines and conduct, but the result of these endeavors is not known. In all probability he returned to Liège and died there in 1177.

More Encyclopedia

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.

Catholic Encyclopedia

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


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 35:12-14, 16-18
12 for the Lord is a judge who is utterly impartial.13 He ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:2-3, 17-18, 19, 23
2 I will praise Yahweh from my heart; let the humble hear and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 18:9-14
9 He spoke the following parable to some people who prided themselves on ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18
6 As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 23rd, 2016 Image

St. John of Capistrano
October 23: St. John was born at Capistrano, Italy in 1385, ... Read More