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Neo-Scholasticism

Neo-Scholasticism is the development of the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages during the latter half of the nineteenth century. It is not merely the resuscitation of a philosophy long since defunct, but rather a restatement in our own day of the philosophia perennis which, elaborated by the Greeks and brought to perfection by the great medieval teachers, has never ceased to exist even in modern times. It has some times been called neo-Thomism partly because St. Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century gave to Scholasticism among the Latins its final form, partly because the idea has gained ground that only Thomism can infuse vitality into twentieth century scholasticism. But Thomism is too narrow a term; the system itself is too large and comprehensive to be expressed by the name of any single exponent. This article will deal with the elements which neo-Scholasticism takes over from the past; the modifications which adapt it to the present; the welcome accorded it by contemporary thought and the outlook for its future; its leading representatives and centres.

I. TRADITIONAL ELEMENTS

Neo-Scholasticism seeks to restore the fundamental organic doctrines embodied in the Scholasticism of the thirteenth century. It claims that philosophy does not vary with each passing phase of history; that the truth of seven hundred years ago is still true today, and that if the great medieval thinkers -- Aquinas, Bonaventure, and Duns Scotus -succeeded in constructing a sound philosophical system on the data supplied by the Greeks, especially by Aristotle, it must be possible, in our own day, to gather from the speculation of the Middle Ages the soul of truth which it contains. These essential conceptions may be summarized as follows:

(1) God, pure actuality and absolute perfection, is substantially distinct from every finite thing: he alone can create and preserve all beings other than Himself. His infinite knowledge includes all that has been, is, or shall be, and likewise all that is possible.

(2) As to our knowledge of the material world: whatever exists is itself, an incommunicable, individual substance. To the core of self-sustaining reality, in the oak-tree for instance, other realities (accidents) are added -- size, form, roughness, and so on. All oak-trees are alike, indeed are identical in respect of certain constituent elements. Considering this likeness and even identity, our human intelligence groups them into one species and again, in view of their common characteristics, it ranges various species under one genus. Such is the Aristotelean solution of the problem of universals. Each substance is in its nature fixed and determined; and nothing is farther from the spirit of Scholasticism than a theory of evolution which would regard even the essences of things as products of change.

But this statism requires as its complement a moderate dynamism, and this is supplied by the central concepts of act and potency . Whatsoever changes is, just for that reason, limited. The oak-tree passes through a process of growth, of becoming: whatever is actually in it now was potentially in it from the beginning. Its vital functions go on unceasingly (accidental change); but the tree itself will die, and out of its decayed trunk other substances will come forth (substantial change). The theory of matter and form is simply an interpretation of the substantial changes which bodies undergo. The union of matter and form constitutes the essence of concrete being, and this essence is endowed with existence . Throughout all change and becoming there runs a rhythm of finality; the activities of the countless substances of the universe converge towards an end which is known to God ; finality, in a word, involves optimism.

(3) Man, a compound of body (matter) and of soul (form), puts forth activities of a higher order -- knowledge and volition. Through his senses he perceives concrete objects, e.g. this oak; through his intellect he knows the abstract and universal ( the oak). All our intellectual activity rests on sensory function; but through the active intellect ( intellectus agens ) an abstract representation of the sensible object is provided for the intellectus possibilis . Hence the characteristic of the idea, its non-materiality, and on this is based the principal argument for the spirituality and immortality of the soul. Here, too, is the foundation of logic and of the theory of knowledge, the justification of our judgments and syllogisms.

Upon knowledge follows the appetitive process, sensory or intellectual according to the sort of knowledge. The will ( appetitus intellectualis ) in certain conditions is free, and thanks to this liberty man is the master of his destiny. Like all other beings, we have an end to attain and we are morally obliged, though not compelled, to attain it.

Natural happiness would result from the full development of our powers of knowing and loving. We should find and possess God in this world since the corporeal world is the proper object of our intelligence. But above nature is the order of grace and our supernatural happiness will consist in the direct intuition of God, the beatific vision. Here philosophy ends and theology begins.

II. Adaptation to Modern Needs

The neo-Scholastic programme includes, in the next place, the adaptation of medieval principles and doctrines to our present intellectual needs. Complete immobility is no less incompatible with progress than out-and-out relativism. Vita in motu . To make Scholasticism rigid and stationary would be fatal to it. The doctrines revived by the new movement are like an inherited fortune; to refuse it would be folly, but to manage it without regard to actual conditions would be worse. With Dr. Ehrhard one may say: "Aquinas should be our beacon, not our boundary" ("Der Katholicismus und das zwanzigste Jahrh. im Lichte der Kirchlichen Entwicklung der Neuzeit", Stuttgart, 1902, 252). We have now to pass in review the various factors in the situation and to see in what respect the new Scholasticism differs from the old and how far it adapts itself to our age.

(1) Elimination of False or Useless Notions

Neo-Scholasticism rejects the theories of physics, celestial and terrestrial, which the Middle Ages grafted on the principles, otherwise sound enough, of cosmology and metaphysics ; e.g. the perfection and superiority of astral substance, the "incorruptibility" of the heavenly bodies, their external connexion with "motor spirits ", the influence of the stars on the generation of earthly beings, the four "simple" bodies, etc. It further rejects those philosophical theories which are disproved by the results of investigation; e.g. the diffusion of sensible "species" throughout a medium and their introduction into the organs of sense. Even the Scholastic ideas that have been retained are not all of equal importance; criticism and personal conviction may retrench or modify them considerably, without injury to fundamental principles.

(2) Study of the History of Philosophy

The medieval scholars cultivated the history of philosophy solely with a view to its utility, i.e. as a means of gathering the deposit of truth contained in the writings of the ancients and, especially, for the purpose of refuting error and thus emphasizing the value of their own doctrine. Modern students, on the contrary, regard every human fact and achievement as in itself significant, and accordingly they treat the history of philosophy in a spirit that is more disinterested. With this new attitude, neo-Scholasticism is in full sympathy; it does its share in the work of historical reconstruction by employing critical methods; it does not attempt to condense the opinions of others into a syllogism and refute them with a phrase, nor does it commend the practice of putting whole systems into a paragraph or two in order to annihilate them with epithet or invective. Neo-Scholasticism, however, does not confine its interest to ancient and medieval philosophy ; its chief concern is with present-day systems. It takes issue with them and offsets their theories of the world by a synthesis of its own. It is only by keeping in touch with actual living thought that it can claim a place in the twentieth century and command the attention of its opponents. And it has everything to gain from a discussion in which it encounters Positivism, Kantism, and other forms or tendencies of modern speculation.

(3) Cultivation of the Sciences

The need of a philosophy based on science is recognized today by every school. Neo-Scholasticism simply follows the example of the Aristotelean and medieval philosophy in taking the data of research as the groundwork of its speculation. That there are profound differences between the Middle Ages and modern times from the scientific point of view, is obvious. One has only to consider the multiplication of the sciences in special lines, the autonomy which science as a whole has acquired, and the clear demarcation established between popular views of nature and their scientific interpretation. But it is equally plain that neo-Scholasticism must follow up each avenue of investigation, since it undertakes, as Aristotle and Aquinas did, to provide a synthetic explanation of phenomena by referring them to their ultimate causes and determining their place in the universal order of things; and this undertaking, if the synthesis is to be deep and comprehensive, presupposes a knowledge of the details furnished by each science. It is not possible to explain the world of phenomena while neglecting the phenomena that make up the world. "All that exists, as contemplated by the human mind, forms one large system or complex fact. . . . Like a short-sighted reader, its eye pores closely, and travels slowly, over the awful volume which lies open for its inspection. . . . These various partial views or abstractions . . . are called sciences. . . they proceed on the principle of a division of labour. . . . And further the comprehension of the bearings of one science on another, and the use of each to each, and the location of them all, with one another, this belongs, I conceive, to a sort of science distinct from all of them, and in some sense, a science of sciences, which is my own conception of what is meant by philosophy " (Newman, "Idea of a University", Discourse III, iii, iv, 44 sqq.).

There is, of course, the pedagogical problem; how shall philosophy maintain its control over the ever-widening field of the various sciences ? In reply, we may cite the words of Cardinal Mercier, a prominent leader in the neo-Scholastic movement: "As a matter of fact", he declares, "the difficulty is a serious one, and one may say in general terms, that it is not going to be solved by any one man. As the domain of fact and observation grows larger and larger, individual effort becomes less competent to survey and master it all: hence the necessity of co-operative effort to supply what is lacking in the work of isolated investigators; hence too the need of union between the synthetic mind and the analytic, in order to secure, by daily contact and joint action, the harmonious development of philosophy and science ". ("La philosophie néo-scholastique" in "Revue néo-scholastique", 1894, 17).

(4) Innovations in Doctrinal Matters

Once it turned its attention to modern fashions of thought, neo-Scholasticism found itself face to face with problems of which medieval philosophy had not the slightest suspicion or at any rate did not furnish a solution. It had to bear the brunt of conflict between its own principles and those of the systems in vogue, especially of Positivism and Criticism. And it had to take up, from its own point of view, the questions which are favourite topics of discussion in the schools of our time. How far then, one may ask, has neo-Scholasticism been affected by modern thought? First of all, as to metaphysics : in the Middle Ages its claim to validity met with no challenge, whereas, in the twentieth century, its very possibility is at stake and, to defend it against the concerted attack of Hume and Kant and Comte, the true significance of such concepts as being, substance, absolute, cause, potency, and act must be explained and upheld. It is further needful to show that, in a very real sense, God is not unknowable; to rebut the charges preferred by Herbert Spencer against the traditional proofs of God's existence ; to deal with the materials furnished by ethnography and the history of religions ; and to study the various forms which monism and immanentism nowadays assume.

Cosmology can well afford to insist on the traditional theory of matter and form, provided it pay due attention to the findings of physics, chemistry, crystallography, and mineralogy, and meet the objections of atomism and dynamism, theories which, in the opinion of scientific authority, are less satisfactory as explanations of natural phenomena than the hylomorphism (q.v.) of the Scholastics. The theory also of qualities, once the subject of ridicule, is nowadays endorsed by some of the most prominent scientists. In psychology especially the progressive spirit of neo-Scholasticism makes itself felt. The theory of the substantial union of body and soul, as an interpretation of biological, psychical, and psycho-physiological facts, is far more serviceable than the extreme spiritualism of Descartes on the one hand and the Positivism of modern thinkers on the other. As Wundt admits, the results of investigation in physiological psychology do not square either with materialism or with dualism whether of the Platonic or of the Cartesian type; it is only Aristotelean animism, which brings psychology into connexion with biology, that can offer a satisfactory metaphysical interpretation of experimental psychology. So vigorous indeed has been the growth of psychology that each of its offshoots is developing in its own way: such is the case with criteriology, æsthetics, didactics, pedagogy, and the numerous ramifications of applied psychology. Along these various lines, unknown to medieval philosophy, neo-Scholasticism is working energetically and successfully. Its criteriology is altogether new: the older Scholasticism handled the problem of certitude from the deductive point of view; God could not have misshaped the faculties with which He endowed the mind in order that it might attain to knowledge. Neo-Scholasticism, on the other hand, proceeds by analysis and introspection it states the problem in the terms which, since Kant's day, are the only admissible terms, but as against the Kantian criticism it finds the solution in a rational dogmatism. Its æsthetics holds a middle course between the extreme subjectivism of many modern thinkers who would reduce the beautiful to a mere impression, and the no less extreme objectivism which the Greeks of old maintained. It is equally at home in the field of experimental psychology which investigates the correlation between conscious phenomena and their physiological accompaniments; in fact, its theory of the substantial union of body and soul implies as its corollary a "bodily resonance" corresponding to each psychical process.

The laws and principles which the modern science of education has drawn from experience find their adequate explanation in neo-Scholastic doctrine ; thus, the intuitive method, so largely accepted at present as an essential element in education, is based on the Scholastic theory that nothing enters the intellect save through the avenue of sense. In the study of ethical problems, neo-Scholasticism holds fast to the vital teachings that prevailed in the thirteenth century, but at the same time it takes into account the historical and sociological data which explain the varying application of principles in successive ages. In view of contemporary systems which, on a purely experimental basis, attempt to set aside all moral imperatives and ideas of value, it is necessary to insist on the older concepts of good and evil, of finality and obligation -- a need which is easily supplied by neo-Scholastic ethics. As to logic, the most perfect part of Aristotle's great constructive work and therefore that which has been least modified in the course of time. Its positions still call for defence against the objections of writers like Mill, who regard the syllogism as a "solemn farce". Accordingly, with due consideration for modern modes of thinking, neo-Scholasticism adapts the teaching of the Middle Ages to actual conditions. Even as regards the relations between philosophy and religion, there are important changes to note. For the medieval mind in the Western world, philosophy and theology were identical until about the twelfth century. In the thirteenth the line of demarcation was clearly drawn, but philosophy was still treated as the preliminary training for theology. This is no longer the case; neo-Scholasticism assigns to philosophy a value of its own as a rational explanation of the world, on a par in this respect with Positivism and other systems; and it welcomes all who are bent on honest research, whether their aim be purely philosophical or apologetic.

Parallel with these modifications are those which affect the pedagogical phase of the movement. The methods of teaching philosophy in the thirteenth century were too closely dependent on the culture of that age; hence they have been replaced by modern procedures, curricula, and means of propagation. It would be ill-advised to wrap neo-Scholastic doctrine in medieval envelopes, e.g. to write books on the plan of the theological "Summae" or the "Quodlibetal Questions" that were current in the thirteenth century. Without at all lessening its force, syllogistic demonstration gains in attractiveness when its essential characteristics are retained and clothed about with modern forms of presentation. In this connexion, the use of living languages as a means of exposition has obvious advantages and finds favour with many of those who are best qualified to judge.

III. APPRECIATION

By interesting itself in modern questions, interpreting the results of scientific research and setting forth its principles for thorough discussion, neo-Scholasticism has compelled attention: it has to be reckoned with. Among non-Catholics, many leaders of thought have frankly acknowledged that its methods and doctrines deserve to be examined anew. Men like Boutroux admit that Aristotle's system may well serve as an offset to Kantism and evolution (Aristote, Etudes d'histoire et de philosophie, Paris, 1901, 202). Paulsen ("Kant der Philosoph des Protestantismus" in "Kantstudien", 1899) and Eucken ("Thomas von Aquino u. Kant, Ein Kampf zweier Welten", loc. cit., 1901) declare that neo-Thomism is the rival of Kantism and that the conflict between them is the "clash of two worlds". Harnack ("Lehrbuch d. Dogmengesch.", III, 3rd. ed., 327), Seeberg ("Realencyklopädie f. Prot. Theol." 5. v. "Scholastik") and others protest against those who underrate the value of scholastic doctrine.

Among Catholics, neo-Scholasticism gains ground day by day. It is doing away with Ontologism, Traditionalism, the Dualism of Gunther, and the exaggerated Spiritualism of Descartes. It is free from the weaknesses of Pragmatism and Voluntarism, systems in which some thinkers have vainly sought the reconciliation of their philosophy and their faith. Neo-Scholasticism has a character of permanence as truth itself has; but it is destined in its development to keep up with scientific progress. Like everything that lives, it must advance; arrested growth would mean decay.

IV. THE LEADERS AND THEIR WORK

The neo-Scholastic movement was inaugurated by such writers as Sanseverino (1811-65) and Cornoldi (1822-92) in Italy ; Gonzalez (1831-92) in Spain ; Kleutgen (1811-83) and Stöckl (1823-95) in Germany ; de San (1832-1904), Dupont, and Lepidi in Belgium ; Farges and Dormet de Vorges (1910) in France, who with other scholars carried on the work of restoration before the Holy See gave it solemn approval and encouragement. Pius IX , it is true, in various letters, recognized its importance; but it was the encyclical "AEterni Patris" of Leo XIII (4 Aug., 1879) that imparted to neo-Scholasticism its definitive character and quickened its development. This document sets forth the principles by which the movement is to be guided in a progressive spirit, and by which the medieval doctrine is to take on new life in its modern environment. "If," says the pope, "there be anything that the Scholastic doctors treated with excessive subtlety or with insufficient consideration, or that is at variance with well founded teachings of later date, or is otherwise improbable, we by no means intend that it shall be proposed to our age for imitation. . . . We certainly do not blame those learned and energetic men who turn to the profit of philosophy their own assiduous labours and erudition as well as the results of modern investigation; for we are fully aware that all this goes to the advancement of knowledge."

In Italy, the movement was vigorous from the start. The Accademia di San Tommaso, founded in 1874, published, up to 1891, a review entitled "La Scienza Italiana". Numerous works were produced by Zigliara (1833-93), Satolli (1839-1909), Liberatore (1810-92), Barberis (1847-96), Schiffini (1841-1906), de Maria, Talamo, Lorenzelli, Ballerini, Matussi, and others. The Italian writers at first laid special emphasis on the metaphysical features of Scholasticism, without paying sufficient attention to the sciences or to the history of philosophy. Recently, however, this situation has undergone a change which promises excellent results.

From Italy the movement spread into the other European countries and found supporters in Germany such as Kleutgen, Stöckl, the authors of the "Philosophia Lacensis", published at Maria Laach by the Jesuits ( Pesch, Hontheim, Cathrein), Gutberlet, Commer, Willmann, Kaufmann, Glossner, Grabmann, and Schneid. These scholars have made valuable contributions to the history of philosophy, especially that of the Middle Ages. Stöckl led the way with his "Geschichte d. Philosophie des Mittelalters" (Mainz, 1864-66). Ehrle and Denifle founded in 1885 the "Archiv für Literatur u. Kirchengesch. d. Mittelalters", and the latter edited the monumental "Chartularium" of the University of Paris. In 1891, Von Hertling and Bäumker began the publication of their "Beiträge zur Gesch. d. Phil. des Mittelalters".

Belgium has been particularly favoured. Leo XIII established (1891) at Louvain the "Institut de philosophie" for the special purpose of teaching the doctrine of St. Thomas together with history and the natural sciences. The Institute was placed in charge of Mgr (now Cardinal ) Mercier whose "Cours de philosophie" has been translated into the principal languages of Europe.

In France, besides those already mentioned, Vallet, Gardair, Fonsegrive, and Piat have taken a prominent part in the movement; in Holland (Amsterdam) de Groot; in Switzerland (Freiburg), Mandonnet; in Spain, Orti y Lara, Urráburu, Gómez Izquierdo; in Mexico, Garcia; in Brazil, Santroul; in Hungary, Kiss and Pecsi; in England, Clarke, Maher, John Rickaby, Joseph Rickaby, Boedder (Stonyhurst Series); in the United States Coppens, Poland, Brother Chrysostom, and the professors at the Catholic University (Shanahan, Turner, and Pace).

Neo-Scholasticism has been endorsed by four Catholic Congresses: Paris (1891); Brussels (1895); Freiburg (1897); Munich (1900). A considerable number of reviews have served as its exponents: "Divus Thomas" (1879- 1903); "Rivista Italiana di filosofia neo-scolastica" (Florence, since 1909); "Annales de Philosophie Chrétienne" (Paris, since 1830); "Revue néo-scolastique de Philosophie" (Louvain, since 1894); "Revue de Philosophie" (Paris, since 1900);" Revue des Sciences philosophiques et théologiques" (Kain, Belgium, since 1907); "Revue Thomiste" (Paris, since 1893); "Philosophisches Jahrbuch für Philosophie und spekulative Theologie" (Paderborn, since 1887); "St. Thomas Blätter" (Ratisbon, since 1888); Bölcseleti-Folyóirat (Budapest, since 1886);" Revista Lulliana" (Barcelona, since 1901); "Cienza Tomista" (Madrid, since 1910). In addition to these, various periodical publications not specially devoted to philosophy have given neo-Scholasticism their cordial support.

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General survey A system of idealistic, spiritualistic philosophy, tending towards mysticism, ...

Neo-Pythagorean Philosophy

The ethico-religious society founded by Pythagoras, which flourished especially in Magna ...

Neo-Scholasticism

Neo-Scholasticism is the development of the Scholasticism of the Middle Ages during the latter ...

Neocæsarea

A titular see, suffragan of Hierapolis in the Patriarchate of Antioch sometimes called ...

Neocæsarea

A titular see of Pontus Polemoniacus, at first called Cabira, one of the favourite residences ...

Neophyte

Neophyte ( neophytoi , the newly planted, i.e. incorporated with the mystic Body of Christ), a ...

Nephtali

(A.V., N APHTALI ) Sixth son of Jacob and Bala ( Genesis 30:8 ). The name is explained ...

Nepi and Sutri

Nepi and Sutri (Nepsin et Sutrin), united sees of the province of Rome, central Italy, in the ...

Nepveu, Francis

Writer on ascetical subjects, b. at St. Malo, 29 April, 1639; entered the novitiate of the ...

Nereus and Achilleus, Domitilla and Pancratius, Saints

The commemoration of these four Roman saints is made by the Church on 12 May, in common, and ...

Neri, Antonio

Florentine chemist, born in Florence ln the sixteenth century; died 1614, place unknown. We have ...

Neri, Saint Philip Romolo

THE APOSTLE OF ROME. Born at Florence, Italy, 22 July, 1515; died 27 May, 1595. Philip's ...

Nerinckx, Charles

Missionary priest in Kentucky, founder of the Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross, born ...

Nero

Nero, the last Roman emperor (reigned 54-68) of the Julian-Claudian line, was the son of Domitius ...

Nerses I-IV

Armenian patriarchs. Nerses I Surnamed "the Great". Died 373. Born of the royal stock, he ...

Nerses of Lambron

Born 1153 at Lambron, Cilicia; died 1198; son of Oschin II, prince of Lambron and nephew of the ...

Nestorius and Nestorianism

I. THE HERESIARCH Nestorius, who gave his name to the Nestorian heresy, was born at Germanicia, ...

Netherlands, The

( German Niederlande ; French Pays Bas ). The Netherlands, or Low Countries, as organized by ...

Netter, Thomas

Theologian and controversialist, b. at Saffron Waldon, Essex, England, about 1375; d. at Rouen, ...

Neugart, Trudpert

Benedictine historian, born at Villingen, Baden, 23 February, 1742; died at St Paul's ...

Neum

(Latin, neuma, pneuma, or neupma, from Greek pneûma, a nod). A term in medieval ...

Neumann, Johann Balthasar

Born 1687 at Eger; died 1753 at Würzburg, master of the rococo style and one of the ...

Neumayr, Franz

Preacher, writer on theological, controversial and ascetical subjects, and author of many ...

Neusohl

Diocese of Neusohl (Hung. Beszterczebànya; Lat. Neosoliensis), founded in 1776 by Maria ...

Neutra

(Nitria; Nyitha) -- Diocese of Neutra (Nitriensis). Diocese in Western Hungary, a suffragan of ...

Nevada

A Western state of the United States , bounded on the North by Oregon and Idaho, on the East ...

Neve

Titular see of Arabia, suffragan of Bostra. Two of its bishops are known: Petronius, who ...

Nevers

(Nivernum) Diocese ; includes the Department of Nièvre, in France. Suppressed by the ...

Neville

(1) Edmund Neville ( alias Sales), a Jesuit, born at Hopcut, Lancashire, 1605; died in ...

New Abbey

The Abbey of Sweetheart, named New Abbey Pow, or New Abbey, in order to distinguish it, from ...

New Caledonia

VICARIATE APOSTOLIC New Caledonia, one of the largest islands of Oceania, lies about 900 miles ...

New Guinea

The second largest island and one of the least known countries of the world, lies immediately ...

New Hampshire

The most northerly of the thirteen original states of the United States, lying between 70°37' ...

New Jersey

One of the original thirteen states of the American Union. It ratified the Federal Constitution ...

New Mexico

A territory of the United States now (Jan., 1911) awaiting only the completion of its ...

New Norcia

A Benedictine abbey in Western Australia, founded on 1 March, 1846, by a Spanish Benedictine, ...

New Orleans

ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW ORLEANS (NOVÆ AURELIÆ). Erected 25 April, 1793, as the Diocese of ...

New Pomerania

New Pomerania, the largest island of the Bismarck Archipelago, is separated from New Guinea by ...

New Testament

I. Name ; II. Description ; III. Origin ; IV. Transmission of the Text ; V. Contents, History, ...

New Testament, Canon of the

The Catholic New Testament, as defined by the Council of Trent, does not differ, as regards the ...

New Year's Day

The word year is etymologically the same as hour (Skeat), and signifies a going, movement ...

New York (Archdiocese)

ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK (NEO-EBORACENSIS). See erected 8 April, 1808; made archiepiscopal 19 ...

New York (State)

One of the thirteen colonies of Great Britain, which on 4 July, 1776, adopted the Declaration of ...

New Zealand

New Zealand—formerly described as a colony—has, since September, 1907, by royal ...

Newark

(NOVARCENSIS) Diocese created in 1853, suffragan of New York and comprising Hudson, Passaic, ...

Newbattle

( Neubotle , i.e. new dwelling). Newbattle, in the ancient Diocese of St. Andrews, about ...

Newdigate, Blessed Sebastian

Executed at Tyburn, 19 June, 1535. A younger son of John Newdigate of Harefield Place, Middlesex, ...

Newfoundland

A British colony of North America (area 42,734 square miles), bounded on the north by the Strait ...

Newhouse, Abbey of

The Abbey of Newhouse, near Brockelsby, Lincoln, the first Premonstratensian abbey in England, ...

Newman, John Henry

(1801-1890) Cardinal-Deacon of St. George in Velabro, divine, philosopher, man of letters, ...

Newport (England)

(NEOPORTENSIS) This diocese takes its name from Newport, a town of about 70,000 inhabitants, ...

Newton, John

A soldier and engineer, born at Norfolk, Virginia, 24 August, 1823; died in New York City, 1 May, ...

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Ni 70

Niagara University

Niagara University, situated near Niagara Falls, New York, is conducted by the Vincentians. It ...

Nicéron, Jean-Pierre

A French lexicographer, born in Paris, 11 March, 1685, died there, 8 July, 1738. After his ...

Nicaea

Titular see of Bithynia Secunda, situated on Lake Ascanius, in a fertile plain, but very ...

Nicaea, First Council of

First Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in 325 on the occasion of the heresy of ...

Nicaea, Second Council of

Seventh Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church, held in 787. (For an account of the ...

Nicaragua

(REPUBLIC AND DIOCESE OF NICARAGUA; DE NICARAGUA) The diocese, suffragan of Guatemala, is ...

Nicastro

(NEOCASTRENSIS). A city of the Province of Catanzaro, in Calabria, southern Italy, situated ...

Niccola Pisano

Architect and sculptor, b. at Pisa about 1205-07; d. there, 1278. He was the father of modern ...

Nice

(NICIENSIS) Nice comprises the Department of Alpes-Maritimes. It was re-established by the ...

Nicene Creed

As approved in amplified form at the Council of Constantinople (381), it is the profession of the ...

Nicephorus, Saint

Patriarch of Constantinople, 806-815, b. about 758; d. 2 June, 829. This champion of the orthodox ...

Nicetas

(NICETA) A Bishop of Remesiana (Romatiana) in what is now Servia, born about 335; died ...

Nicetius, Saint

A Bishop of Trier, born in the latter part of the fifth century, exact date unknown; died in ...

Niche

A recess for the reception of a statue, so designed as to give it emphasis, frame it effectively, ...

Nicholas Garlick, Venerable

Priest and martyr, born at Dinting, Derbyshire, c. 1555; died at Derby, 24 July, 1588. He ...

Nicholas I, Saint, Pope

Born at Rome, date unknown; died 13 November, 867. One of the great popes of the Middle ...

Nicholas II, Pope

(GERHARD OF BURGUNDY) Nicholas was born at Chevron, in what is now Savoy ; elected at Siena, ...

Nicholas III, Pope

(GIOVANNI GAETANI ORSINI) Born at Rome, c. 1216; elected at Viterbo, 25 November, 1277; died ...

Nicholas IV, Pope

(GIROLAMO MASCI) Born at Ascoli in the Rome, 4 April, 1292. He was of humble extraction, ...

Nicholas Justiniani

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

Nicholas of Cusa

German cardinal, philosopher, and administrator, b. at Cues on the Moselle, in the Archdiocese ...

Nicholas of Flüe, Blessed

(D E R UPE ). Born 21 March, 1417, on the Flüeli, a fertile plateau near Sachseln, ...

Nicholas of Gorran

(Or GORRAIN) Medieval preacher, and scriptural commentator; b. in 1232 at Gorron, France ; ...

Nicholas of Lyra

( Doctor planus et utilis ) Exegete, b. at Lyra in Normandy, 1270; d. at Paris, 1340. The ...

Nicholas of Myra, Saint

( Also called NICHOLAS OF BARI). Bishop of Myra in Lycia; died 6 December, 345 or 352. ...

Nicholas of Osimo

(AUXIMANUS). A celebrated preacher and author, b. at Osimo, Italy, in the second half of the ...

Nicholas of Strasburg

Mystic ; flourished early in the fourteenth century. Educated at Paris, he was later on lector ...

Nicholas of Tolentino, Saint

Born at Sant' Angelo, near Fermo, in the Hermits of St. Augustine -- a star above him or on his ...

Nicholas Owen, Saint

A Jesuit lay-brother, martyred in 1606. There is no record of his parentage, birthplace, date ...

Nicholas Pieck, Saint

(Also spelled PICK). Friar Minor and martyr, b. at Gorkum, Holland, 29 August, 1534; d. at ...

Nicholas V, Pope

(TOMMASO PARENTUCELLI) A name never to be mentioned without reverence by every lover of ...

Nichols, Venerable George

(Or NICOLLS). English martyr, born at Oxford about 1550; executed at Oxford, 19 October, ...

Nicholson, Francis

A controversial writer; b. at Manchester, 1650 ( baptized 27 Oct.); d. at Lisbon, 13 Aug., 1731. ...

Nicodemus

A prominent Jew of the time of Christ, mentioned only in the Fourth Gospel . The name is of ...

Nicodemus, Gospel of

(Or the Gospel of Nicodemus.) This work does not assume to have written by Pilate, but to have ...

Nicolò de' Tudeschi

("abbas modernus" or "recentior", "abbas Panormitanus" or "Siculus") A Benedictine canonist, ...

Nicolaï, Jean

Celebrated Dominican theologian and controversialist, b. in 1594 at Mouzay in the Diocese of ...

Nicolaites

(Also called Nicolaitans), a sect mentioned in the Apocalypse (ii,6,15) as existing in ...

Nicolas, Armella

Popularly known as "La bonne Armelle", a saintly French serving-maid held in high veneration among ...

Nicolas, Auguste

French apologist, b. at Bordeaux, 6 Jan., 1807; d. at Versailles 18 Jan., 1888. He first studied ...

Nicolaus Germanus

(Often called "Donis" from a misapprehension of the title "Donnus" or "Donus" an abbreviated form ...

Nicole, Pierre

Theologian and controversialist, b. 19 October, 1625, at Chartres, d. 16 November, 1695, at ...

Nicolet

(NICOLETANA) Diocese in the Province of Quebec, Canada, suffragan of Quebec. It comprises the ...

Nicomedes, Saint

Martyr of unknown era, whose feast is observed 15 September. The Roman Martyrologium and the ...

Nicomedia

Titular see of Bithynia Prima, founded by King Zipoetes. About 264 B.C. his son Nicodemes I ...

Nicopolis

A titular see, suffragan of Sebasteia, in Armenia Prima. Founded by Pompey after his decisive ...

Nicopolis

(NICOPOLITANA) Diocese in Bulgaria. The city of Nicopolis (Thrace or Moesia), situated at the ...

Nicopolis

A titular see and metropolis in ancient Epirus. Augustus founded the city (B.C. 31) on a ...

Nicosia

A city of the Province of Catania, in Sicily situated at a height of about 2800 feet above the ...

Nicosia

Titular archdiocese in the Province of Cyprus. It is now agreed (Oberhummer' "Aus Cypern" in ...

Nicotera and Tropea

(NICOTERENSIS ET TROPEIENSIS) Suffragan diocese of Reggio di Calabria. Nicotera, the ancient ...

Nider, John

Theologian, b. 1380 in Swabia; d. 13 August, 1438, at Colmar. He entered the Order of Preachers ...

Nieremberg y Otin, Juan Eusebio

Noted theologian and polygraphist, b. of German parents at Madrid, 1595; d. there, 1658. ...

Niessenberger, Hans

An architect of the latter part of the Middle Ages, whose name is mentioned with comparative ...

Niger, Peter George

(NIGRI, German SCHWARTZ) Dominican theologian, preacher and controversialist, b. 1434 at ...

Nigeria

A colony of British East Africa extending from the Gulf of Guinea to Lake Chad (from 4° 30' ...

Nihilism

The term was first used by Turgeniev in his novel, "Fathers and Sons" (in "Russkij Vestnik", Feb., ...

Nihus, Barthold

Convert and controversialist, b. at Holtorf in Hanover, 7 February, 1590 (according to other ...

Nikolaus von Dinkelsbühl

Theologian, b. c. 1360, at Dinkelsbühl; d. 17 March, 1433, at Mariazell in Styria. He ...

Nikon

Patriarch of Moscow (1652-1658; d. 1681). He was of peasant origin, born in the district of ...

Nilles, Nikolaus

Born 21 June, 1828, of a wealthy peasant family of Rippweiler, Luxemburg ; died 31 January, ...

Nilopolis

A titular see and a suffragan of Oxyrynchos, in Egypt. According to Ptolemy (IV, v, 26) the ...

Nilus the Younger

Of Rossano, in Calabria; born in 910, died 27 December, 1005. For a time he was married (or ...

Nilus, Saint

( Neilos ) Nilus the elder, of Sinai (died c. 430), was one of the many disciples and ...

Nimbus

(Latin, related to Nebula, nephele , properly vapour, cloud), in art and archaeology signifies ...

Nimrod

Also N IMROD ( nmrd of uncertain signification, Septuagint Nebród ). The name of ...

Ninian, Saint

(NINIAS, NINUS, DINAN, RINGAN, RINGEN) Bishop and confessor ; date of birth unknown; died ...

Nirschl, Joseph

Theologian and writer, b. at Durchfurth, Lower Bavaria, 24 February, 1823; d. at ...

Nisibis

A titular Archdiocese of Mesopotamia, situated on the Mygdonius at the foot of Mt. Masius. It is ...

Nithard

Frankish historian, son of Angilbert and Bertha, daughter of Charlemagne ; died about 843 or ...

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No 65

Noah

[Hebrew Nôah , "rest"; Greek Noah ; Latin Noah ]. The ninth patriarch of the ...

Noah's Ark

The Hebrew name to designate Noah's Ark, the one which occurs again in the history of Moses' ...

Noailles, Louis-Antoine de

Cardinal and bishop, b. at the Château of Teyssiére in Auvergne, France, 27 May, ...

Nobili, Robert de'

Born at Montepulciano, Tuscany, September, 1577; died at Mylapore, India, in 1656. He entered the ...

Noble, Daniel

Physician, b. 14 Jan., 1810; d. at Manchester, 12 Jan, 1885. He was the son of Mary Dewhurst and ...

Nocera

DIOCESE OF NOCERA (NUCERINENSIS) Diocese in Perugia, Umbria, Italy, near the sources of the ...

Nocera dei Pagani

(NUCERIN PAGANORUM; dei Pagani ="of the Pagans") Diocese in Salermo, Italy, at the foot of ...

Nocturns

( Nocturni or Nocturna ). A very old term applied to night Offices. Tertullian speaks of ...

Nogaret, Guillaume de

Born about the middle of the thirteenth century at St. Felix-en-Lauragais; died 1314; he was one ...

Nola

(NOLANA) Diocese ; suffragan of Naples. The city of Nola in the Italian Province of Caserta, ...

Nola, Giovanni Marliano da

Sculptor and architect, b., it is said, of a leather merchant named Giuseppe, at Nola, near ...

Nolasco, Saint Peter

Born at Mas-des-Saintes-Puelles, near Castelnaudary, France, in 1189 (or 1182); died at ...

Nollet, Jean-Antoine

Physicist, b. at Pimpré, Oise, France, 19 November, 1700; d. at Paris, 25 April, 1770. His ...

Nominalism, Realism, Conceptualism

These terms are used to designate the theories that have been proposed as solutions of one of the ...

Nomination

The various methods of designating persons for ecclesiastical benefices or offices have been ...

Nomocanon

(From the Greek nomos , law, and kanon , a rule) A collection of ecclesiastical law, the ...

Non Expedit

("It is not expedient"). Words with which the Holy See enjoined upon Italian Catholics the ...

Non-Jurors

The name given to the Anglican Churchmen who in 1689 refused to take the oath of allegiance to ...

Nonantola

A former Benedictine monastery and prelature nullius , six miles north-east of Modena ...

Nonconformists

A name which, in its most general acceptation, denotes those refusing to conform with the ...

None

This subject will be treated under the following heads: I. Origin of None; II. None from the ...

Nonnotte, Claude-Adrien

Controversialist; b. in Besançon, 29 July, 1711; d. there, 3 September, 1793. At nineteen ...

Nonnus

Nonnus, of Panopolis in Upper Egypt (c. 400), the reputed author of two poems in hexameters; ...

Norbert, Saint

Born at Kanten on the left bank of the Rhine, near Wesel, c. 1080; died at Magdeburg, 6 June, ...

Norbertines

(C ANONICI R EGULARES P RÆMONSTRATENSES ). Founded in 1120 by St. Norbert at ...

Norcia

(NORSIN). A diocese and city in Perugia, Italy, often mentioned in Roman history. In the ...

Norfolk, Catholic Dukes of

(Since the Reformation) Under this title are accounts only of the prominent Catholic Dukes of ...

Noris, Henry

Cardinal, b. at Verona, 29 August, 1631, of English ancestry; d. at Rome, 23 Feb., 1704. He ...

Normandy

An ancient French province, from which five "departments" were formed in 1790: ...

Norris, Sylvester

( Alias SMITH, NEWTON). Controversial writer and English missionary priest ; b. 1570 or ...

Norsemen

The Scandinavians who, in the ninth and tenth centuries, first ravaged the coasts of Western ...

North Carolina

One of the original thirteen States of the United States, is situated between 33° 53' and ...

North Dakota

One of the United States of America , originally included in the Louisiana Purchase. Little was ...

Northampton

(NORTANTONIENSIS) Diocese in England, comprises the Counties of Northampton, Bedford, ...

Northcote, James Spencer

Born at Feniton Court, Devonshire, 26 May, 1821; d. at Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, 3 March, ...

Northern Territory

(Prefecture Apostolic) The Northern Territory, formerly Alexander Land, is that part of ...

Northmen

The Scandinavians who, in the ninth and tenth centuries, first ravaged the coasts of Western ...

Norton, Christopher

Martyr ; executed at Tyburn, 27 May, 1570. His father was Richard Norton of Norton Conyers, ...

Norway

Norway, comprising the smaller division of the Scandinavian peninsula, is bounded on the east by ...

Norwich, Ancient Diocese of

(NORDOVICUM; NORVICUM). Though this see took its present name only in the eleventh century, ...

Notaries

( Latin notarius ). Persons appointed by competent authority to draw up official or authentic ...

Notburga

Jean-Baptiste Belgian statesman, b. 3 July, 1805, at Messancy, Luxemburg ; d. at Berlin, 16 ...

Notburga, Saint

Patroness of servants and peasants, b. c. 1265 at Rattenberg on the Inn; d. c. 16 September, 1313. ...

Nothomb, Jean-Baptiste

Jean-Baptiste Belgian statesman, b. 3 July, 1805, at Messancy, Luxemburg ; d. at Berlin, 16 ...

Notitia Dignitatum

(Register of Offices). The official handbook of the civil and military officials in the later ...

Notitia Provinciarum et Civitatum Africae

(List of the Provinces and Cities of Africa). A list of the bishops and their sees in the ...

Notitiae Episcopatuum

The name given to official documents that furnish for Eastern countries the list and hierarchical ...

Notker

Among the various monks of St. Gall who bore this name, the following are the most important: ...

Noto

(NETEN). Noto, the ancient Netum and after the Saracen conquest the capital of one of the ...

Notoriety, Notorious

( Latin Notorietas, notorium , from notus , known). Notoriety is the quality or the ...

Notre Dame de Montreal, Congregation of

Marguerite Bourgeoys, the foundress, was born at Troyes, France, 17 April, 1620. She was the ...

Notre Dame, School Sisters of

A religious community devoted to education. In the United Sates they have conducted parish ...

Notre Dame, Sisters of (of Cleveland, Ohio)

A branch of the congregation founded by Blessed Julie Billiart. In 1850, Father Elting of ...

Notre Dame, University of

(Full name is the University of Notre Dame du Lac ). Notre Dame is located in Northern ...

Notre-Dame de Namur, Institute of

Founded in 1803 at Amiens, France, by Bl. Julie Billiart (b. 1751 d. 1816) and ...

Notre-Dame de Sion, Congregation of

Religious institute of women, founded at Paris in May 1843, by Marie-Théodore and ...

Nottingham

(NOTTINGHAMIEN) One of the original twelve English dioceses created at the time of the ...

Nourrisson, Jean-Felix

Philosopher, b. at Thiers, Department of Puy-de-Dôme, 18 July, 1825; d. at Paris, 13 June, ...

Nova Scotia

I. GEOGRAPHY Nova Scotia is one of the maritime provinces of Canada. It forms part of what was ...

Novara

(NOVARIENSIS). A diocese and the capital of the province of Novara, Piedmont, Italy, noted ...

Novatianism

Novatian was a schismatic of the third century, and founder of the sect of the Novatians; he ...

Novatus, Saint

St. Novatus, who is mentioned on 20 June with his brother, the martyr Timotheus, was the son of ...

Novello, Blessed Agostino

(Matteo Di Termini), born in the first half of the thirteenth century, at Termini, a village of ...

Novena

(From novem , nine.) A nine days' private or public devotion in the Catholic Church to ...

Novice

I. DEFINITION AND REQUIREMENTS The word novice , which among the Romans meant a newly acquired ...

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Nu 19

Nubia

Located in North-eastern Africa, extending from Sennar south to beyond Khartoum and including the ...

Nueva Cáceres

(NOVA CACERES) Diocese created in 1595 by Clement VIII ; it is one of the four suffragan ...

Nueva Pamplona

(NEO-PAMPILONENSIS). Diocese in Colombia, South America, founded in 1549 and a see erected by ...

Nueva Segovia

(NOVAE SEGOBIAE) Diocese in the Philippines, so called from Segovia, a town in Spain. The town ...

Nugent, Francis

Priest of the Franciscan Capuchin Order, founder of the Irish and the Rhenish Provinces of said ...

Nugent, James

Philanthropist, temperance advocate and social reformer b. 3 March, 1822 at Liverpool ; d. 27 ...

Numbers, Use of, in the Church

No attentive reader of the Old Testament can fail to notice that a certain sacredness seems to ...

Numismatics

(From the Greek nomisma , "legal currency") Numismatics is the science of coins and of ...

Nun of Kent

Born probably in 1506; executed at Tyburn, 20 April, 1534; called the "Nun of Kent." The career of ...

Nunc Dimittis

(The Canticle of Simeon). Found in St. Luke's Gospel (2:29-32) , is the last in historical ...

Nuncio

An ordinary and permanent representative of the pope, vested with both political and ...

Nunez, Pedro

(Pedro Nonius). Mathematician and astronomer, b. at Alcacer-do-Sol, 1492; d. at Coimbra, ...

Nuns

I. ORIGIN AND HISTORY The institution of nuns and sisters, who devote themselves in various ...

Nuptial Mass

"Missa pro sponso et sponsa", the last among the votive Masses in the Missal. It is composed of ...

Nuremberg

(NÜRNBERG) The second largest city in Bavaria, situated in a plain on both sides of the ...

Nusco

(N USCANA ) Diocese in the province of Avellino, Italy, suffragan of Salerno ; dates from ...

Nussbaum, Johannn Nepomuk von

German surgeon, b. at Munich 2 Sept., 1829; d. there 31 Oct., 1890. He made his studies in the ...

Nutter, Robert, Ven.

English martyr ; b. at Burnley, Lancashire, c. 1550; executed at Lancaster, 26 July, 1600. He ...

Nuyens, Wilhelmus

Historian, b. 18 August, 1823, at Avenhorn in Holland ; d. 10 December, 1894, at Westwoud near ...

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Ny 4

Nyassa

Vicariate Apostolic in Central Africa, bounded north by the Anglo-German frontier, east by Lake ...

Nympha, Tryphon, and Respicius

Martyrs whose feast is observed in the Latin Church on 10 November. Tryphon is said to have ...

Nyssa

Vicariate Apostolic in Central Africa, bounded north by the Anglo-German frontier, east by Lake ...

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