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Joseph Ignatius Ritter

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Historian, b. at Schweinitz, Silesia, 12 April, 1787; d. at Breslau, 5 Jan., 1857. He pursued his philosophical and theological studies at the University of Breslau, was ordained priest in 1811, and for several years was engaged in pastoral work. An annotated translation of St. John Chrysostom's treatise on the priesthood not only obtained for him the doctorate in theology, but also attracted the attention of the Prussian ministry, which in 1823 named him ordinary professor of church history and patrology at the University of Bonn. Here he made the acquaintance of Hermes, and became favorably disposed towards his system. He was in 1830 named professor and canon at Breslau. As administrator of this diocese (1840-43), he atoned for his earlier Hermesian tendencies by his fearless Catholic policy, notably in the question of mixed marriages. Later he published tracts defending the Church against the attacks of Ronge, the founder of the so-called German Catholics. Also worthy of commendation is his beneficence, exercised particularly towards deserving students. His principal writings which bear on church history and canon law are: "Handbuch der Kirchengeschichte" Elberfeld and Bonn, 1826-33; sixth edition by Ennen, Bonn, 1862; "Irenicon oder Briefe zur Förderung des Friedens zwischen Kirche u. Staat", Leipzig, 1840; "Der Capitularvicar", Münster, 1842; "Geschichte der Diöcese Breslau ", Breslau, 1845. With J. W. J. Braun he brought out a new edition of Pellicia's work, "De Christianae ecclesiae politia", Cologne, 1829-38.


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