Help Now >
FREE Catholic Classes
(A RNAUT, or A RNAULT .)
A celebrated family, the history of which is intimately connected with that of Jansenism and of Port-Royal. Though originally of Auvergne, the family fixed its seat, about the middle of the sixteenth century, in Paris, where several members distinguished themselves at the Bar. Antoine Arnauld (1560-1619) was a famous lawyer in the Assembly of Paris, and a Counsellor of State under Henry IV. His fame rested on a speech (1594) in favour of the University of Paris and against the Jesuits, and on several political pamphlets. The best known of his writings is entitled "Le franc et véritable discours du Roi sur le rétablissement qui lui est démandé des Jésuites" (1602). By his marriage with Catherine Marion he had twenty children, ten of whom survived him. Six of these were girls, all religious of Port-Royal, two of whom are especially famous, Angélique and Mère Agnès. Three of the four sons achieved eminence: Arnauld d'Andilly, Henri, and Antoine. Following the order of their fame, we shall speak successively of Antoine, Angélique, d'Andilly, and Henri.
I. A NTOINE A RNAULD
Surnamed the Great, b. in Paris, 1612; d. at Brussels, 8 August, 1694; was the twentieth and last child of the Arnauld family. Bereaved of his father at the age of seven, his youth was spent entirely under the influence of his mother and his sister Angélique, and through them of the Abbé of Saint-Cyran. At their solicitation he gave up the study of law for which he believed he had a decided vocation, and devoted himself to theology. He read many of the writings of St. Augustine, but it was through the eyes of Saint-Cyran. In 1635, six years before the publication of Jansen's book, the "Augustinus", he successfully maintained theses on grace, for the bachelor's degree. Even so early he made the distinction between the two states of innocence and corrupt nature ; and also spoke of the efficacy of grace in itself. This was a sort of prelude to the book of the Bishop of Ypres.
The young bachelor then wished to enter the Sorbonne, but Richelieu, who knew of his connection with Saint-Cyran, then a prisoner at Vincennes (1638), opposed him, and he was obliged to wait until after the death of the cardinal in 1643. Meanwhile he had been ordained priest (1641), at the age of twenty-nine, and the same year had sustained with brilliant success his theses for the doctorate, in which he showed the influence of Descartes and Saint-Cyran. Soon afterwards he assailed the Jesuits, the champions of orthodoxy. Father Sirmond was the first object of his attacks (1641), which later turned against the whole Society in the tract "Théologie morale des Jésuites", a precursor of the Lettres provinciales" (1643).
Shortly afterwards appeared the celebrated treatise "De la fréquente Communion". Arnauld's adversary was again a Jesuit, Father de Sesmaisons, who had written a learned refutation of Saint-Cyran's work opposing frequent Communion. Arnauld's book, written at the suggestion of Saint-Cyran, who even reviewed the manuscript, stirred up a whirlwind. Misled by the ostentatious display of patristic learning, and the affected zeal of the author for ancient discipline and the primitive purity of Christianity, serious readers allowed themselves to be ensnared. The public, moreover, was flattered by the semblance of being appealed to as a tribunal on the most controverted questions of theology, all of which Arnauld had taken into consideration when he wrote the book in French. The treatise found warm partisans in all classes of society, even among the clergy themselves. But adversaries were also aroused. Arnauld was attacked, refuted, denounced to the Holy See. He escaped censure, but of the thirty-one propositions condemned in 1690 by Alexander VII three were extracts taken almost word for word from Arnauld's book summarizing his doctrine.
The consequences of this work were most pernicious. According to the testimony of St. Vincent de Paul there was a noticeable decrease in the frequentation of the Sacraments. By exacting a too rigid preparation and a purity of conscience and perfection of life unattainable by many Christians, Arnauld set up a barrier to Holy Communion that kept many away. He forgot that the reception of the Eucharist is not the reward of virtues, but the remedy for infirmities, and under the pretext of holiness he prevented the faithful from approaching the source of all holiness.
Meanwhile the "Augustinus", condemned by Urban VIII (1641), was a cause of controversy. Hubert, a doctor of the faculty of Paris, denounced it from the pulpit of Notre-Dame, and was answered by Arnauld in two "Apologies de M. Jansenius", in which he sustained the doctrines of the Bishop of Ypres . A little later Doctor Cornet , by selecting from the "Augustinus" five propositions, which summarized its errors, and endeavouring to have them censured, aroused bitter discussion. Arnauld thereupon published his "Considérations sur l'entreprise", which made it appear that it was the doctrine of St. Augustine himself that was being condemned. This work was followed by another defence of Jansenist ideas : "Apologie pour les Saints Pères de l'Eglise, défenseurs de la grâce de Jésus-Christ contre les erreurs qui leur sont imposées".
In the meantime the champions of Catholic orthodoxy had prepared at Saint-Lazare, under the eyes of St. Vincent de Paul , an address to Innocent X, asking for the condemnation of the five propositions. In the Bull "Cum Occasione" the first four were condemned as heretical, and the fifth as false and rash (1653). The Jansenists subscribed to the condemnation of these propositions, understood according to Calvin's interpretation, but denied that this was the interpretation of the "Augustinus". According to them the Church, while infallible in passing judgment on a doctrine, ceased to be infallible when there was a question of attributing a doctrine to a given person or book. This was the famous distinction between fact and law, later so dear to both parties.
About this time Picoté, a priest of Saint-Sulpice, required of a penitent, the Duc de Liancourt, under penalty of refusing him absolution, that he submit to the Bull of Innocent X and withdraw from all intimate connection with the Jansenists. Thereupon Arnauld, their leader, gave vent to his indignation in two "letters to a duke and peer" (1655). He maintained that the Duke was obliged to condemn the five propositions, but that he could refuse to believe that they were found in the "Augustinus". On the latter point, he said, there was no duty towards the pope save a respectful silence. These letters drew down upon his head the wrath of the Theological Faculty, which censured the two following propositions taken from the letters: (1) That the five condemned propositions are not in the Augustinus; (2) that grace has ever been lacking to a just man, on any occasion when he committed sin. One hundred and thirty doctors signed this censure, and Arnauld was excluded forever from the Faculty. Then Pascal came to his friend's assistance and wrote, under the pseudonym of Montalte, his "Provincial Letters". The first four took up Arnauld's quarrel and Jansenism ; eleven were devoted to attacks on the moral code of the Jesuits ; and the last three reviewed the questions of Jansenism, and particularly the distinction between law and fact. But the Assembly of the Clergy, in 1656, asserted the Church's right of passing infallible judgment on dogmatic facts as well as faith, and the same year Alexander VII published the Bull "Ad Sanctam", affirming with all his authority that the five propositions were drawn from the "Augustinus" and were condemned in the sense of their author.
As soon as this Bull was received by the Assembly of the Clergy (1657) it was published in all dioceses, and a formulary of submission prepared for signature. The Jansenists, under the leadership of Arnauld, refused to subscribe. On the intervention of Louis XIV they signed the formulary with many mental reservations, but, claiming that it lacked authority, they attacked it in many writings, either composed or inspired by Arnauld. Alexander VII at the request of the king and clergy published a new Bull (1664), enjoining subscription under canonical and civil penalties. Four bishops, among them Henri Arnauld, of Angers, who dared to resist, were condemned by the pope, and a court was appointed by the king to pass judgment on their action. Alexander VII died in the interval. Thereupon the four dissenters sent to the French Clergy a circular prepared by Arnauld, denying to the pope, in the name of Gallican liberty, the right of judging the bishops of the kingdom.
On further consideration, however, they conformed exteriorly to the formulary. Clement IX, desirous of putting an end to these dissensions, granted them what is known as the "Clementine Peace", extending it to all the leaders of the sect in consideration of submission. This submission, however, as the future proved, was merely external. Arnauld was presented to the Nuncio, to Louis XIV, and the whole court, and was everywhere accorded the reception merited by his talents and learning. At this time he composed in connection with Nicole, and at the suggestion of Bossuet, the most learned of his controversial works, entitled "La Perpétuité de la foi de l'Eglise catholique sur l'Eucharistie". This work, praised by Clement IX and Innocent XI, who congratulated the author upon it, caused a sensation, and struck a heavy blow at Protestantism. It was soon followed by another "Renversement de la morale de Jésus-Christ par les calvinistes". Meanwhile Arnauld, who was still a Jansenist at heart, was diffusing his ideas, noiselessly, however, in order to preserve peace. People flocked to Port-Royal, and Arnauld was the centre of assemblies which were viewed with suspicion. Error was making considerable progress, to the alarm of both religious and royal authorities.
The storm was about to burst, but Arnauld escaped it by retiring to the Netherlands (1679), where he was obliged to remain until his death (1694). During these fifteen years his activity never abated. He was constantly plying his pen, and always in a belligerent spirit. He attacked the Protestants ; he attacked the Jesuits ; he even attacked Malebranche. His "Apologie du clergé de France et des catholiques d'Angleterre contre le ministre Jurieu" (1681) aroused the wrath of that champion of Protestantism, who answered in a monograph entitled "L'Esprit de M. Arnauld". The aged leader of the Jansenists refrained from refuting a writing into which his personality had been dragged, and which was nothing but a mass of coarse insults. He was none the less zealous, however, in his attacks upon Protestant ministers in an immense number of treatises. He even attacked William of Orange.
Download Now >
In Arnauld's eyes Jesuits were always to be treated as personal enemies. Every writing that issued from the hand of a Jesuit furnished him an occasion to denounce the Society to the public, and to publish a refutation if he chanced to find in it any ideas contrary to his own. Two volumes appeared in 1669 and 1683 respectively, entitled "Morale pratique des Jésuites, représentée en plusieurs histoires arivées dans toutes les parties du monde". Their author, de Pontchâteau, was a solitary of Port-Royal, who was exceedingly hostile to missionary Jesuits. Father Le Tellier replied in his "La Défense des nouveaux chrétiens et des missionnaires de la Chine, du Japon et des Indes" (1687). Arnauld thereupon constituted himself the champion of de Pontchâteau's works and published between 1690 and 1693 five additional books. He was working on the sixth, "La Calomnie", at the time of his death. This work is biased and full of prejudice. He retails without reserve or moderation, and with evident malice, all the differences and quarrels which had arisen among men of good faith, or between religious communities engaged in the same work, without having the limits of their respective jurisdiction clearly defined. According to Arnauld the Jesuits were always in the wrong, and he relates with calm credulity everything that the ill will of their enemies had attributed to them, without concerning himself as to the truth of these statements.
Malebranche, the Oratorian, differed with him on the subject of grace, and expressed his views in his "Traité de la Nature et de la Grâce". Arnauld attempted to stop its publication, and, failing, he opened a campaign against Malebranche (1683). Without attempting to refute the treatise, he took up the opinion that "we see all in God ", laid down by the philosopher in a preceeding work, "Recherche de la vérité", and attacked it in "Des vraies et des fausses idées". Malebranche objected to this shifting of the question, claiming that to bring before the public a purely metaphysical problem to be refuted and confounded with the weapons of ridicule was unworthy of a great mind. Arnauld now showed no moderation whatever, even going to the point of attributing to Malebranche opinions which he had never held. His "Philosophical and Theological Relations" on the "Traité de la Nature et de la Grâce" (1685) scored a triumph for the Jansenist party, but it lessened in nowise the prestige of Malebranche. The latter had the advantage of moderation, notwithstanding more than one bitter line directed against his antagonist, and he confessed himself "weary of furnishing the world a spectacle, and having the 'Journal des Savants' filled with their respective platitudes". Nevertheless the quarrel ended only with the death of Arnauld.
Jansenism had not been forgotten, and Arnauld was to the last its zealous, untiring champion. It is impossible to enumerate all his writings in its defence. The majority were anonymous, so that they might reach France more easily. His "New Defense of the Mons New Testament" — a version which had emanated from Port-Royal — is the most violent of all his works. We may also mention the "Phantôme du Jansénisme" (1686), from which the author hoped great results for his sect. He proposed in this work "to justify the so-called Jansenists by showing Jansenism to be nothing but a phantom, as there is no one in the Church who holds any of the five condemned propositions, and it is not forbidden to discuss whether or not these propositions have been taught by Jansenius ".
On this last point Arnauld was always immovable, constantly inventing new subterfuges to prevent himself from seeing the truth. Sainte-Beauve was not wrong in writing (Port Royal, bk. III, viii) that "the persistence in knowing better than the popes what they think and define is the favourite thesis of the Jansenists, beginning with Arnauld". In 1700 the Assembly of the Clergy of France condemned this proposition: " Jansenism is a phantom", as false, scandalous, rash, injurious to the French Clergy, to the Sovereign Pontiff, to the Universal Church "; as "schismatical and favouring the condemned errors ".
Arnauld died at Brussels, at the age of eighty-two. Nicole, who had accompanied him into exile, had, by revising his writings, kept him for a time within the bounds of moderation, but when Nicole was replaced by Father Quesnel of the Oratory, Arnauld allowed himself all the extremes of language, and his passion for polemics was given full scope. He died in the arms of Quesnel, who administered Extreme Unction and the Viaticum, although he had no power to do so. He was interred privately, and his heart taken to Port-Royal. Boileau, Racine, and Santeuil composed for him epitaphs which have become famous.
Arnauld's works are classed under five heads: on belles-lettres and philosophy ; on grace; controversial works against Protestants ; those against the Jesuits ; on Holy Scripture . The mass of his writings is enormous, and seldom read to-day. There is no pretence at style. He was a learned man and a subtle logician, but he entirely ignored the art of persuading and pleasing, and his erroneous teachings mar his best pages. His "Grammaire générale", and "Logique" are the works most easily read.
II. J ACQUELINE -M ARIE -A NGÉLIQUE A RNAULD
Sister of the preceeding, b. 1591, d. 6 August, 1661, was the third of the twenty children of Antoine Arnauld. While still a child she showed great keenness of intellect and wonderful endowments in mind, will, and character. To please her grandfather Marion, the advocate, she consented to become a religious, but only on condition that she be made abbess. At the age of eight (1599) she took the habit of a Benedictine novice at the monastery of Saint-Antoine in Paris. She was soon transferred (1600) to the Abbey of Maubuisson, ruled by Angélique d'Estrées, sister of the beautiful Gabrielle d'Estrées, mistress of Henry IV. The child was brought up in liberty, luxury, and ignorance, and was left entirely to her own impetuous and fantastic impulses. At Confirmation she took the name Angélique, in compliment to the abbess, and gave up that of Jacqueline, which she had hitherto borne. A reprehensible fraud of the Arnaulds obtained from Rome abbatial bulls for Angélique, then eleven years of age. She was named coadjutrix to the Abbess of Port-Royal (1602) and continued to live, as she had lived before, without serious irregularities, but also without religious fervour. Her days were taken up with walks, profane reading, and visits outside the monastery, all of which could not prevent a deadly ennui which nothing could dispel. "Instead of praying ", she tells us, "I set myself to read novels and Roman history". She felt drawn by no call. Too proud to retrace her steps, at the age of seventeen she confirmed the promise made at eight and, "bursting with spite", signed a formula her father placed before her, which was to forge on her forever the heavy chain of a vocation imposed on her. A sermon preached by a visiting Franciscan (1608) was the occasion of her conversion. She resolved to change her mode of life at once, and to effect a reform in her monastery. She began with herself, and determined, despite every obstacle, to follow the rules of her order in all their rigour. She had infinite trouble in encompassing the reform of Port-Royal, but she succeeded, and such was the steadfastness of the young abbess that she closed the doors of the monastery to her own father and brothers despite their indignant protests. This was the "day of the grating" which remained famous in the annals of Jansenism. After the reform of Port-Royal, Mère Angélique undertook to recall to a regular life the abbey of Maubuisson, six leagues from Paris, where scandals were frequent. Angélique d'Estrées, the abbess, led such a life that her sister Gabrielle reproached her as being "the disgrace of our house". It is impossible to tell in a few lines what patience, courage, and gentle, persistent firmness were necessary to bring about this reform. Mère Angélique was guided and sustained at this time by St. Francis de Sales. She even thought of abandoning the crosier to enter the Visitation Order, which the saint had just founded. She was one of those characters, however, who yield before those they consider superiors, but stand firm and immovable in the face of others. The saint understanding her, gently diverted her from this project. The years that followed (1620-30) were the best years for Port-Royal, years of regularity, prayer, and true happiness. There were many novices ; the reputation of the abbey went far and wide. In 1625, thinking ;that the valley of Port-Royal was unhealthy for her religious, Mè Angélique established them all in Paris, in the Faubourg Saint-Jacques. It was at this time that the abbess made the acquaintance of Zamet, Bishop of Langres, who had reformed the Benedictine Abbey of Tard, near Dijon, and was thinking of founding an order in honour of the Blessed Sacrament. He considered the fusion of the two monasteries an opportunity sent by xxyyyk.htm">Providence. He broached it to the abbess, who agreed to the project, and together they began the erection of a new monastery near the Louvre. The bishop's sumptuous taste, however, contrasted with the abbess's spirit of austere poverty. Mère Angélique, being self-willed to the point of falling ill when opposed, wished to have it built according to her ideas and to impose her will on those around her. She was replaced as abbess, although it was her sister Agnès who was elected Abbess of Tard. Even when second in rank Angélique gave as much trouble, when the "affair of the Secret Chaplet" caused a diversion. The "Secret Chaplet" was a term used to designate a mystical treatise of twenty pages composed by Mère Agnès, sister of Angélique, in which the Sacrament of Love was represented as terrible, formidable, and inaccessible. This little book was disturbing, on account of the false spiritual tendencies it revealed, and it was condemned by the Sorbonne (18 June, 1633). For the first time, Port-Royal was looked on with suspicion, as having clouded the integrity of its doctrine. Nevertheless an anonymous champion had issued a brochure in apology of the "Chaplet", which caused a tremendous scandal. The author was soon known to be Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, Abbé of Saint-Cyran. Mère Angélique had known the Abbé for ten years, in the character of a family friend, but she felt no sympathy whatever with his teachings. From 1633, however, she took sides with him, introduced him into her community, and made him the confessor of her religious and the oracle of the house. The Bishop of Langres tried in vain to displace him, but Angélique entrenched herself deeper in obstinacy. This marks the separation between Tard and Port-Royal ; from this time, also, the history of Mère Angélique is merged with that of Jansenism. Saint-Cyran became master of Port-Royal. He took away the sacraments, blinded souls, and subjugated wills. To dispute his ideas was regarded as a crime deserving of punishment. About the monastery were grouped twelve men of the world, most of them of the family of Arnauld, who led a life of penance and were called the "Solitaries of Port-Royal ". Further, Mère Angélique had gathered under her crosier her five sisters and many of her nieces. It may be said with truth that the Port-Royal of the seventeenth century was her creation. With Saint-Cyran, it became a centre of alarming error. Richelieu understood this, and caused the arrest (15 May, 1638) of the dangerous Abbé, and his confinement in the prison at Vincennes. Mère Angélique became more than ever attached to her director, in whom she saw one persecuted for justice' sake. At his death (1643) she found herself without a guide, but her perversion was complete. She retired into an atmosphere of complete and obdurate impassibility, with no thought but to bring about the triumph of the principles held by him whom she had honoured as a doctor and venerated almost as a martyr. During the following years, also, and at the time of the Bull issued by Innocent X, she encouraged by word and by letters the upholders of Jansenism. She compared herself to St. Paula persecuted by the Pelagians. Far from confining herself within the limits of her monastery, she threw herself bodily into the struggle. She propagated her favourite ideas ; she continually wrote letters encouraging some and condemning others, among the latter including even St. Vincent de Paul . Stronger than all the rest in the loftiness of her intelligence and the firmness of her character, Mère Angélique was a leader of the party, and a leader who would die sooner than surrender. As a matter of fact, she did expire (6 August, 1661) filled with solicitude for her religious caused by the signing of the Formulary, and her own fear of a "terrible eternity ". She left various writings and a collection of letters to be found in the "Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de Port-Royal" (Utrecht, 1742-44). Her sister Agnès survived her ten years. We owe to her a work entitled "Image de la religieuse parfaite et imparfaite" (1665). She resisted and suffered much at the time of the Formulary. It was of Mère Agnès and her religious that De Péréfixe, Archbishop of Paris, said: "These sisters are as pure as angels, but as proud as devils ".
III. R OBERT A RNAULD D 'A NDILLY
Born 1589, died 27 September, 1674, was the eldest of Antoine Arnauld's twenty children. On the death of his father in 1619, he became, according to custom, head of his family. With him obstinacy and pride were hereditary faults; to these were added excessive vehemence and abruptness of temper. It is related that on the "day of the grating" he flew into a passion with his sister Angélique, even to the point of threatening her and calling her a "monster of ingratitude and a parricide", because she refused to allow her father to enter the cloister of the monastery. At an early period (1621) he became a friend of Saint-Cyran, and participated in all his errors. It was not his fault that the Abbess of Port-Royal did not give her confidence sooner to the famous Abbé. Like the rest of the family, he hated the Jesuits as personal enemies, because they were the champions of orthodoxy. He affected to combine with a regular attendance at court a very ardent piety. He was in great honour at court and his son Pomponne became Minister of State. He was looked on with favour by the Queen Regent, Anne of Austria, and had powerful friends. The Jansenist party took advantage of this to obtain the release of Saint-Cyran from the prison of Vincennes, where he had been confined by Richelieu. D'Andilly tried to gain over the Duchess d'Aiguillon , niece of the Cardinal. She went to Rueil to see her uncle, but the minister cut short her prayers by showing her the real state of affairs. It was D'Andilly who persuaded Anne de Rohan, Princesse de Guéménée, one of his worldly friends, to enter Port-Royal, for to her he played the rôle of lay director. On becoming a widower, he left the court and retired to Port-Royal des Champs, having been preceded by one of his sons, Arnauld de Luzancy (1646). He found three nephews already there: Antoine Le Maître, Le Maître de Sacy, and de Séricourt. For thirty years he lived in this retreat, occupied with literary and manual labour. He chose to cultivate trees, and sent to the queen monstrous fruits which Mazarin laughingly called "blessed fruits". During the same period he translated the Jewish historian Josephus, the works of St. Theresa, and the lives of the Desert Fathers. He also applied himself to poetry, and according to Sainte-Beuve his spiritual canticles are unsurpassed even by the works of Godeau, or even of Corneille, certainly of the Corneille of the "Imitation". D'Andilly's letters and other prose works (he published a collection of three hundred letters in 1645) are considered in the same class as those of Voltaire and even of Balzac. With regard to the Formulary, he used his influence to avert, or at least mitigate, the persecutions of the religious of Port-Royal. When, in 1659, the order came for the dispersal of the Petites Ecoles, i.e. the twenty or thirty children whom the solitaries were rearing in the pure doctrines of their sect, and the loneliness of the solitaries themselves, Arnauld d'Andilly wrote innumerable letters to Anne of Austria and Mazarin, letters of submission, of commendation, of thanks. He gave his word that the orders would be obeyed ; he temporized, and obtained respites, and although he was a factious spirit, he caused, on the whole, but little apprehension, and was allowed to write, to plot, and even to dogmatize at his ease. All these things, dangerous in themselves, in his hands took on a sort of worldly grace, as being light and destitute of malice. Moreover, who would have dared to disturb him whom the queen had asked "if he always loved her". He died at the age of eighty-five, preserving to the end his bodily and mental vigour. He reared three sons and four daughters. We have from his pen, in addition to the works mentioned, translations of the "Confessions of St. Augustine", the "Scala paradisi" of St. John Climacus , the "De contemptu mundi" of St. Eucherius, and the memoirs of his life. The last work reveals in the author a family vanity which amounts to boastfulness.
IV. H ENRI A RNAULD
Brother of the preceding, b. in Paris, 1597; d. 1692. He was first destined for the Bar, but was taken to Rome by Cardinal Bentivoglio, and during this absence, which lasted five years, the court granted him (1624) the Abbey of Saint-Nicholas. In 1637 the Chapter of Toul offered him the bishopric of that city, and the king, at the recommendation of Father Joseph, confirmed the choice. He was obliged to wait three years for his Bulls, which were delayed by the difficulties between the court and the Holy See. At the time of the quarrel between Innocent X and the Barberini, Henri Arnauld was sent to Rome as chargé d'affaires of France. He aquitted himself of this mission with much adroitness. The pope could not deny him the return of the cardinals, who were reinstated in their possessions and dignities. He returned from this mission with the reputation of being one of the most politic prelates in the kingdom. Being offered the Bishopric of Périgeux (1650), he refused, but accepted that of Angers in which was situated his Abbey of Saint-Nicholas. During his episcopate of forty-two years, he showed less Christian prudence than extraordinary ability in the service of the Jansenists and of his family. Having once entered on this path, he concentrated all his energies to keep from yielding, and thus to save his own honour and that of his brother Antoine. This involved him in many difficulties, caused many dissensions in his diocese, and resulted in the cloud which still clings to his name. His entrance into the quarrel aroused by Jansenism was most exciting. When Louis XIV ordered the bishops to sign the Formulary drawn up by the Assembly of the Clergy in 1661, the Bishop of Angers wrote a letter to the king sustaining the famous distinction of Nicole between "fact" and "law". The king having shown marked displeasure, the bishop wrote to the pope a letter of the same import, but Alexander VII made no reply. The obstinate prelate then wrote to Péréfixe, Archbishop of Paris, to forestall the tempest which the obligation of signing the Formulary would arouse at Port-Royal. At the same time he encouraged the religious to resist or take refuge in subtleties which took all sincerity from their submission. Arnauld was one of the four prelates who in 1665 loftily refused to sign the Formulary of Alexander VII, and issued a mandate against it. He was about to be cited before an ecclesiastical tribunal when the pope died. Clement IX, successor to Alexander VII, judged it preferable in the interests of religion to silence the whole affair. He accorded the Clementine Peace to this party, and they insolently took advantage of it. The bishop preserved his Jansenistic sentiments to the very end, and did all in his power to promote the spread of this error in his diocese. He pursued with disfavour, and sometimes with vehemence, the partisans of orthodoxy. One should read the "Mémoires" of Joseph Grandet, third superior of the Seminary of Angers, to know to what a degree Jansenism had imbued the bishop, who otherwise was not deficient in good qualities. It cannot be denied that he was energetic, austere, devoted to his duty, and filled with zeal. In 1652, when the queen mother was approaching to inflict punishment on the city of Angers, which was in revolt, the bishop appeased her with a word. On giving her Holy Communion , he said: "Receive, Madame, your God, Who pardoned His enemies when dying on the Cross." There is still quoted a saying of his illustrating his love of work. One day, on being requested to take a day each week for relaxation, he replied: "I shall willingly do so, if you give me a day on which I am not bishop." But despite this excellent sentiment he remains one of the most enigmatical figures of the seventeenth-century episcopate. He died in 1692, at the ripe old age of ninety-five. The negotiations carried on by him at the Court of Rome and various Italian courts have been published in five volumes (Paris, 1745).
Copyright 2020 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 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.