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Franz Burkard

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The name of two celebrated German jurists. One died suddenly at Rain, 9 December 1539. He began to teach canon law at the University of Ingoldstadt in 1519, where he stoutly opposed every endeavor to introduce Lutheranism. In the trial which sentenced Andreas Seehofer, who had taught the new doctrine, to retire to a monastery, Franz and his brother Peter, a professor at the same institution, were the chief prosecutors. As this action was resented by the Lutherans, he defended himself before the university with John Eck and Hauer. The other d. at Bonn, 6 August, 1584. For many years he served the Bavarian chancellor, August Loesch of Petersdorf, as legal advisor. Later the Elector of Cologne, Ernest of Bavaria, made him his private counsellor and chancellor. His stanch defence of Catholicity merited the praise of Blessed Peter Canisius. To quell the religious war resulting from the declaration of tolerance for Protestant worship, a volume over his name, "De Autonomiâ", appeared at Munich in 1586. Its real author, the private secretary of the king, Andreas Erstenberger, in order to save his name, position, and family, was induced by William V of Bavaria to conceal his identity behind the name of the deceased Burkard, as Rudolph II would not countenance any opposition to the Protestants. The book was bitterly assailed by Protestants, but its main positions have not been refuted.


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