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Joseph Carrière

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Moral theologian, thirteenth superior of the seminary and Society of Saint-Sulpice, b. 19 February, 1795, at La Panouze-de-Cernon, near Rodez, France ; d. at Lyons, 23 April, 1864. He entered the seminary of Saint-Sulpice in 1812, and five years later, at the age of twenty-two, became a member of the society and was ordained priest. The following year he was called to Saint-Sulpice to teach the postgraduate course of moral theology, and, despite his extreme youth, distinguished himself as a brilliant and sound teacher. In 1829 he came to America in the capacity of official visitor to the Sulpician houses; invited to take part in the First Provincial Council of Baltimore, held in that year, he gained admiration there by his learning as well as by his charming and simple character. The works which have given him a place in the history of theology were chiefly published between 1829 and 1850, when he was chosen superior of the society, a position he retained till his death.

Carrière's published writings are: "Dissertation sur la réhabilitation des marriages nuls" (1828-34); "Juris cultor theologus circa obligationes restitutionis", by I. Vogler, S.J., enlarged and adapted to the French Law (1833), and incorporated in Migne's "Theologiae Cursus Completus"; "Praelectiones theologicae: De Matrimonio" (2 vols., Paris, 1837; Louvain, 1838); a compendium of this work (1837), which has had eight editions; "Praelectiones theologicae: De justitia et jure" (3 vols., Paris, 1839; Louvain, 1845), and a compendium (1840) which also reached its eighth edition; "Praelectiones theologicae: De Contractibus (3 vols., Paris, 1844-47; Louvain, 1846-48), of which the compendium (1848) has had four editions. Carrière was the first writer of note to treat theology in its relations to the Napoleonic Code; his expositions of the French Law were so lucid, full, and accurate that they were used as authorities by jurists, and, it is said, are even today so regarded. These qualities characterize his whole work; the opinions he rejects are treated as fairly and almost as fully as those he adopts; his works abound in erudition, but are clear, orderly, precise — admodum eruditae, solidae, accuratae , says Father Hurter, S.J. He was inclined to the opinion, generally held in France in his day, that the State had the power to create diriment impediments to marriage among Catholics ; but he abandoned it as soon as it was disapproved at Rome. Conservative in temperament and by education, he was one of the first to combat the ideas of de Lamenais. His position at Saint-Sulpice afforded a wide scope to the influence of his learning and solid judgment, and of his simple and upright nature as well, and made him one of the foremost figures of the French Church in his day.

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