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Daniello Concina

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Dominican preacher, controversialist and theologian, b. at Clauzetto or San Daniele, small places in the Italian province of Friuli, 20 October, 1687; d. at Venice, 21 February, 1756. On the completion of his early studies at the Jesuit college at Görz, Austria, he entered the Dominican Order making his religious profession in March 1708, in the convent of Sts. Martin and Rose. After studying philosophy three years, he was sent to study theology in the convent of the Holy Rosary at Venice, where he spent eight years under the direction of the fathers of his order, Andruisso and Zanchio. In 1717 he was appointed to the chair of philosophy, and later to that of theology, in the convent of Forli. About this time he began to attract attention as a preacher. He confined himself at first to the smaller places, but his success soon brought him to the pulpits of the chief cities of Italy ; and he preached the Lenten sermons seven times in the principal churches of Rome.

Concina's literary activity was confined chiefly to moral topics. His career as a theologian and controversialist began with the publication of his first book, "Commentarius historico apologeticus", etc. (Venice, 1736, 1745), in which be refuted the opinion, then recently adopted by the Bollandists, that St. Dominic had borrowed his ideas and form of religious poverty from St. Francis. While engaged in the sharp controversy aroused by this work, he entered into another concerning the Lenten fast, which was not closed until Benedict XIV issued (30 May, 1741) the Encyclical, "Non ambigimus" which was favourable to Concina's contention. Shortly afterwards he published his "Storia del probabilismo e rigorismo" (Venice, 1743), a work composed of theological, moral, and critical dissertations. Being directed against the Jesuits, it naturally gave rise to a large controversial literature. The work was highly praised by some notably by Benedict XIV, but among others it met with a very unfavourable reception. The Fathers of the Society of Jesus, the recognized champions of probable opinions in matters of conscience, were not slow in defending their position. The controversy reached a climax when Concina published under the auspices of Benedict XIV, his "Theologia christiana dogmatico-moralis" (12 vols. in 4 to , Rome and Venice, 1749-51). The Jesuits appealed to the pope to have it condemned on the ground that it contained errors and was very injurious to the Society. A commission of theologians was then appointed to examine the work, with the result that Concina was requested to prefix to the subsequent edition a declaration dictated by the pope. This declaration, which was practically a summary of the petition of condemnation made by his opponents, appeared in the edition of 1752, but that work itself showed no changes of importance, except the addition of one chapter to the preface in which the author protested that he had always entertained the sincerest regard for the Society of Jesus, that as private theologian he refuted opinions which he considered lax, regardless of authorship, and that if he had erred in any way or done any wrong, he was ready to make a full retractation (cf. Theol. Christ., ch. xiii in praef. t. 1, p. cxxiv).

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In his "Theologia christiana" Concina found occasion to pay to the Society as a whole a glowing tribute. Many of its writers are spoken of by him in terms of high esteem. In Italy he promoted the publication of a moral theology by the French Jesuit Gabriel Antoine, which Benedict XIV ordered to be taught in the College of the Propaganda. The truth is, he was an ardent probabiliorist, and from his point of view many of the opinions of the probabilists were lax and pernicious. In refuting them he at times undoubtedly censured their authors too severely and spoke with an excessive asperity. It must be admitted, however, that he placed a salutary, if disagreeable, restraint upon the new thought of the time. Today it is readily seen that some of the authors whom he attacked favoured a dangerous laxism. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that many of his views are now considered severe, some classing him among the rigorists. That Concina was a theologian of no mean order is evidenced by the fact that Benedict XIV appointed him consultor of several Congregations. Moreover, in his work "De Synodo Dioecesana", as also in his Encyclical "Libentissime" of 10 June 1745, the pope refers to Concina as an authority on the question of the Lenten fast. Concina is the author of about forty works, several of which are believed to be still in Italian libraries awaiting an editor.

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