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Gregorio Nuñez Coronel

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A distinguished theologian, writer, and preacher, b. in Portugal, about 1548; d. about 1620. At an early age he entered the Order of St. Augustine in one of its many houses in his native land. He manifested, during the course of his studies, great powers of research and a ready grasp of the most abstruse problems of philosophy and theology. Soon after his ordination to the priesthood he became famous as a profound theologian and master of sacred eloquence. When his fame was at its zenith, he left Portugal and was appointed by the Duke of Savoy chaplain and preacher to his court. He came to Rome by order of his superiors, and there took the degree of Doctor of Divinity. Coronel taught theology for many years in the Eternal City with credit to himself and honour to his order. At this time the controversy about the efficacy of Divine grace and free will between the Jesuits and Dominicans was at its height. The reigning pontiff, Clement VIII, established the famous Congregatio de Auxiliis to decide the points at issue, and Coronel was appointed by the pope to the onerous and invidious position of secretary. He was continued in this office by Pope Clement's successor, Paul V. As a reward for his services to the congregation, he was offered a bishopric. This he declined, saying that at his age - he was then sixty - honours and responsibilities were rather to be laid down than assumed. He attended the general chapter of his order, held at Rome in 1620, as definitor of the Sardinian province. Coronel's principal works are: "Libri decem de verâ Christi Ecclesiâ" (Rome, 1594); "Libri sex de optimo reipublicæ statu" (Rome, 1597); "De traditionibus apostolicis" (Rome, 1597). A history of the Congregatio de Auxiliis , in manuscript, is preserved in the Angelica Library in Rome.

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