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Vincent Louis Gotti

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Cardinal and theologian, b. at Bologna, 5 Sept., 1664; d. in Rome, 18 Sept., 1742. He received part of his early education from the Jesuits, and at the age of sixteen entered the Dominican Order. He so excelled others in the study of philosophy that his superiors sent him to Salamanca, Spain, for the best possible training in the sacred sciences. Having completeed his studies with great success he returned to Italy in 1688, and was sent to Mantua to teach philosophy in the convent of the order there. Hardly had he undertaken his duties when he was recalled to Rome by the master general to fill the chair of philosophy in the Minerva convent. Next he was ordered to establish a new course of philosophy at Bologna, where in 1695 he was made public professor of theology by the senate of the university. In 1708 he was elected prior of the Dominican convent at Bologna; re-elected in 1714; and, two years later, made superior of that entire province. In 1715 Clement XI appointed him general inquisitor of the Faith in the city of Milan. Although most unwilling to receive this appointment, Gotti zealously discharged its arduous duties for two years, when, after repeated requests, the pope released him from the office. Returning to Bologna, he was given the chair of polemical theology in the university, and in 1720 was, for the third time, elected prior of the convent there. On 30 April, 1728, Benedict XIII made him cardinal-priest, and appointed him Patriarch of Jerusalem. He was then made a member of nine different congregations, to all of which he gave his unremitting attention. With his many duties as cardinal, he never relaxed in the religious observances of his life, and found, moreover, ample time for much private study. He was present at the conclaves of Clement XIII and Benedict XIV.

Cardinal Gotti possessed an acuteness of intellect and a solidity of judgment altogether uncommon. A tireless student, he amassed a fund of knowledge, and acquired a facility of expression which placed him in the foremost ranks of the greatest minds of his time. Special tributes to his ability and sanctity of life were repeatedly paid by Popes Clement XI and XII, and Benedict XIII and XIV, by various members of the Sacred College, by Victor Amadeus II, and his son Emmanuel, and by the Princess Maria Clementine Sobieski.

Among the best known works of Gotti are: (1) "La vera chiesa di G. Christo dimonstrata dai segni et dai dogmi contro i due libri di Giacomo Picenino" (4 vols., Bologna, 1719), translated into Latin with added notes by Vincent Thomas Covi, O.P., and published at Milan (1734) and Bologna (1750); (2) "Concordia matrimonii cum ministro", which was published at Bologna in 1727 under the title, "Colloquia theologica polemica in tres classes distributa"; (3) "Theologia scholastico-dogmatica juxta mentem Divi Thomae Aquinatis" (Bologna, 1727-35), which filled eight volumes and was divided into sixteen parts: the first part comprises the prolegomena and loci theologici, and all the rest follow the order of the "Summa" of St. Thomas, except the last part, which deals with the state of the soul after death, the end of the world, general judgment, etc.; this same work was again published at Venice in 1750. (4) "Veritas religionis christianae et librorum, quibus innititur contra atheos, polytheos, idololatras, mohammedanos et judaeos demonstrata" (3 vols., Rome, 1735-36); (5) "Veritas religionis christianae ex genere, conceptu, ortu, gestis, mysteriis ac prodigiis Jesu Christi, necnon Virginis Deiparae confirmata" (4 vols., Rome, 1737); ". . .ex mirabili ejus propagatione per apostolos et eorum gesta comprobata" (5 vols., Rome, 1737); ". . .ex prodigiis eius inter paganorum persecutiones augmento et mirabili constantia martyrum" (6 vols., Rome, 1738); ". . .ex devictis haeresibus directe eius veritatem impugnantibus" (7 vols., Rome, 1738-40).

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