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Vitus Pichler

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Distinguished canonist and controversial writer, b. at Grosberghofen, 24 May, 1670; d. at Munich, 15 Feb., 1736. He studied for the secular priesthood, but after ordination entered the Society of Jesus, 28 Sept., 1696. For four years he was professor of philosophy at Briggs and Dillingen. He was then advanced to the chair of philosophy, controversial and scholastic, at Augsburg. He acquired fame in the field of canon law, which he taught for nineteen years at Dillingen, and at Ingolstadt, where he was the successor of the illustrious canonist, Fr. Schmalzgrueber . His latest appointment was as prefect of higher studies at Munich. His first important literary work was, "Lutheranismus constanter errans" (1709); "Una et vera fides" (1710); "Theologia polemica paticularis" (1711). In his "Cursus theologiæ polemicæ universæ" (1713), Pichler devotes the first part to the fundamentals of polemical theology and the second part to the particular errors of the reformers. It is said that he is the first writer to lay down, clearly and separately, the distinction between fundamental theology and other divisions of the science. He also wrote an important work on papal infallibility, "Papatus nunquan errans in proponendis fidei articulis" (1709). Although widely renown as a polemical theologian, Pichler is better known as a canonist. He published his "Candidatus juris prudentiæ sacræ" in 1722; this was followed by "Summa jurisprudentiæ sacræ universæ" in 1723 sqq. He also issued "Manipulus casuum jiridicorum" and several epitomes of his larger canonical treatises. Pichler's controversial works were in great vogue during the eighteenth century, while his books on canon law were used as textbooks in many universities. His solutions to difficult cases in jurisprudence gave a decided impetus to the study of the canons and afforded a key to the intricate portions of the "Corpus juris canonici". Fourteen of Pichler's works, excluding the many editions and alterations, are enumerated.

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