Jordan Aumann O.P.: Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition



The period covered under the heading "modern spirituality" extends from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century and the focal point is France. While it is true that modern spirituality retains something of the affective flavor of the teaching of St. Francis de Sales, except for Italy, the Salesian influence has not been predominant. Rather, the spirituality fashioned by the French school was eminently Christocentric, firmly rooted in the Christology of St. Paul and the theology of St. Augustine.

"We would have expected that period to produce some masterpieces in theology," says Florand, "but when we list Chardon's Cross of Jesus, the Sermons of Bossuet, the Meditations of Malebranche, we have practically named them all. The Pensées of Pascal are but 'a woodpile in disorder'.(1) Nevertheless, the Christocentric spirituality of the French school was diffused so widely that for all practical purposes Catholic spirituality in modern times could be characterized as French spirituality. This is especially evident when we consider the vast influence of French culture and religion on countries throughout the world, particularly during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

In order to evaluate the strength and the weakness, the orthodoxy and the distortions of the French school of spirituality, it will be necessary to retrace our steps somewhat in order to investigate its origins and trace its development.


France in the sixteenth century was the scene of intense religious activity, directed principally against the Protestants. But life within the Church was anything but fervent. The regulations of the Council of Trent were in large part a dead letter; the king was absolute sovereign of all religious holdings; bishops were worldly, priests were ignorant and immoral, and religious life was at a low ebb. Reaction against the Protestants was practically the only restraint and the only unifying factor.

The first move toward actual reform of the life of the Church must be credited to the Capuchins (who came to France in 1573), the Carmelite nuns (who introduced Spanish spiritual teaching through Anna of Jesus), the Jesuits (established in France in 1553), the professors at the Sorbonne, and the Carthusians.

The Capuchin, Benedict Canfeld (1562-1610; born William Fitch in Essex, England, and a convert from Puritanism), is of special importance as a forerunner of the French school of spirituality. His treatise, Règle de perfection, went through twenty-five editions and was translated into all the European languages and into Latin as well. The theme of the work is the necessity of death to self and total abandonment to God. The sources of his doctrine are impressive: pseudo-Dionysius, Herp, St. Bonaventure, Hugh of Balma, Alphonus of Madrid, the Institutions of pseudo-Tauler, Ruysbroeck, Theologia Germanica, Blosius, St. Catherine of Genoa, The Cloud of Unknowing, and Walter Hilton.

Another Capuchin, Joseph Tremblay (I577-1638), wrote Introduction à la vie spirituelle par une facile méthode d'oraison, which is an adaptation of the Ignatian Exercises to the Franciscan spirit and usage. Tremblay was known as "the gray Eminence" when he became attached to the household of Cardinal Richelieu in 1613.

However, the French school of spirituality starts with Bérulle, although he was influenced to some extent by what is called the "abstract" school of Benedict Canfeld, Dom Beaucousin the Carthusian, and a few Capuchins of mystical tendencies.(2) Only relatively recently has it been possible to study Peter de Bérulle with any degree of objectivity and calmness. During his lifetime (1575-1629) he aroused the hostility of the Carmelites, the Jesuits and Cardinal Richelieu. Through the centuries since his death, authors have tended either to exaggerate his originality (Bremond) or to classify him as a poor transmitter of Ignatian spirituality (Pottier).(3)

$From his earliest years Bérulle was drawn to God and divine things. He took his early studies under the Jesuits, made the Exercises to determine his vocation, and then studied at the Sorbonne and was eventually ordained a diocesan priest. He knew St. Francis de Sales (who spoke highly of Bérulle) and was instrumental in bringing the Carmelite nuns from Spain to France; he also became their spiritual director. As regards his spiritual doctrine, he had read the works of St. Francis de Sales, St. Ignatius, and St. Teresa of Avila (on his knees), but he was especially devoted to the study of St. Augustine and the Fathers of the Church. He was also influenced at first by Herp and Ruysbroeck, but in systematic theology he followed the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas. Some authors find traces of the teaching of St. Gertrude and Ludolph the Carthusian in Bérulle's doctrine so far as it is Christocentric.(4)

The first work published by Bérulle was Brief discours de l'abnégation intérieure (Paris, 1597) and it reveals that at this early period Bérulle was thinking along the lines of the abstract school. Possibly it was a French adaptation of an Italian treatise composed by Isabella Bellinzaga, assisted by the Jesuit, Achille Gagliardi: Breve compendio de la perfezzione. As the title indicates, Bérulle treats of the abnegation necessary for total adherence to God.

The first, a very low estimate of all created things and of oneself above all, acquired by the frequent thought of their baseness and by the daily experience of one's nothingness and infirmity .... The second is a very high idea of God, not by a deep insight into the attributes of the divinity, which is not necessary and which few have, but by the total submission of self to God in order to adore him and give him all power over us and what is ours, without reserving any personal interest.(5)
Several events in the life of Bérulle weaned him from the abstract school and emphasis on self-abnegation; he turned to a spiritual doctrine based on the positive commitment or adherence to Christ. First of all, in 1602 the Carthusian Beaucousin translated into French the Perla evangelica (by an unknown Dutch author). Since Beaucousin was Bérulle's spiritual director at the time, it is certain that Bérulle was familiar with this treatise; in fact, in his Trois discours de controverse (1609), Bérulle uses the same words, style and doctrine as found in the Perla evangelica.(6) The doctrine, of course, is eminently Christocentric.

Secondly, in 1602 Bérulle made the Ignatian Exercises under the direction of Father Maggio and was powerfully impressed with the self-humiliation of Christ.

In thinking of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, I weighed deeply and at length in the depth of my soul this sovereign goodness of the eternal Word who, as very God, is so exalted above all created things, and has indeed deigned to humiliate and abase himself so low as to place on his throne so vile and abject a nature, and has indeed willed to be associated and united therewith so closely that no greater or more intimate union can be found. As the Incarnation is the foundation of our salvation, I have weighed most deeply how great ought to be the abjection of self by which he who is resolved to labor for the salvation of his soul must begin, since the Son of God deigned to begin it in this mystery by the humiliation and abasement of his divine and eternal person.(7)
Thirdly, through his close association with the Carmelite nuns, whom he introduced into France and then served as spiritual director, and through his reading of the works of St. Teresa of Avila, he became convinced of the central position of Christ in the spiritual life. It was also at this time that Bérulle discovered the works of St. John of Avila and Louis of León, both Christocentric writers.

Finally, Bérulle's disputes with the Protestants, which caused him to write Trois discours de controverse, forced him to go back to patristic sources, where he absorbed Christological doctrine, and then to go back to St. Paul and St. John. In this way the spiritual doctrine of Bérulle was gradually elaborated, to be completed by the founding of the Oratory of Jesus (r6t r), under the patronage of Christ, the Sovereign Priest.

Between 1611 and 1613 Bérulle composed a series of prayers for the use of the members of the Oratory and for the Carmelite nuns under his direction. At this time he extended his spiritual doctrine on Christ to include Mary, and from that time on he never separated the Son from his Mother. Yet in the entire scheme of his doctrine his spirituality did not terminate either in Jesus or Mary; rather Bérulle's concept of the journey to perfection was "to Christ through Mary and through Christ to the Trinity."

Unfortunately, the one thing that was original in Bérulle's teaching aroused the animosity of the Carmelites, Duval and Gallemant, and ended Bérulle's friendship with Mme. Acarie (1566-1618), who had entered Carmel as a lay sister, taking the name of Marie of the Incarnation. It also caused his Elevations to be censured by the University of Louvain and the University of Douai.(8)

The point at issue was Bérulle's "vow of slavery to Jesus and Mary." Whether it was due to an excessively pessimistic interpretation of St. Paul and St. Augustine or a reaction to the unwarranted exaltation of human nature and freedom at the hands of the humanists, Bérulle looked upon man as "the most vile and useless creature of all; indeed, as dust, mud and a mass of corruption."(9) Man must therefore wage relentless war against his own misery and sinfulness and at the same time have a deep conviction of his need for God's grace. He must strive to reach the point of total adherence to God, but this can be done only at the cost of heroic self-renunciation. This, in turn, involves various elements: voluntary renunciation of all sensible and spiritual consolations in order to give the soul a "capacity for grace"; a fervent desire to love God with all one's heart, accompanied by humble prayer of petition to this effect; an opening of one's soul to the operations of the incarnate Word, at the same time willing whatever Christ wills; and finally, to maintain the disposition of total self-annihilation before Christ by making the vow of holy slavery to Jesus and Mary. In this way there is nothing left of self, but everything is surrendered to the action of Christ.(10)

Bérulle had intended his vow of slavery only for those persons of the Oratory and Carmel who were advanced in Christian holiness. But as it became more widely known it was subjected to attack by the theologians who could see in Bérulle's doctrine at least the seeds of Jansenism, Quietism, Lutheranism or the abstract spirituality of the Low Countries and pseudo-Dionysius, which by this time was completely out of favor. At the urging of his friends, Bérulle defended and explained his doctrine in his masterly work, Grandeurs de Jésus.(11)

The vow of slavery to Jesus and Mary was no longer presented as an action restricted to those in the higher stages of the spiritual life, as formerly, but as a logical consequence of the baptismal vows taken by all Christians. To justify his doctrine, Bérulle shifted his emphasis from man's self-renunciation to the "servitude of Christ's humanity in the hypostatic union." The human nature of Christ, considered apart from the divinity of his person, is "essentially in a state of servitude and remains in this state permanently and perpetually, with regard to the divinity, by reason of its very nature and condition."(12) If, therefore, we place ourselves in a similar state of slavery in relation to Christ, we shall be able to belong to him completely, and thus share in his very life and grace. Hence the vow of servitude to Christ composed by Bérulle:

With this desire I make to thee, O Jesus my Lord, and to thy deified humanity, a humanity truly thine in its deification and truly mine in its humiliation, sorrows and sufferings; to thee and to it I make an oblation and entire gift, absolute and irrevocable, of all that I am through thee in being, by nature and in the order of grace .... I leave myself then wholly to thee, O Jesus, and to thy sacred humanity, in the most humble and binding condition that I know: the condition and relation of servitude, which I acknowledge to be due to thy humanity as much on account of the greatness of the state to which it is raised through the hypostatic union, as also on account of the excess of voluntary abasement to which it became reduced and humbled foamy salvation and glory, in its life, its cross, and in its death .... To this end and this homage I set and place my soul, my state and my life, both now and forever, in a state of subjection and in relations of dependence and servitude in regard to thee and to thy humanity thus deified and thus humiliated together. (Oeuvres complètes, P. 490.)
Because of her exalted dignity as Mother of God, Mary is likewise honored by a vow of holy slavery which Bérulle expresses as follows:
I vow and dedicate myself to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, in the state of perpetual slavery to his most holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. In perpetual honor of the Mother and the Son, I desire to be in a state and condition of slavery as regards her office as the Mother of my God, in order to honor more humbly and more holily so high and divine an office, and I give myself to her as a slave in honor of the gift which the eternal Word has made of himself as her Son through the mystery of the Incarnation that he deigned to bring about in and through her. (Oeuvres comptètes, p. 527.)
After defending the vow of slavery to Jesus and Mary, Bérulle then probed more deeply into the theology of the Trinity and the mystery of the Incarnation.(13) Bérulle's concept of God is pseudo-Dionysian and Platonic, as transmitted by St. Augustine and the Rhineland mystics. He loved to contemplate God in his essence, separated from the world and transcendent, although not as the God of the philosophers but as the God of divine revelation. He also had the same preference as St. Augustine for considering the divine unity, which was for him the principal attribute of God.

He saw the trinity and unity of God as "contrary dialectic moments which are complimentary and ontologically simultaneous."(14) The Father is the principle of the life of the Trinity as source of divinity but he is at the same time alpha and omega. In relation to the incarnate Word, the Father is both father and mother. Bérulle seldom refers to the Word except in terms of the Incarnation, but when he does, he uses the Thomistic terminology: intellectual generation and image of the Father. The Holy Spirit is "produced" as the substantial love which is the result of the mutual knowledge of the Father and the Son.

The Incarnation, according to Bérulle, is God's chief creative act and therefore it would seem that it would have occurred even if it had not been necessary for man's redemption. It is a universal and cosmic event which establishes a new order of grace, of which Christ is the principle and source. We are born of Christ through 'grace as he is born of the Father by nature. Christ's fatherhood through grace is a recapitulation of all things in God (terminology of St. Irenaeus, based on the doctrine of St. Paul); Christ is a micocosmos (St. Gregory's expression); Christ is the archetype of the entire universe (Platonic expression).

When, however, Bérulle attempted to delve more deeply into the mystery of the hypostatic union, he was attacked by the Carmelites and by the ex-Oratorian, Hersent, for maintaining that in the Incarnation the human nature of Christ is united to the divine essence. Here is his argumentation:

If the Person of the Word is united to this humanity, the essence and subsistence of the Word are united. And this humanity of Jesus Christ our Lord bears and receives in itself not only the personal being but also the essential being of God; for the Word is God, God is man, and man is God, according to the most familiar and most common notions of the faith. And the Word is God by this divine essence, and God is man by this humanity. And man is God by the divinity which the humanity receives in the subsistence of the eternal Word, and it is not possible to understand how this personal being of God can be communicated in the essential being of God.(15)
Bérulle also referred to the Incarnation as a kind of "second Trinity," because whereas the first is a Trinity "of subsistence in unity of essence," the second is a trinity "of essence in the unity of subsistence," namely, the soul, the body and the divinity of Jesus. The first Trinity is divine and uncreated in its persons and its essence; the second trinity is divine in the Person but human in its two essences. Bérulle defended himself against his accusers by saying that his doctrine on the hypostatic union was based on the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas.

The remaining years of Bérulle's life were far from peaceful. First of all, he entered into theological conflict with the Jesuits, whom he accused of neo-paganism. In his view they granted entirely too much liberty and responsibility to man in the work of justification and salvation and he wished them to follow more closely the teachings of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Secondly, Bérulle was himself attacked by Cardinal Richelieu, who ridiculed Bérulle's spiritual teaching with great animosity.(16)

Nevertheless, in spite of these troubled years, Bérulle wrote a directory for the superiors of the Oratory, a panegyric in honor of St. Mary Magdalen (said to be one of the most beautiful ever written) and a life of Christ. He died at the altar on October 2, 1629, while celebrating a votive Mass of the Incarnation.(17)

Within fifteen years after his death, Bérulle was almost forgotten, but his spiritual teaching was perpetuated by his disciples, and especially by Bourgoing, who dedicated his entire life to the propagation of Bérulle's Christocentric teaching. A number of reasons can be given for the brevity of Bérulle's posthumous influence, but perhaps the principal one is that he was eclipsed by Condren, Olier and Bossuet, the most illustrious of all. Other factors are: the destructive criticism by Cardinal Richelieu, the enmity of the Jesuits, the indifference of many Oratorians, and the archaic, ponderous style of his writing. Nevertheless, one author stated: "As it is impossible to read the treatises of St. Augustine ... without becoming humble, or those of St. Teresa without loving prayer, so also we cannot read those of Cardinal de Bérulle without becoming filled with reverence for God and the mysteries of his Son."(18)

The foregoing tribute adequately sums up Bérulle's spirituality, which rests on the foundation of the virtue of religion (19) and is directed to participation in the mystery of Christ. Starting with the Augustinian view of man's sin and misery, Bérulle stresses man's need for God. But man also has within himself the imprint of the divine image and a natural desire for God. Only grace through Christ can solve the problem of the tension between man's misery and his desire for God. Thus, two operations are involved in the sanctification of the soul: the work of God in the soul and that of the soul toward God. The first is called grace and the second is virtue. But grace is intimately linked with the mystery of Christ, because Christ is not only the mediator of grace but the very source of grace. Just as the humanity of Christ cannot even exist apart from the divinity of the Person of the Word, so also in the spiritual life we cannot live the life of Christ until we are completely despoiled of self and have put on Christ. Through grace, therefore, a new order is realized in man and its manifestation is "adherence" to God through the virtue of religion.

For Bérulle, participation in the mystery of Christ is not simply "imitation of Christ", which would be something purely external; it is a union with Christ's own life and actions, and especially Christ's prayer, sentiments and adoration of his Father. The most important Christlike activity for the Christian is adoration. Only Christ can give the virtue of religion its plenitude as adoration of the Father; hence, in adhering to Christ, we embrace a spirituality of adoration, an adoration rooted in love because the God we adore is also our last end in which we find happiness and peace.

In explaining how the Christian soul can participate in the mystery of Christ, Bérulle speaks of the mysteries or events in the life of Christ as "states",(20) Each mystery or event is at the same time an historical, transitory action which is finished and will not be repeated, and also the eternal manifestation of "the dispositions and inward feelings of our Lord."(21) The latter is what Bérulle means by "state" and it is eternal; it does not change, because it pertains to the Incarnation, which is an eternal and unchanging mystery. Bérulle says:

The mysteries of Jesus Christ are in some circumstances past, and in another way they remain and are present and perpetual. They are past as regards their performance but they are present as regards their virtue, and their virtue never passes, nor will the love with which they have been accomplished ever pass .... The spirit of God, by whom this mystery was wrought, the internal state of the external mystery . . . is always alive, actual, and present to Jesus . . . . This obliges us to treat the things and mysteries of Jesus, not as things past and abolished, but as things present, living, and even eternal, from which also we have to gather a present and eternal fruit.(22)
The liturgy is a marvelous means of participating in the mysteries of Christ because the liturgy is at once a representation of the historical events or mysteries in the life of Christ, and a sacramental means of entering into the interior and eternal states of Christ, as explained above. Indeed, Christ is the great Sacrament of Christian piety and the primary Sacrament of the Christian religion.(23)

Finally to adhere to Christ, the soul needs a capacity for this participation, and this is provided by the intervention of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the soul must be docile to the Spirit and totally detached from self.

Three names are of special importance in the development and refinement of Bérullian spirituality: Condren, Olier and St. John Eudes. Bremond states that the concept of adherence to Christ was expressed in different ways by the leaders of the French school: "Bérulle by a more general 'adherence,' in some way, to the Person of the Word Incarnate; Condren by a somewhat more particularized adherence to Christ, dead and risen again; finally, Olier by an adherence to the most deep, most religious, most persevering and, consequently, most 'really' active and efficacious annihilation of the same Word in the Eucharist."(24) St. John Eudes summarized everything in devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was the most outstanding promoter of this doctrine in the seventeenth century.

Charles Condren (1588-1641) holds an eminent place among the Oratorians.(25) His personal sanctity was admired by all, but as Superior General of the Oratorians he was dilatory in making decisions. Very likely he would have been an unusually successful spiritual writer, but he preferred to dedicate himself to spiritual direction, conferences and letters. He is much more Augustinian than Bérulle in regard to man's sinful and wretched state; therefore he is much more pessimistic. His main theme in spiritual doctrine is that of sacrifice, which should lead the individual to self-annihilation and complete abandonment to God. Yet sacrifice of self as a victim to God cannot bridge the gap between God's greatness and man's nothingness. This is possible only through the Incarnation; therefore, the humanity of Christ was necessary to offer a fitting sacrifice to God. Three divine perfections especially make a man conscious of his own nothingness and his need for Christ as priest and victim: God's sanctity, his sovereignty, and his plenitude.(26)

Jean Jacques Oiler (1608-1657), founder of the seminary of St. Sulpice, has not yet been studied as he deserves, and his written works have not yet been edited completely.(27) He was a person of difficult temperament and according to some authors he gave signs of mental unbalance, although he is commonly considered an authentic mystic. His best writings were published toward the end of his life and they became standard works on priestly spirituality.(28) Earlier, however, his teaching manifested the pessimism and exaggerations characteristic of the French school of spirituality. Like Bérulle and Condren, his spiritual teaching rests on the two themes of self-abnegation and adherence to Christ.

Taking his cue from the teaching of St. Paul on the opposition between the flesh and the spirit, Olier maintains that man must annihilate himself so that the Holy Spirit may work in him. Even after baptism, which "restores" the soul, the flesh remains corrupt. If, therefore, a man follows the inclinations of his body, he can only sin; for that reason he must hate his flesh and never yield in any way to it. Rather, he must love pain, suffering and persecution; even the necessary functions such as eating and drinking must be kept to the minimum imposed by necessity. This severe self-abnegation is man's way of expressing the reverence, adoration and love that comprise the virtue of religion, which has its perfect manifestation in Jesus Christ.

Thus, Olier comes to adherence to Christ, the principal theme in the French school, but with an emphasis that is particularly his own. He states: "Our Lord has made me see that, desirous of renewing the primitive spirit of the Church in these days, he raised up two persons in order to begin this design; Monsignor de Bérulle to honor him in his Incarnation and Fr. Condren to honor him in the whole of his life, his death and, above all, in his resurrection. But there remains to do him honor after his resurrection and his ascension, as he is in the most august sacrament of the Eucharist .... He was willed to bestow upon myself, as successor to Fr. de Condren, the grace and spirit of this adorable mystery."(29)

According to Olier, the sacred humanity of Christ is annihilated in the Incarnation by being deprived of its own personality; it is clothed with divinity and totally consecrated to the Father. In like manner, we should become annihilated in regard to our own interests and self-love so that we can be clothed with Jesus Christ and, in keeping with the mystery of the Incarnation, be completely consecrated to the service of God. Olier drew up specific practices for preserving one's conformity with Christ, but he designates the Eucharist as the most effective means of union with Christ, and he notes its importance for the renewal of the clergy. Christ in the Eucharist is the model for all priests and the source of all priestly holiness."(30)

St. John Eudes (1601-1680), founder of the Congregation of Jesus and Mary and of the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity (Good Shepherd), was the first to observe the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.(31) Although he was one of the chief proponents of Bérullian spirituality, he avoided the abstract or metaphysical elements in Bérulle's writings, preferring to compose a practical manual for the spiritual life of ordinary Christians.(32) Renowned as a preacher and confessor, his special contribution to the Church in France was the renewal of the parish clergy and the foundation of a seminary for the proper formation of candidates for the priesthood. In the Church at large, however, he is most highly regarded as the apostle of devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.(33)


Time and again in the history of the Church the excesses that emerged in Christian spirituality were rooted in the fundamental problem of the relationship between grace and human nature. In France the traditional doctrine, which states that grace perfects nature, elevates it to a higher level through a participation in the divine life while leaving it intact as human nature, was obscured by a doctrine that either destroyed nature and replaced it with grace, or exalted nature to the point that grace was unnecessary. Jansenism and Quietism, the two excesses that marked the spirituality of the French school, were related to each other in the sense that they both exaggerated the role of grace at the expense of human nature and human effort; in other respects, however, they were poles apart. The upheaval in French spirituality lasted for an entire century from 1650 to 1750 -- and the ill effects were felt in the Church until the twentieth century.

Since theologians and historians have studied these two heretical movements in great depth, it is not necessary to do more than give a cursory survey of the rise and influence of each one.(34) Bérulle and his followers, as we have seen, reacted strongly against humanism by stressing the Augustinian teaching on the baseness and sinfulness of man and his utter dependence on God in the order of grace. Although the Bérullians were unyielding in their opposition to the Jansenists, they may have unwittingly provided some doctrinal leverage for the heretical thrust. Saint-Cyran was a great admirer of Bérulle, and when the latter died and no Oratorian dared to preach the funeral eulogy without risking the wrath of Cardinal Richelieu, Saint-Cyran circulated an open letter in which he paid tribute to Bérulle.(35)

Another factor that contributed to the rise of Jansenism in particular was the effort to combat the errors of Luther and Calvin. To get right to the heart of the difficulty, the humanists decided to soften the Augustinian and Thomistic emphasis on predestination and the gratuity of grace in order to emphasize man's freedom and the necessity of his cooperation with grace. The reaction was not slow in coming. At Louvain, Michael Baius (+ 1589) asserted that the humanists had gone too far; actually, man is no longer free after original sin; all he can do is sin, until he receives the grace of justification, for which he can do nothing by way of preparation.(36)

Leonard Lessius, a Jesuit professor at Louvain, answered Baius by stating that God from all eternity has determined that grace sufficient for justification be given to each one through the merits of Christ and at the moment that God himself chooses. Sufficient grace becomes efficacious as a result of man's voluntary acceptance and then, since God foresees man's future merits as a result of grace, he predestines man to further graces and to salvation.(37)

In Spain, meanwhile, Dominic Bañez, Dominican professor of Salamanca from 1577 until his death in 1604, rallied to the defense of Augustinian and Thomistic doctrine. According to Bañez, prior to any consideration of man's merits, God decrees the acts of man and the free manner in which man performs those acts.(38) Man, therefore, remains free, but always within the providence of God, for it would be impossible for a man to be so autonomous that he becomes the total cause of his own actions. This would make God dependent on man, at least as regards the knowledge of man's free actions.

In 1588 Louis Molina, S.J., published his famous Concordia liberi arbitrii cum gratiae donis at Lisbon. He proposed an original explanation by which man's freedom could be respected without detracting from the infallibility and universality of God's knowledge and causality. Since the exercise of man's free will is conditioned by a variety of circumstances, God does not know them by his scientia simplicis intelligentiae (which knows things that could but never will exist) nor by his scientia visionis (which knows those things which God has decreed will definitely exist). The conditioned future acts of man's free will are known by a third type of divine knowledge which Molina calls scientia media: from all eternity God foresees how a man will act in given circumstances, and in view of that knowledge, God offers to man such and such a grace as he sees that man will react to it.

The Dominicans strongly attacked the Molinist teaching but the Roman congregation De auxiliis gratiae (1597) failed to resolve the question, and Molinism enjoyed great popularity until the beginning of the seventeenth century, when once again the Augustinian teaching came into favor. This, as we have seen, was aided to a great extent by Bérulle and his followers.(39) Jansenism, however, is an exaggeration of St. Augustine's teaching and the Bérullian French school was vehemently opposed to the excesses of Jansenism.

The originators of Jansenist teaching were John Duvergier Hauranne (1581-1643), more commonly known as Saint-Cyran because he became abbot there in i6ao, and Cornelius Jansen (1585-1638), a doctor at Louvain and later bishop of Ypres. Saint-Cyran and Jansen both felt that humanism and Molinism gave so much freedom to man that for all practical purposes they nullified the necessity of redemption by Christ. So many concessions were made to human nature, especially with the introduction of probabilism and casuistry to moral theology, that Christian moral teaching had become scandalously lax and pagan. Even St. Francis de Sales did not escape their disapproval:

There are in the saints, in the greatest saints, dangerous qualities which are good only for themselves and which can sometimes be harmful to others who wish to imitate them without having their spirit, grace, and the same blessing of God .... Such are the "mildnesses" of the holy Bishop of Geneva, which made him increase in grace, but which to others could be harmful, either through their own fault or through ignorance and the bad handling of those in charge of them .... My Lord of Geneva was a holy man, but he was not one of the apostles; and it is their general rules that we have to follow.(40)
Jansen and Saint-Cyran proposed as the "authentic primitive teaching" the following points: because of original sin, human nature is fundamentally corrupt; man is totally incapable of choosing between good and evil; grace alone suffices to necessitate man's actions and choices; only the elect will be saved and only the elect can benefit from the Redemption; sacramental absolution is not to be given until the penance has been performed; perfect contrition is required for absolution from sin; pure love of God is demanded as a requisite for worthy Communion; the primary practice of the Christian life is the performance of penitential acts.(41)

Saint-Cyran accordingly proposed "to abolish the present state of the Church"; he declared that God intended to bring down the existing Church in ruin, and to put a renewed Church in its place .... Jansen took upon himself the reform of doctrine, while Anthony Arnauld was to re-establish the practices to the past. Both worked under the inspiration of Saint-Cyran. It is generally recognized by historians that Jansen and Saint-Cyran together initiated the movement of religious reform, and that the latter, "himself already 'Calvinized,' infected with his heretical poison" the future author of the Augustinus.(42)

Under the pretext of making Christians more worthy of God's love and mercy, the Jansenists alienated them from God by inculcating a fear that bordered on despair and a penitential spirit that violated the fundamental laws of charity and piety.(43) Preoccupied as they were with man's need for grace and his inability to do anything to dispose himself for it, they distorted Christianity into a religion of pessimism and scrupulosity. At the same time, their preoccupation with self soon evolved into a consummate pride and egotism, especially evident in Saint-Cyran and Mother Angélique.(44) The result of all this was a spirituality of dour moralism which haughtily cut itself off from the mainstream of Catholic life. As Knox puts it: "Overlooked in its cradle by the mournful faces of Saint-Cyran and Mother Angélique, Jansenism never learned to smile. Its adherents forget, after all, to believe in grace, so hag-ridden are they by their sense of the need for it."(45)

Although the number of Jansenists was relatively small and centered for the most part in the convent of Port Royal ,(46) the spirit of Jansenism lived on long after its death. Various reasons can be given for the stubbornness of the heresy: first, the friends of Port Royal were persons of high position in the Church (Bishops Arnauld, Colbert and Noialles), the royal court (the Duchess de Longueville) and literary circles (Pascal, Racine and Madame de Sévigné); secondly, the tardiness with which Richelieu took action against Saint-Cyran;(47) and thirdly, the clumsy efforts of the French Jesuits to halt the movement.(48)

Ultimately, however, Jansenism ended its tragic course. It had started with the desire to restore the purity of primitive Christian doctrine and practice; almost immediately it became involved in the argument over grace and human freedom; then it manifested itself as a self-conscious asceticism that became increasingly puritanical; and finally it enclosed itself in total separation from the world and from the rest of Christianity by a futile attempt to restore the eremitical life, as if to set up a little church within the Church. The death blow was dealt by Pope Clement XI, who issued the bull Unigenitus in condemnation of more than 100 propositions excerpted from the work, Réflexions morales, by the ex-Oratorian Quesnel. Many of the French clergy refused to accept the decree of the Pope and in 1718 another bull, Pastoralis oficii, excommunicated all who refused to yield.(49)


Although Jansenism was introduced into the Netherlands when Arnauld, Nicole and Quesnel fled there from France, it is essentially a "French disease." Quietism, on the other hand, was a more general infection which ultimately was localized in France. And although one would be led to think that Quietism is a natural outgrowth of Jansenism, the Jansenists and the Quietists were bitter enemies. Knox sums up the situation as follows:

We are told that, as the result of a "split cell," a twin birth may take the form, not of two similar, but of two complementary and therefore opposite products; what one lacks is emphasized in the other. So it was with Jansenism and Quietism; like Jacob and Esau they were enemies from birth. Jansenism is Lutheranism, with the Fathers substituted for the Bible; and the Jansenists reacted to Madame Guyon exactly as Luther reacted to the prophets from Zwickau -- no one is so embittered against mysticism as the mystic manqué. Engrossed in the theology of predestination, the Jansenists were disgusted by the appearance of a rival sect which asked whether, after all, one's own salvation mattered so very much. Prone to identify grace" with sensible devotion, they felt little in common with a system which regarded sensible devotion as a kind of imperfection, a sign of spiritual inferiority. And, above all, they distrusted Quietism because it seemed to be presenting the world with a soft option, to be underestimating the difficulty of being a Christian .... Jansenist and Quietist, both have affinities with the Protestantism of the Reformation, but not the same affinities -- in fact just the opposite. Jansenism, as you see it in Pascal, has its doctrine of assurance but will not hear a word about human perfectibility. Quietism believes in perfection but denies even to the most perfect the conviction that he is saved.(50)
An erroneous doctrine does not spring forth, full grown, without any previous preparation of the minds that will receive it. Usually it begins with an emphasis on some particular point of Christian teaching or some aspect of the Christian life and then gradually reaches a point at which the doctrine is exaggerated beyond due proportion. Even the most holy and dedicated persons can be the unconscious promulgators of heterodox teaching. In their zeal they fail to see that they are guilty of exaggeration or they are blind to the logical conclusions that follow from their initial statements. Moreover, heretical doctrines and movements are frequently generated as a reaction to some teaching or practice that is judged to be excessive. Over-reaction and unrestrained zeal can easily lead to a distortion of the faith and its ultimate loss.

In order to understand the impact of the Quietist doctrine and the movement that grew out of it, it is necessary to take a backward glance at those writers whom Pourrat classifies as "pre-Quietists"(51) Some of them were authors whose works were partially or entirely condemned by the Church; others were writers whose teaching was basically orthodox but perhaps badly expressed. As an attitude which concentrates on the pure love of God, perfect abandonment to the divine will and the passivity necessary for genuine contemplative prayer, Quietism has been a phenomenon in Christian spirituality since the early centuries. As Knox says: "Quietism is a morbid growth on the healthy body of mysticism, and mystics of recognized orthodoxy may carry the germs of the disease without developing its symptoms."(52)

The first group to have a marked similarity to Quietism were the Alumbrados, who appeared in Seville and Cádiz in 1575 and were condemned by the Inquisition in 1623. Their teaching included the following tenets: vocal prayer is to be discouraged in favor of mental prayer, which is necessary for salvation; the absence of all sensible consolation makes mental prayer more meritorious; the individual must avoid the use of all mental concepts, even the representation of the sacred humanity of Christ; the direct contemplation of God is effected by an illumination which is nearly the lumen gloriae; those who have reached perfection do not have to perform virtuous acts and by a special grace they could perform objectively immoral acts without committing sin; the perfect tend to withdraw from all worldly affairs and to disdain marriage and the marriage act.

The Edict of Seville against the Alumbrados in 1623 made some Church authorities suspect of even the slightest taint of illuminism, with the result that even orthodox authors sometimes fell under suspicion or outright condemnation. Sometimes, indeed, the inquisitors reached back across the years to condemn authors who were long since dead (e. g., Benedict of Canfeld and John de Bernières, whose works in the Italian translation were condemned in 1689).

The spread of enthusiasm for the "prayer of simple regard" and acquired contemplation contributed in no small measure to the fostering of quietistic tendencies. As Guilloré stated: "The weak and the strong, the mediocre and the good, the most unmortified and ignorant, as well as the most understanding, almost all without distinction crowded into the way of prayer of simple regard."(53) In fact, this type of mental prayer became such a fad that Surin remarked that some deluded persons talked about it endlessly, so that "their spirituality is nothing but words. These people are very far from the simplicity of the spirit of God; their language, their sentiments, their behavior -- all are affected."(54)

It will be helpful to identify the individuals whose writings contributed directly to the spread of Quietism and the ultimate controversy between Bossuet and Fénelon. The first name we encounter is that of John Falconi, a Spanish Mercedarian who died at Madrid in 1638 with a reputation for holiness. In 1651 the Mercedarians published his most important work, Cartilla para saber leer in Cristo, and in 1662 his complete works were published at Valencia.(55) Even during his lifetime, Falconi was criticized for his emphasis on the passivity of contemplative prayer and the importance of the act of faith, with little or no regard for the other virtues. The goal of Christian perfection, according to Falconi, was to reach the state of "one unbroken act of contemplation." His works were translated into French and Italian and eagerly read by the members of Quietist societies in Italy and France. According to Knox, however, Falconi's works would not have been condemned if it had not been suspected that Molinos was inspired by them.(56)

The second writer, Francis Malaval, was born in 1627 and blinded in an accident at the age of nine months. Nevertheless, he eventually became a doctor of theology and canon law. In 1664 Malaval published at Paris a work that had great success; it was entitled La pratique de la vraie théologie mystique. As the title indicates, it treated of contemplative prayer, which for Malaval was "nothing but an unalterable loving gaze upon God present." The purpose of the treatise was to show that God can be found by faith in the depth of one's soul and to explain how the soul should prepare itself for contemplative prayer by withdrawing into self, rejecting all sensible and imaginative images. Like some of his contemporaries, Malaval equated the prayer of simple regard with the prayer of the simple presence of God and he seems to have been unduly anxious to lead people indiscriminately into the ways of mystical contemplation. The French edition of his book was condemned in 1695 and the Italian translation was condemned in 1688. Malaval submitted in all humility and died in 1719 with a reputation for sanctity.

With the third writer, Michael Molinos (1628-1696), we come to the very source of the infection of Quietism. Oddly enough, it is not in his principal work, Guía espiritual,(57) that we find any explicit heresy. In fact, when the Jesuits, Bell'huomo and Segneri, wrote against the doctrine they found in the book by Molinos, their own works were promptly placed on the Index.(58) The heresy of Molinos was to be found elsewhere, as Pourrat points out:

If the Spiritual Guide, considered in itself and at its face-value, is little worse than Malaval's Pratique facile or Falconi's Alphabet, its author's spoken commentary on it is another matter .... Many competent men declare that they would be hard put to it to find propositions in the Spiritual Guide that could be condemned independently of Molinos' other writings, of his explanations, and of his confession.(59)
Since it is impossible to be sure whether Molinos lived the way he did because of his Quietism or whether he embraced Quietism to defend the way he lived, we must glance briefly both at his life and the doctrine he espoused. He was born in the province of Aragon in Spain in 1627 or 1628; he was educated by the Jesuits and ordained a priest at Valencia in 1652. In 1663 he was sent to Rome to work for the beatification of Francis Simon, a diocesan priest from Valencia. For some unknown reason he was relieved of this assignment but remained in Rome, where he became one of the most sought-after directors in the city of Rome. At the peak of his influence he was under the patronage of Queen Christina of Sweden, who had renounced her throne to become a Catholic.

The first work published by Molinos was a short tract in which he replied in great detail to the Jansenists, who placed severe conditions on the reception of Holy Communion. In the same year (1675) Molinos published his Guía espiritual, and in six years it went through twenty editions. The theme of the book is that the soul should abandon itself completely to God through the practice of the prayer of simple regard, rejecting all other devotions and practices and cultivating an absolute indifference to everything that happens to it, whether it be from God, man or the devil. It is not possible to say for certain whether Molinos deliberately set out to start a new spiritual movement or whether he simply took advantage of a quietistic and mystical ferment that was near the surface of Italian spirituality. What is certain is that Molinos became the "darling prophet" of Quietism.(60)

As we have already indicated, there was in the seventeenth century an unusually great interest in the practice of prayer, especially the more passive and affective types of prayer. Acquired contemplation was considered to be within the reach of all, and the means for attaining it were carefully expounded. As a consequence, the Jesuits, who considered formal, methodical meditation to be the normal type of prayer while contemplation was an extraordinary gift reserved for the few, found themselves in the middle of two bitter enemies, and they were attacked from both sides. The Jansenists opposed the Jesuits for being too humanistic and for leaving too much to human effort in the quest for holiness; the Quietists accused the Jesuits of being enemies of the mystical life and incapable of understanding the higher states of prayer. On this latter point the French Carmelites and Oratorians were in complete agreement with the accusations against the Jesuits.(61) In the end, the Jansenists and the Quietists were condemned, but the Jesuits did not win from a theological point of view.

Historians can do no more than surmise the reasons for the condemnation of Molinos. Some historians blame the Jesuits; some blame the doctrine he taught in his conferences and spiritual directions; others attribute it to his moral depravity, related to his teaching on non-resistence to temptation.(62) What we do know is that after two years of investigation, the original 263 statements were reduced to 68, and these were condemned by the Holy Office. In 1687 Molinos submitted and made a public retraction in the Dominican Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. He also confessed his guilt to the charges brought against his personal morality and was condemned to prison for the rest of his life, where he died in 1696.

The scene now shifts to France, where the story of Quietism ends in a violent controversy. The central character in this final scene is Jeanne-Marie Bouvier de la Motte (1648-1707), the widow of Jacques Guyon du Chesnoy and known to us as Madame Guyon. By the time of her husband's death in 1676, Madame Guyon was already living a deep interior life and practising the prayer of simple regard. She was under the direction of a Franciscan priest whose name she does not mention. Another spiritual director who influenced her at the time was Jacques Bertot (+ 1681), confessor to the Benedictine nuns of Montmartre. From 1673 to 1680 she claims to have passed through the "dark night of the soul," and after considering the possibility of entering the Visitandines, she decided to dedicate herself to some form of apostolate.

Leaving her two sons to be cared for by relatives, Madame Guyon went to Geneva with her daughter and busied herself with the instruction of young women who had converted from Calvinists. The Bishop of Geneva appointed the Barnabite, Francis Lacombe as her spiritual director. From 1681 to 1686 Lacombe accompanied Madame Guyon on many journeys to Italy, France and Switzerland; or when Lacombe was transferred or went on business trips, Madame Guyon was not long in joining him. Knox suggests that Lacombe was trying to escape from her, but others think that the relationship was voluntary and immoral.(63) In 1687 Lacombe was arrested in Paris for holding and teaching Quietism, and after being transferred from one prison to another, he died insane at Charenton in 1715.

With all her traveling and numerous activities, Madame Guyon produced thirty-five volumes of writings.(64) Early in her association with Lacombe, he had commanded her to write down the thoughts that came to her, and she did this quite automatically, without reflecting very much on what she was writing. In her autobiography she states that she was overwhelmed by an irresistible urge to write Les torrents spirituels and that what surprised her most was that the writing seemed to pour forth from the depth of her soul, without passing through her brain.

Madame Guyon became seriously ill in 1683, at which time she claims to have undergone a mystical transformation. From then on, the Infant Jesus replaced her, so that it was no longer she who acted and willed, but God did all things in and through her. She was no longer personally responsible for anything she did or said. From this time on, she suffered a variety of unusual phenomena which Pourrat brands as hysterical in origin.(65)

Madame Guyon then proceeded to claim an authority that came from God himself and to act with the power of God himself. From this point it was only a short step to the statement attributed to Madame Guyon by Cardinal Le Camus: "It is possible to be so united with God that one could knowingly perform unchaste actions with another person without God being offended thereby." In Les torrents spirituels she wrote: "It is the ill will and not the action that constitutes the offense. If one whose will is lost and, as it were, swallowed up and transformed in God were reduced by necessity to doing sinful deeds, he would do them without sinning.(66) Small wonder that she did not go to confession for fifteen years.

At the beginning of 1688 Madame Guyon was confined to the convent of the Visitation in Paris and examined for doctrinal errors, but no evidence was found to indict her. Until 1693 she enjoyed great popularity and extensive influence, especially in high society, but in that same year the bishop of Chartres became alarmed at her doctrine and in 1695 he condemned certain statements taken from Les torrents spirituels.

But Madame Guyon had anticipated the condemnation, for as early as 1693, on the advice of Fénelon, she had submitted her writings to Bossuet for examination. In 1694 she requested an examination of her writings and her actions by a board of three judges: Bossuet, Noailles and Tronson. The examiners drew up a list of thirty-four erroneous statements and Madame Guyon signed the documents, promising not to teach those particular points. The matter should have ended there, but it did not. Pourrat states that neither Lacombe nor Madame Guyon would have received so much space in the history of false mysticism had it not been for the controversy about them between Bossuet and Fénelon.(67)

Francis Fénelon was thirty-seven when he first met Madame Guyon in 1688 and his first impression of her was unfavorable.(68) She states in her autobiography that at their first meeting she felt inwardly that he did not approve of her, but after suffering over the matter for eight days, she found herself completely accepted by Fénelon without any reservations. In a short time Fénelon became a willing instrument for the promulgation and defense of her teaching, as he himself testified: "I have full confidence in you on the strength of your uprightness, your simplicity, your experience and knowledge of interior things, and of God's plan for me through you.(69)

Jacques Bossuet was already an old man and he had little sympathy for mystical matters. However, as Pourrat points out, "there was no need to be learned in mystical theology to be able to detect the deplorable practical consequences of Mme. Guyon's teaching it was inconsistent with the first principles of ascetical theology.(70) Bossuet was determined to stamp out the doctrine and influence of Madame Guyon; Fénelon was equally determined to interpret her doctrine in a favorable light.

The principal points at issue were the theology of "disinterested love" and "passive prayer". When the condemned articles were drawn up in 1695, they had been worded in such a way that both Bossuet and Fénelon were able to hold doctrinal interpretations that were incompatible. When Bossuet sent the manuscript of his Instruction sur les états d'oraison to Fénelon in July, 1696, for the latter's approval, Fénelon returned it to him without reading it. He then set to work on his own treatise, Explication des maximes des saints, which was published in February of 1697, six months before Bossuet's book appeared.(71)

Fénelon's work found supporters among the Dominicans, Jesuits and Oratorians, but in addition to the grim determination of Bossuet, Fénelon also had to cope with Madame de Maintenon, who was resolved to put an end to his influence.(72) Fénelon appealed to Rome in April and again in August of 1697, and his appeal was supported by Louis XIV. For the next two years the battle was waged on two fronts -- Paris and Rome -- until the Holy See, on March 12, 1699, condemned twenty-three propositions taken from Fénelon's book. The condemnation was couched in terms as mild as possible, because Pope Innocent XII was sympathetic to Fénelon and the theologians on the investigating commission were themselves divided. Fénelon submitted without reservation and in autumn of the same year he was named a cardinal by Innocent XII.(73)

The errors of Fénelon can be reduced to the following four statements: 1) a soul can reach a state of pure love in which it no longer experiences a desire for eternal salvation; 2) during extreme trials of the interior life a soul may have a conviction that it is rejected by God, and in this state it may make an absolute sacrifice of its own eternal happiness; 3) in the state of pure love a soul is indifferent to its own perfection and the practice of virtue; 4) in certain states contemplative souls lose the clear, sensible and deliberate sight of Jesus Christ.(74) Nevertheless, Fénelon did not explicitly teach Quietism. When he was notified of the condemnation of Maximes, he was told that the investigators found difficulty with "certain statements which . . . in their primary sense, the sense that first comes to mind, favor some Quietest errors. It .is true that the book contains other statements which exclude the wrong meaning of those just referred to, and which seem to be their correctives. Hence the book cannot be absolutely condemned as containing error."(75)

Both the investigators and the Holy Father felt that there was a danger that persons reading the book could be led into the errors of Quietism, already condemned by the Church. Quietism was thus given the death blow in 1699, but at the same time the fears of Pope Innocent XII were realized: mysticism fell into disrepute and, except for the efforts of a few writers, "the eighteenth century saw almost the complete rout in France of Catholic mysticism."(76)


Since human attitudes and actions usually alternate between action and reaction, it is not surprising that the condemnation of Quietism caused many Christians to conclude that the only safe and sure way in the spiritual life was the "ordinary" way of the virtues and the sacraments. The way of the mystics was considered rare and "extraordinary," and usually suspect. In the first half of the eighteenth century the discredit of mysticism had reached such a point that the standard classical works on the subject were practically unknown.

The revival of Jansenism also contributed to the disaffection for mysticism, since the Jansenists placed emphasis almost exclusively on asceticism, self-denial and the rejection of all human pleasure. Writers such as Caussade, Schram and Emery tried to reinstate mysticism in the face of the reaction against Quietism,(77) and other authors such as Avrillon, Judde and Croiset tried to offset the severity of Jansenism.(78) They represent a group of spiritual writers many of them French Jesuits -- who faithfully followed theologians untainted by any Quietistic or Jansenistic infection.

Many Jesuit writers attained a position of great influence in France after their restoration in 1603.(79) Although the Jesuits themselves did not agree with each other on every point of doctrine, their reputation as Christian humanists was sufficient to make them the enemies of the Quietists and the Jansenists. Louis Richeome (+ 1625) attempted to combat Christian stoicism by emphasizing the shortness of life and the glory of the life to come. He also wrote a treatise on humility, which he divides into six degrees. Stephen Binet (+ 1639), a great admirer of St. Francis de Sales, tried to lead his readers to the love of Christ, but he had little use for mysticism or contemplation. Paul de Barry (+ 1661) was excessively moralistic in his writings, which were criticized for his teaching on good works and for advocating bizarre devotions to Mary. Peter Coton (+ 1626), who enjoyed a close friendship with Bérulle, wrote a book of spirituality for persons living in the world. He wished to supernaturalize every human act and was criticized for blurring the distinction between the natural and the supernatural.

The man who dominated the mystical trend among the French Jesuits was Louis Lallemant (1588-1635), and yet he himself never published anything. His conferences were taken down by two of his disciples, John Rigoleuc and J. J. Surin; later they were edited by Peter Champion and published in 1694 under the title, La doctrine spirituelle du P. Louis Lallemant.(80) As a spiritual writer, he was somewhat outside the Jesuit school of his time and he was denounced to the Superior General.(81)

There is no doubt that Lallemant was in disagreement with the common Jesuit teaching on several points, but he was completely faithful to St. Ignatius in Christology. He held, for example, that the mystical state is not the result of extraordinary grace but the normal (though rare) development of sanctifying grace, the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Lallemant develops his entire doctrine of mysticism on the Thomistic teaching on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, due perhaps to the influence on him by the German and Flemish mystics. In fact, the Superior General, Vitelleschi, admonished Lallemant to confine his teachings to the sources and methods approved by the Society of Jesus.(82)

For Lallemant the basic theme is always the same: the striving for perfection, which consists ultimately in perfect conformity to the divine will. The active phase of the spiritual life is ascetical and it comprises all those exercises which effect a cleansing of the heart. However, Lallemant does not dedicate a great deal of time to this aspect; he develops the passive phase and consequently treats in detail of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. To explain the passivity that marks the soul under the direction of the Holy Spirit, Lallemant compares the infused supernatural virtues to the oars by which one rows a boat and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to the sail which catches the wind and thus causes the movement of the boat.

Treating of contemplative prayer, Lallemant distinguishes between ordinary and extraordinary contemplation. The first is infused contemplation and it is a normal development of the life of grace, activated by the gifts of the Holy Spirit; extraordinary contemplation is accompanied by extraordinary mystical phenomena. Meditation is the prayer proper to those in the purgative state; affective prayer is typical of those in the illuminative state; and contemplation and the prayer of union are attained in the unitive state. The initial stage of contemplation occurs in the prayer of silence or simple gaze. However, Lallemant is unwilling to separate contemplative prayer from the apostolate; rather, he sees it as a fruitful source of apostolic activity. Indeed, the object of contemplation need not be God alone, but it may be anything seen as related to God.(83)

Among the Carmelites, John Cheron wrote Examen de théologie mystique (1657), in which he maintains the distinction between infused contemplation and acquired contemplation (which is available to all through ordinary grace and the practice of discursive prayer). Cheron was particularly concerned with excesses in mystical teaching, the vagueness of theological terminology, and the emphasis on experience rather than theological knowledge. In a similar vein, another Carmelite, Philip of the Trinity insisted that mystical doctrine must always rest on sound theology and he explained the distinction between acquired and infused contemplation as follows:

Christian contemplation is divided into acquired and infused. The first is natural; the second, supernatural. The distinction is similar to that between acquired moral virtue, which is obtained by efforts of the will and is a natural virtue, and infused moral virtue, which God produces in us without any effort on our part.(84)
The Carthusians also opposed Quietism and their Minister General, Dom Innocent Le Masson (1628-1703), branded it as a pernicious and devilish teaching. In order to give proper guidance to the Carthusians, he wrote Direction pour se former avec ordre et tranquillité au saint exercice de l'oraison mentale (1695).

Among the Dominicans the outstanding authors of the period were Chardon, Massoulié, Contenson and Piny. La croix de Jésus by Louis Chardon (+ 1651) is one of the few great spiritual works to appear in seventeenth-century France.(85) According to Florand, the passages on the simplicity and unity of infused contemplation rival the most celebrated texts of Origen, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Tauler and St. John of the Cross. "The few writings that we have from Chardon demonstrate a strong antipathy to the doctrine of Descartes, and I do not doubt that the confidence which Bérulle placed in Descartes explains the indifference of the French Dominicans of that time to the entire spiritual movement of Bérulle."(86) Vincent Contenson (+ 1674) is famous for his Theologia cordis et mentis, which consisted of a spiritual commentary on the Summa theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas, question by question.(87) In 1699, the year of the condemnation of Fénelon, A. Massoulié published Traité de la véritable oraison oú les erreurs des quiétistes sont refutées. According to Massoulié, contemplative prayer may be acquired or infused; the former is ordinary and can be attained with the help of grace like any other virtue, but the latter is extraordinary in the sense that it is infused by God on those whom he pleases. Infused contemplation is not required for Christian perfection because it is totally unmerited and because it may be granted to souls that are less advanced than others in the way of perfection.(88)

Alexander Piny (+ 1674) advocated a type of prayer which consists in a simple concentration on one of the divine attributes, without images or concepts that might distract the soul. He is also a proponent of the practice of the pure love of God, stating that to will to love God is itself an effective love of God.(89)

The Franciscans of this period were generally faithful to the spirit and tradition of St. Francis of Assisi and the theology of St. Bonaventure. There were also notable influences from the Rhineland mystics, Henry Herp and Benedict Canfeld, and traces of the Bérullian spirituality on the question of mortification and self-annihilation. As regards the practice of prayer, the Franciscans had accepted methodical prayer, but always with great insistence on the role of grace in the practice of prayer. Normally they classified the grades of prayer as discursive prayer, affective prayer, acquired contemplation, infused contemplation and supereminent contemplation. The soul could pass from one grade to another, but the highest state of prayer was considered to be entirely gratuitous and extraordinary. The most important Franciscan writers on prayer are Francis Le Roux, Paul de Lagny, Maximilian de Bernezay, Ambrose Lombez and Severin Rubéric.(90)

Three more spiritual writers complete our survey of the authors who perpetuated the basic teaching of Bérulle in the seventeenth and into the eighteenth century in France. St. John Baptist de la Salle (1651-1719), founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, gave great importance to the practice of discursive prayer and composed an extensive treatise on the method to be followed by the members of his Congregation.(91) Of the three parts in the discursive prayer described by La Salle -- preparation for prayer through recollection, application to the subject of prayer and thanksgiving -- the first part is original. The other two parts are also found in Salesian and Sulpician prayer; recollection in the presence of God seems to be based on the teachings of Louis of Granada and St. Francis de Sales. La Salle explains that God can be present to us in a variety of ways: in the place where we are (by his omnipresence or because several are gathered together in his name), in ourselves (either by the divine power which keeps us in existence or by the special presence of grace and his Spirit), or in the church (because it is God's house or because of his sacramental presence in the Eucharist). For La Salle it was absolutely essential for mental prayer that the individual first become aware of the presence of God; nothing else was as effective for withdrawing the soul from external things and for cultivating the interior life. Indeed, the practice of the presence of God is to be maintained through all the stages of the spiritual life; by beginners "by vocal prayer and repeated reasonings," for the advanced by "occasional and extended reflections" and for the more perfect by the prayer of simple regard. Some souls may even attain the state in which God's presence and action are practically the only object of the soul's attention.(92)

The Jesuit John Grou (1731-1803), was a disciple of Surin and a follower of Bérulle. He served, in fact, as a perpetuator of Bérullian doctrine in the eighteenth century, which was so sterile in spiritual literature. The theme of Grou's writing was that God is all and the soul is nothing by comparison; therefore, the gift of self to God is the foundation of all spirituality. The gift of self in one word is "devotion," which for Grou meant "close attachment, absolute and willing dependence, affectionate zeal, . . . a determination of mind and heart to submit to all the wishes of another, to anticipate what he wants, to make his interests one's own, to give up all for him." It is "the holiest and most irrevocable act of religion."(93)

The soul, says Grou, should desire perfection, but less for its own sake than for the glory of God, and this constitutes disinterested love, which at first glance would seem to militate against the virtue of hope. Actually, however, disinterested love purifies hope of all selfish love. Grou was criticized for denigrating the virtue of hope and while he refined his teaching, he lamented the fact that some persons are so hypercritical that they make it necessary to write of spiritual matters only in the most general and vague terminology. Grou's best writings are those which treat of Christ as our pattern and model. "For a Christian," he says, "knowledge is to know Jesus Christ; happiness is to love him; holiness is to imitate him."(94)

More closely related to Bérulle's doctrine than La Salle or Grou was Louis Grignion de Montfort (1673-I7I6), who studied at Saint-Sulpice, where he cultivated an ardent devotion to Mary. He did not separate devotion to Mary from devotion to Jesus, but in his hands Bérulle's vow of slavery became a servitude to Jesus and Mary. He developed his doctrine by stating that all our perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ; therefore, the most perfect of all devotions is devotion to Christ. But Mary was the most perfectly conformed to Christ, and hence the best way for us to be conformed to Christ is through devotion to Mary. "The more a soul is consecrated to Mary, the more it is consecrated to Jesus." Then, speaking explicitly of servitude to Mary, he says:

The principal mystery we celebrate and honor in this devotion is the mystery of the Incarnation, wherein we can see Jesus only in Mary .... Hence it is more to the point to speak of the slavery of Jesus in Mary and of Jesus residing and reigning in Mary .... Jesus is altogether in Mary and Mary is altogether in Jesus; rather, she exists no more, but Jesus alone is in her.(95)
The formula of consecration to Jesus in Mary, which continues to attract many clients, is a complete surrender to Mary of all one's natural and spiritual goods:
I deliver and consecrate to thee, as thy slave, my body and soul, my goods, both interior and exterior, and even the value of all my good actions, past, present and future; leaving to thee the entire and full right of disposing of me, and all that belongs to me, without exception, according to thy good pleasure, for the greater glory of God, in time and in eternity.(96)


According to Pourrat, when Quietism was condemned, Italian spirituality became aggressive and was characterized primarily by its opposition to Quietism. Yet, the Italian writers were careful not to discredit authentic mysticism, as is evident in the books of Segneri, one of the most effective opponents of Quietism.(97) As a result, Italy did not suffer the serious infection from heresy that we have just witnessed in France. Three authors are of special importance in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: Cardinal Bona, J. B. Scaramelli, St. Alphonsus Liguori.

John Cardinal Bona (1609-1674), a Cistercian, was a highly respected liturgist and spiritual writer. His spiritual doctrine is completely orthodox and traditional, drawn from a large number of authors ranging from the Fathers of the Church to his contemporaries. He wrote for the laity especially and traces the path of Christian perfection in view of man's ultimate end. He discusses numerous theories of mysticism but his own doctrine is the traditional doctrine of the classical authors. For him, contemplation is a work of the Holy Spirit, operating especially through the gift of wisdom, as was taught by St. Thomas Aquinas. He also holds for the possibility of an intuitive vision of the divine essence, but it would be a rare privilege and only a momentary vision. Cardinal Bona places great importance on the use of succinct, ejaculatory aspirations for persons in every stage of the spiritual life because they provide an opportunity for the Christian to practice constant prayer and retain a spirit of recollection in the presence of God.

Cardinal Bona is best known for his work on the discernment of spirits, De discretione spirituum, and seems to be one of the first to attempt to compile an exhaustive treatise on the subject.(98) It is based on the teaching of the Fathers, theologians and the experience of the mystics. Although he admits that discernment of spirits may be a charismatic gift, it is more often the result of study and experience, and therefore it is an art that can be acquired. A soul may be led by any one of three spirits: human, diabolical or divine, and the task of the director is to attempt to discern which spirit is at work in a given instance. Among the rules for discernment listed by Cardinal Bona, we find the following:

The divine spirit inclines the soul to what is good, holy, perfect; the evil spirit moves her toward vanity, sensuality, aimless longings.

God's way is to lead the Christian progressively from the imperfect to the perfect, having regard to one's age, state of life and measure of spiritual life. Satan follows no such orderly progress; and he shams untimely fervor, ecstasies and things of that nature.

God usually gives beginners spiritual consolations to encourage them; Satan tries to make the beginner's way very hard, in order to discourage him from perseverance in perfection.

When he receives some spiritual gift a little out of the ordinary, a man who is led by the divine spirit is always afraid that he is being tricked by a delusion. The evil spirit inclines him to grasp it at once and be proudly pleased about it.

God moves a man toward kindness to his neighbor; Satan does the opposite.

When the divine spirit is at work there is always an atmosphere of quiet, good order and caution, even when something very difficult is to be done. The evil spirit calls attention to himself by disturbances, making the soul act excitedly and without self-control.

God gives peace to the righteous and inspires the sinner with remorse; Satan makes the sinner complacent and torments the righteous.

The best indications for detecting the origin of such phenomena as ecstasies, visions and revelations are these: When there is nothing objectionable, nothing contrary to the Christian faith or to good morality in the way these phenomena happen, they may be divine; but this is not enough to give certitude. The mystic's true advance, over a long period of time, in the practice of all the virtues to an exceptional degree is the only practically certain sign.(99)

The Jesuit theologian John Baptist Scaramelli (1687-1752) also studied discernment of spirits and published a book entitled Discernimento degli spiriti in 1753. This work had great authority, but Scaramelh is more widely known for two other works: Direttorio ascetico (1752) and Direttorio mistico (1754). The first work treats of the nature of Christian perfection and the virtues that must be acquired in, order to attain it; the second work, which became a classic, treats of the mystical states and the degrees of mystical prayer.

Scaramelli held that infused contemplation is an operation of the gift of wisdom, but he considered it to be an extraordinary gift. He defines contemplation as an experimental knowledge of God as present in the soul. In his classification of the grades of mystical prayer he lists twelve, and although some theologians followed his classification, the majority have preferred to accept the division given by St. Teresa of Avila.(100)

The most important effect of Scaramelli's teaching on Christian spirituality was the arguments that ensued as a result of his division of asceticism and mysticism and his proposal of two kinds of Christian perfection. Postulating as he did a gratuitous and extraordinary character for all infused contemplation and mystical acts, and asserting that the attainment of mystical contemplation is not at all common among fervent Christians, but very rare, he logically concluded that the ascetical state does not lead to the mystical state. Rather, asceticism and mysticism are two distinct paths to Christian perfection and there is, moreover, a distinct type of perfection proper to each state. The majority of Christians are called to ascetical perfection, which is the life of the virtues; a small minority are called to mystical perfection, which is a life in which the gifts of the Holy Spirit operate in the soul.

As a result of this distinction, it would follow that there is no need for directors of souls to be preoccupied with mysticism, since most Christians need only be preserved in the state of grace and encouraged to live the life of the virtues. It also follows that for these same Christians the evangelical counsels have no application, for their life is lived exclusively under the guidance of the Ten Commandments and the precepts of the Church. While this doctrine seems to have resolved the problems raised by the Quietists, it was in reality an innovation in spiritual theology and a departure from the traditional Catholic teaching.

In a Brief dated April 26, 1950, Pope Pius XII named St. Alphonsus Liguori patron of confessors and moral theologians. The reasons given were St. Alphonsus' "well known and outstanding erudition, prudence, perseverance and patience in the confessional", his efforts to improve the preparation of confessors, the clarity and mildness of his moral theology, and his success against the rigorism of the Jansenists. He was above all a pastor of souls and a spiritual director wh~ possessed extraordinary gifts of nature and grace. Even in his later years, when he himself suffered anxieties of conscience, St. Alphonsus retained his remarkable prudence in the direction of souls and his ability to discern spirits.

St. Alphonsus Liguori was born at Naples in 1696 and at the age of sixteen he had obtained the doctorate in both civil and ecclesiastical law. He practiced law with brilliant success for eight years but abandoned it to study for the priesthood. Ordained at the age of thirty, he founded the Congregation of the Holy Redeemer in 173 a. In 1'762 he was ordained a bishop but thirteen years later he resigned and returned to his Congregation, where he suffered greatly from some of the Redemptorists and from scrupulosity. St. Alphonsus died in 1787.

St. Alphonsus was not primarily a speculative theologian but an expert in what would be called today pastoral theology. Nevertheless, he was not a casuist, in the pejorative sense of that word. He was always aware of man's vocation to sanctity, and in his moral and ascetical works he endeavored to lead souls along the paths of virtue and the practice of prayer. He was, however, opposed to the rigorism of the Jansenists, and for that reason he found it necessary to place great emphasis on the sacrament of penance as the tribunal of mercy and forgiveness. He likewise insisted on the minimum good required of the Christian, the necessity of pursuing Christian perfection according to one's ability at a given time, and the reality of the value of the lesser good. St. Alphonsus also, rejected the excesses of those who misinterpreted the theology of the "pure love" of God.

St. Alphonsus was a prodigious writers (101) and a large part of his works pertain to the spiritual life. His spiritual teaching dominated the Christian life in eighteenth-century Italy to such an extent that we can say that he was for Italy in his time what St. Francis de Sales was for France and Louis of Granada was for Spain in their time. St. Alphonsus was a voracious reader and his works give evidence of his knowledge of the Fathers of the Church and the great doctors of theology. He had a particular admiration for St. Teresa of Avila (whose doctrine on prayer he follows literally), Alphonsus Rodríguez and Louis of Granada. His doctrine is always centered on Jesus and Mary and his constant theme is love of God and abandonment to the divine will. The instrument of salvation and Christian perfection is the practice of prayer. It will suffice for our purposes to provide a summary of the spiritual teaching of St. Alphonsus.

God wills all men to be saints and therefore the Christian who does not have a desire to become a saint may be a Christian, but he will not be a good Christian. Each one should strive for perfection according to his state of life -- the layman as a layman, the religious as a religious, and the priest as a priest. The question of one's vocation is therefore of great importance, and one should embrace the state of life which God desires. The spiritual director should never decide another person's vocation.

All sanctity consists in the love of God and the minimum requisite for the pursuit of holiness is freedom from serious sin. But to love God, the Christian must attach himself to Jesus Christ because the "devotion of all devotions is love for Jesus Christ, and frequent meditation on the love which this amiable Redeemer has borne and still bears for us."(102) Indeed, says St. Alphonsus, "the whole sanctity and perfection of a soul consists in loving Jesus Christ, our God, our sovereign good, and our Redeemer."(103)

If love is the essence of Christian holiness and if love is friendship, then the love that constitutes perfection will necessarily imply conformity to God's will; this, in turn, requires detachment from all that is an obstacle to union with the divine will. The goal, then, is to will only what God wills and thus attain a state of holy indifference to everything but God. Such comformity bears fruit in obedience to God's laws, which are the expression of his will for us.

St. Alphonsus treats in detail of the means for attaining the love of conformity and total detachment. On the positive side, there must be a desire for perfection and a complete submission to God without reserve; on the negative side there must be contempt of self, mortification of the passions, purification of all affections and the effort to avoid all deliberate venial sin. The auxiliary aids are the reception of the sacraments, the practice of prayer, acts of self-denial, daily Mass, visits to the Blessed Sacrament, spiritual exercises and the particular examen.(104) But of all the means for attaining the perfection of charity, the practice of prayer is the most important. St. Alphonsus reasons as follows:

The generality of theologians .... teach that prayer is necessary for adults, not only because of the obligation of the precept (as they say), but because it is necessary as a means of salvation. That is to say, in the ordinary course of providence, it is impossible that a Christian should be saved without recommending himself to God and asking for the graces necessary to salvation. St. Thomas teaches the same.(105)
Turning to the question of mental prayer, St. Alphonsus maintains that mental prayer is morally necessary for the faithful in order to obtain from God the graces they need to advance along the way of salvation, to avoid sin and to use the means that lead to Christian perfection. Taking the words directly from St. Teresa of Avila, he adds: "It is impossible for him who perseveres in mental prayer to continue in sin; he will either give up meditation or renounce sin .... Mental prayer and sin cannot exist together." Prayer is thus the language of love and, indeed, a proof of one's love, because "he who loves God, loves prayer." However, mental prayer should not only proceed from love but it should terminate in love. Since mental prayer is morally necessary for all Christians, it should be simple enough for all to practice it.

It has been said that the spiritual doctrine of St. Alphonsus is oriented to the ascetical life, and that is true, but it is an asceticism which serves as an excellent preparation for the mystical state.(106) He places great stress on total renunciation, complete conformity to the divine will, and an intense life of prayer, all of which are favorable predispositions in mysticism. Like no other theologian of his time, St. Alphonsus made the traditional doctrine on the spiritual life practical and popular, yet he was well within the tradition of the great masters such as St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Francis de Sales.

When treating specifically of contemplative prayer, St. Alphonsus distinguishes between active contemplation, which he calls the prayer of natural recollection, and passive contemplation, which is supernatural and infused. Active or acquired contemplation is the simple gaze on "those truths of which one has hitherto acquired knowledge by means of hard thought and effort."(107) This degree of prayer is within the grasp of all and it constitutes the perfection of the Christian in the life of prayer, barring the possibility that God chooses to lead the soul to a higher, passive type of contemplation. But before doing so, God will first prepare the soul by means of the passive purgations. Then the soul will experience supernatural or passive recollection, "which God brings about in us by means of an extraordinary grace whereby he puts the soul into a passive state. Consequently, there is supernatural recollection (infused, to speak more correctly), when the recollection of the soul's faculties is not caused by the soul's own efforts, but through the gift of light with which God illuminates her and sensibly kindles a divine love.(108)

St. Alphonsus never wrote any systematic manual of spiritual theology nor did he compose a complete treatment of the practical aspects of spirituality. He seems to have presumed in his readers a knowledge of fundamental systematic theology and simply proceeded to give particular instructions and practical applications. Everything he wrote was intended to lead souls to a more perfect Christian life. His works are for the most part in the domain of the ascetical, but with an orientation to the perfection of charity. Among his spiritual sons we find such outstanding souls as St. Gerard Medulla (+ 1757), St. Clement Maria Hofbauer (+ 1820) and J. Schrijvers.(109)


Unlike other European countries, Germany in the eighteenth century was a ferment of mysticism and extraordinary phenomena and the result was an unusually large number of works on questions related to those areas. Among the reasons for this concentration on mysticism, we may list the following: the rise of the Protestant Pietist movement under the leadership of Philip James Spener;(110) German rationalism; and the visions and stigmata of Anna Catherine Emmerich. The historian Dru describes the scene:

At first sight the Reichskirche, at the end of the eighteenth century, seems to conform to the ecclesiastical fashion of the age and to differ in no essentials from the pattern of the Latin countries .... But the externals are in some important respects misleading. The Reichskirche was not, and never had been, a State Church in the modern meaning of the term ....

By the Peace of Westphalia (1648) its possessions had been drastically reduced, by nearly half; and what remained were broken up and scattered, large portions becoming an archipelago of Catholic islands in a Lutheran and Calvinist sea. While the Gallican Church was being centralized under Richelieu and Louis XIV, and isolated as the Huguenots were driven into exile, the Reichskirche underwent the opposite process. It was further decentralized, forced to live in close proximity with other denominations and in cultural surroundings that were sometimes alien to its way of life or beliefs. Catholicism in Germany was exposed to a number of dangers, but these did not include isolation, stagnation or complacency. Neither clergy nor laity could hope to seal themselves off successfully from the trend of the times or become separated from the nation ....

The Church in Germany was supremely fortunate in experiencing a bloodless revolution. The Reichskirche was not violently overturned, but legally buried; in part because circumstances favoured a peaceful end, but also because it had not been passionately hated ....

In France the Revolution was primarily political and it divided the nation. In Germany it was first and foremost a cultural metamorphosis, a sort of second Reformation, which unified the nation even before it achieved economic and political unity .... For sixty years the intellectual life of Germany was at or near boiling point, and the national genius flowered as it had done in France in the seventeenth century-only that it was not classical but romantic .... It forms a single, unbroken process of regeneration in which Germany became conscious of itself . ..." The revolution which has occurred in the minds of thinking men in Germany during the last thirty years," Mme. de Staël wrote in 1811, in De l'Allemagne, "has brought almost all of them back to the feelings of religion."(111)

The claims of visions and revelations by certain Protestant Pietists and the circulation of The Mystical City of God by Mary of Agreda (a Spanish Franciscan nun)(112) occasioned the publication of a treatise against the Pietists by the German Franciscan Melchior Weber in 1714.(113) This work was followed in 1744 by a more extensive but excessively severe book by the Augustinian canon, Eusebius Amort, who attempted to establish the rules of discernment concerning visions and private revelations.(114) He then applied the rules to three mystics: St. Gertrude, St. Elizabeth of Schõnau and Mary of Agreda, but perhaps he was prejudiced against them from the start. Later, Dominic Schram, concerned about the lethargy of the Catholic theologians and the continuing interest of the Pietists in mystical questions, composed a complete work on spiritual theology and mystical phenomena.(115)

A much more serious problem for the Christian life in Germany was the rise of romanticism, which placed the religious beliefs and practices of Catholicism on a par with the pagan cults of India and Egypt and then dismissed them all as superstitions. In the age of enlightenment (Aufklärung), which involved such great thinkers as Fichte, Schelling, Goethe, Schleiermacher and Kant, anything beyond the scope of the human mind was rejected. More than any other man, John Sailer (1751-1832) restored Catholicism to a reputable state in Germany. His writings run to forty volumes and he was read by both Protestants and Catholics.(116)

Geiselmann states: "It is not to Möhler, or even to Scheeben, but to Johann Michael Sailer that we owe the fact that the theology of the nineteenth century rediscovered the mystical conception of the Church as opposed to the legal conception derived from the controversial theology (of the post-Reformation period). "(117) Sailer broke with the Scholasticism of the eighteenth century, so out of touch with the needs of the age, and studied not only Catholic authors, but also the works of Protestants and unbelievers. He was not primarily a systematic theologian, but was dedicated to a pastoral approach which started with the situation and needs of the people rather than theoretical principles. He was familiar with the works of Eckhart, Tauler, Suso, St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross, Fénelon and Thomas à Kempis and he used these works against the teachings of the rationalists of his day. He was accused of being a follower of Kant and a pseudo-mystic, but perhaps Dru is correct when he states that Sailer was simply a man ahead of his time, the forerunner of the Tübingen school.(118) Sailer can be credited especially for stemming the tide of Rationalism and bringing Protestants and Catholics to a state of peaceful coexistence.

John Joseph Görres (1776-1848) is hailed as "the greatest figure in the annals of German Catholicism."(119) That may be true in the wider context of the religious movement in nineteenth-century Germany; it is certainly not true as regards his place in spirituality and mysticism. A layman who returned to Catholicism after holding rationalist teachings for a time, he gained renown by his lectures on mysticism at the University of Munich. Later, these lectures formed the basis of his four volumes entitled Christliche Mystik (1836-1842). Although his lectures and writings sparked a new interest in mystical questions, the doctrine of Görres is dated and of little value today. His purpose was to prove the existence and credibility of the supernatural by demonstrating the existence of the mystical. Mysticism for Görres was of three types: divine, natural and diabolical. Only divine mysticism could bring a soul into union and experience with God, although natural mysticism could make an individual aware of the secret and hidden powers of material nature, while diabolical mysticism referred to some kind of contact and influence of devils. Görres was not critical enough in his selection of materials; his physical and physiological theories have long since been proven inadequate; and his concept of mysticism was theologically inaccurate. Nevertheless, his influence continued long after his death.(120)

Even while Görres was writing his book on mysticism, a controversy was being carried on in Germany concerning the visions and mystical phenomena of Anna Catherine Emmerich, an Augustinian nun who died in 1824. The phenomena began to occur after the convent was suppressed by the government of Jerome Bonaparte in 1811 and Anna Catherine took up residence with a widow at Dülmen. The stigmata appeared in 1812 and it consisted at first of two blood-colored crosses on her breast; the following year she bore the bleeding wounds on her hands and feet and the marks of a crown of thorns on her head. Her visions lasted over a period of years, during which time she revealed facts about the Old and New Testament which have since been verified by Scripture scholars and archaeologists.

Anna Catherine was personally a most fervent and exemplary Christian and there is no evidence of any deliberate intent to deceive. However, her case is complicated by the fact that prior to the mystical phenomena she had suffered a serious illness. This prevented the investigators from stating positively that the phenomena were completely supernatural in origin, although they did confess that they could adduce no natural explanation. Among the throngs that flocked to see her, against her wishes, was Clement Brentano, a poet of the German Romantic school, who became her disciple and remained such until her death.(121)

In 1833 Brentano published The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ; later he started a work entitled The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary and it was completed by his brother and sister-in-law after Brentano's death.(122) These books added to the controversy because numerous knowledgeable people accused Brentano of adding his own ideas and teachings to the revelations of Anna Catherine. The controversy has never been settled to everyone's satisfaction but it did stimulate an interest in mysticism and resulted in a flurry of books and articles.(123)


England was occupied with the work of restoration of the Church after the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 and the establishment of a Catholic hierarchy in 185o. Prior to that, however, two outstanding spiritual writers deserve special mention: Augustine Baker and Richard Challoner.

David Augustine Baker (1575-1641), says Pourrat, "revived mystical traditions in England. He is the link between the fourteenth-century mystics and modern times.(123) A convert from practical atheism, he entered the Benedictines at Padua and ultimately was assigned to the English Benedictine Congregation, now Ampleforth. He practiced intense mental prayer all his life and seems to have reached an exalted degree of infused contemplation. He wrote approximately sixty treatises, though all of his published works were edited by others.(124) He was strongly opposed to methodical mental prayer but encouraged the practice of affective prayer, which he saw as a disposition for infused contemplation. His best writing is on the topics of mortification and prayer.

Richard Challoner (1697-I78I) typifies the best of English Catholicism and his spirit still survives in England. A convert from the Presbyterian Church, he studied at Douai and remained there as a professor after his ordination and ultimately became vice-president of the college. In 1741 he was consecrated coadjutor to the vicar apostolic of London and followed in that position in 1758. He labored to revitalize the English Catholic spirit, but was careful to preserve the link with tradition at the same time that he adjusted to the needs of the times. He revised the Douai-Rheims version of the Bible for English readers, in the hope that he could bring the faithful to an appreciation of the reading of Scripture, but his most successful effort was a prayer book, Garden of the Soul.

The purpose of the book was to provide a manual for devout Catholic laymen, and in keeping with the English temperament, it was characterized by common sense, sobriety and moderation.(125) Challoner also composed two books of meditations, Think Well On't (1728) and Meditations for Every Day in the Year (1764), because he felt the necessity of promoting the practice of mental prayer among the English Catholics. He wrote nothing about mystical prayer, but he translated St. Francis de Sales' Introduction to the Devout Life. Cartmell observes:

Mystical prayer was somewhat in favour in Challoner's time owing to the dangers, partly real and partly imaginary, of Quietism. Directors encouraged the devout to keep to meditation; it was safe and salutary; it did not encourage illusions, it schooled the soul in virtue, and it was a valuable ascetic discipline. Challoner therefore was at one with his age in stressing the value of meditation to the apparent exclusion of other forms of mental prayer. He was, of course, aware of others, higher forms; of the prayer of faith or acquired contemplation from his reading of St. Francis de Sales, and of infused contemplation in its several degrees from the works of St. Teresa. That he had experience of any of these higher forms can only be conjectured.(126)
The religious revival in nineteenth century England, which culminated in the Oxford Movement, was in a sense a blossoming of the seeds sown by Baker and Challoner. As Thureau-Dangin says, Christianity had become a quiet, decent, cold, traditional formality, necessary to a well-organized society; there seemed to be nothing supernatural about it, nor was there any devotion or fervor, much less mysticism.(127) What was needed was a life of prayer, and this is evidenced from the fact that under Anglican auspices the works of Fénelon, Grou, Lallemant, St. Francis de Sales, Scupoli, and the Exercises of St. Ignatius were brought out in English translation. Three men deserve special attention, Faber, Newman, and Manning, although there were others, such as Wiseman, Ullathorne and Hedley, who contributed to the religious revival in England.(128)

The spiritual writings of F. W. Faber (8r4-1863), an Oratorian, are well known throughout the English-speaking world. They are not, however, typically English, because Faber preferred the style of St. Alphonsus Liguori. Today, however, the works of Faber are seldom even mentioned, due primarily to the style in which they are written rather than to the doctrine as such. Renowned as a preacher, in the florid style of his day, Faber wrote in the same manner, with the result that his works are diffuse and full of digressions. As Pourrat puts it, Faber's books "are full of doctrine, but they are full of words as well .... The preacher is never separated from the writer in Faber. When he writes, he talks, and he talks pleasantly, without ever seeming pressed for time."(129)

Of the eight books written by Faber, six of them are meditations on the Christian mysteries, written in the manner of the school of Bérulle (man's nothingness before God the Creator and the central role of the mysteries of Christ in the soul's sanctification). The remaining two are books of spiritual direction.(130) His best books are All for Jesus and Growth in Holiness. The theme of his spiritual writing is found in The Creator and the Creature, in which he states that his intention is to write a "primer of piety" and then goes on to say: "All our duties to God, and to ourselves no less, are founded on r the fact that we are creatures. All religion is based on the sense that we are creatures."(131) Therefore, man's first duty is to give glory to God, and this is done primarily by love. "It is neither the wonderful character of its doctrines, nor the pure simplicity of its precepts, nor the supernatural power of its assistances, which make religion what it is, but the fact of its being the creature's personal love of the Creator. "(132)

Faber then proceeds in the rest of his spiritual books to concentrate on the mysteries of Christ as the central point of Christian holiness.

What would the world be without Jesus? . . . An earth without hope or happiness, without love or peace, the past a burden, the present a weariness, the future a shapeless terror -- such would the earth be, if by impossibility there were no Jesus .... Besides this, Jesus is bound up with our innermost lives. He is more to us than the blood in our veins. We know that he is indispensable to us; but we do not dream how indispensable he is. There is not a circumstance of life in which we could do without Jesus .... But, if he is thus indispensable in life, how much more will he be indispensable in death? Who would dare to die without him?(133)
Faber made it clear that he was not writing a theology of the spiritual life for select souls; he was, in the spirit of the founder of the Oratory, St. Philip Neri, writing a book of instructions for ordinary Christians. For this, Faber could find no better focal point than the mystery of Jesus Christ. His doctrine was so optimistic that some criticized him for making the Christian life too easy and not mentioning the need for asceticism and self-denial.

In his two works on spiritual direction, Growth in Holiness and Spiritual Conferences, Faber reveals himself as an uncommonly acute psychologist, well versed in the various ways of the spiritual life. Like most authors, he divides the path to perfection into three stages: that of beginners ("a wonderful time, so wonderful that '' nobody realizes how wonderful it is till they are out of it, and can look back on it"); secondly, the stage of hardship and asceticism ("a vast extent of wilderness, full of temptation, struggle and fatigue, a place of work and suffering"); and finally the stage reached by chosen souls ("the land of high prayer, of brave self-crucifixions, of mystical trials, and of heights of superhuman detachment and abjection").(134) Faber considered that most devout Christians find themselves at some point in the extensive second stage and they usually die in that stage; consequently, these were the souls for whom he was especially writing.

Henry Edward Manning (1832-1892), founder of the Oblates of St. Charles, was named a cardinal in 1875 and took a leading part in Vatican Council I. Like others in the Oxford Movement, he had a great devotion to the Holy Spirit and he wrote two books on this subject: The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost (1865) and The Internal Mission of the Holy Ghost (1875). As the presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church throughout the ages is the basis of its infallibility, so the presence of the Holy Spirit in the souls of the just is the source of their holiness.

Manning's other principal works are The Glories of the Sacred Heart (1876) and The Eternal Priesthood (1883). It is the book on the priesthood that had the widest circulation and for which he is chiefly remembered. His theology on the priesthood is traditional and orthodox and does not add anything new to the theology of sacerdotal spirituality. Unfortunately, Manning accused religious of judging that diocesan priests could not attain a high degree of perfection and he made an issue out of the term "secular priest," as if it necessarily connoted a worldly priest. Apart from that, his doctrine is similar to that of Newman, but his literary style is more like that of Faber.

John Henry Newman (1807-1890) was primarily an apologist of the first rank, and although he dominated his own times, he can be fully appreciated only with the passage of time. He was not a spiritual writer in the strict sense nor did he deal ex professo with ascetical and mystical matters; nevertheless, through his sermons he did provide valuable insights into the theology of the spiritual life. In fact, he had intended to compose a book of devotion but never completed it. The work, Meditations and Devotions, was compiled from materials collected after Newman's death and published by the Oratorian W. P. Neville in 1895.

Even before he entered the Catholic Church, and while still a leader in the Oxford Movement, Newman was searching for an interior life and was himself a man of deep prayer. He had a special predilection for solitude and as early as sixteen years of age, he was convinced that God had called him to lead a life of celibacy. Moreover, he was completely convinced that he was being led by an interior light which would gradually become brighter and reveal God's plan to him. The inspiring story of his search for truth and his entrance into the Catholic Church give evidence of a spiritual life that was interior, totally subjected to God's plan, and guided by a powerful faith in divine providence. Thus, Newman writes:

God knows what is my greatest happiness, but 1 do not. There is no rule about what is happy and good; what suits one would not suit another. And the ways by which perfection is reached vary very much; the medicines necessary for our souls are very different from each other. Thus God leads us by strange ways; we know he wills our happiness, but we neither know what our happiness is, nor the way . . . . Let us put ourselves into his hands, and not be startled though he leads us by a strange way . . . . Let us be sure he will lead us right, that he will bring us to that which is, not indeed what we think best, nor what is best for another, but what is best for us.(135)
Even while confessing his utter dependence on God, and even as God's design for him was revealed, Newman was humbled by the thought that "there were many men far better than I by nature, gifted with more pleasing natural gifts, and less stained with sin. Yet thou, in thy inscrutable love for me, hast chosen me and brought me into thy fold.(136)

The spiritual life for Newman was not something theoretical or speculative; it was a pulsating reality and a hidden mystery, as the following passages indicate:

A true Christian may almost be defined as one who has a ruling sense of God's presence within him. As none but justified persons have that privilege, so none but the justified have that practical perception of it .... In all circumstances, of joy or sorrow, hope or fear, let us aim at having God in our inmost heart .... Let us acknowledge him as enthroned within us at the very springs of thought and affection. Let us submit ourselves to his guidance and sovereign direction .... This is the true life of saints.(137)

The kingdom of God spreads externally over the earth, because it has an internal hold upon us, because, in the words of the text, "it is within us," in the hearts of its individual members. Bystanders marvel; strangers try to analyze what it is that does the work; they imagine all manner of human reasons and natural causes to account for it, because they cannot see, and do not feel, and will not believe, what is in truth a supernatural influence."(138)

Finally, for Newman as for all theologians, the primacy belongs to charity, but a charity which is a love of complacence in God and tends to contemplative activity. "Love is the gentle, tranquil, satisfied acquiescence and adherence of the soul in the contemplation of God; not only a preference of God before all things, but a delight in him because he is God, and because his commandments are good."(139)

Yet there is room for Martha as well as Mary because "both of them glorify him in their own line, whether of labor or of quiet, in either case providing themselves to be not their own, but bought with a price, set on obeying, and constant in obeying his will. If they labor, it is for his sake; and if they adore, it is still from love of him."(140)

  1. Cf. F. Florand, Stages of Simplicity, tr. Sr. M. Carina, B. Herder, St. Louis, Mo., 1967, pp. 9-10; T. Gannon and E. Traub, The Desert and the City, Toronto, 1969, pp. 227-228.
  2. Cf. J. Huyben, Aux sources de la spiritualité; française du XVIIe s., in SupplVieSpirit, decembre 1930-mai 1931.
  3. Cf. H. Bremond, L'Histoire littérnire du sentiment religieux, vol. 3, Paris, 1921; J. Dagens, Bérulle et les origines de la restauration catholique (1575-1610), Paris, 1952; P. Cochois, Bérulle et l'Ecole français, Paris, 1963; J. Orcibal, Le cardinal deBérulle: evolution d'une spiritualité, Paris, 1965.
  4. Cf. A. Molien, "Bérulle", Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, Vol. 1, pp. 1539-1581.
  5. Oeuvres complètes de Bérulle, ed. J. P. Migne, Paris, 1856, p. 879. The abstract school soon waned because it became too Dionysian and because some of its adherents were accused of Lutheran tendencies. By 1623 the abstract school had practically disappeared in France.
  6. Cf. A. Molien, art. cit., DictSpirAscMyst, Vol. 1, pP. 1539-1581.
  7. Oeuvres complètes de Bérulle, pp. 1293-1294
  8. Cf. P. Cochois, "Bérulle et le Pseudo-Denys," in RevHistRel, 1961, pp. 175-214; "Bérulle hierarque dionysien," in RevAscMyst, n. 147, 1961, pp. 314-353; n. 151, 1962, pp. 354-375.
  9. Cf. Oeuvres complètes, p. 880.
  10. Cf. ibid., pp. 159; 567; 1136; 1195; 1573-1579.
  11. His work appeared in 1623 under the title: Discours de l'état et grandeurs de Jésus, par ('union ineffable de is divinité avec l'humanité et de la dépendance et servitude qui lui est due, et à sa très sainte Mère, ensuite de cet état admirable. It was reprinted four times between 1623 and 1634.
  12. Cf. Oeuvres complètes, pp. 181; 182-185.
  13. See Grandeurs de Jésus, discourses 3 and 4.
  14. Cf. P. Henry, "La mystique trinitaire du bienheureux Jean Ruusbroec," in Mélanges Lebreton, 1952, Vol. 2, p. 340.
  15. Cf. Grandeurs de Jésus, 9, 4, 231.
  16. Some historians believe that Richelieu's animosity toward Bérulle was due in great part to their political differences and that the Jesuits became Bérulle's enemies because the success of the Oratorians was seen as a threat to themselves.
  17. In 1637 the Oratorian Gibieuf edited and published the manuscripts that were found after Bérulle's death, under the title Grandeurs de Marie. Another Oratorian, Francis Bourgoing, third Superior General of the Oratorians, edited and published the complete works of Bérulle in 1644, republished in 1657 and 1663: Les Oeuvres de l'éminentissime et révérendissime P. cardinal de Bérulle, Paris, 1644.
  18. P. Amelote, La vie due P. Charles de Condren, Paris, 1643.
  19. Bourgoing stated that Bérulle revived in the Church the spirit of religion and the cult of adoration and reverence for God (Oeuvres, Preface, pp. 102-103).
  20. Cf. Oeuvres, p. 350.
  21. Cf. op. cit., pp. 1052-1053.
  22. Ibid., pp. 998; 1022; 1050; 1362, passim.
  23. Cf. Molien, "Bérulle" in DictSpirAscMyst., Vol. 1, p. 1554.
  24. H. Bremond, op. cit., Vol. 3, pp. 490-491.
  25. Cf. D. Amelote, La vie du P. Ch. de Condren, Paris, 1643, 2 vols.; Lettres du P. Ch. de Condren, ed. P. Auvrey, and A. Jouffrey, Paris, 1643.
  26. For details on Condren's doctrine, cf. P. Pourrat, Christian Spirituality, Vol. 3, pp. 350-352, 371-377. Claude Séguenot (1596-1676) an admirer and follower of Condren, in a treatise on prayer (Conduite d'oraison pour les âmes, 1634), was strongly opposed to methods of prayer, since prayer occurs in the core of the soul and not in the faculties; it is more God's doing than man's. He also attacked religious life saying that the vows add nothing to Christian perfection nor to the baptismal vow. The just man does not live under the law; therefore, he should not bind himself to the law by vows.
  27. Cf. Oeuvres complètes de M. Olier, ed. Bretonvilliers, Paris, 1856; L. Bertrand, Bibliothéque sulpicienne ou Histoire littéraire de la Compagnie de Saint-Sulpice, Vol. 1, Paris, 1900; P. Pourrat, Jean-Jacques Olier, Paris, 1932.
  28. Journée chrétienne (1655); Catéchisme chrétien pour la vie intérieure (1656); Introduction à la vie et aux vertus chrétiennes (1657); Traité des saints ordres (1675).
  29. Cf. E. Faillon, Vie de M. Olier, Paris, 1873, Vol. 2, p. 209.
  30. Olier also promoted devotion to the Sacred Heart; cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 3, pp. 396-398.
  31. Devotion to the Sacred Heart dates back to St. Gertrude and St. Mechtild in the thirteenth century, but St. John Eudes is the outstanding promoter of the liturgical celebration of this devotion. The first revelation to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque occurred on December 27, 1673.
  32. Cf. La vie et le royaume de Jésus dans les âmes chrétiennes (1637). For biographical data, cf. E. Georges, St. Jean Eudes, Paris, 1925; D. Sargent, Their Hearts be Praised: The Life of St. John Eudes, New York, N. Y., 1949; P. Hérambourg, St. John Eudes: A Spiritual Portrait, tr. R. Hauser, Westminster, Md., 1960.
  33. Le Coeur admirable de la très sacrée Mère de Dieu by St. John Eudes was published posthumously in 1681. For an English version of his works: W. E. Myatt, and P. J. Skinner, Selected Works, New York, N.Y., 1946-1948. The Oeuvres complètes were published in Paris in six volumes between 1908 and 1909.
  34. Cf. P. Pourrat, Christian Spirituality, Vol. 4, pp. 1-288; R. A. Knox, Enthusiasm, Oxford, 1950; L. Cognet, Spiritualité moderne; Paris, 1966.
  35. Cf. M. J. Orcibal, Saint-Cyran et le jansénisme, Paris, 1961.
  36. The doctrine of Baius was condemned by Pope Pius V in 1567 and by Pope Gregory XIII in 1579.
  37. Cf. L. Lessius, Thèses théologiques (1585); Leonardi Lessii opuscula, Antwerp, 1613. St. Francis de Sales accepted the doctrine of Lessius and incorporated it in his Treatise on the Love of God (Part 3, chap. 5).
  38. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, Ia, q. 23, art. 1-8.
  39. For example, Gibieuf, who had been a Molinist before joining the Oratorians, was converted to the Augustinian and Thomistic doctrine by Bérulle and later wrote a book against Molinism. Cf. H. Bremond, op. cit., Vol- 4, P. 28.
  40. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, p. 12.
  41. For detailed account of Jansenistic doctrine, cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4,. pp. 1-33; H. Bremond, op. cit., Vol. 4; Abercrombie, The Origins of Jansenism; L. Cognet, op. cit. , pp. 453-495; M. J. Orcibal, Les origenes du Jansenisme; Sainte-Cyran et le jansenisme, Paris, 1961.
  42. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, p. 13. Arnauld; the brother of Mère Angélique of Port-Royal, published a work against frequent Communion. Jansen's work, Augustinus, appeared at Louvain in 1640. Cf. J. Carreyre, "Jansenisme" in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique, Vol. 8, cols. 318-529.
  43. Saint-Cyran considered it an inspiration from God to stop celebrating daily Mass: "Now that God has led me away from that, I find my consolation and nourishment in the least word of the Scriptures; and I learn by experience the truth of what our Lord says in the Gospel, that man does not live by bread alone (and this applies even to the holy bread of the Eucharist), but by the word that comes from the mouth of God." Cf. Rech. RechScRel, 1913, p. 373 .
  44. Cf. H. Bremond, op. cit., Vol. 4; R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 192-196.
  45. R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 212-213.
  46. Port-Royal, originally a Cistercian convent, was the patrimony of Angélique Arnauld, and with her sister, Agnes she set out to reform the religious life there. Jansenism was introduced to the convent through her association with Saint-Cyran, who replaced Sebastian Zamet as her director. In 1709 the convent of Port-Royal was razed to the ground. Cf. R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 177-182.
  47. "If Richelieu had imprisoned Saint-Cyran when controversy arose over the chapelet secret, there would have been no Jansenism" (R. A. Knox, op. cit., p. 185). When Richelieu finally acted, Jansenism was well established and the imprisonment of Saint-Cyran made him a martyr in the eyes of his followers.
  48. Two facts should be kept in mind regarding the Jesuit opposition to Jansenism: they were not fighting from a position of strength because they had only recently been restored in France; perhaps they were more interested in avenging themselves on the Arnauld family than in overcoming the excesses of Jansenism. Cf. R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 183-188.
  49. Among the opponents of Unigenitus was the deacon, Francis of Paris, who died in 1727 and was buried in the cemetery of Saint-Médard. It was at his tomb that Jansenist "convulsionaries" experienced pseudo-mystical and spiritualistic phenomena. The cemetery was closed by the government in 1732. Cf. A. Grégoire, Histoire des sectes religieuses; R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 373-388.
  50. R. A. Knox, op. cit., p. 234. For a detailed study of Quietism, R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 231-355; P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 101-260; "Quietisme" in Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique; H. Bremond, Histoire littéraire du sentiment religieux, Vol. 4.
  51. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 103-175; R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 231-259.
  52. R. A. Knox, op. cit., p. 240.
  53. Cf. F. Guilloré, Maximes spirituelles pour la conduite des âmes, Nantes, 1668.
  54. Cf. J. J. Surin, Dialogues spirituels ou la perfection chrétienne est expliqué pour toutes sortes de personnes, 2 vols., Avignon, 1829.
  55. The Italian translation of Cartilla and two of Falconi's letters of spiritual direction were placed on the Index in 1688.
  56. Cf. R. A. Knox op. cit., p. 2.4.
  57. The complete title of this work, published at Rome in 1675, is Guía espiritual que desembaraza al alma y is conduce por el interior camino para alcanzar la perfecta contemplación y el rico tesoro de la interior paz. It was published in Italian in the same year and in English in 1685.
  58. Cf. P. Dudon, Le quiétisme espagnol: Michel Molinos, Paris, 192 i . This is perhaps the most authoritative study on Molinos. Cardinal Petrucci defended Molinos against Segneri, but later the Cardinal's works were put on the Index and he was removed from his diocese by Pope Alexander VIII.
  59. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vo1. 4, pp. 164-165. The document of condemnation, Coelestis Pastor, does not mention the Guía espiritual. The 68 condemned propositions were taken from letters of Molinos or from depositions of witnesses at the trial.
  60. R. A. Knox, op. cit., p. 304.
  61. Cf. ibid., pp. 304-311.
  62. "He has taught, it appears, that if souls in a high state of prayer are tempted to commit the most obscene and blasphemous actions, they must not leave their prayer to resist the temptation; the devil is being allowed to humiliate them, and if the actions are committed, they are not to be confessed as sins . ... Molinos admits having himself omitted all sacramental confession for the last twenty-two years," R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 313-314.
  63. Cf. R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 322-324; P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 179; 192.
  64. Her works were published at Lausanne between 1789 and 1791. Her commentaries on the bible fill twenty volumes. Her most famous works are: L'explication du Cantique des Cantiques; Moyen court et très facile de faire oraison; Les torrents spirituels; Vie de Mme. Guyon.
  65. Pourrat states that in her infancy Mme. Guyon was subject to "continual fits" and in her childhood she suffered from sudden, strange maladies. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 185-186; 188-192.
  66. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, p. 200, footnote 18.
  67. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, p. 198. Mme. Guyon was accused of breaking her promise and in December, 1695, she was confined at Vincennes. From October, 1696, to June, 1698, she was placed in a community at Vaugirard. From 1702 until her death in 1717 she lived in retirement at Blois.
  68. For details on Fénelon, cf. G. Joppin, Fénelon et la mystique du pur amour, Paris, 1938; Oeuvres de Finelon, Versailles, 1820.
  69. Cf. M. Masson, Fénelon et Mme. Guyon, p. 114.
  70. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, p. 208.
  71. Knox gives a different version of this incident, but we have followed the testimony of Pourrat. Cf. R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 342-343; P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4. pp. 216-217.
  72. Cf. R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 334-336; 343; L. Cognet, Post-Reformation Spirituality, New York, N.Y., 1959 pp. 130-133.
  73. For further details on the controversy between Bossuet and Fénelon and the ultimate condemnation, cf. R. A. Knox, op. cit., pp. 344-352; Cognet, op. cit., pp. 132-136; H. Bremond, History of Religious Thought in France, London-New York, 1929-1937, 3 vols.
  74. For a commentary on these statements, cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 219-227.
  75. Quoted by P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, p. 226.
  76. Cf. L. Cognet, op. cit., p. 136. For the teaching of Fénelon and Bossuet on contemplative prayer and the state of passivity, cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 227-232.
  77. The Jesuit, John de Caussade (+ 1751) is the author of Instructions spirituelles en forme de dialogues sur les divers états d'oraison suivant la doctrine de Bossuet, Perpignan, 1741 and Abandonment to Divine Providence, tr. H. Ramière, 1867. The Benedictine, Dominic Schram, published Institutiones theologiae mysticae (1720) and the diocesan priest, James Emery, published a condensed version of the works of St. Teresa of Avila in 1775.
  78. The Minim friar, John Baptist Avrillon (+ 1729), was a prolific writer on the love of God and the theological virtues. The Jesuit, Claude Judde (+ 1735), followed the teaching of Louis Lallemant on docility to the Holy Spirit. Another Jesuit, John Croiset (+ 1738), composed a series of liturgical meditations entitled Année chrétienne, anticipating the work of Dom Guéranger. The teaching of all these writers is basically Bérullian.
  79. Cf. H. Bremond, op. cit., Vol. 7; F. Dainvelle, Naissance de l'humanisme moderne, Paris, 1940.
  80. Available in English as The Spiritual Doctrine of Father Louis Lallemant, ed. A. C. McDougall, Westminster, Md., 1946. For biographical data on Lallemant, cf. J. Jiménez, "Précisions biographiques sur le Père Louis Lallemant" in Archivum Historicum Societatis Jesu, Vol. 33, 1964, pp. 269-332; A. Pottier, Le P. Louis Lallemant et les grands spirituels de son temps, 3 vols., Paris, 1927-1929.
  81. Cf. P. Dudon, "Les leçons d'oraison du P. Lallemant ont-elles blâmées par ses superieurs?" in RevAscMyst, Vol. II, 1930, pp. 396-406.
  82. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vo1. 4, pp. 46-61.
  83. Cf. The Spiritual Doctrine of Father Louis Lallemant, ed. A. C. McDougall; A Pottier, Le P. Louis Lallemant et les grands spirituels de son temps.
  84. Philip of the Holy Trinity, Summa theologiae mysticae, Paris, 1874, Vol. 2, pp. 45-46.
  85. English version, tr. R. Murphy, and J. Thornton, The Cross of Jesus, 2 vols., B. Herder, St. Louis, Mo., 1959.
  86. F. Florand, Stages of Simplicity, tr. M. Carina, B. Herder, St. Louis, Mo., 1967.
  87. Theologiae mentis et cordis, seu speculationes universae doctrinae sacrae, Lyon, 1668-1669.
  88. This is substantially the same doctrine, taught by the Spanish Dominican, Thomas Vallgornera, in Mystica theologia D. Thomae utriusque theologise scholasticae et mysticae principis, Barcelona, 1662. It seems that Vallgornera leaned heavily on the teaching of the Carmelite, Philip of the Trinity (Summa theologiae mysticae).
  89. A Piny, L'oraison du coeur ou la manière de faire oraison parmi les distractions les plus crucifiantes de l'esprit, Paris, 1683; État du pur amour, Lyon, 1676; La clef du pur amour, 1682; Le plus parfait, 1683; Retraite sur le pur amour, 1684.
  90. For a listing of Franciscan writers, cf. Ubald of Alençon, Études franciscaines, 1927.
  91. Explication de la methode d'oraison, 1739.
  92. Cf. G. Lercaro, Methods of Mental Prayer, Newman, Westminister, Md., 1957.
  93. Cf. Caractères de la vraie dévotion, Paris, 1788.
  94. Cf: L'interieur de Jésus et de Marie, 2 Vols., Paris, 1815, p. 13.
  95. Cf. True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, tr. F. W. Faber, Bay Shore, New York, N.Y., 1950, pp. 89; 181-182.
  96. Cf. op. cit., pp. 228-229.
  97. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 345-347.
  98. Pope Benedict XIV is the author of a similar work which was for many centuries a standard reference: De servorum Dei beatificatione et beatorum canonizatione (1734).
  99. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 351-352.
  100. Many of the grades of mystical prayer listed by Scaramelli are described by St. Teresa and others as concomitant phenomena rather than distinct grades of prayer.
  101. St. Alphonsus wrote more than a hundred books and opuscula and about two thousand manuscripts. During his lifetime his works went through more than four hundred editions and,since his death there have been about four thousand reprintings. His works have been translated into sixty-one foreign languages.
  102. Cf. The Holy Eucharist, Brooklyn, New York, N.Y., 1934, p. 229.
  103. Cf. op. cit., p. 263.
  104. Cf. The Way of Salvation and of Perfection, Brooklyn, New York, N.Y., 1934, pp. 428 ff.; The Holy Eucharist, pp. 392 ff; 406-407.
  105. Cf. The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection, p. 26.
  106. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 383-384.
  107. Cf. Praxis confessarii, chap. 9.
  108. Cf. loc. cit. For a description of Liguorian spirituality and further bibliography, cf. G. Cacciatore, "La spiritualità di S. Alfonso dc' Liguori," in Le scuole cattoliche di spiritualità, Milan, 2nd ed. 1949; R. M. Fernández, Espiritualidad redentorista, Madrid, 1959; G. Liéven, "Alphons de Liguori," in Dictionnaire de Spiritualité, vol. x, col. 357-389; R. Telleria, San Alfonso Maria de Liguorio, 2 vols., Madrid, 1950.
  109. St. Clement Hofbauer introduced the Redemptorists into Poland and Austria. Joseph Schrijvers was the author of numerous spiritual works of great merit, among them The Gift of Oneself, tr. Carmelite nuns of Bettendorf, Iowa, (1934) and Les principes de la vie spirituelle (Brussels 1922).
  110. Spener (1635-1705) was greatly influenced by his study of John Tauler. Cf. P. Grünberg, Philipp Jacob Spener, 3 vols., Göttingen, 1893-1906; J. T. McNeill, Modern Christian Movements, Philadelphia, Penn., 1954.
  111. A. Dru, The Contribution of German Catholicism, New York, N.Y., 1963 pp. 17-24, passim.
  112. Translated into English by F. Marison, as The City of God, 3 vols., Hammond, Ind., 1915.
  113. Secta Pietistarum dissecta gladio verbi dei, Cologne, 1714,
  114. De revelationibus, visionibus et apparitionibus privatis regulae tutae, Augsburg, 1744.
  115. Institutiones theologiae mysticae, Augsburg, 1774.
  116. John Sailer entered the Jesuits after completing his secondary studies at Munich, but before he completed his novitiate, the Society was suppressed (1773). Ordained a priest in 1775, he was professor of theology at various schools until he was named bishop of Ratisbon in 1829. He has been called the Francis de Sales and the Fénelon of Germany.
  117. R. Geiselmann, Von lebendiger Religiositdt zum Leben der Kirche, Stuttgart, 1952, p. 248.
  118. A. Dru, op. cit., p. 62.
  119. A. Dru, op. cit., p. 65.
  120. Cf. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 4x6-417; A. Dru, op. cit., pp. 65-72.
  121. Brentano claimed that Anna Catherine had been selected by God for a special work of revelations to the world and that he had been designated as her secretary. However, the Augustinian, Winifried Hümpfner, who worked on the Process for Anna Catherine's beatification, concluded that Brentano had falsified statements made by the visionary and interpolated his own ideas in the text. Cf. T. Wegener, Emmerich and C. Brentano, Dülman, 1900; W. Hümpfner, Klemens Brentano Glaudwürdigkeit in seinem Emmerich-Aufzeichnungen, Wurzburg, 1923.
  122. H. Thurston wrote a series of articles on the Emmerich controversy in The Month (1921-1925).
  123. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 436-437.
  124. Sancta Sophia, ed. S. Cressy, New York, N.Y., 1857; Holy Wisdom, ed. G. Sitwell, London, 1964. For details cf. The Confessions of Venerable Father Augustine Baker, ed. P. J. McCann, London, 1922; P. Salvin, and S. Cressy, The Life of Father Augustine Baker, ed. P. J. McCann, London, 1933; D. Knowles, The English Mystical Tradition, New York, N.Y., 1961.
  125. Cf. L. Sheppard, Spiritual Writers in Modern Times, New York, N.Y., 1967, pp. 27-28.
  126. R. Cartmell, "Richard Challoner" in English Spiritual Writers, ed. C. Davis, London, 1961, p. 121. For further details cf. M. Trappes-Lomax, Bishop Challoner, New York, N.Y., 1936; D. Matthew, Catholicism in England, 2nd ed., New York, N.Y., 1950; E. I. Watkin, Roman Catholicism in England, New York, N.Y., 1957.
  127. Cf. P. Thureau-Dangin, La renaissance catholique en Angleterre au XIXe siècle, Paris, 1899, Vol. 1, p. 4.
  128. Cardinal Wiseman (18o2-1865), first archbishop of Westminster, wrote the famous novel, Fabiola (1854). William Bernard Ullathorne (1806-1889), Benedictine, became the first bishop of Birmingham and is the author of The Endowments of Man (1880), The Groundwork of the Christian Virtues (1882), Christian Patience (1886) and an autobiography which was published together with his letters (1891-1892). Cuthbert Hedley (1837-1915), a Benedictine of Ampleforth, wrote treatises on the Eucharist, the priesthood and for use in spiritual retreats.
  129. P. Pourrat, op. cit., Vol. 4, pp. 451-452.
  130. The books of spirituality are: All for Jesus (1853); The Blessed Sacrament (1855); The Creator and the Creature (1858); The Foot of the Cross (1858); The Precious Blood (1860); Bethlehem (186o). The books of spiritual direction are: Growth in Holiness (1854) and Spiritual Conferences (1859). Faber also composed Notes on Doctrinal Subjects (1866), translated Lallemant's Spiritual Doctrine (1853) and published several lesser works.
  131. Cf. The Creator and the Creature, 15 ed., Baltimore, Md., 1857, Book 1, chap. 1.
  132. Cf. ibid., Book 3, chap. 4.
  133. Growth in Holiness, p. 27; Spiritual Conferences, p. 6.
  134. Growth in Holiness, Newman, Westminster, Md., 1950, p. 27.
  135. Meditations and Devotions, ed. H. Tristram, London, 1953.
  136. Cf. ibid., p. 312.
  137. Cf. Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vol. 5, p. 225.
  138. Sermons Preached on Various Occasions, ed. H. Tristram, 1900, n. 4.
  139. Parochial and Plain Sermons, Vo1. 3, p. 321.
  140. Cf. ibid., Vol.-5, pp. 10-11. The writings and sermons of Cardinal Newman fill 42 volumes in the standard edition (1868-1913). Studies on Newman are readily available and among the authors, C. Stephen Dessain has special competence.