Ailly, Pierre D

Ailly, Pierre D'

(Petrus de Alliaco), a noted cardinal and learned theologian of the fourteenth century, surnamed the "Hammer of Heretics." He was born at Compiegne in 1350, of humble parentage, and completed his studies at the college of Navarre in Paris. The dispute between Nominalism and Realism had not yet died out, and D'Ailly threw himself with ardor into philosophical study. He soon became noted among the students for the skill and subtlety with which he advocated the nominalist theory, and for the wide extent of his general knowledge. At twenty-five he lectured in the university of Paris on Peter Lombard's Sententioe, and soon obtained a brilliant reputation. In 1377, while yet a subdeacon, he was sent as delegate to the Provincial Council of Amboise, a rare distinction for one so young. In 1380 he was made doctor of the Sorbonne. In his inaugural address he extolled the study of Holy Writ, and afterward held lectures upon the New Testament and the nature of the Church. D'Ailly declared that the passage, "Upon this rock," etc., Mt 16:18, was to be taken in a spiritual sense, asserting that the Bible alone is the everlasting rock upon which the Church is built, as Peter and his successors could not be such, on account of their human frailty. He also distinguished between the universal Church of Christ and the Church of Rome as a particular Church, and maintained that the latter had no precedence before the universal Church, and that another bishop than that of Rome might be the head of the Church. In 1384 D'Ailly was made the head of the College of Navarre, where, Gerson (q.v.) and Nicholas de Clemange (q.v.) were among his pupils. When in the university of Paris, he defended the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception against the Dominicans, and especially against John de Montion; and when the latter appealed from an ecclesiastical censure to Pope Clement VII, the university sent D'Ailly to the pope to defend before him the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, as also the opinion that the right to decide in such questions ("circa ea quoe sunt fidei doctrinaliter definire") does not belong to the pope alone, but also to the doctores ecclesieoe. , The pope approved both opinions; and the university of Paris elected D'Ailly, in reward for his victory, chancellor. Soon afterward he was made confessor and almoner of Charles VI, archdeacon at Cambray, and treasurer of the Holy Chapel at Paris. In 1394 he was sent by Charles VI to Peter de Luna (Benedict XIII), to prevail upon this anti-pope to resign, but Benedict succeeded in bringing D'Ailly over to his side, and, through him, was recognised by France as the legitimate pope. He appointed D'Ailly, in 1398, bishop of Cambray. D'Ailly continued to take an active and prominent part in the endeavors made for a restoration of the ecclesiastical unity. In 1409 he was a leading member of the Council of Pisa, and prevailed upon the council to depose all the popes who at that time claimed the Papal See. Alexander V was nominated in their place, but died soon after.

His successor, John XXIII, made D'Ailly a cardinal, and papal legate in Germany. As such, he took part in the Council of Constance, where he was again very conspicuous. SEE CONSTANCE, COUNCIL OF. Soon after his arrival, and through his influence, the Council adopted a resolution that the vote on the reformation of the Church should be taken, not according to heads, but according to nations — a decision which at once fixed the fate of John XXIII. He again urged the resignation or deposition of all the popes, and the election by the Council of a new pope, who should pledge himself to carry out the reformatory decrees of the Council. He strongly maintained the superiority of a general council over the pope, and under the influence of his views Benedict XIII was deposed. He was one of the Committee to investigate the case of John Huss, and it is a stain upon his great name that he voted for the condemnation of the reformer. In the question whether the election of a new pope was to take place before or after the completion of the reformatory decrees of the Council, D'Ailly separated from the reformatory party (the Germans, Gerson, etc.), carried the priority of the papal election, and thereby neutralized to a large extent the beneficial effects which otherwise the Council might have produced. Martin V appointed him legate at Avignon; he died there in 1425; or, according to another account, on a legative mission in the Netherlands, 1420. D'Ailly is one of the most remarkable dignitaries of the Church of the Middle Ages, and greatly distinguished both as a theologian and orator. He was, however, addicted to a belief in astrology, maintaining that important events might be predicted from the conjunctions of the planets. A very remarkable coincidence appears in the case of one of his predictions, viz., that in the year 1789, "si mundus usque ad illa tempora duraverit, quod solus Deus novit, multze tune et magnae et mirabiles alterationes mundi et mutationes faturae sunt, et maxime circa leges et sectas." This prediction was written in 1414, in his Concord. astronomic cum historica narratione (published in Augsburg, 1490, 4to). D'Ailly may be considered as a predecessor of that liberal party in the Roman Catholic Church afterward represented by Bossuet and Fenelon. His principal writings were published at Douay, 1634, 8vo; but there is no full collection of his works. Among them are:

1. Commentarii Breves in libros 4 Sentent. (1500,' 4to): — 2. Quatuor Principia in 4 libros Sentent.: — 3. Recommendatio S. Scripturab: — 4. Principium in cursum Bibliorum: — 5. Quaestio Vesperiarum, utrum Petri Eccl. lege reguletur: — 6. Quoestio resumpta, utrum P. E. Rege gubernetur, lege reguletur, fide confirmetur, et jure dominetur: — 7. Speculum Considerationis: — 8. Compendium Contemplationis, in 3 tractatus: — 9. De 4 Gradibus Scale Spiritualis: — 10. Epitome Quadruplicis Exercitii Spiritualis: — 11. De Oratione Dominica Tractatus 2. — 12. Salutationis Angelicoe Expositio devota: — 13. Verbum abbreviatum super libros Psalmorum: — 14. Meditationes 2 in Psalm 30: — 15. Meditat. in Psalm "Judica me, Deus:" — 16. Meditat. in 7 Psalm Penitentiales: 17. Meditat. in Cantica, Magnificat, Benedictus, et Nunc Dimit.: —

18. Expositio in Cantica Canticorum Solomonis: — 19. 12 Honores S. Josephi Sponsi Virganis. All the above, from the Speculum Considerationis to the last, inclusive, were published at Douay in 1634 (8vo): — 20. Tractatus de A nima (Paris, 1494, 8vo; 1505): — 21. Sermones, varii Argumenti. 20: — 22. Modus seu Forma eligendi Summ. Pontif. 23. Libellus de Emendatione Eccl., in the "Fasciculus rerum expetendarum" (Cologne, 1535): — 24. De Ecclesioe et Cardinalium auctoritate libellus (in Gerson's works, Paris, 1606, tom. 1, p. 895). — 25. Sacramentale (Louvain, 1487):

26. Vita S. Petri de Morono, afterward Celestine V (Paris, 1539). — Dupin, Eccl. Writers, cent. 15, ch. 4; Mosheim, Ch. Hist. cent. 14, pt. 2, ch. 2, § 38; Cave, Hist. Lit. ann. 1396; Dinaud, Notice historique et literaire, sur P. D'Ailly (Cambray, 1824, 8vo); Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 1, 125; Landon, Eccl. Dictionary, 1, 169.

 
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