Canisius, Petrus

Canisius, Petrus, of Nimeguen, a Jesuit, born May 8, 1524, entered the order of the Jesuits in 1543, became professor and rector of the University of In-olstadt in 1549, and rector of the college of the Jesuits in Vienna in 1551. He used his influence with the emperor Ferdinand I for the suppression of Protestantism. As the first German "provincial" of the Jesuits, he established colleges of the order at Prague, Augsburg, Dillingen, and Fribourg (in Switzerland), at which latter place he died, Dec. 21, 1597. Canisius was one of the most prominent opponents of the Reformation in Germany, and the arrest of the reformatory movement in Austria and Bavaria is for a large part owing to his labors and his influence. In order to counteract the influence of the catechisms of Luther, and other works of the founders of Protestantism, he wrote his Summa Doctrinx Christiance (1584; with a commentary by P. Busaeus, Cologne, 1586, and Augsburg, 1833 sq. 4 vols.; new edition, Landshut, 1842), which was translated into nearly all languages (Greek, Prague, 1612; Greek-Latin, Augsburg, 1612), and a shorter catechism, entitled Institutiones Christ. pietatis (1566),which, until the middle of the 18th century, served as the basis of popular instruction in the Catholic schools of Germany, and has, even in modern times, again come into use (new editions: Landshut, 1833; 'Mainz, 1840). SEE CATECHISM; also Theol. Quartelschrift, 1863, Heft 3, p. 446. Canisius also edited the letters of Jerome, Leo the Great, and Cyril of Alexandria, and compiled a Catholic Prayer-book (Manuale Catholicum, Antwerp, 1530; Augsburg, 1841; German, 8th edit. Landshut, 1829). The Protestants called him "the Austrian Dog," while the Jesuits praised him as the second apostle of Germany, and even endeavored to obtain his beatification. Their efforts, for a long time unfruitful, were at length crowned, with success during the pontificate of Pius IX, who placed Canisius on the list of the "Beati." Biographies of Canisius were published in Latin by Raderus and Sacchini (Munich, 1623); in French by Dorigny (Paris, 1708); in Italian by Langore and Foligatti; in German by Werfer (in Leben ausgezeichneter Catholiken, Schaffhausen, 1852, 2 vols.).

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