Launoi, Jean De
Launoi, Jean De, a noted French Roman Catholic historian and canonist, was born at Val-de- Sis, near Valogne, December 21, 1603. He studied at Constance and Paris, where he was received magister in June 1634. In the same year he entered the Church. He was highly esteemed among the learned men of his time. On a journey to Rome he became the intimate friend of Luc Holstenius and Leo Allatius. His whole life was devoted to the study of theology at the Sorbonne in Paris; he never sought any promotion, but preferred to serve his Church by his pen, which he wielded with great power and ability. He died at Paris March 10, 1678. Moreri says of him: "The great number of his works, and the manner in which they are written, give ample evidence of his extensive reading and ready ability. But his style is neither ornate nor polished; he uses awkward, obsolete expressions; handles his subjects very peculiarly; and, if he overcomes his adversaries, he also tires his readers by the profusion of his quotations. He could not endure fables nor superstitions, and defended with great firmness the rights of the Church and of the king, which were endangered by the ultramontanes." In a noble spirit of independence, he preferred expulsion from the Sorbonne rather than to endorse the condemnation of Arnauld by that body, although he differed from that theologian in his views on grace. He even went so far as to write against the Formulaire of the assembly of the clergy of 1656. He particularly distinguished himself by his acumen in discovering the spuriousness of most of the acts of the saints, as also of a number of ecclesiastical privileges. Dom Bonaventure, of Argonne, writes of him: "He is dangerous alike to heaven and to earth; he has overthrown more saints in paradise than were canonized by any ten popes. He looked with suspicion on the whole martyrologia, and examined the claims of the saints one after another, as they do in France about the nobility." His writings are mainly of a historico-critical nature, and in tendency apologetical in behalf of Gallicanism. The most important of them are, Syllabus rationunm quibus caussa Durandi de modo conjuctionis concursuum Dei et creaturae, defenditur (Par. 1636, 8vo): — De mente concilii Tridentini circa satisfactionem in sacramento paenitentiae (1644), in which he maintains that the Council of Trent and the practice of the Church do not prove that satisfaction must precede absolution: — De frequenti Confessionis et Eucharistic usu (1653): — De commentitio Lazari, Magdalene, Marthe ac Maximini in provinciam Appulsu (1660, 8vo): — De auctoritate negantis argumnenti (Paris, 1650 and 1662, 8vo), wherein he affirms he had himself seen at Sienna, in 1634, the statue of the popess Joanna placed between those of Leo IV and Benedict III. It produced quite a controversy, and abbot Thiers wrote against it Defensio adversus Joh. de Launoi in qua defensione Launoii fraudes calumniae, plagia, inposturae, etc. (Paris, 1664): — De recta Nicaeni canonis VI, et prout a Rufino explicatur, Intelligentia: — De veteri Ciborum Delectu in jejuniis Christianorum: — Judiciun de Auctore libri De Imitatione Christi (Paris, 1649, 1650, 1652, 1663, 8vo). Launoi advocates the claim of Gersen. SEE KEMPIS, THOMAS A: — De Cura Ecclesiae pro Miseris et pauperibus (Paris, 1663,8vo): — Epistolae (Par. 1664-1673, 8 volumes, 8vo; Cambridge, 1689, 1 volume, folio): — De vero Auctore fidei professionis qua Pelagio Hieronymo, Augustino tribui solet, in which he attempts to prove that Pelagius is the only author of the profession of faith attributed to Jerome and Augustine: — Explicata Ecclesiae Traditio circa canonem "Omnis utriusque sexus" (Par. 1672, 8vo), a highly-esteemed work: — Regia in Matrizmonium Potestas, vel de jure saecularium principum Christianorum in saciendis impedimentis matrimonium dirimentibus (Par. 1674, 4to). This work was condemned at Rome, December 10, 1688, yet its principles were approved by a number of the most distinguished theologians and jurists: — Venerandae Romanae Ecclesiae circa simoniam Traditio (Paris, 1675, 8vo): — De Sabbatinae bullae Privilegio et de Scapularis
Carmelitarum Soliditate: — In Privilegia ordinis Praemonstratenesis: — In Chartam immunitatis quam beatus Germanus, episcopus Parisiensis, suburbano monasterio dedisse fertur: — In privilegium quod Gregorius lus monasterio Sancti-Medardi Suessonensis dedisse dicitur. In these works the author examines a number of rights and privileges which he considers as unfounded or unjust: — A treatise on the conception of the Virgin, in which he asserts that if an attempt were made to define "the point of the conception of the Virgin by the Scriptures and tradition, it would be shown that she was conceived in sin." The complete works of Launoi were published by abbot Granet (Geneva, 1731, 10 volumes, fol.). See Dupin, Bibl. des Auteurs Ecclesiastiques, volume 18:34-62; Journal des Savants, anno 1664, 1665, 1667, 1668, 1675, 1688, 1698, 1701, 1704, 1705, 1726, 1731; Bibl. sacree; Moreri, Grand Diction. Historique; Guy- Patin, Epist.; Bayle, Dict. Critique, and Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres; Niceron, Memoires, volume 32; Colomies, Recueil de Particularites, page 329; Reiser, Elogium Joannis Launoii (Lond. 1685); Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 29:912 sq., Herzog, Real-Encyclop. 8:230 sq.