Less(Ius), Leonhard

Less(Ius), Leonhard a Jesuit moralist, was born at Brecht, in Brabant, Oct. 1, 1554, and was educated at the University of Leyden, to which, after a two years' stay at Rome, he was called as professor of philosophy and theology in 1585. The pope had just condemned seventy-six propositions of Bajus, whom the Jesuits, disciples of Scotus, had attacked; but soon Less and Hamel falling into the opposite extreme of Pelagianism, the faculty, after due remonstrance, solemnly condemned also fifty-four propositions contained in their lectures. Still, as several universities of note were inclined to judge moderately of Less's heretical tendency, he retained his position, and remained in high standing, especially with his order. He died Jan. 5,1623. His numerous and well-written essays on morals partake (of the sophistry so often employed in his order. Among the most important, we notice his Libri iv dejustitia et jure, ceterisque virtutibus cardinalibus, often reprinted since 1605 (last edit. Lugd. 1653, folio), with an appendix by Theophile Raynaud pro Leon. Less. de licito usu sequivocationum et mzentaliumn reservationumn. Also the first volume of his Opp. theol. (Paris, 1651, fol.; Antw. 1720); and his essays De libero arbitrio, De providentia, De perfectionibus divinis, etc. He followed the system of the scholastic moralists, of whom Schrockh (Kirchenqesch. seit d. Reform. 4:104) says: "They, in fact, continued the old method of their predecessors since the 13th century, in so far as that branch of theology was then advanced, i.e. treating it as a dependence of the dogmatic system; yet they differed from them inasmuch as they set forth their views in large works of their own, evinced more learning, a better style, and a certain regard for the times in which they lived." Less attacked also the Protestant Church in his Consultatio, quse fides et religio sit capessenda (Amstelod. 1609; last edit. 1701). His chief argument was that that Church did not exist before the Reformation; he was triumphantly answered on this point by Balthasar Meisner, of Wittenberg († 1626), in his Consultatio catholica defide Lutherana capessenda et Romano-papistica deserenda (1623). Still Less always retained the highest consideration in his Church, was even reputed to work miracles, and was finally canonized. See Herzog, Real- Encyklopadie, 8:340; Gieseler, Kirchen Gesch. vol. 3; Linsenmann, Michael Baius (Tüb. 1867).

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