Liguori, Alfonzo Maria De

Liguori, Alfonzo Maria De a Roman Catholic bishop, and founder of the Order of Redemptorists, was born September 27, 1696, at Naples. He was descended from a noble family, and the son of a royal officer; from his mother, who was a fervid Catholic, he imbibed in early childhood a glowing devotedness to the Church of Rome. Educated in an institution of the priests of the Oratory, he made such rapid progress that he obtained in the sixteenth year of his life the degree of LL.D. In accordance with the wish of his parents he became a lawyer, but the loss of an important lawsuit so mortified him that he resolved to enter the priesthood. He overcame the violent opposition of his father, and took orders in 1725. Soon after he entered the Congregation of the Propaganda at Naples, and began to labor with great zeal for the religious awakening of the lowest classes in Naples and the neighboring provinces. In order to enlarge the sphere of his labors he concluded to establish a new religious congregation. The first house of the, new congregation was established with the assistance of twelve companions at Scala; the chief task of the members was declared to be "to devote themselves to the service of the poorest and most abandoned souls." Three years later the second house was established at Cionani, in the diocese of Salerno. The rule of the new congregation, which Liguori had drawn up with the assistance of several prominent men, was confirmed by a brief of pope Benedict XIV, dated February 22, 1749, and Liguori was elected superior general for his lifetime. The archbishopric of Palermo, which king Charles III of Naples offered to him, Liguori declined, but in 1762 he had, at the request of pope Clement XIII, to accept the bishopric of Sta. Agata de' Goti. A general chapter of the congregation unanimously declared that no new superior general should be elected in place of Liguori,. but that the latter should appoint a vicar general top reside over the congregation in his place. 'The feeble state of his health repeatedly induced him to ask the pope to accept his resignation, but his wish was not granted until 1775. He retired to the house of his congregation at Nocera de' Pagani, where he spent the remainder of his life in composing theological and, in particular, ascetical worls. In consequence of the intrigues of several prominent members of his order, and the government of Naples, which, against his will, caused the rules of his order to be changed, he was compelled to resign its supreme management. He died August 1, 1787. In 1796 He received from Pius VI the title "Venerable," in 1816 he was beautified, and on May 26, 1839, was canonized by pope Gregory XVI. In 1871 Pius IX conferred upon him the title and rank of a "Doctor Ecclesiao." Liguori was a very prolific writer, the best known among his works being the Theologia Mosrlis(Naples, 3 volumes): — Hono Apostolicus (Venice, 1782, 3 volumes): — Institutio Catechetica (Bassano, 1768): — Praxis Confessarii. Complete editions of his works have been published at Paris (1835 sq., in 16 volumes), at Monza (70 volumes), and other places. His works have been translated into French and German, and, in great part, into English, Spanish, Polish, and other European languages. The principles of casuistry explained by Liguori have been received with much favor by the Ultramontane school of the Roman Catholic theologians, and his moral theology, which is a modification of the so-called "probabilistic system" of the age immediately before his own, is largely used in the direction of consciences. Few writers in modern times have gone so far in the defense of the extremest ultra-papal theories and practices as Liguori, and, while his honesty and zeal are undoubted, he stands forth in the recent history of the Roman Church as a representative of the very worst tendencies of casuists. In the ordinary concerns of life, where there is no suspicion and no warning, he elaborately teaches how falsehood and trickery between man and man may be most advantageously practiced, and how far cheating and stealing on the part of tradesmen and servants may be venially carried on, and without incurring mortal sin. See Connelly, Reasons for abjuring Allegiance to the See of Rome (Lond. 1852); Lond. Qu. Rev. 1856, page 396; Christian Remembr. 1854 (Januaty), page 38; 1855 (October), page 407. Biographies of Liguori have been written by Giatini (Vita del beato Albns. Liguoeil, Rome, 1815), Jeancard (Vie du C. A. Liguori, Louvain, 1829), Klotts (Aix-la-Chapelle, 1835), Schick (Schaffhausen, 1853), and others. In English we have a very good biographical Life of St. Alde Liguori (London, 1848, 2 volumes, 8vo). For an account of the religious order founded by Liguori, SEE REDEMPTORISTS. (A.J.S.)

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