Neercassel, Jan Van

Neercassel, Jan Van an eminent Dutch prelate, was born at Gorkum in 1623, and after a thorough education entered into holy orders. He joined the congregation of the Oratory, taught theology at Mechlin and at Cologne, then was nominated archdeacon of Utrecht, and finally, in 1661, was elevated to the bishopric of that city under the title of Bishop of Castoria. In 1663 he became the only bishop of the five hundred thousand Catholics scattered throughout Holland, and governed his vast diocese with such great solicitude that he succeeded in re-establishing ecclesiastical discipline. Neercassel enjoyed the greatest consideration even among Protestants. He was in correspondence with eminent scholars and divines, among these Bossuet, who highly esteemed Neercassel's writings. He died at Zwolle in 1686. Bishop Neercassel was in sympathy with the French Jansenists, and several of them, among others Dr. Arnauld himself, found in his episcopate a refuge. Neercassel himself remained in peace with Rome; but the successor he had pointed out was not chosen on account of the interference of the Jesuits, who feared that M. van Heussen might prove a schismatic, and finally Coddes, one of the three whom the Society of Jesus proposed to the papal see, was elevated. We have of Neercassel's works, De Sanctorum et prcecipue B. Marice cultu (Utrecht. 1675, 8vo), translated into French by abbe Le Roy (Paris, 1679, 8vo): — Tractatus de lectione Scriptur arum, in quo Protestantium eas legendi praxis refellitu;, Catholicorum vero stabilitur (Emmerich, 1677, 8vo), translated into French (Cologne, 1680, 8vo): — Amor penitens, sen de recto usu Clavium (Emmerich, 1683, 12mo); in a new edition, given the following year, the author suppressed the propositions which had displeased at Rome; the Amor poenitens was translated into French (Utrecht, 1741, 3 volumes, 12mo). See Du Pin, Les Auteurs Ecclisidstiques 17me Cent.; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.; Tregelles, The Jansenists (Lond. 1861, 12mo), page 54, 55. (J.H.W.)

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