Olive, Pierre Jean

Olive, Pierre Jean, a French. theologian, noted as one of the Roman Catholics who favored reform in the Church, was born at Serignan in 1247. At the age of twelve he entered the convent at Beziers, and was sent thence to Paris, where he passed bachelor of theology. Full of fervor, he wrote vigorously against the rapidly increasing relaxation of monastic discipline, which raised many voices against him, and he was even accused of holding heretical views. Jerome Ascoli, general of the Franciscans (afterwards pope under the name of Nicholas IV), condemned in 1278 a book in which Olive deified the Virgin Mary, and Olive, in obedience to his orders, burned the book with his own hands. This did not prevent his being again accused in a chapter held in 1282 at Strasburg. Olive's views, which were extensively held among the Franciscans, were condemned, and general Bonagratia went himself to Avignon, where they had numerous partisans, in order to oppose them. Olive appeared before him, and defended himself so well that' he received only a slight reproof. Arlotto de Prato, who succeeded Bonagratia in 1285, obliged Olive to go to Paris; but there also he defended himself successfully. Finally, in 1290, Nicholas IV gave orders to general Raymond Gaufridi to proceed against the followers of Olive; it does not, however, appear that the latter was personally prosecuted. He took part in' the general chapter held at Paris in 1292, and there gave explanations which all declared satisfactory. He died at Narbonne March 16, 1298. Before his death he declared his attachment to Scripture, and his obedience to the decisions of the Church of Rome. He also declared his regret at seeing the Minorite monks seeking to increase their worldly riches, and said that the begging orders should be satisfied with the necessaries of life, and never expect or aim to lead as comfortable a life as the canons regular. After his death his enemies still attacked his memory, and it was condemned by John de Mur in 1297; twelve theologians accused him of heresy; his body was dug up and burned; his doctrines were solemnly condemned by the Council of Vienna in 1312. and again by pope John XXII in 1320; and all the historians of the Middle Ages give him the reputation of a heretic. Yet he had only aimed to secure reforms which might have prevented, or at least postponed, the breaking out of the Reformation. At the close of the 14th century Barthelemy of Pisa vindicated the opinions of Olive; St. Antonin praised him, and pope Sixtus IV rehabilitated his memory. His works are over forty in number, consisting of commentaries on various parts of the Bible, of the treatise attributed to Denis the Areopagite concerning the heavenly hierarchy, on the Master of Sentences, of a work on the rule of St. Francis, several controversial works, a panegyric of the Virgin Mary, treatises on vice and virtue, the sacraments, usury, the authority of the pope and that of councils, etc. His only printed works known are, Expositio in regulam Sancti Francisci (Venice, 1513, fol.): — Quodlibeta (ibido 1509, fol.). See Hist. Litter, de la France, 21:41-55; Wadding, Scriptores ord. Minorum; Dict. Historique des Auteurs Ecclesiastes vol. iii; Dom. de Gubernatis, Orbis seraphicus. vol. i.

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