Porthaise, Jean

Porthaise, Jean a French Franciscan monk of the 16th century, noted for his decided polemics against Protestantism, was born at Saint-Denis-de-Gatines, near the beginning of that era. In 1564 we find him in the monastery of Sables d'Olonne, where he probably made his profession. He was more than once conspicuous by the vehemence of his speeches and the extravagance of his conduct. A certain Jean Trioche, minister of the Reformed Church at Chateauneuf, near Sable, in Anjou, had distinguished himself by his preaching. Porthaise, as soon as informed of it, went to a place where he might meet his adversary; but Jean Trioche failed to put in an appearance. Porthaise forthwith drew up a list of questions, to which he requested the Calvinist minister to reply. The answers came two months afterwards. Porthaise's rejoinder to these declarations of his adversary are extant. Attached to the Church of Tours in 1566, Porthaise was meditating a great enterprise; it was nothing less than an assault upon heresy in the very stronghold of its power. For this purpose he repaired to the Netherlands, and hurled from several pulpits the most virulent imprecations against the doctrines and practices of the ministers. But his success was not equal to his courage; he returned to Tours in 1568. His enemies quoted this amusing passage from one of his sermons. "We hear with sorrow that there are people abandoned enough to commit adultery while they have in their houses wives so good-looking that we, for our part, should be quite contented with them." In 1582 a difference arose between the general of the Franciscans and the monks of the monastery of Paris on account of the election of the brother guardian. Porthaise had been appointed by the general to preside at this election; but his powers had been recognized neither by the king nor by the superior of the monastery; thus, in the absence of the commissary-president, the monks chose a certain T. Duret. The nuncio of the pope expressed his dissatisfaction, but the Parliament supported the Franciscans of Paris. Their superior was suspended. At last the general of the order came to Paris to conclude a compromise. But Porthaise continued in his violent protestations. He was summoned before Parliament, but did not appear. Summoned a second time, he appeared, only to inveigh against the court. He was ordered to leave Paris. Nevertheless he was in the ensuing year elected provincial of his order. In 1594 he was theological instructor at Poitiers. He mixed in the disorders of the League, which conduct he expiated subsequently by public penance. After the rendition of Paris he went to Saumur, solicited from Duplessis Mornay the pardon of his past errors, and obtained permission to celebrate in the church of St. Peter the virtues of the king against whom he had uttered such violent imprecations. He left, Les Catholiques, Demonstrations sur certains Discours de la Doctrine ecclsiastique (Paris, 1567, 8vo): — De Verbis Doinin: "Hoc facite in meam commemorationem" (Antwerp, 1567, 8vo), a pamphlet on the Lord's Supper: — Chretienne Declaration de l'Eglise et de l'Eucharistie (ibid. 1567, 8vo): — De la Vanite et Verite de la vraie et fminsse Astrolouie contre les Abuseurs de notre Siecle (Poitiers, 1578): — Defense a la Re Rponsefaie eaux Sterdits de Bernhard de Pardieu par les Ministres de la Religion pretendue reformnee (ibid. 8vo): — De l'imitation de l'Eucharistie (ibid. 1602, 8vo): — Paraseve géneralé a l'exact Examen de l'Institution de l'Eucharistie (ibid. 1602, 8vo): — Traite de l'Image et de l'Idole (ibid. 1608). See Wadding, Script. ord. Minorurn; Scaligerana (2nd ed.), p. 192; Liron, Singularites hist. et litter. 3, 84; Desportes, Bibliogr. du Maine; Haurealn, Hist. litt. du Maine, 1, 306. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v.

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