Richer, Edmund

Richer, Edmund, a noted defender of the liberties of the Gallican Church against papal absolutism, was born, of poor parents, in a village in Champagne, Sept. 30, 1560. He became doctor in theology in 1590, and for a time devoted his energies to pulpit labors; but in 1594 he was made president of the College of Cardinal Lemoine, and soon afterwards censor of the University of Paris, in whose faculty he filled a theological chair. He undertook an edition of Gerson's works in 1605, the publication of which was defeated by the papal nuncio Barberini (subsequently pope Urban VIII), and which called forth the violent condemnation of Gersol's works by Bellarmine. Richer's defense (Apologia pro J. Gersonio [1606]) was not published until after his death (Leyden, 1674, 4to); but Gerson's writings appeared in 1607. Appointed syndic of the theological faculty in the following year, he opposed the public defense of the theses on the infallibility of the pope; and, in response to the request of Nicholas de Verdun, the first president, he wrote the book De Ecclesiastica et Politica Potestate, in which he developed the idea — always held by the University of Paris — of the superiority of councils over the pope, and of the independence of secular governments in temporal things. This book brought on him the rage of the ultramontane party. He was dismissed from the university, his teachings were condemned by several provincial synods and the papal court, and he was prohibited from replying to the charges promulgated against him. He was even apprehended, but again liberated on the demand of the university. A protracted contest with his enemies ensued, in which he was finally conquered by cardinal Richelieu. He signed a retraction at the point of the dagger of assassins hired to take his life. His death took place Nov. 28, 1631. See Baillet, La Vie d'Edm. Richer (Amst. 1715, 12mo).

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