Riegger, Paul Joseph Von

Riegger, Paul Joseph von, father of J.A.S. Riegger (q.v.), and professor of canon law in the University of Vienna from 1753 to 1775, was born at Freiburg, June 29, 1705, and received his education in his native town. At the age of sixteen years he obtained the degree of master in philosophy, and at the age of twenty-eight he became doctor of both civil and ecclesiastical law. Soon afterwards he was called to the chair of jurisprudence and German history at Innspruck, where he subsequently attained to the highest honors, being twice elected rector and eight times dean of the university, frequently acting as its chosen agent in transactions with the imperial court, and also serving as counsel to the courts of Lower Austria. The empress Maria Theresa placed him over the Imperial Theresa School and the Academy of Savoyard Knights as teacher of public and canonical law in 1749, and in 1753 he became professor of ecclesiastical law in the University of Vienna, though retaining the positions he already held. His Institutiones Jurisprudentioe Ecclesiasticoe (4 vols.) were generally introduced into the schools of Austria. His next preferment was to the posts of imperial councilor and censor of books, and in 1764 to the knighthood and to the Bohemian branch of the government. Many laws relating to the establishing and execution of spiritual functions owe their origin to him, as does the abolition of trials for magical practices and witchcraft. He is the father of the ecclesiastical system of Austria as subsequently taught in all its schools. The liberal influence exerted by him crowded the ultramontane theories out of use, and caused him to be regarded at Rome as an important promoter of reforms in the Church. It is said that he was threatened with excommunication in consequence, and that his works were placed in the Index. He died Dec. 8, 1775. A list of his works is given in Mensel and Weidlich. See Biographie d. beid. Ritter von Riegger (Prague, 1798).

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