Henri de Saint-Ignace
A Carmelite theologian, b. in 1630, at Ath in Hainaut, Belgium; d. in 1719 or 1720
Henri de Saint-Ignace, a Carmelite theologian, b. in 1630, at Ath in Hainaut, Belgium; d. in 1719 or 1720, near Liege. As a professor of moral theology he was noted for his learning, but still more for his Jansenistic tendencies. He took part in all the controversies of his time on grace and free will, and, while professing himself a follower of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, he favored the errors of Baius and Jansenius. His long sojourn in Rome during the pontificate of Clement XI helped to save his orthodoxy, but did not diminish his antipathy towards the Jesuits, whom he opposed vigorously all his life. He published “Theologia vetus fundamentalis”, according to the mind of “the resolute doctor”, J. Bacon (Liege, 1677); “Theologia sanctorum veterum et novissimorum”, a defense of morality against the attacks of the modern casuists (Louvain, 1700). His chief work is entitled “Ethica amoris, or the theology of the saints (especially of St. Augustine and St. Thomas) on the doctrine of love and morality strenuously defended against the new opinions and thoroughly discussed in connection with the principal controversies of our time” (3 vols., Liege, 1709). The first volume treats of human acts; the second, of laws, virtues, and the decalogue; the third, of the sacraments.
In the last volume the author makes frequent use of the “Tempestas novaturiensis” written by his fellow-religious, Alexandre de Sainte-Therese (1686), and adopts all the novel opinions then in vogue with regard to the administration of the Blessed Eucharist. The theologians pointed out the errors of this work, and it was forbidden at Rome by the decrees of September 12, 1714, and July 29, 1722. The Parlement of Paris also condemned it. The style is so venomous that the work would have been more accurately called “Ethica odii” (the morals of hatred). Instead of explaining the teaching of the Church, the author fills his book with all the disputes about the relaxation of public morality that were then disturbing men’s minds. While not explicitly approving of the errors of Jansenism, he favors them. He even praises the “Reflexions morales” of Quesnel, which, it is true, had not yet been condemned. He incurred the censure of the theologians of his own order (Memoires de Trevoux, 1715, a. 100). In 1713, before the appearance of the Bull “Unigenitus“, he published “Gratiae per se efficacis seu augustiniano-thomisticae defensio”, which is a defense of Jansenism. This provoked a vigorous reply from P. Meyer, S.J. (Brussels, 1715). Finally, we may mention his “Molinismus profligatus” (Cologne, 1717), in which he defends himself against the accusation of Jansenism, made by Meyer and other Jesuits. He left other writings against the Fathers of the same society, notably “Artes jesuiticae in sustinendis pertinaciter novitatibus laxitatibusque sociorum” (4th ed., Strasburg, 1717), where doctrinal controversy is clearly replaced by venomous disquisitions against his opponents and their order.