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Juan Cardenas

Moral theologian and author; b. at Seville, 1613; d. June 6, 1684

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Cardenas, JUAN, moral theologian and author; b. at Seville, 1613; d. June 6, 1684. He entered the Society of Jesus at the age of fourteen and during many years held in it the offices of rector, master of novices, and provincial. Through his busy life he ever found time for intellectual work of a high order: He composed several small ascetical treatises: “Seven Meditations on Jesus Crucified” (originally published at Seville, 1678) and “Geminum sidus Marian diadematis” (Lyons, 1673). From his pen we have also two pious biographies; “Historic do la Vida y virtudes de la Venerable Virgen Damiana de las Llagas” (Seville, 1675) and “Breve relacion de la Muerte, Vida, y Virtudes del Venerabile Cavallero D. Miguel Manara Vincentelo de Leca” (Seville, 1679).

But he is chiefly remembered for his important contributions to moral theology, which won for him the highest praise from St. Alphonsus Liguori. In a singularly clear style and with great profundity of thought he examines some of the moral opinions prevalent in his day, especially those tinged with extreme Laxism, in his well-known “Crisis theologica bipartita, sive Disputationes selectae” (Lyons, 1670). This work, which appeared in two parts, opened up a storm of controversy, and in the edition of 1680 he reasserted his position in a supplement which defended moderate Probabilism against the twofold attacks of Laxists and Rigorists. Though the argument is unquestionably strong, and the opinions advanced moderate and sound, the many digressions that controversy suggests make this part of the book rather uninteresting. In the Venetian editions of 1694, 1700, and 1710 there was first published, together with these three parts, an explanation of the propositions condemned by the pope in 1679. This last work, of which Father P. J. Kugler, S.J., composed a compendium in 1704, has often been published separately under the title: “Crisis theologica in qua lures selects; difficultates ex morali theologia ad rydium veritatis lapidem revocantur ex regula morum posita a SS. D. N. Innocentis XI P. M.” etc. (Seville, 1687; Venice, 1693, 1696).


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