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Thomas-Marie-Joseph Gousset

French cardinal and theologian; b. 1792; d. 1866

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Gousset , THOMAS-MARIE-JOSEPH French cardinal and theologian; b. at Montigny-les-Charlieu, a village of Franche-Comté, in 1792; d. at Reims in 1866. The son of a vine-grower, he at first labored in the fields, and did not begin his studies till the age of seventeen. Ordained priest in 1817, he was a curate for several months, and was then charged with teaching moral theology at the Grand Séminaire of Besançon. He retained this chair until 1830, acquiring the reputation of an expert professor and consummate casuist. It was then he reedited with accompanying notes and dissertations the “Conférences d’Angers” (26 vols., 1823) and the “Dictionnaire théologique” of Bergier (1826), of which he published another edition in 1843. From these years of his professorship date his clear exposition of the “Doctrine de L’Eglise sur le prèt à intérèt” (1825, “Le Code civil commenté dans ses rapports avec la théologie morale” (1827), and the “Justification de la théologie du P. Liguori” (1829). Summoned to the post of vicar-general of Besancon by Cardinal de Rohan, he fulfilled the duties of the post from 1830 to 1835. At this date he was named Bishop of Périgueux, and in the following year he presented to Villemain his “Observations sur la liberté d’enseignement”, a protest against the monopoly of the university. In 1840 he was called to the Archdiocese of Reims, but his episcopal duties did not prevent him from completing important theological works. In 1844 appeared in French his “Théologie morale à l’usage des curés et des confesseurs”, which ran quickly through several editions. His treatise on dogmatic theology (2 vols., 1848) had no less success. The dignity of cardinal, for which he was fitted by his wide knowledge and the soundness of his doctrine and numerous works, was conferred on him in 1850. In virtue of the Constitution of 1852 he became senator of the empire, and in 1856 commander of the Legion of Honor. His last works were: “Exposition des principes de droit canonique” (1859); “Du droit de 1′ Eglise touchant le possession des biens destinés au culte et la souveraineté temporelle du Pape” (1862).

A. FOURNET


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