Theologian, Church historian; b. Toulouse, Jan. 27, 1861; d. Paris, Jan. 13, 1929. He studied at the Seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris (1878–82), was ordained in 1884, and attended the Institut Catholique and the École des Hautes Études while serving as a curate in Paris. He was an early friend of the biblical scholar M. J. lagrange, a protégé of the Church historian L. duchesne, and also came under the influence of the archeologist G. B. rossi in Rome. He was chaplain at L'École de Ste. Barbe in Paris from 1889 until he was named rector of the Institut Catholique of Toulouse in 1898. Here he devoted himself to the history of penance, the agape, and the disciplina arcani, publishing the results in his Études d'histoire et de théologie positive (1902). Though he opposed the Modernist movement in his L'Enseignement de Jésus (1905), his L'Eucharistie: la Présence réelle et la Transubstantiation was put on the Index (1907). Thereupon he resigned his rectorship and returned to the chaplaincy in Paris, remaining there until his death. In 1913 he published a complete revision of the book on the Eucharist.
Batiffol's first important publications included La Vaticane de Paul IV à Paul V (1890), and L'Abbaye de Rossano: Contribution à l'histoire de la Vaticane (1891). His Histoire du Bréviaire romain (1893; Eng. tr. 1898) stimulated a revival of liturgical studies in France. Besides his Studia Patristica (1889–90) and editions of numerous texts, including the Tractatus Origenis (1900), he contributed studies on the Bible and on Byzantine historiography to leading German and French periodicals. His later works concerned with the early papacy include L'Église naissante et le catholicisme (1909; Eng. tr., Primitive Catholicism, 1911), La Paix constantinienne et le catholicisme (1914), Le Catholicisme de S. Augustin (1920), S. Léon le Grand (Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 9:218–301), and S. Grégoire le Grand (1928, Eng. tr. 1929). Batiffol advanced research in positive theology and introduced his colleagues to non-Catholic and foreign scholarship in his fields of study.
Bibliography: g. bardy, "L'Oeuvre de Mgr. Batiffol," Recherches de science religieuse 10 (1929) 393–400. Dictionnaire de théologie catholique: Tables générales (Paris 1960) 385–386. j. riviÈre, Mgr. Pierre Batiffol (Paris 1929) incl. bibliog.; Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912—) 6:1327–30.
[f. x. murphy]