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Bauny, Étienne


Jesuit moral theologian; b. Mouzon (Ardennes), June 1, 1575; d. Saint-Pol-de-Léon, Dec. 12, 1649. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1593 and at first taught humanities and rhetoric. He then became professor of moral theology and casuistry at the college of Clermont in Paris, a position that he held for 16 years. He later became superior at Pontoise and then spent the last years of his life at Saint-Pol-de-Léon, where he enjoyed the friendship and confidence of the bishop of Léon, René de Rieux.

Bauny enjoyed a reputation for great learning and holiness and was held in esteem by prominent prelates of his time. However, he came into difficulty with the publication of some of his works. His Somme des péchés qui se commettent en tous états (Paris 1640, many later eds.) was written to accommodate clerics whose knowledge of Latin was weak. It was followed by Pratique du droit canonique au gouvernement de l'Église (Paris 1633) and De sacramentis ac personis sacris Theologiae moralis (Pars prima Paris 1640; Pars altera 1642). The first part of the latter work and the two publications in French were placed on the Index in 1640. His lenient interpretations had aroused the opposition of the Sorbonne and made him the target of Jansenist attack. This was in fact the beginning of the Jansenist campaign of accusing Jesuit theologians of laxism. Pascal was particularly severe in his attack on Bauny. Certain of the propositions advanced by Bauny were to find more precise and acceptable expression in the writings of St. Alphonsus; others were too vague, loose, or exaggerated. However, the personal orthodoxy of Bauny was never questioned. He later wrote Tractatus de censuris ecclesiasticis (Paris 1642) and Libri tres quibus, quae in contractuum ac quasi contractuum materia videntur ardua ac difficilia, enucleantur (Paris 1645).

Bibliography: r. broulliard, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques (Paris 1912) 6:149798. h. fouqueray, Histoire de la compagnie de Jésus en France, 5 v. (Paris 191025) 5:416417. h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae (Innsbruck 1926) 1:494. m. petrocchi, Il problema del Lassismo (Rome 1953). c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus (Brussels-Paris 18901932) 1:105860.

[j. t. kelleher]

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