Bus, César de, Bl.

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Priest, catechetical apostle, founder of Fathers of Christian Doctrine (Doctrinaires); b. Cavaillon (Comtat), France, Feb. 3, 1544; d. Avignon, April 15, 1607. After studies at Avignon and a worldly life, Bus was influenced by several devout persons and began seriously to serve God in 1574. He was ordained in 1582, having already taught catechism around Cavaillon. This apostolate, needed because of the pastoral neglect and ignorance attending the wars of religion, became his main work. In it he was imitated by his converted cousin J. B. Romaillon, who was ordained in 1588. Forceful and spiritually gifted, Bus adopted a method that added to his effectiveness; it consisted of simple, lively explanations for children and clearly divided dialogue instructions for adults based on the Council of trent's catechism. As coworkers joined the cousins, there grew up an association of catechists, influenced by the community ideals of (SS.) Charles borromeo and Philip neri. Bus directed its formal union of 1592 and the first foundation at Avignon in 1593; papal confirmation came in 1598. Despite outside criticism, the group worked well until c. 1600, when Bus and Romaillon differed over its structure. A painful but charitable split came in 1602. Romaillon and five others opposed to forming an institute with vows continued their work under the bishop of Aix, uniting in 1619 with the Oratory of Pierre de bÉrulle. Bus and the rest remained at Avignon and took the vow of obedience; they soon received papal approval. Though ill and blind, Bus launched the Doctrinaires so vigorously that they survived both this split and his death in 1607 to become quite numerous and extensive. Both he and Romaillon helped establish the ursulines in france. As an aid for effective preaching by his disciples, he wrote the Instructions familières (5 v. Paris 1666; last French ed.1867). He was declared venerable on Dec. 8, 1821 by Pius VII and beatified on April 27, 1975 by Paul VI.

Feast: April 15.

Bibliography: p. broutin, La Réforme pastorale en France au XVII e siècle, 2 v. (Tournai 1956) 2:139154. p. giloteaux, Le Vénérable César de Bus: Fondateur de la Congrégation des Prêtres de la Doctrine Chrétienne 15441607 (Paris 1961), lacks documentation. a. rayez, "Spiritualité du Vénérable César de Bus," Revue d'ascétique et de mystique 34 (1958) 185203. h. brÉmond, Histoire littéraire du sentiment réligieux en France depuis la fin des guerres de religion jusqu'à nos jours, 12 v. (Paris 191136) 2:931. p. calendini, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 10:140809. a. duval, Catholicisme 2:332333.

[w. h. principe]