Humanist and liturgist; b. Pittem, Belgium, Aug. 15, 1513; d. Cologne, Feb. 3, 1566. His family name was Casant. At the Collège du Château in Louvain, he earned a master of arts in 1533. At Ghent and Bruges he taught literature. In 1544, after a tour of Italy, he enrolled in the theological faculty of Cologne and in 1549 undertook both the teaching of theology and the direction of the newly founded Academy of Duisberg. He bent his efforts to bring the Anabaptists back to the Catholic faith, and between 1561 and 1566 joined forces with the programs launched by the Emperors Ferdinand I and Maximilian II to reestablish unity in the Church. In his principal work, De Officio Pii ac Publicae Tranquillitatis vere Amantis Viri in hoc Religionis Dissidio (1561), he showed that abuses in the Church though real were insuf-ficient grounds for leaving it. Later his Consultatio de Articulis Religionis inter Catholicos et Protestantes Controversis (posthumously published in 1577) tried to put a Catholic interpretation on Protestant tenets. These works met with strong opposition from both sides; he was accused of excessive tolerance, of being too ready for compromise. The fact is he realized that there were mistakes on the part of all concerned and refused to believe that the rupture within Christianity was definitive. While he defended the Church's stand regarding the rites of the Mass and the practice of infant Baptism [De Baptismo Infantium (1563)], he showed that the contemporary movement for return of the chalice to the laity also had a genuine tradition behind it [De Sacra Communione Christiani Populi in utraque Panis et Vini Specie (1564)]. His life and works (placed on the Index in 1617) have been a sign of contradiction for many. The strength of his convictions has often been called into question, without reason, however, for he died confessing to Novimula, the rector of Cologne, his truly Catholic sentiments.
Bibliography: j. baudot, Dictionnaire d'archéologie chrétienne et de liturgie, ed. f. cabrol, h. leclercq, and h.i. marrou, 15 v. (Paris 1907–53), 2.2:2333–40. r. koper, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer, and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 2:968–969. r. stupperich, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d. ed. Tübingen 1957–65), 1:1625–26. r. haass, Neue deutsche Biographie (Berlin 1953) 3:166. h. de vocht, History of the Foundation and the Rise of the Collegium Trilingue Lovaniense, 1517–1550, 3 v. (Louvain 1951–54) v.3 The Full Growth (University of Louvain, Recueil de travaux d'histoire et de philologie 4.5), 296–303. j. lecler, Toleration and the Reformation, tr. t. l. westow, 2 v. (New York 1960), 1:270–296.
[n. n. huyghebaert]