Duperron, Jacques Davy

views updated


Cardinal, theologian, statesman; b. Berne, Switzerland (not St. Lô, Normandy), Nov. 25, 1556; d. Paris, 1618. His family was Norman. He was educated by his Calvinist father, went to Paris in 1573 after theological and humanist studies and gained fame as a learned man, being presented to Henry III in 1576. After reading the Summa of St. Thomas, he became a Catholic (157778) in a sincere conversion that nonetheless helped his career. Because of his talent as a speaker, he became reader for Henry III and, though not yet a priest, gave the funeral oration for Ronsard in 1586. He was ordained in 1591, had a part in the conversion of Henry IV in 1593, and with A. d' Ossat went to Rome in 1595 to obtain reconciliation and papal absolution for the king (see henry iv, king of france). Henry made him first chaplain and councilor of state, and in 1596 Duperron took possession of the See of Evreux, to which Henry had named him in 1591. He then devoted himself to combating calvinism, having studied the Fathers, scholastics, contemporary Catholic theologians, and Calvinist authors as well. After winning a public debate in Paris in 1597, he vanquished P. duplessis-mornay at Fontainebleau, June 4, 1600, before the king and a jury of Catholics and Calvinists. After he was made a cardinal in 1604, he represented France in Rome. In 1606 he became archbishop of Sens and grand chaplain of France, returning to France in 1607. In 1610 he became a member of the regency and in 1612 defended Robert bellarmine and papal authority against Parlement and E. richer. In 1615, for the French clergy, he delivered a harangue against an article of the Estates General of 1614. His harangue was attacked by James I of England, with whom, through I. Casaubon, Duperron had conducted an epistolary debate in 1611 and 1612 (ed. 1620), defending the legitimacy of the Church of Rome.

Duperron was ambitious and a subtle negotiator. He was essentially a polemicist and cannot be compared with the maurists, for example, in his scholarship. Most of his writings, including a treatise on the Eucharist in 1622, were published posthumously.

Bibliography: c. constantin, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 4.2:195360. j. calvet, Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain, ed. g. jacquemet (Paris 1947) 3:118384. k. hofmann, Lexikon für Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 3:607. r. snoeks, Dictionnaire d'histoire et de géographie ecclésiastiques, ed. a. baudrillart et al. (Paris 1912) 14:113036.

[d. r. penn]