Escobar, Andrés de

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Benedictine abbot, bishop, canonist, and theologian; b. Lisbon, 1366 or 1367; d. Florence(?) 1439 or 1440. His writings on the canonical-moral aspects of confessional practice in the Sacrament of penance, on the underlying causes of the eastern schism, and on his proposals for the reform of the clerical and lay states of life made him one of the most widely read of Renaissance Churchmen up to the 17th century. This Hispano-Portuguese monk (he was neither a Dominican nor a Franciscan, as some have asserted) earned his master's degree in theology at the University of Vienna. After becoming abbot of Randuf in the Diocese of braga, he began his 40-year career in the papal Curia (c. 1397), acting as a papal penitentiary and adviser. He later took part in the councils of constance, basel, and florence, and his signature appears on the Decree of Union with the Greeks. In 1408 Pope gregory xii made him bishop of Cività (Tempio-Terranova) in Sardinia; in 1422 martin v transferred him to the See of Ajaccio in Corsica. He does not seem to have resided in either see. In May 1428 Martin V transferred him to the titular See of Megara. Besides Randuf, he held the abbeys of San Juan de Pendorada in Oporto and San Rosendo de Celanova in Galicia in commendam in order to supplement his meager income.

In his Gubernaculum conciliorum (1435) he manifested certain conciliarist views (see conciliarism), but Candal asserts that these views must be understood in the light of Escobar's anxiety for the promotion and carrying out of reform in the Church. His authentic attitude appears more sharply defined in his abandonment of the Council of Basel in favor of Pope eugene iv and in his defense of papal primacy and infallibility in his last treatise, De Graecis errantibus (1437). This work, largely derived from St. Thomas Aquinas's Contra errores Graecorum, is distinguished for its balanced and sympathetic approach to an understanding of the ritual differences between the Greek and Latin Churches.

Bibliography: The best authority for the facts of Escobar's biography and for a summary view of his writings are his Tractatus polemico-theologicus de Graecis errantibus, ed. e. candal (Concilium florentinum: Documenta et scriptores 4.1; Rome 1952), and e. candal, "Andrés de Escobar, Obispo de Megara," Orientalia Christiana periodica 14 (1948) 80104.

[r. h. trame]