Faure, Giovanni Battista

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Theologian; b. Rome, Oct. 25, 1702; d. Viterbo, April 5, 1779. Faure entered the Society of Jesus in 1728 and spent most of his life teaching philosophy and theology. It is the opinion of some historians that had he not had a penchant for acrimonious polemic, he would have been regarded as the foremost theologian of his era. A work, Avviso salutevole (Naples 1744), in defense of B. Benzi against D. concina, attributed to Faure but never acknowledged as his, was put on the Index in 1744. An acknowledged work, also published anonymously, was his notorious Commentarium in Bullam Pauli III "Licet ab initio" (n.p. 1750), which was also put on the Index in 1757.

Under the pretext of tracing the history of the Inquisition set up by Paul III in 1512, this work bitterly attacks the methods of a number of the inquisitors, most of whom were Dominicans, for their favoritism and arbitrariness in condemning books. It complains also about the censure in 1725 of the faculty of theology at Douai, which was known, the author contends, "for its devotion to the Holy See."

Faure's commentary on the Enchiridion de fide, spe et caritate of St. Augustine, entitled Dissertatio dogmatica de praxi quesnelliana, was stopped in press by order of the Inquisition. Edited and completed by an associate of Faure, this work appeared after his death under the title In Arnaldi librum de frequenti communione (Rome 1791). Faure's Apparatus brevis ad theologiam et jus canonicum (Rome 1751) underwent many editions. A major work against Jansenism, Dubitationes theologicae de judicio practico quod super paenitentis dispositione formare sibi potest et debet confessarius (Lugano1840), was criticized by some as going too far in permitting the absolution of recidivists (see recidivism). An excellent defense of devotion to the Sacred Heart was offered in Faure's Bigletti confidenziali critici (Venice1772) and Saggi teologici (Lugano 1773). His other works include treatises on dogmatic theology, Scripture, Canon Law and Church history.

Faure was imprisoned in the Castel Sant'Angelo near the papal palace in the Vatican after the suppression of the Society of Jesus by Clement XIV in 1773. It was feared his inflammatory writings might foment a rebellion against the papal action. He was liberated by Pius VI in 1775 and spent the rest of his days at Viterbo in peace and quiet.

Bibliography: h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae (Innsbruck 1926) 5.1:7680. j. brucker, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., (Paris 190350) 5.2:210001. p. bailly, Catholicisme 4:1117.

[c. r. meyer]