German Jesuit ecclesiastical historian; b. Giesenkirchen (Westphalia), June 19, 1839; d. Valkenburg, Netherlands, March 19, 1902. After joining the jesuits (1860), and completing his studies, he taught Canon Law (1874–76), then dogmatic theology and apologetics (1876–87) to Jesuit scholastics at Ditton Hall, England. His main scholarly contribution, which occupied his subsequent years, was the publication of the documents of vatican council i and the writing of its history. After going to the Netherlands (1887), he succeeded Father schneemann in editing the Acta et Decreta Concilii Vaticani (1890), which forms the seventh and final volume of the Collectio Lacensis (1870–90). The tome remains indispensable for its official conciliar documents and wealth of extracts from extraconciliar sources. This labor kept him in Rome much of the time between 1893 and his retirement in 1901. While there he also lectured (1897–98) at the Gregorian University.
His three-volume history of the synod, Geschichte des Vatikanischen Konzils, published posthumously (1903–06) by Konrad Kirch, was the first scholarly Catholic account. A French version also exists. It was regarded as an official history because the author gained special papal permission to consult rarely accessible conciliar documents. He refuted the biased accounts of old catholics, but glossed over the divergent outlooks of the bishops. His outlook on the majority group among the prelates was often uncritically favorable. The positive role and devoutness of the minority group eluded him. Later theologians have found his work lacking in theological penetration.
He also published many articles in Stimmen aus Maria Laach, Zeitschrift für Katholische Theologie, and the second edition of the Kirchenlexikon (1881–86) edited by Wetzer and Weltes.
Bibliography: h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae (Innsbruck 1903–1913) 3 5.2:1988–99. p. bernard, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique (Paris 1903–1950) 6.2:1693–94. l. koch, Jesuiten-Lexikon (Leiden 1962) 723.