Gregory of Valencia
GREGORY OF VALENCIA
Theologian; b. Medina del Campo, Spain, March 1549?; d. Naples, March 25 (April 25?), 1603. While a student of law, Gregory entered the Society of Jesus at Salamanca in November 1565. He reviewed philosophy with his fellow student Francisco Suárez, and made his theological studies at Salamanca (1566–68) and then at Valladolid (1568–70). Gregory was ordained at Rome and sent to Germany, where he taught theology at Dillingen (1573–75) and then at Ingolstadt (1575–92). While emphasizing a return to Scripture and the Fathers, philosophical depth, and literary form, Gregory developed a new generation of theology professors (e.g., J. Gretser, A. Tanner). His success as a teacher was crowned by Pope clement viii with the title Doctor Doctorum.
During these years of religious ferment in Germany, Gregory wrote more than 40 polemical essays against Lutheran and Calvinistic teachings, especially in defense of the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament, and the veneration of the saints. Their immoderately sharp tone, reflecting the spirit of his times, drew complaints, even from Peter Canisius. In 1591, Gregory collected and published his controversial writings, with additions, in one volume, entitled De rebus fidei hoc tempore controversis (Lyons 1591; Paris 1610). Especially noteworthy is the section Analysis Fidei Catholicae (Ingolstadt 1585; Waldsassen 1932), in which some of his theses on infallibility anticipate the Vatican definitions of 1870.
As consultant to the dukes of Bavaria and to the Holy See, Gregory was influential in other lively questions of his day. He defended a mutually rescindable rental convention as a moral basis for the "five per cent contract" for interest on loans, which thereafter became the legal norm in Bavaria. However, his defense of the existing laws against witchcraft, at a time when witch hunting in Germany had assumed appalling proportions, lacked the humane approach of his later confrere Friedrich von Spee.
After resigning his professorship in 1592, Gregory focused his energies on completing his principal work, Commentariorum theologicorum tomi quatuor (Ingolstadt 1591–97; revised 1603), based on the Summa of Thomas Aquinas. This first complete corpus of systematic theology by a Jesuit anticipates the modern return to Scripture and the Fathers as the basis for theological reflection. Herein is found Gregory's "pre-Molinist" theory of free will under grace, called "Valencianism." The work went through 12 editions within 20 years and had a deep and widespread influence.
Called to Rome in 1598 to the leading post at the Roman College, Gregory became actively involved in the famous dispute between Jesuits and Dominicans on grace and free will. In 1602, when Clement VIII personally assumed presidency of the congregations de auxiliis, Gregory defended Molina's book and doctrine so competently that all concurred in his praise. Although Clement allowed him to sit during his discourses, Gregory, weakened from illness and overwork, collapsed near the end of his ninth debate. He went to Naples to recover but died there in 1603.
Bibliography: c. sommervogel et al, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus (Brussels-Paris 1890–1932) 8:388–400; 9:897. h. hurter Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae (Innsbruck 1926) 3:401–404. w. hentrich, "War Gregor von Valencia Prämolinist?" Scholastik 4 (1929) 91–106; Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 4:1194–95. b. romeyer, Dictionaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 1903–50) 15.2:2465–97. b. duhr, Geschichte der Jesuiten in den Ländern deutscher Zunge, 4v. in 5 (Freiburg 1907–28) 1:665–668.
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