Hefele, Carl Joseph von
HEFELE, CARL JOSEPH VON
Bishop, ecclesiastical historian; b. Unterkochen (Württemberg), Germany, March 15, 1809; d. Rottenburg, June 5, 1893. After studying at Tübingen (1827–32), he was ordained (Aug. 10, 1833). At Tübingen he succeeded J. A. mÖhler in the chair of Church history, patrology, and Christian archeology as lecturer (Privatdocent ) from 1836, and as full professor from 1840. As representative for Ellwangen in the Württemberg legislature (1842–45), he supported Bp. Johann von Keller's efforts to free the Church from governmental tutelage. After serving as rector of Tübingen University (1852–53), he began publication of his principal historical writing, a seven-volume Conciliengeschichte (1855–74), completed to mid-15th century by him, which treats the provincial and ecumenical synods in their historical milieu, so that this work supplies almost a history of the Church. It displays vast knowledge of ancient and medieval Church history and remains a standard work in the French version revised by Henri leclercq, which is outdated only in some sections. Hefele's numerous learned writings included frequent contributions to the Theologische Quartalschrift and more than 150 articles in the first edition of the Kirchenlexikon.
Called to Rome in 1868 as a member of the preparatory central commission for vatican council i, he drafted the council's order of procedure. His hopes for appointment to the committee on faith were disappointed, but he was chosen bishop of Rottenburg (June 17, 1869). At the assembly of German bishops in Fulda, Germany (September 1869), he voiced strong opposition to definition of the doctrine of papal infallibility. In the Vatican Council he was one of the leading opponents of this doctrine. His arguments, mainly historical, made much of the questions concerning Pope honorius i. He voted non placet at the decisive session (July 13, 1870) and left Rome to avoid voting in the public session (July 18). He had acted at the council according to his conscience as a theologian, and had repulsed pressures from the old catholics, who falsely claimed him as a supporter, to help the formation of their schism. After a long interior struggle, he published the conciliar decrees in his diocese (April 10, 1871), the last German bishop to do so. Hefele's prudent administration subsequently preserved his diocese from the troubles of the kulturkampf.
Bibliography: Works. Conciliengeschichte, v. 1–7 (Freiburg 1855–74), to 1449; v.8–9 by j. hergenrÖther (Freiburg 1887–90), to the Council of Trent; rev. ed. with many corrections and changes by Hefele, v.1–4 (Freiburg 1873–90); v.5–6 rev. by a. knÖpfler; Fr. tr. with many additions by h. leclercq et al., 11v. (Paris 1907–52); Eng. tr. w. r. clark, History of the Councils of the Church, 5 v. (Edinburgh 1883–96), to 787; Kardinal Ximenes (Tübingen 1844), Eng. tr. (London 1860); Beiträge zur Kirchengeschichte, Archäologie u. Liturgik, 2 v. (Tübingen 1864). Literature. h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae, 5 v. in 6 (3d ed. Innsbruck 1903–13) 5:1653–55. Revue internationale de théologie 16 (1908) 485–506, 671–694. p. godet, "Ch.-Jos. Hefele," Revue du Clergé français 50 (1907) 449–474. c. butler, The Vatican Council, 2 v. (New York 1930). a. hagen, "Hefele und das Vatikanische Konzil," Theologische Quartalschrift 123 (1942) 223–252; 124 (1943) 1–40; Gestalten aus dem Schwäbischen Katholizimus, 3 v. (Stuttgart 1948–54) 2:7–58; Geschichte der Diözese Rottenburg, v.2 (Stuttgart 1958). e. mangenot, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables Générales 1951–) 6.2:2111–13.