Janssens, Aloysius

views updated


Theologian; b. Zele, Belgium, 1887; d. Louvain, 1941. A member of the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, better known as the Scheut Fathers, he studied at the Schola Maior of the Jesuits and at the University of Louvain. Though he greatly profited by being in this scientific environment, he was nonetheless basically a self-educated man. Unable to go to the foreign missions for reasons of health, he was named professor of dogmatic theology for his religious community. His desire to keep his missionary fathers in the current of a living dogmatic theology led to a collection of dogmatic and apologetic treatises in Flemish, and he personally edited 17 of the 28 volumes that make up the series. These works go beyond mere popularization; they combine pedagogical clarity with the results of the research in Biblical and positive theology before 1940. Janssen's own research on the Assumption is still useful. He brought to bear on speculative questions a sound judgment and power of penetration. One of his chief merits was that he created a theological vocabulary in Flemish, at his time practically nonexistent. His works on Anglicanism, particularly on Cardinal Newman, encouraged a broader Catholic ecumenism. He was one of the founding members of the first Mariological society begun in 1931 at Tongerloo, Belgium, which by 1963 had published 20 volumes of proceedings. He was for his country the promoter of a theological renewal at once serious and apostolic.

Bibliography: a. van hove, Ephemerides theologicae Lovanienses (1941) 279293. g. philips, Enciclopedia cattolica 7:565566.

[g. philips]