le Tellier, Michel

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Confessor of King louis xiv, theologian; b. Vire, France, Dec. 16, 1643; d. La Flèche, France, Sept. 2,1719. Though he published significant books between 1685 and 1708, his historical importance was a result of his influence upon King Louis XIV after 1708. He entered the Jesuits in 1661, and for 28 years taught humanities, philosophy, and biblical exegesis at Louisle-Grand in Paris. He became rector of this college. He was Jesuit provincial when, in 1708, he was chosen as the king's confessor after Father La Chaise's death. Before this he had written in defense of Jesuit practices in China in allowing Confucian rites to their Chinese converts. He wrote also against jansenism and against Pasquier Quesnel's Reflexions morales; and he was associated with the publication of the Mémoires de Trevoux. It was at his insistence that the king ordered Port-Royal destroyed. He also worked to bring about the condemnation of Quesnel's book in Rome and to obtain the publication of the bull Unigenitus in France. He was openly hostile to Cardinal Louis Antoine de noailles. Upon Louis XIV's death, he was sent first to Amiens, then to La Flèche. Harsh judgments of him were written by the Jansenists, by partisans of the Duke of Orleans, and by Saint-Simon.

Bibliography: l. andrÉ, Les Sources de l'histoire de France, XVII e siècle (Paris 1932). a. brou, Les Jésuites de la légende, 2 v. (Paris 190607). g. plantavit de la pause, Lettres sur le confessorat du Père Le Tellier, ed. i. de recalde (Paris 1922). c. sommervogel et al. Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 v. (Brussels-Paris 18901932) 7:19111919. j. carreyre, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, 15 v. (Paris 190350) 9.1:456458. l. de r. saint-simon, The Memoirs of the Duke of Saint-Simon, tr. b. st. john, 4 v. in 2 (New York 1936).

[d. r. campbell]