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Marchant, Pierre


Franciscan theologian; b. Couvin, Liège, 1585; d. Ghent, Nov. 11, 1661. He became a Franciscan in 1601 and taught for some years in the schools of his order. While still young he held a series of high offices in the order, becoming provincial, definitor general in 1625, and commissary general over the provinces of Germany, Belgium, Holland, England, and Ireland in 1639. The last office involved him in Irish politics during the era of the Kilkenny Confederation. Being deceived by false reports on the situation, he took sides with the Ormondists and supported Peter Walsh and those who opposed the nuncio, Giovanni Rinuccini. When called upon to justify this policy, he read his Relatio veridica et sincera status Provinciae Hiberniae to the 1661 general chapter at Rome. This book was condemned by the general chapter and ordered to be destroyed.

Marchant was a prolific writer. His principal work, Tribunal sacramentale (3 v. Ghent 1642), is a full treatise on moral theology for the use of confessors. Avoiding all disputed positions, he states the Church's teaching and draws his arguments from Sacred Scripture, the councils, the constant tradition of the Church, and the writings of the Doctors. The principles underlying his distinguished treatise on probabilism are in accord with the restrictions later imposed by the decrees of Alexander VII and Innocent XI.

His Sanctificatio S. Joseph Sponsi Virginis in utero asserta (Bruges 1630) involved him in a lively controversy with Claude d'Ausque of Tournai, and was placed on the Index in 1633. His other writings include Baculus pastoralis sive Potestas episcoporum in regulares exemptos ab originibus suis explicata (Bruges 1638), Resolutiones notabiles variorum casuum et quaestionum a multis hactenus desideratae (Antwerp 1655), and many treatises on Franciscan history and legislation that are of particular importance within the order.

Bibliography: l. wadding, Scriptores Ordinis Minorum (Rome 1650). h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae 3:120204. É. d'alenÇon, Dictionnaire de thèologie catholique 9.2:200406. Bulletin de l'Institut archéologique liègeois 68 (1951) 5962.

[f. c. lehner]

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