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Soto, Pedro de


Theologian; b. Córdoba, Spain, 1500; d. Trent, Italy, April 22, 1563. He was born of noble parents, and as a youth displayed superior intelligence and a remarkable memory. He entered the Order of Friars Preachers and made his profession in 1519 at St. Stephen's Priory, Salamanca, Spain. During his student days he made an assiduous study of sacred doctrine, showing a special interest in patrology and in a study of the councils of the Church.

In 1542 Charles V of Spain selected him for his adviser and confessor. This association was severed six years later because of a disagreement on the interims, the three provisional arrangements for the adjustment of religious differences between the Catholics and Protestants of Germany. During his service to the emperor, De Soto and another Dominican, Gabriel de Guzmans, were credited by Paul III as being highly successful in arranging a peace between Charles V and Francis I of France.

The association with the emperor also introduced De Soto to the reality of Lutheranism, and he became enthusiastic over the project of preaching in the areas greatly influenced by Lutheranism. With the help of his friend Cardinal Otto Truchses of Augsburg, he succeeded in restoring the chair of theology at the University of Dillingen. De Soto himself occupied the chair (154953). During his tenure as professor of theology he stressed the teachings of St. augustine and St. thomas aquinas.

In 1554 De Soto and a fellow Dominican, Juan de Villagracia, were sent to England at the request of Philip II in the hope that they would be instrumental in effecting the return of the faith to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Far from meeting with success, they were forced to flee England upon the death of Queen Mary in 1558.

The Dominicans also made use of De Soto's talents. He was appointed the superior of the German province of the order, acting as commissar of the master general, Franciscus Romeus (154652), who tried to restore a real vitality to the province.

De Soto's last assignment was his appointment as Pius IV's theologian at the Council of Trent. He died while attending the council.

His major works include Institutiones Christianae (Augusta 1548), Defensio catholicae confessionis et scholiorum circa confessionem ducis Wirtenbergensis nomine editam adversus prolegomena Joannis Brentii (Antwerp 1557), Manuale Clericorum (Dillingen 1558), Methodus confessionis (Antwerp 1553), Doctrinae christianae compendium in ultimum plebis recte instituendae (Ingolstadt 1549), and Assertio catholicae fidei (Cologne 1555).

Bibliography: j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores ordinis praedicatorum (New York 1959) 2.1:183184. d. a. mortier, Histoire des maîtres généraux de l'ordre des Frères Prêcheurs, 8 v. (Paris 190320) 5:463469, 504505, 525529. a. touron, Histoire des hommes illustres de l'ordre de Saint Dominique, 6 v. (Paris 174349) 4:216230. v. d. carro, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 14.2:243143.

[f. d. nealy]

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