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Spínola, Cristóbal Rojas de


Bishop of Wiener-Neustadt, noted for his attempts to unite Catholics and Protestants; b. Gheldern, Flanders, 1626; d. Wiener-Neustadt (Austria), March 12, 1695. After receiving his training as a Franciscan, he entered the service of Emperor Leopold I. At the Viennese court his chief work was dedicated to the restoration of Church unity. He made many visits throughout the princely courts of Germany, acted as an imperial agent in Spain, and made three trips to Rome. As a reward for his services he was made bishop of Knin (Yugoslavia) and subsequently (1685) bishop of Wiener-Neustadt. His fame lies in his irenic negotiations with Molanus, Lutheran Abbot of Loccum, and with the philosopher Leibniz. Spínola proposed (1) an ecumenical council preceded by a series of colloquia between Catholic and Protestant theologians that were to settle major dogmatic differences; (2) recognition of the ministry of Protestant clergy who would accept papal authority; and (3) granting the chalice to the laity and the right of clerical marriage to those who requested it. His Church union plans were not successful because of the rigid confessionalism of the 17th century and because of the hostility of French foreign policy.

Bibliography: s. j. t. miller and j. p. spielman, Crístobal Rojas y Spínola (Philadelphia 1962). p. hiltebrandt, Die Kirchlichen Reunionsverhandlungen (Rome 1922). i. bog, in Jahrbuch für fränkische Landesforschung 14 (1954). g. haselbeck, "Der Ireniker Padre C. de Rojas y S.," Der Katholik, 4th ser. 12 (1913) 1537, 385405.

[s. j. t. miller]

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