Terill, Anthony (Bonville)
TERILL, ANTHONY (BONVILLE)
Jesuit moral theologian; b. Canford (Dorsetshire), 1621; d. Liège, Oct. 11, 1676. His family name was Bonville, or Boville. Although his mother was a Catholic, his father was not, and Terill was brought up in heresy. At the age of 15 he was converted, whereupon he went to the English College of Saint-Omer, taking the name Terill in accordance with the practice, common among Catholics going abroad for study, of using an alias. After several years at St. Omer, Terill went to the English College at Rome to prepare for the priesthood. He was ordained March 6, 1647, and on June 20 of that year he entered the Jesuits. For some time after completing his novitiate he was penitentiary at Loreto and then he taught, successively, philosophy at Florence, philosophy and theology at Parma, and theology and mathematics at the English College at Liège where he was also director of studies and, for three years, rector.
In addition to several theological works, he wrote two books that earned him some distinction as a moral theologian. The first of these was Fundamentum totius theologiae moralis seu tractatus de conscientia probabili … (Liège 1668). Most moralists who discussed proba bilism did so as part of their treatment of broader topics. Terill was among the first to devote an entire book to the subject, which happened to interest him profoundly, perhaps because he himself was much tortured by scruples. In this book he devised an ingenious explanation of how a person, transgressing a law of which he is invincibly ignorant, does not in fact violate the law of God. Foreseeing in His scientia media of future free events that some individuals would be inculpably ignorant of the law or its applications, God incorporated those exceptions or departures from the general formula of the law into the law itself. This explanation, besides being open to all the objections against probabilism, outraged those to whom the concept of scientia media was unacceptable, and evoked a storm of protest. In reply to his critics Terill wrote his Regula morum, published posthumously at Liège in 1677, and directed especially against his chief adversaries, the Jesuit Miguel de elizalde, and the Dominican daniel concina.
Bibliography: Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus 7:1930–31, to be used cautiously because of errors in dates. Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae 3 4:284–286. h. foley, ed., Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, 7 v. (London 1877–82) 3.1:420–421; 6.1:352–353. r. brouillard, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 15.1:127–129.
[p. k. meagher]
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