Theologian; b. Villaescusa de Haro, near Belmonte, Spain, June 18, 1549; d. Jesús del Monte, Alcalá, Sept. 30, 1604. He studied philosophy in Alcalá (1565–69) and joined the Society of Jesus in 1569. He taught philosophy while he pursued his theological studies in Alcalá (1571–75), and he later taught moral theology in Ocaña. He taught theology in Madrid from 1577 to 1579 and in Alcalá until 1585. He was then sent to Rome, where he replaced Francisco suÁrez at the Roman College until 1591. Because of national differences, he gave up his teaching position and returned to Alcalá where he dedicated two years to writing. In 1591, he followed Suárez as professor of theology in Alcalá until his death.
Vázquez was a man of solid virtue, especially in the observance of poverty, but at the same time he had a certain natural roughness and excessive vivacity. His whole life was dedicated to teaching and to spiritual direction.
Works. When they were edited in Alcalá from 1598 to 1616, his works filled ten volumes. Almost all his commentaries were on the Summa of St. Thomas. His treatises took the form, common enough at that time, of a brief explanation of the text of St. Thomas, followed by an ample discussion concerning the basis of the question. His last works were the Paraphrasis et compendiosa expositio ad nonnullas epistolas S. Pauli and Opuscula moralia. Before 1594 he had published De cultu adorationis libri tres et disputationes contra errores Felicis et Elipandi, inserting this in his commentaries on the third part of the Summa. Only the first three volumes were edited during his life; the others were published just as he had left them. In Madrid in 1617, Murcia de la Llana extracted the Disputationes metaphysicae from Vázquez' works; it was often reproduced, in whole or in part, outside of Spain. Other writings on various topics have not yet been edited.
Teaching. As a professor Vázquez attracted the admiration and enthusiasm of his students because of his brilliant and lively presentation and the subtlety and warmth of his academic discussions. His writings are famous for their clarity, conciseness, and elegant Latin.
Vázquez was renowned for his strong, sharp, and critical mind. His knowledge of the councils and the Fathers was extensive, especially of St. Augustine—he was called "Augustinus redivivus." He had a keen sense of history and philology, together with a metaphysical penetration, which, however, did not equal that of Suárez in breadth, depth, calmness, or comprehension. His many rivalries with the Doctor Eximius were proverbial.
The doctrine of Vázquez, which follows the teaching common among the Jesuits, cannot be compared to the greatness and equilibrium of that of his rival Suárez. He sustained pure molinism, as opposed to congruism, but the notion of scientia media and the naturalness of divine concurrence were better explained by Suárez.
Vázquez' most controverted ideas are as follows: direct veneration of images is a purely external reverence; formal justification comes, not precisely through habitual grace, but through contrition (a doctrine that had to be suppressed in later editions); free will necessarily follows what is presented as a greater good; natural law is somewhat anterior to every act of the divine intellect and will. Other opinions of Vázquez are that the intuitive vision of God necessitates an impressed species; Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God is valid; the generation of the Word is explained not only through an intellectual procession, but also by the concept of image; a good impulse, as grace, is required for every good work; the indwelling of the Holy Spirit consists in the production of grace; the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist is explained by adduction; the essence of the sacrifice of the Mass consists in a "mystical mactation" commemorative of the sacrifice of the Cross. In moral theology his probabilism is tainted with a certain tutiorism and admits of indifferent acts.
Bibliography: c. sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus, 11 v. (Brussels-Paris 1890–1932) 8:513–519. j. hellin, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, 15 v. (Paris 1903–50) 15:2601–2610. w. hentrich, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. m. buchberger, 10 v. (Freiburg 1930–38) 10:511–513. a. astrain, Historia de la Compañía de Jesús, en la asistencia de España 7 v. (Madrid 1902–25) v. 4. m. solana, Los grandes escolásticos españoles de los siglos XVI y XVII (Madrid 1928). x. m. le bachelet, Prédestination et grâce efficace 2 v. (Louvain 1931). f. stegmÜller, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters suppl. 3.2 (1935): 1287–1311. f. cereceda, "Censuras y apologias del libro 'De adoratione' del P. Vasquez G.," Estudios eclesiásticos 14 (1935): 555–564. r. de scorraille, François Suarez de la Compagnie de Jésus 2 v. (Paris 1912–13) 1:283–314.
[j. m. dalmau]