A Revised Martyrology for 16th Century German Catholics

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired the first edition of an extremely rare German-language Catholic Martyrology that was edited by the famed Jesuit scholar-saint, Peter Canisius (1521-1597). The work, Martyrologium: der Kirchen-Kalender, darinnen angezeiget werden, die christlichen Feste und Heiligen Gottes beyder Testamente (Dilingen, 1562), was apparently undertaken by one Adam Walasser, who enlisted Canisius’ help while the latter was in Augsburg. Canisius’ name appears prominently on the title-page, while Walasser only takes credit in the dedication leaf—probably because Canisius was becoming well known by this time.

The purpose of this Martyrology seems to have been two-fold: first, the authors wanted to appeal to the German Catholic population in the German language, especially since Protestantism had been making significant inroads using the vernacular language; second, the authors recognized the need for a scholarly revision of Martyrological texts in order to conform more accurately with known historical facts. In this respect, Canisius anticipated the call for similar revisions by the Council of Trent (which would conclude the year after the publication of this work)—by the end of the 16th century, other revised Roman Martyrologies had been published.

We have found no other North American library holdings of this edition.

Converting Irish-speaking Catholics to Protestantism

by Aedín Ní Bhróithe Clements, Irish Studies Librarian

Tyrone-born clergyman John Richardson (c. 1669-1747) was a strong advocate of publishing Irish-language religious works as a means of converting Ireland’s Catholics to Protestantism. The Hesburgh Libraries recently acquired a copy of his 1711 book of sermons, Seanmora ar na Priom Phoncibh, na Chreideamh or Sermons upon the Principal Points of Religion, Translated into Irish. The book was published in London by Elinor Everingham.

In the same year that he published this book, Richardson presented a petition to the Lord Lieutenant, the duke of Ormond, calling for the publication of testaments, prayer books, catechisms and sermons in Irish, and he also published A Proposal for the Conversion of the Popish Natives of Ireland to the Establish’d Religion. Our book of sermons represents an early part of his campaign to provide printed sermons.

Richardson makes the case for his project in the book’s dedication to the Duke of Ormond.

It is too manifest to be denied that the many dreadful Calamities with which that unfortunate Island hath been miserably Afflicted since the Reformation, are in a great measure owing to the unhappy differences of Religion in it. To prevent them for the time to come, several Laws have been made to weaken, and at last to Extinguish Popery in that Kingdom; and there seems to be only one thing wanting, one thing very becoming the Professours of Christianity, in order to attain this happy End, which is, that proper Methods be used to Instruct the Natives in the true Religion, and to Convert them from their Errours.

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The first sermon, by Richardson, is headed with a Bible verse on the necessity of godliness. This is followed by a sermon by John Tillotson, the Bishop of Canterbury, preached in the presence of the King and Queen at Hampton Court in April 1689. The translator of this sermon, Pilib Mac Brádaigh (c.1655-1720), is said to have been a Catholic priest who “embraced the aristocratic religion of the State, for which he handed down his name to posterity as Philip Ministir” (John O’Donovan).

The final texts are three sermons given by Bishop William Beveridge, Bishop of St. Asaph, and are translated to Irish by Seón ó Mulchonri, or Seán Ó Maolconaire. 

The printed text uses many contractions, and these are almost, but not all, listed in the key at the back of the book. The key displays the Irish alphabet of eighteen letters, the symbols for contractions of common letter-combinations, and a display of the lenited consonants, each one with an overhead dot.

We know of six other copies of this book in the U.S.

An Account of Three Jesuits Martyred During the English Civil War

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired the first edition of Ambrose Corbie’s Certamen Triplex (Antuerpiae, 1645), a rare and important contemporary account of the martyrdoms of Thomas Holland (1600-1642), Ralph Corbie (1598-1644) and Henry Morse (1595-1645), who were Jesuit priests executed during the English Civil War while conducting missionary activities in England. The author (1604-1649) was the brother of Ralph Corbie and himself a Jesuit priest.

Holland, Corbie and Morse were captured and executed between 1642 and 1645 by parliamentarians after the English Civil War erupted. Holland was born in Lancashire and after studying at the Jesuit college at St. Omer and the English College, Valladolid, he joined the English mission in London, where he was apprehended in 1642.

Corbie was born, as the Certamen Triplex tells us, “in the vicinity” of Dublin (p. 43) after his parents fled county Durham in the northeast of England in the wake of being persecuted for recusancy. After studying at various Catholic institutions on the continent, he joined the English mission and was based in his ancestral home of county Durham where he was caught in July 1644.

The best known of the three martyrs was Morse, the “priest of the plague”, who ministered to the sick—both Protestant and and Catholic—during the plague epidemic of 1636. His courage, as many of the Protestant clergy fled the city, caught the attention of Charles I’s Catholic wife, Henrietta Maria. After Morse was arrested in 1637, Henrietta Maria interceded on his behalf and saved him from execution. Following a few years as chaplain to the English troops in Flanders, he returned to England in 1643. Morse was subsequently captured and, with his royal protector having fled to France in 1644, was executed in February of 1645 at Tyburn on the original charge from eight years earlier.

As Susannah Brietz Monta explains in her book Martyrdom and Literature in Early Modern England (Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 217-218):

“The martyrs of the 1640s found themselves embroiled in the struggles between Charles I and Parliament. Earlier, in the 1630s, Charles’s reluctance to prosecute priests on charges of treason and his pro-Spanish foreign policy deepened suspicions that he was not fully committed to the Reformation and angered those who felt England should aid continental Protestants in their struggles against Catholic powers. The fear that Charles was betraying the Protestant cause at home and abroad directly affected the fate of Catholic priests. As conflict between king and Parliament flared, Parliament demanded that Elizabethan treason legislation be put into effect and proclaimed that all priests were to leave the country by 7 April 1641 on pain of death. The Irish Catholic rebellion further invigorated prosecution of the Elizabethan statutes.”

We have identified only eight other North American library holdings of this edition.

Upcoming Events: October 2023

Please join us for the following public events and exhibits being hosted in Rare Books and Special Collections:

Thursday, October 5 at 5:00pm | Italian Research Seminar: “The Archival Turn and Network Approach: Examining Evolving Translation Practices and Discourses in the British Publishing Firm Complex, 1950s-1980s” by Daniela La Penna (University of Reading, UK).

Thursday, October 24 at 5:00pm | McBrien Special Collections Lecture Series: “Chief O’Neill in Ten Tunes” by Dr. Seán Doherty (Dublin City University).

Captain Francis O’Neill’s collection 1001 Gems: The Dance Music of Ireland (1907) is so important to the world of Irish traditional music that it’s sometimes called the Bible or simply, ‘The Book’. Starting as a pandemic project, the Irish composer and musicologist Seán Doherty analyzed all 1001 tunes in this influential collection. In this lecture and performance, Seán will discuss the music along with O’Neill’s biography and will play tunes linked to key moments in Chief O’Neill’s life.

Captain O’Neill donated his personal library to the University of Notre Dame, where it is held at the Hesburgh Library. Dr. Doherty’s research visit is supported by the Keough-Naughton Library Research Award in Irish Studies.


The exhibition Making and Unmaking Emancipation in Cuba and the United States is now open and will run through the fall semester.

Curator-led tours, open to the public, will be held noon–1:00pm on the following upcoming Fridays: October 13 and 27 [tour on 10/27 cancelled], and November 17.

Tours of the exhibit may also be arranged for classes and other groups by contacting Rachel Bohlmann at (574) 631-1575 or Rachel.Bohlmann.2@nd.edu.


The October spotlight exhibits are Football and Community at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (August – December 2023) and Path to Sainthood: Brother Columba O’Neill (October – November 2023).

RBSC will be open regular hours (9:30am – 4:30pm) during the University of Notre Dame’s Fall Break, October 16 – 20.

Two Doctoral Theses by a 17th Century Catholic Theologian and Philosopher

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired extremely rare editions of the two doctoral theses by Francesco Maria Sforza Pallavicino, an important seventeenth-century Catholic theologian and philosopher. These works, De Universa Philosophia (Romae, 1625) and De Universa Theologia (Romae, 1628), were issued only in these imprints.

Sforza Pallavicino (1607-1667) cuts an interesting and versatile figure in the church history of this period. He was an ardent supporter of Galileo and the “new science”, while also well known for his two-volume history of the Council of Trent, Istoria del Concilio di Trento (1656-57), a scathing rebuttal to Paolo Sarpi’s pro-Protestant Istoria del Concilio Tridentino. Over his father’s objections, Sforza Pallavicino entered the Society of Jesus in 1637 and became a staunch opponent of Jansenism and defender of the Jesuit theological tradition. He was made a Cardinal by Pope Alexander VII in 1657.

The author’s philosophy dissertation is a wide-ranging text covering readings from Aristotle, Augustine, Avicenna, and Aquinas to Scotus, Suarez, and Xenophon; De Universa Theologia is similarly broad in scope, specifically treating the following nine subjects: “De Deo Uno, et Trino”; “De Angelis”; “De Actibus Humanis”; “De Gratia”; “De Fide, Spe, et Charitate”; “De Virtutibus Moralibus”; “De Incarnatione”; “De Primis Tribus Sacramentis”, and “De Quatuor Postremis Sacramentis”.

We have found only two North American library holdings for each of these titles.

A 16th Century Biography of a Jesuit Missionary

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired a rare edition of a biography of Jesuit missionary Gaspar Berse (1515-1553), Nicolas Trigault’s Vita Gasparis Barzaei Belgae e Societate Iesu B. Xaverii in India socij (Coloniae, 1611). Trigault (1577-1628) was himself a Jesuit missionary to China, arriving in Nanjing in 1611; this edition was published just prior to his departure. He eventually traveled to Hangzhou where he worked until  his death in 1628.

Berse was a companion of St. Francis Xavier and went with him to Goa, India in 1548. When Xavier left Goa to travel further east, he left Berse to lead the new Jesuit mission. A prior edition of this work was published in 1610 in Antwerp.

We have found only seven other North American holdings of this edition.

Early Printed Versions of Medieval Liturgical Commentaries in Rare Books & Special Collections

by Julia A. Schneider, Ph.D, Medieval Studies Librarian

Treatises on the Catholic Liturgy emerged as a genre of commentary during the Middle Ages (ca. 500-1500 CE), providing explanations for some or all aspects of the church’s religious ritual, including the Mass, the Divine Office, the Sacrament of Baptism, Ordination, and other rites, as well as church buildings and furnishings, such as vesture, candles (and their placement), bells, and the like.1 Although the reason for the treatises may have stemmed from necessity, whether due to the institution of reforms of liturgical practice or to the interest of particular bishops, the authors of many of these commentaries sought to provide theological background and spiritual edification for readers and preachers alike, aiding in the broader understanding of particular aspects of the Catholic liturgy. This deeper understanding provided for more fruitful meditation on the content and spiritual effects of the ritual. As with commentary on the scriptures in the Middle Ages, composers of these treatises on the liturgy provided their interpretations in multivalent senses, including allegorical understandings alongside (and sometimes instead of) historical or literal interpretations of the various actions, prayers, furnishings, and ministers involved in the ritual.

Although modern scholars have not published as extensively about the genre as they have about other medieval commentary types, existing manuscripts and library inventories indicate that they were important texts to be studied. Medieval authors tended to “recycle” the works of other authors by weaving the work of those earlier authors into their own commentaries; the manuscript transmission rate of texts from this genre, whether directly or through borrowing suggests a rather broad readership of treatises on the liturgy. That the dissemination of some of the most popular commentaries continued well into the print period, even as European ritual practices were reviewed and codified into a revised, unified Roman Rite,2 testifies to their use and usefulness.

Hesburgh Libraries Rare Books and Special Collections holds several witnesses to this early print tradition for liturgical commentaries. For this blog post, we will examine five of our printed treatises on the liturgy. Four of the five include versions of the commentary Rationale divinorum officiorum, which dates from the end of the thirteenth century and was written by William Durand, Bishop of Mende († 1296). Containing eight books, it provides encyclopedic commentary on all aspects of the rites of the liturgy, as well as church furnishings, vesture, and other topics. In addition to the Rationale, Durand compiled a Pontificale (the liturgical book including rites particular to the bishop) and composed the Speculum iudicale (Mirror of Canon Law), along with other works.

In composing the Rationale, Durand lifted text from commentaries by Pope Innocent III (1161-1216), John Beleth (1135-1182), Amalarius of Metz (c. 755-850), and others. It was an extremely popular work, as liturgical commentaries go! One hundred and thirty-nine manuscripts currently exist that were produced during the one hundred and sixty year period between the first manuscript version of the Rationale and its first printing.3 This may not seem like a lot of evidence of interest in the text by our contemporary standards, but given that the literacy rate was less than 20% during the Middle Ages,4 given that texts were copied entirely by hand during this period, and given the ecclesiastical audience for the text, this number is indicative of the status of a late medieval best-seller. Pointing to continued interest in Durand’s text into the modern period is the fact that forty-four printed editions of the Rationale–whole or in part–are known to have been printed between 1459-1500, with a total of one hundred and eleven different editions printed by the end of the nineteenth century.5

The earliest of the printed versions of the Rationale in Hesburgh Libraries’ holdings was printed by Jacques Huguetan in Lyon, c. 1503 on two hundred and twenty-three folios, and includes Huguetan’s printer’s mark. It contains historiated initials which were added after printing (mimicking the process of manuscript illumination), and some of those initials are missing.

The second version of the Rationale examined here was acquired as part of the José Durand Collection and was printed in Venice in 1509 by Peiro Quarengi. It provides a complete version of the text in one hundred and forty-seven leaves including both large and small initials throughout the text. These two represent two of the twenty-five versions of the Rationale printed between 1500-1519.6

Also from the Durand Collection, another of the later editions of the Rationale was printed in 1568 in Venice by Grazioso Percaccino. It contains three hundred and twenty-two leaves and includes a frontispiece; there are initials for each section as well, with some of them planned but absent.

The final version of the Rationale we will reference in this post was printed in 1581, also in Venice, by Giovanni Antonio Bertano. It contains three hundred and seventy-five leaves. In this version, William Durand’s text is appended by John Beleth’s twelfth-century treatise, Summa de ecclesiasticis officiis. Astrik L. Gabriel, O.Praem. (1907-2005), former director of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute, gave this volume to the Hesburgh Libraries.

These are but four examples of the early print versions of William Durand’s Rationale from the sixteenth century. The demand for new versions of this text began to dwindle after 1672.7 His name was all but forgotten until, during the mid-nineteenth century, a resurgence of interest in manuscript studies and a subsequent pastoral and liturgical renewal occurred that gave rise to the composition of new treatises on the liturgy and an increase in regard for medieval liturgical forms.

Reflecting the climate of reform, a revision of the Roman Rite, and a renewal of pastoral care during the mid-sixteenth century, we have an imprint that contains a compendium of liturgical description, directions, and commentary, first addressed to Salentin IX of Isenberg-Grenzau, who was Archbishop-Elector of Cologne at the time of publication. This volume was published under the name De divinis Catholicae Ecclesiae officiis ac ministeriis, in 1568 by Gerwin Calenius and Johannes Quentel in Cologne.

Melchior Hittorp is the compendium’s compiler, editor and author of his own commentary. After introductory material, Hittorp included a reconstruction of the Order of Mass (Ordo Romanus) and other liturgical rites. This is followed by liturgical commentaries in full or excerpted form by Isidore of Seville, Amalarius of Metz, Berno of Rheichenau, Walafrid Strabo, Bernold of Constance, and Ivo of Chartres, among others. Hittorp’s versions of several of these treatises have influenced twentieth-century scholars attempting to create critical editions of commentaries, particularly that of Amalarius of Metz. Most of the authors represented here were bishops whose commentaries were well-known already while they still lived. Their work was mined, either directly or indirectly, by authors of later treatises. Several of these authors’ works were written during or after the Investiture Controversy (1076-1122), in order to illuminate reforms to church practices. That theme is notable here, as Hittorp’s work of 1568 appeared only five years after the Ecumenical Council of Trent closed in 1563. It was convened in 1545, in part, as the church sought to respond with doctrinal and practical definitions to the critiques of the reformers like Martin Luther.8

All of these imprints show the vibrant life of the liturgy and the importance placed on understanding its spiritual reality in the medieval and early modern periods. Although the intent of the author or compiler is sometimes difficult to determine, particularly for those treatises that do not necessarily describe the liturgical practices of a particular location, the modern reader is left with a broader understanding of the actions, prayers, and furnishings used in the ritual, which ultimately helps them understand the medieval world a bit better. And interest in these texts is reviving. Several medieval liturgical commentaries have been recently translated into English and other languages. A partial translation of Durand’s text into English by Timothy Thibodeau, an alumnus of Notre Dame’s Medieval Institute, is available by consulting the Hesburgh Library’s Catalog.

 

Footnotes

1. Roger Reynolds, “Liturgy, Treatises on,” in the Dictionary of the Middle Ages,  Joseph Strayer, ed. (NY: Scribner, 1989)  7: 624B.

2. The Roman Rite is the Latin Rite liturgy observed by Catholic churches in the West. Most European countries used the Roman Rite at the time of the Protestant Reformation (beginning 1517). In 1570, Pope Pius V promulgated the new, unified Roman Rite, later referred to as the Tridentine Rite or the Tridentine Mass, so-called after the Ecumenical Council held in Trent (1545-63) tasked with the reform and unification of the liturgy, among other things.

3. Menard, Clarence, “William Durand’s Rationale divinorum officiorum: Prelminiaries to a Critical Edition,” (Dissertation: Academia Pontificia Gregoriana, 1967), 2: 292. 

4. Ekselson, Tyrel C. “States, Institutions, and Literacy Rates in Early-Modern Western Europe,” Journal of Education and Learning (10. 2; 2021), 192. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1290524.pdf (accessed July 113, 2023).

5. Michel Albaric, “Éditions imprimées du Rationale de Guillaume Durand,” in Guillaume Durand, Évêque de Mende (v. 1230-1296) Actes de la Table Ronde du CNRS, Mende 24-27 Mai, 1990 (Paris: Éditions du CNRS, 1992), 183-4.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid, 185.

8. Roger Reynolds, “Liturgical Scholarship at the Time of the Investiture Controversy : Past Research and Future Opportunities,” The Harvard Theological Review, 71.1, 1978), 113-4. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1509778 (last accessed July 11, 2023)

An early Italian vernacular response to Martin Luther’s teachings

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

The Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired a very rare sole edition of an early Italian vernacular response to Martin Luther’s teachings, Giovanni Pili Da Fano’s Iesus Maria Opera vtilissima uulgare co[n]tra le pernitiosissime heresie Lutherane p[er] li simplici (Bologna, 1532).

“At the end of the 1520’s and especially in the course of the 1530s, the Italian market offered a wide range of anonymous books in the vernacular that were merely translations, often partial, of Lutheran texts disguised behind seemingly innocent titles… To the complete absence of reaction by controversialists … there had been one significant exception… Giovanni of Fano offered the uneducated reader a Luther skilled in controversy, a violently anti-Roman, systematic theologian and subverter of tradition, presenting, together with a ‘clearer notice’ of the fundamentals of Catholic doctrine, a fully detailed picture of Lutheran errors.”

Giorgio Caravale, Beyond the Inquisition:
Ambrogio Catarino Politi and
the Origins of the Counter-Reformation

(University of Notre Dame Press, 2017)

The first chapter of the work treats the handling of all kinds of heretics. Fano subsequently introduces his lay reader to the usual anti-Lutheran responses found in Latin treatises of the time: on the unity of the Church; St. Peter and the Apostolic Succession; on faith, Confession, the Eucharist, indulgences, Purgatory, idolatry, prayer, and finally on the celibacy of the clergy.

We have located only one other North American institutional holding of this title.

A 16th Century Theological Work with an Interesting Provenance

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has just acquired a copy of an important and rare early modern title in Catholic theology with an interesting provenance. Jean Garet (d. 1571) wrote a number of works aimed mainly at exposing the doctrinal errors of Protestantism and illustrating the truth of Catholic teachings; his works were highly esteemed during his lifetime and he was read widely throughout the seventeenth century. This work, De sanctorum invocatione liber (S. Manilius, 1570), deals with the efficacy of the intercession of the saints.

This copy is of particular interest as it was owned by the English Benedictine Priory of St. Edmund King and Martyr in Paris during the seventeenth century and is recorded in their library catalogue of 1702. Benedictine monasticism in England effectively ended when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries between 1536 and 1540; however, it lived on through the various colleges and religious houses which were established on the continent. St. Edmund’s priory was founded in 1615 when monks from the English Benedictine priory in Lorraine arrived in Paris to establish a house of studies; in 1619, the community joined the revived English Benedictine Congregation which was formally established that year.

After a number of moves, the community settled in the Rue Saint Jacques (1632) where the monks were to remain until the French Revolution. Their library grew in size and importance from that date, given that the monastery was a house of studies. The first complete catalogue of the library is that of Dom Benet Weldon (1674-1713); it was finished in 1702.  The catalogue is important for bibliographical research today because the library of St. Edmund’s priory was dispersed during the French Revolution; this work is recorded in Weldon’s catalogue with shelfmark 7 E 7. The entry is written in Weldon’s hand, indicating that it was present in the library in 1702 and was not a later addition.

Only 117 books—out of a total of approximately 5,800—from the library at St. Edmund’s priory have been traced, and until now all of the identified copies are in institutional libraries in Europe or the United Kingdom. Thus, this is the first book from St. Edmund’s (and the first copy of the work itself) to be held by a North American institution.

An Annotated 17th Century Handbook on Excommunications

by Alan Krieger, Theology and Philosophy Librarian

Hesburgh Libraries has recently acquired an interesting and extremely rare early modern work, Alessandro Ludovisi’s Catalogus Excommunicationum, quae extra Bullam Coenae Domini sunt reservarae Papae, vel Episcopo, vel Nemini, iussu illustrissimi… (Bononiae, 1613). Ludovisi (1554-1623), a native of Bologna who would later become Pope Gregory XV from 1621-1623, compiled what is essentially a handbook that details which types of persons—religious and secular—can be excommunicated, for what reasons, and who has the particular authority to do so.

For example, chapter one concerns the excommunication of prelates (cardinals, bishops, nuncios, etc.) by the Pope himself; chapter two covers lesser clerics, chapter four, nuns and chapter six, Inquisitors. Chapter seven deals with secular lords and nobility, while chapter eight discusses various professions, including magistrates, university rectors, governors, and scholars. Chapter ten concerns all those who can be excommunicated by a bishop alone.

In addition, manuscript annotations add interest to this particular copy, attesting perhaps to various canon law interpretations prevalent during this period.

We have found no other copies of this title held by other North American libraries.