Pierre de Bérulle

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Pierre de Berulle. CardinaldeBerulle.jpg
Pierre de Bérulle.

Pierre de Bérulle, Cong. Orat. (4 February 1575 – 2 October 1629), was a French Catholic priest, cardinal and statesman, one of the most important mystics of the 17th century in France. He was the founder of the French school of spirituality, who could count among his friends and disciples Vincent de Paul and Francis de Sales.

Oratory of Jesus Catholic society of apostolic life

The Congregation of the Oratory of Jesus and Mary Immaculate, best known as the French Oratory, is a Roman Catholic Society of apostolic life of Catholic priests founded in 1611 in Paris, France, by Pierre de Bérulle (1575–1629), later a cardinal of the Catholic Church. They are known as Bérullians or Oratorians. The French Oratory had a determinant influence on the French school of spirituality throughout the 17th century. It is separate and distinct from the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, which served as its inspiration.

The French are an ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.

A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking office in government. Politicians propose, support and create laws or policies that govern the land and, by extension, its people. Broadly speaking, a "politician" can be anyone who seeks to achieve political power in any bureaucratic institution.

Contents

Life

Cardinal Pierre de Berulle Cardinal-Pierre-de-Berulle.jpg
Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle

Bérulle was born in the Château of Cérilly, near Troyes in Champagne, into two families of distinguished magistrates on 4 February 1575. [1] The château de Cérilly is situated in the modern department of Yonne, while the village adjacent to it, Bérulle, is in Aube. He was educated by the Jesuits at Clermont and at the Sorbonne in Paris. He published his first work, his Bref Discours de l'abnegation interieure, in 1597. Soon after his ordination as a priest in 1599, he assisted Cardinal Duperron in his public controversy with the Protestant Philippe de Mornay, and made numerous converts.

Cérilly, Yonne Commune in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, France

Cérilly is a commune in the Yonne department in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in north-central France.

Troyes Prefecture and commune in Grand Est, France

Troyes is a commune and the capital of the department of Aube in the Grand Est region of north-central France. It is located on the Seine river about 150 km (93 mi) southeast of Paris. Troyes is situated within the Champagne wine region and is near to the Orient Forest Regional Natural Park. Many half-timbered houses survive in the old town. Troyes has been in existence since the Roman era, as Augustobona Tricassium, which stood at the hub of numerous highways, primarily the Via Agrippa.

Champagne (province) Province in France

Champagne is a historical province in the northeast of France, now best known as the Champagne wine region for the sparkling white wine that bears its name. It was founded in 1065 near the city of Provins and was made up of different counties descended from the early medieval kingdom of Austrasia.

With the co-operation of his cousin, Madame Acarie (the Blessed Marie of the Incarnation, O.C.D.) in 1604 he introduced the Discalced Carmelite nuns of the reform of Teresa of Avila into France. [1]

Beatification recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person

Beatification is a recognition accorded by the Catholic Church of a dead person's entrance into Heaven and capacity to intercede on behalf of individuals who pray in his or her name. Beati is the plural form, referring to those who have undergone the process of beatification.

Marie of the Incarnation (Carmelite) French Discalced Carmelite beatified nun

Marie of the Incarnation, O.C.D., also as Madame Acarie, was the foundress of the nuns of the Discalced Carmelite Order in France, who later became a lay sister of the Order. She has been called the "mother of Carmel in France".

Nun Member of a religious community of women

A nun is a member of a religious community of women, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery. Communities of nuns exist in numerous religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.

In 1608, Vincent de Paul moved to Paris, where he came under the influence of Abbé (later Cardinal) Pierre de Bérulle, whom he took as his spiritual director. De Bérulle was responsible for De Paul taking up an appointment to the parish of Clichy. [2]

Abbé is the French word for abbot. It is the title for lower-ranking Catholic clergymen in France.

A parish is a territorial entity in many Christian denominations, constituting a division within a diocese. A parish is under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of a parish priest, who might be assisted by one or more curates, and who operates from a parish church. Historically, a parish often covered the same geographical area as a manor. Its association with the parish church remains paramount.

A mainstay of the Counter-Reformation in France, in 1611 Bérulle founded in Paris the Congregation of the French Oratory, on the model of the one founded in 1556 by St. Philip Neri at Rome. Owing to the differences of time and place the French congregation varied in some important respects from the Italian Oratory. [1] Whereas in the Italian congregation the houses were independent of one another, de Bérulle placed the government of all the houses in the hands of the superior-general. [3]

Counter-Reformation Catholic political and religious response to the Protestant Reformation

The Counter-Reformation, also called the Catholic Reformation or the Catholic Revival, was the period of Catholic resurgence that was initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation. It began with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and largely ended with the 1781 Patent of Toleration, although smaller expulsions of Protestants continued into the 19th century. Initiated to preserve the power, influence and material wealth enjoyed by the Catholic Church and to present a theological and material challenge to Reformation, the Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort composed of apologetic and polemical documents, ecclesiastical reconfiguration as decreed by the Council of Trent, a series of wars, political maneuvering including the efforts of Imperial Diets of the Holy Roman Empire, exiling of Protestant populations, confiscation of Protestant children for Catholic institutionalized upbringing, heresy trials and the Inquisition, anti-corruption efforts, spiritual movements, and the founding of new religious orders.

Philip Neri Italian Roman Catholic saint and founder

Philip Romolo Neri, known as the Third Apostle of Rome, after Saints Peter and Paul, was an Italian priest noted for founding a society of secular clergy called the Congregation of the Oratory.

Statesman

Bérulle was a chaplain to King Henry IV of France, and several times declined his offers to be made a bishop. He obtained the necessary dispensations from Rome for Henrietta Maria's marriage to Charles I, and acted as her chaplain during the first year of her stay in England. In 1626, as French ambassador to Spain, he concluded the favourable Treaty of Monzón, to which his enemy Cardinal Richelieu found objections. After the reconciliation of King Louis XIII with his mother, Marie de Medici, through his agency, he was appointed a councillor of state, but had to resign this office, owing to his pro-Habsburg policy, which was opposed by Richelieu. For religious reasons, Cardinal Bérulle favored the allegiance of France with Austria and Spain, the other Catholic powers, while Cardinal Richelieu wanted to undermine their influence in Europe. [4] He was made cardinal by Pope Urban VIII on 30 August 1627, but never received the red hat.

Henry IV of France first French monarch of the House of Bourbon

Henry IV, also known by the epithet Good King Henry or Henry the Great, was King of Navarre from 1572 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.

Charles I of England 17th-century monarch of kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Charles I was the monarch over the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649.

The Treaty of Monçon or Treaty of Monzón was signed on 5 March 1626 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister of Louis XIII and Gaspar de Guzmán, Count-Duke of Olivares, the chief minister of Philip IV of Spain, at Monçon in Aragon. It was signed in the aftermath of the French capture of Valtelline from Papal troops, and also concluded the First Genoese-Savoyard War.

Pierre de Bérulle died October 2, 1629 in Paris, while celebrating Mass, and was buried in the chapel of the Oratorian College of Juilly. [4]

French School of Spirituality

In the early part of his career, Bérulle was confident of the ability of the individual to both remake society and reform the church. Relying on human reason and diligent effort, he worked to convert the Huguenots through theological treatises and conferences. When his efforts seemed to have little effect, he came to the realization that everything depended on God, and that one should attempt to live in accordance with the will of God without concern for success or failure. [5]

Bérulle is generally regarded as being an initiator of the French School of Spirituality, a powerful spiritual, missionary, and reform movement that animated the Church in France in the early seventeenth century. The movement was characterized by: a deep sense of God’s grandeur and of the Church as the Body of Christ, a certain pessimistic Augustinian view of man that nonetheless stresses positive potential through God, and a strong apostolic and missionary commitment. [2]

Bérulle's depiction of the mystical journey through Mary to Christ, and through Christ to the Trinity is a hallmark of the French School of spirituality. [6]

The term 'School' is potentially problematic, though, because the other commonly cited members of this 'School', such as Saint John Eudes and the Venerable Jean-Jacques Olier, Saints Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort and Jean-Baptiste de la Salle, do not simply develop the thought of Bérulle, but all have their own significant insights. The 'School' does not therefore have simply one founder (a role Bérulle has sometimes been cast in). However, the many common elements among these writers (such as an emphasis on living in the Spirit of Jesus, particular forms of meditative prayer, a pedagogy institutionalised in particular seminaries and schools), means that it can be considered as a distinct tradition of spirituality. [7]

Philosophy and Works

Bérulle encouraged Descartes' philosophical studies, and it was through him that the Samaritan Pentateuch, recently brought over from Constantinople, was inserted in Lejay's Bible Polyglotte (162845).

Bérulle was an opponent of the abstract school of mysticism that by-passed the humanity of Christ; Pope Urban VIII called him the "apostle of the incarnate Word". Highly influenced by Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century deference to monarchs, Berulle applied the same principles in the spiritual realm. In his Discours de l'état et des grandeurs de Jésus Bérulle emphasized Jesus as the Incarnate Word of God, and the abasement, self-surrender, servitude and humiliation all Bérulle's words of his Incarnation. He even took the Incarnation as the defining characteristic of his spirituality and his Oratory, when he asked Christ "that, in this piety, devotion, and special servitude to the mystery of Your Incarnation and of Your humanized divinity and deified humanity, be our life and our state, our spirit and our particular difference." [8]

The chief works of Cardinal de Bérulle are:

In addition, Bérulle wrote a number of short devotional works (Œuvres de pieté) and documents for the guidance of the Oratory.

Bérulle's works, edited by P. Bourgoing (2 vols., 1644) were reprinted, by Migne in 1857.

A selected modern English translation is available as Bérulle and the French School: Selected Writings, trans Lowell M Glendon, (New York: Paulist Press, 1989).

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Ingold, Augustin. "Pierre de Bérulle." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 12 Jun. 2013
  2. 1 2 3 "Berulle, Pierre de", Vincentian Online Library
  3. Ingold, Augustin. "French Congregation of the Oratory." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 12 Jun. 2013
  4. 1 2 Miranda, Salvatore. ""Pierre de Bérulle", Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, Florida International University
  5. Minton, Anne M., "The Spirituality of Bérulle: A New Look", Order of Preachers - Central Province
  6. An Anthology of Christian mysticism by Harvey D. Egan 1991 ISBN   0-8146-6012-6 page 481
  7. David D Thayer, 'The French School', in Peter Tyler, ed, The Bloomsbury Guide to Christian Spirituality, (2012), p181
  8. Pierre de Bérulle, Discours de l'état et des grandeurs de Jésus VIII.13, in J.-P. Migne, ed., Œuvres Complétes de de Bérulle (Paris: J.-P. Migne, 1856), 314.
  9. Pierre de Bérulle, Traité des énergumènes VI.1, in J.-P. Migne, ed., Œuvres Complétes de de Bérulle (Paris: J.-P. Migne, 1856), 860.