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Honore Tournely

Theologian, b. at Antibes, Provence, August 28, 1658; d. at Paris, Dec. 26, 1729

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* Published by Encyclopedia Press, 1913.

Tournély, HONORÉ, theologian, b. at Antibes, Provence, August 28, 1658; d. at Paris, December 26, 1729. His parents were poor and obscure, but an uncle, a priest, at Paris invited him to that city and gave him a good education. On completing his philosophical and theological studies, he became a doctor of the Sorbonne in 1686, and two years later was sent by the king to the University of Douai to teach theology. Here he distinguished himself by the brilliance of his lectures and by his zeal in opposing the Jansenists. He was even accused of literary forgeries in order to compromise them, but the proofs of this accusation have never been forthcoming. Four years later he was recalled to Paris, appointed professor of theology at the Sorbonne, made a canon of the Sainte-Chapelle, and given the Abbey of Plainpied (Diocese of Bourges). He taught with unvarying success for twenty-four years and, as at Douai, showed himself the determined opponent of the Jansenists. In return they published pamphlets and multiplied attacks and calumnies to discredit him and his teaching, especially after the publication of the Constitution "Unigenitus", in which Clement XI condemned (September 8, 1713) their error as manifested in the "Reflexions morales" of Quesnel (q.v.). Tournély was actively engaged in furthering the acceptance of this Constitution by the assembly of the French clergy, of which he was consultor, and by the faculty of theology, of which he was an influential member. When, after the death of Louis XIV (September 1, 1715) and with the connivance of Cardinal Noailles, the Jansenists became masters of the faculty of theology, they expunged from its registers the Bull "Unigenitus" and expelled from its meetings Tournély and a score of his friends among the doctors (January, 1716). It was only at the earnest intervention of the regent, the Duke of Orleans, that they were reinstated five years later (February, 1721).

Tournély had so far published nothing, at least in his own name, but he is regarded as the author or inspirer of several anonymous works against the Jansenists which appeared at that time. On his retirement he immediately began to revise his lectures and, at the request of Cardinal de Fleury and others, to publish them in 1725. With the common title "Praelectiones theologicae", he issued in Latin the following treatises in octavo: "On God and His Attributes" (1725); "On grace" (1726); "On the Trinity" (1726); "On the Church" (1726); "On the Sacraments in general" (1726); "On the Incarnation" (1727); "On the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation" (1727); "On Penance and Extreme Unction" (1728); "On the Eucharist" (1729); "On Holy Orders" (1729); "On Marriage" (1730). The work passed through several editions, among others those of Paris (16 vols., in 8vo, 1738-40), Venice (16 vols., 8vo, 1731-46), Cologne (10 vols., in fol., 1752-65). Several of these treatises have been abridged for use in seminaries, and they still appear in Tournély's name, but they are in reality the work of Montagne, Robinet, and Collet. Tournély's own work is still so important in extent and value that he may be regarded as one of the most notable theologians of his age. The learned Lafiteau, Bishop of Sisteron, even then declared him "one of the greatest men who has ever been in the Sorbonne", and his works were highly esteemed by St. Alphonsus Liguori. His chief merits are clearness of explanation, elegance of style, deep learning, and orthodoxy; his one defect was Gallicanism, for, like all French theologians of that time, he was a Gallican.


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