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Thyrsus González de Santalla

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Theologian and thirteenth general of the Society of Jesus, b. at Arganda, Spain, 18 January, 1624; died at Rome, 27 October, 1705. He entered the Society of Jesus 3 March, 1643, and taught philosophy and theology at Salamanca from 1655 to 1665, and from 1676 to 1687, the intervening years having been devoted to preaching. When about to set out for Africa to converts the Mussulmans in 1687, he was sent as an elector to the thirteenth general congregation, by which he was chosen general, 6 July, 1687. As an ardent adversary of probabilism González* had frequently asked his superiors to have some Jesuit write against the doctrine. He himself had composed a work in which he defended probabiliorism, assigning, however, an exaggerated importance to the subjective estimation of the degree of probability. The general revisors of the Society unanimously rendered an unfavorable opinion on the work, and accordingly, in 1674, Father-General Oliva refused permission for its publication. González* received encouragement from Innocent XI, who had become pope in 1676, and by his order, the Holy Office issued a decree, in 1680, ordering the superiors of the Society to allow their subjects to defend probabiliorism, a permission that had never been denied. As general of the Society, González* felt himself obliged to fight probabilism among his subjects. In 1691, he had printed at Dillingen a modified edition of his former work, but, owing to the efforts of his assistants, this book was never published. Innocent XII ordered a new examination of it to be made, and with many corrections it finally appeared, in 1694, under the title "Fundamentum theologiæ moralis — de recto usu opiniorum probilium" at Rome (three editions), Antwerp, Dillingen, Paris, Cologne, etc., and again at Antwerp in 1695. Migne has reproduced it in his "Cursus Theologiæ", XI. Bossuet said that nothing more formidable has ever been written against probabilism, and St. Alphonsus Ligouri found in it an exaggeration of rigorist tendencies.

We also have from the pen of González* some apologetic works: "Selectarum disputationum tomi quattuor" (Salamanca, 1680) in which are found chapters against the Thomists, Jansenius, and some doctors of Louvain; treatises on the Immaculate Conception, and on papal infallibility. This last, directed against the Assembly of the Clergy of France in 1682, and printed by the order of Innocent XI, was afterwards suppressed by Alexander VIII, who feared new difficulties with the French court. The work appeared, in résumé only, in Barcelona, in 1691.


De Backer and Sommervogel, Bibl. des éscrivains de la comp. de Jésus; Concina, Aparatus ad theologiam christianam (Rome, 1751), II; Vindiciæ sociatatis Jesu usque doctrinæ purgatio (Venice, 1769); Dollinger and Reusch, Gesch. der Moralstreitigkeiten in der roem. kath. Kirche (Nördlingen, 1889), I, 120-273; II, 49-219; Hurter, Nomenclator; Matignon, Etudes religieuses (Paris, 1866); Patuzzi, Lettere teologico-morali, VI (Trent, 1756); Reusch, Index der verbotenen Bücher (Bonn, 1885), pp. 506-10; Preussicher Jahrbucher (Berline 1888), Eine Krisis in Jesuitenorden; Streber in Kirchenlex; Bihlmeyer in Kirchl. Handlex. For controversies on the decree of Innocent IX on probabilism, see chiefly Brucker, (Etudes religieuses, 1901-02) who quotes the official communication of the only authentic text given by the Holy Office in 1902. Ter Haar, Innocent XI de probabilismo decreti historia et vindiciæ (Tournay and Paris, 1904); Lehmkuhl, Probabilisimus vindicatus (Freiburg, 1906); see also, Arndt, in Analect. Eccl., 1902; Cathrein in Theol. prakt. Quartalschrift, 1905; Franz in Zeitschr. f. kath. theol., 1905; Mandonnet in Revue Thomiste, 1901-2.

About this page

APA citation. Salsmans, J. (1909). Thyrsus González de Santalla. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

MLA citation. Salsmans, Joseph. "Thyrsus González de Santalla." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. <>.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. September 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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