MOLINOS, MIGUEL DE (c. 164o-1697), Spanish divine, the chief apostle of the religious revival known as Quietism, was born on Dec. 25, 1640 at Patacina, near Saragossa. He entered the priesthood and settled in Rome about 1670. In 1675 Molinos had published a volume, Guida spirituale, the disinvolge l'anima e la conduce per l'interior camino all' acquisito della perfetta contem plazione e del ricco tesoro della pace interiore. This was shortly followed by a brief Trattato della cotidiana communione. No breath of suspicion arose against Molinos until 1681, when the Jesuit preacher, Segneri, attacked his views, though without men tioning his name, in his Concordia tra la fatica e la quiete nell' orazione. The matter was referred to the Inquisition. It pro nounced that the Guida spirituale was perfectly orthodox, and censured the intemperate zeal of Segneri. But the Jesuits set Father La Chaise to work on his royal penitent, Louis XIV., who was on very bad terms with Innocent XI.
Following on official representations by the French ambassador in Rome, who happened to be a cardinal, Molinos was arrested in May 1685. At first his friends were confident of an acquittal, but in the beginning of 1687 a number of his penitents of both sexes were examined by the Inquisition, and several were arrested. A report got abroad that Molinos had been convicted of moral enormities, as well as of heretical doctrines ; and it was seen that he was doomed. On Sept. 3, 1687 he made public profession of his errors, and was sentenced to imprisonment for life. In the following November, Innocent signed a bull condemning sixty eight propositions from his Guida spirituale and unpublished writings. Molinos died in prison at Rome on Dec. 28, 1697.
In fact the doctrine of Molinos went farther than the Re formers had done. The Reformation maintained that the Church, so far from being a help, was a hindrance, to union with Jesus; whereas Molinos welcomed both Church and Jesus as helps to union with God, always provided that the believer treated both as means to an end beyond themselves. In other words, he held that there was a triple stage in piety. Beginners gave them
selves wholly to the Church. At the second step came devotion to Jesus. At the highest stage both Church and Jesus were left behind as deiformes, sed non Deus, and God remained alone.
But how could a finite being bring himself into direct relation with Infinity? The less sense of proprietorship we have in a thought or action—the less it is the fruit of our deliberate will—the more certain may we be that it is divinely inspired. But what state of mind is most likely to be visited by these spontaneous illuminations? Plainly the state that Molinos calls the "soft and savoury sleep of nothingness," where the soul is content to fold its hands, and wait in dreamy musing till the message comes. For this reason disinterested love became the great hallmark of Quietist sanctity. Although Molinos's system did not long survive him, few writers have struggled so long and so hard to disengage the essence of religion from its transitionary embodiment in an historical creed.