JANSENISM. The name applied to the doc trines of a party in the Church of France which led to hitter controversies in the last half of the seventeenth and the beginning of the eighteenth century. It was a combination of three differ ent tendencies. On the more abstruse theological side, it derived from the doctrines of Jansenius. Bishop of Ypres, on the question of grace, and took its name from him; a second equally strong tendency carried the Jansenists into opposition to the current practice in regard to the sacra ments and the spiritual life, as a consequence of the influence of the Abh6 de Saint-Cyran; while a third characteristic was a spirit of oppo sit ion to the Government which made them the legitimate heirs of the Fronde. The first two tendencies found determined opponents in the Jesuits, whose stand on the question of grace and whose practice in moral theology was at tacked by them; and the third brought the lead ers of the party into conflict with the absolute monarchy of Louis XIV.
The Reformation, with its special doctrines as to original sin and justification, had tended to recall attention to the difficult questions of grace and man's free will. Since the famous contro versy in the fifth century between Saint Augus tine on one side and Pelagius and John Cassian on the other, the doctrines of the latter, who exaggerated the part played by the human will (see FREE WILL) at the expense of divine grace, had taken their place in the list of heresies, while that of Saint Augustine had held the field. Adopted by Saint Thomas Aquinas and the Do minicans in the thirteenth century, it was op posed to sonic extent by the Franciscan Duns Scotus. and became a constant source of contro versy between the two Orders. In the sixteenth century the discussion became more violent, es pecially at the University of Louvain, where Michel de Bay. known as taught what pro fessed to be the Augustinian doctrine, but was actually a violent exaggeration of it, not a little resembling that of Calvin. At the same time the University of Salamanca was agitated by cognate questions, and the theses of the Dominican Bafiez and the Jesuit Molina arrayed the Orders against each other. Clement VIII. established a special congregation called De Auxiliis Gratin, to consider these questions. but his successor, Paul V., finally, for the sake of peace, forbade the two parties to accuse each other of heresy, thus leaving the question, in a sense, open.
The publication, in 1640. of the Augustinus of Jansenius (q.v.), added new vigor to the con troversy. Its theories about the relation of grace to human nature, singularly close to Cal vin's views, were immediately attacked by the Jesuits. By the hull In eminenti of T642. Urban VIII. confirmed the prohibition of it by the In quisition as contravening the decree of Paul V. and as renewing some of the condemned proposi tions of Baius. But this did not put an end to its influence. Jansenius's friend. Saint-Cyran. had succeeded in grouping around him at Port Royal a community imbued with similar doc trines; it was small in numbers, but strong in personal character. Besides Antoine Arnauld, who heeame the leader of the party on Saint Cyran's death in 1643, and others of his family. it included the learned Lemaitre de Sacy. the moralist Nicole. the preacher Singlin, and Pascal. In 1643 Arnauld. in his book Dr la fn'quente emnmunion, attacked the practice of the Jesuits in regard to the sacraments; and later, Pascal. in his celebrated Lrttres a on provincial (1656-571. with the most brilliant irony but with very little regard for the rules of fair controversy, made an onslaught on their moral theology. But the so ciety pursued its end. It had a certain number of propositions from the unusti»us submitted to the theological faculty of Park. and five of them were eventually presented to the Holy See for judgment. by eightv-eight bishops. By the hull Cum occasion(' of May 31. 1653. Innocent X. 'declared these five heretical. They were as fol lows: (1) Certain commandments of God are impossible to just persons even desiring and endeavoring to keep, them, according to the strength which they then possess; and such grace as would render them possible is lacking to them. (2) In the state of fallen nature in ternal grace is never resisted. (3) In order to merit and demerit in the state of fallen nature, freedom from necessity is not required of man, but. it suffices that there be freedom from con straint. (1) The Semi-Pelagians admitted the necessity of internal prevenient grace for each separate act. and even for the beginning of faith; their heresy consisted in this, that they con sidered that grace to be such as the will of man might either resist or obey. (5) It is a Semi Pelagian error to say that Christ died or shed llis blood for all men absolutely.