Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Francis, Joseph, and Paul Mezger

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 10
Francis, Joseph, and Paul Mezger

by Michael Ott


Three brothers, learned Benedictines of the monastery of St. Peter in Salsburg, and professors at the University of Salzburg.


FRANCIS

The oldest of the three, born at Ingolstadt, 25 October, 1632; died at Salzburg, 11 December, 1701. He took vows in 1651; was ordained priest in 1657; taught philosophy at the University of Salzburg in 1659; became regent of the convictus and secretary of the university in 1661; taught philosophy again from 1663 to 1665; and then moral theology until 1668. From 1669 to 1688 he taught various branches at the Bavarian monastery of Ettal and at his own monastery. From 1688 until his death he was master of novices and director of clerics at his monastery. He wrote the following philosophical treatises: "Philosophia rationalis rationibus explicata" (Salzburg, 1660); "Anima rationibus philosophicis animata et explicata" (ib., 1661); "Philosophia naturals rationibus naturalibus elucidata" (ib., 1661); "Manuale philosophicum" (ib., 1665); "Homomicrocosmus" (ib., 1665). The following are some of his translations: "Philosophia sacra" (ib., 1678), from the French of the Parisian Capuchin Ivo; "Heiliges Benediktiner-Jahr" (2 volumes, Munich 1690), from the Latin; "Dioptra politices religiosæ" (Salzburg, 1694), and "Exercitia spiritualia" (ib., 1693), both from the French of the Maurist Le Contat; "Succinctæ meditationes christianæ" (4 vols., ib., 1695), from the French of the Maurist Claude Martin; "Via regia studiosæ juventutis ad veram sapientiam" (Frankfort, 1699), from the Italian; and a few others of less importance.


JOSEPH

Born 5 September, 1635, at Eichstadt; died 26 October, 1683, at the monastery of St. Gall, while on a pilgrimage to Einsiedeln. He took vows at the same time with his brother Francis in 1651; was ordained priest in 1659; taught poetry in the gymnasium of Salzburg in 1660; was master of novices and sub-prior in his monastery in 1661; taught philosophy at the University of Salzburg, 1662-4; apologetics and polemics, 1665-7; canon law, 1668-73; he was prior of his monastery and taught hermeneutics and polemics, 1673-8, when he was appointed vice-chancellor of the university. He was an intimate friend of Mabillon with whom he kept up a constant correspondence and who in his "Iter Germanicum" calls him "Universitatis Salisburgensis præcipuum ornamentum" (Vetera Analecta, I, xi). His chief work is "Historia Salisburgensis" covering the period from 582 to 1687, of which work he, however, had written only the first four books (582-1555) when he died, leaving the remainder to be completed by his two brothers. In 1664 he published at Salzburg his four philosophical treatises:


  • (1) "Considerationes de scientiis et de modis sciendi in genere";
  • (2) "Axiomata physica quæstionibus problematicis distincta";
  • (3) "Quatuor gradus naturæ: esse, vivere, sentire, intelligere";
  • (4) "Unitas et distinctio rerum quæstionibus philosophicis explicata".

His other works are: "Tabula bipartita successionis ecclesiasticæ tam ex testamento quam ab intestato" (Salzburg, 1670); "Panacæa juris" (ib. 1673); "Lapis mysticus et cornu parvulum Daniels" (ib., 1677, 1682); "Institutiones in sacram scripturam" (ib., 1680); "Assertio antiquitatis ecclesiæ metropolitanæ Salisburgensis et monasterii S. Petri, O. S. Ben." (ib., 1682).


PAUL

The most celebrated of the three brothers, born 23 November, 1637, at Eichstädt; died 12 April 1702 at Salzburg. He took vows in 1653; was ordained priest in 1660; taught at the gymnasium of Salzburg, 1660-4; was master of novices and director of clerics, 1664-6; taught philosophy, first at the University of Salzburg, 1668-70; then at the monastery of Göttweig, 1671-2. Returning to the University of Salzburg, he taught theology, 1673-88; exegesis and polemics, 1689-1700. In 1683 he had succeeded his deceased brother Joseph as vice-chancellor. His chief production is: "Theologia scholastica secundum viam et doctrinam D. Thomae" (4 volumes, Augsburg, 1695, 1719), probably the best work on dogmatic theology that has been produced by a German Benedictine. It is especially noteworthy that the author's treatment of the immaculate conception and of papal infallibility is in exact accordance with the definitions of 1854 and 1870. His other works are: "Somnia philosophorum de possibilibus et impossibilibus" (Salzburg, 1670); "Contemplationes philosophicæ magnæ urbis cœlestis et elementaris" (ib., 1670); "Mercurius logicus" (ib., 1671); "De gratia Dei" (ib., 1675); "Allocutiones de mediis pietatis Marianæ" (ib., 1677); "Orationes partheniæ, miscellaneæ, sacroprofanæ, problemata inauguralia seu orationes academicæ" (ib., 1699-1700); "Sacra historia de gentis hebraicæ ortu" (Dillingen, 1700; Augsburg, 1715).

Concerning all three see SATTLER, Collect.-Blätter zur Gesch. der ehemaligen Bcnedictiner-Universität Salzburg (Kempten, 1890), 212-218; LINDNER, Professbuch der Benedictiner Abtei S. Peter in Salzburg (Salsburg, 1906), 53-58, 65-68. For Joseph and Paul see STRAUS, Viri scriptis, eruditione ac pietate insignes, quos genuit vel aluit Eichstadium (Eichstädt, 1790), 326-331.

MICHAEL OTT.