Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/William Rudesind Barlow

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Third son of Sir Alexander Barlow of Barlow Hall, near Manchester, England, and Mary Brereton his wife, date of birth uncertain; d. at Douai, 19 Sept., 1656. The martyr Ven. Edward Barlow, was his younger brother and was educated with him at the English College, Douai. Wishing to become a Benedictine, he joined the Spanish congregation, being professed at Cella Nueva in Gallicia in 1605. Ordained priest in 1608 he became Doctor of Divinity at Salamanca. In 1611 he went to St. Gregory's, Douai, where he was made prior in 1614, and, two years later, professor of theology at St. Vaast's College, an office which he held for forty years. Weldon says: "He formed almost all the bishops, abbots, and professors that flourished in those parts for some time after. He was esteemed the first or chief of the scholastic divines or casuists of his time, and in knowledge of the canon law inferior to no one of his time or the age before." The circle of his friends included Bellarmine and other contemporary scholars.

He more than once refused the dignity of abbot and bishop, "and it was thought he would have refused that of cardinal, which was said to have been preparing for him." From 1621 to 1629 he was President­General of the English Congregation. In 1633 he became titular Cathedral­Prior of Canterbury. Beyond a circular letter to the English Benedictines about their relations to the vicar Apostolic, none of his writings are left, although Gee, writing in 1624, attributes to him a book called "The Enemies of God". Weldon adds that after his death a bishop offered the Benedictines of Douai an establishment if they would give him Father Rudesind's writings. "But in vain they were sought for, for they were destroyed by an enemy." It is said that on the death of Dr. Bishop, the vicar­Apostolic, he was consulted by the pope as to the best successor, and that he warmly recommended Dr. Smith, who was appointed, but later he opposed that prelate on the question of the extent of the vicar Apostolic's jurisdiction.

WELDON, Chronological Notes of the Eng. Benedictines, 1709 (London, 1881); XXXI; SNOW, Necrology of the Eng. Benedictines (London, 1883); GILLOW, Bibl. Dict. Eng. Cath. (London, 1885), I, 136.

Edwin Burton