1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Molina, Luis
MOLINA, LUIS (1535-1600), Spanish Jesuit, was born at Cuenca in 1535. Having at the age of eighteen become a member of the Society of Jesus, he studied theology at Coimbra, and afterwards became professor in the university of Evora, Portugal. From this post he was called, at the end of twenty years, to the chair of moral theology in Madrid, where he died on the 12th of October 1600. Besides other works he wrote Liberi arbitrii cum graliae donis, divina pracscientia, providential, praedeslinatione et reprobalione, Concordia (4to, Lisbon, 1588); a commentary on the first part of the Summa of Thomas Aquinas (2 vols., fol., Cuenca, 1593); and a treatise De juslilia el jure (6 vols., 1 593-1609). It is to the first of these that his fame is principally due. It was an attempt to reconcile, in words at least, the Augustinian doctrines of predestination and grace with the Semipelagianism which, as shown by the recent condemnation of BAIUS (q.v.), had become prevalent in the Roman Catholic Church. Assuming that man is free to perform or not to perform any act whatever, Molina maintains that this circumstance renders the grace of God neither unnecessary nor impossible: not impossible, for God never fails to bestow grace upon those who ask it with sincerity; and not unnecessary, for grace, although not an efficient, is still a sufficient cause of salvation. Nor, in Molina's view, does his doctrine of free-will exclude predestination. The omniscient God, by means of His “ scientia media ” (the phrase is Molina's invention, though the idea is also to be found in his older contemporary Fonseca), or power of knowing future contingent events, foresees how we shall employ our own free-will and treat His proffered grace, and upon this foreknowledge He can found His predestinating decrees. These doctrines, although in harmony with the prevailing feeling of the Roman Catholic Church of the period, and further recommended by their marked opposition to the teachings of Luther and Calvin, excited violent controversy in some quarters, especially on the part of the Dominicans, and at last rendered it necessary for the pope (Clement VIII.) to interfere. At first (1594) he simply enjoined silence on both parties so far as Spain was concerned; but ultimately, in 1598, he appointed the “ Congregatio de auxiliis Gratiae” for the settlement of the dispute, which became more and more a party one. After holding very numerous sessions, the “ congregation ” was able to decide nothing, and in 1607 its meetings were suspended by Paul V., who in 1611 prohibited all further discussion of the question “ de auxiliis, ” and studious efforts were made to control the publication even of commentaries on Aquinas. The Molinist subsequently passed into the Jansenist controversy (see JANSENISM).
A full account of Molina's theology will be found in Schneema.n's “ Entstehung der thomistisch-molinistischen Controverse, " published in the Appendices (Nos. 9, 13, 14) to the jesuit periodical, Stimmen aus Maria-Laaclz. To the lay reader may be recommended Ernest Renan's article, “Les congregations de anxiliis ” in his Nouvelles éludes d'histoire religieuse.