Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Peter Dens
Theologian, b. at Boom, near Antwerp, Belgium, 12 September, 1690; d. at Mechlin, 15 February, 1775. He completed his earlier studies under the direction of the Fathers of the Oratory at Mechlin, and in 1711 became a master of arts of the University of Louvain, where he afterwards devoted himself to the study of theology. He lectured on this subject to the religious of the Afflighem Abbey (1717-1723), and after receiving the licentiate in theology at the University of Louvain (5 October, 1723), he was successively professor of theology at the seminary of Mechlin (until 1729), pastor of the metropolitan church there (1729-1737), president of the seminary (1735-1775), canon and Scholasticus (1737), then penitentiary (1751), and finally archpriest of the chapter (1754-1775). The work which he had undertaken of enlarging the seminary compelled him to relinquish the chair of theology which he had again occcupied 1741-1747. He was always distinguished by his simplicity, solid piety, and love for the poor, and above all by his zeal for the moral and scientific training of the clergy. The organization of the concursus for the collation of the cures and the reform of the theological instruction in the Diocese of Mechlin were in great measure his work. He is not the author of the complete course of theological lectures entitled "Theologia ad usum seminariorum" which was pulished under his name in 1777, and is still published, though greatly modified, by the professors fo the seminary of Mechlin (Theologia ad usum seminarii Mechliniensis, olim sub nomine P. Dens edita); but he published a treatise on penance and on the virture of religion (Supplementum theologiae Laur. Neesen. De virtute religionis; Dictata de sacramento Poenitentiae. Mechlin, 1758), and several tracts against the Recollet John Tomson, in favour of the custom existing in some parishes of the Diocese of Mechlin, of asking and inscribing in a register the names of those who went to confession (Reponsio P. Dens ad dissertationem et apologiam Joannis Tomson. Mechlin, 1759), and against the Augustinian monk Maugis, professor at the University of Louvain (Collectio scriptorum quae separatim in lucem edita sunt circa quaestionem theologicam an sacerdos vel beneficiarius recitans horas canonicas in affectu peccati mortalis satisfaciat praecepto seu obligationi recitandi horas canonicas. Louvain, 1765).
Biographical notice in the first volume of the oldest editions of the Theologia ad usum seminariorum Journal historique et litteraire (Liege, 1839), VI, 243; DEWALQUE in Biographie nationale (Brussels, 1876), V 599; HURTER, Nomenclator literarius, III, 41; BAETEN Naamrollen betrekkelijk de kerkelijke geschiedenis van het aartsbisdom van Mechelen (Mechlin, 1881), I, 308.
A. VAN HOVE