Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/François Véron
French controversialist, b. at Paris about 1575; d. at Charenton, 1625. After brilliant studies under the Jesuits he became one and taught in several colleges. In order to devote himself more freely to preaching and controversy against Protestants, he left the Society. He did not hesitate to challenge every minister he encountered, even the most learned and famous, such as Moulin, Blondel, Daillé, or Bochard. His conferences with them and many other occasional or controversial writings he afterwards published. Having secured from King Louis XIII letters patent authorizing him to deliver his sermons in public and to conduct conferences with the ministers or any other Protestants wheresoever he pleased, he went to Paris, to Charenton, where he was cure for ten years (1638-48), because Calvinism had there its chief stronghold, to Saintonge, Béarn, Brie, Champagne, Lorraine, Normandy etc. Enormous success crowned his zeal, which was supported by animation of spirit, facility of speech, extensive and solid learning, and courage. He preached before audiences of 9000 or 10,000 persons; ministers like Boule, after having heard him, abjured Calvinism after thirty years in the ministry. "He has vanquished more ministers", wrote publicly the congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, "than another could have seen, alone he has converted more heretics to the Catholic faith than a thousand others." Véron became the most celebrated controversialist in France; the general assembly of the clergy assigned him a pension of 600 livres yearly and accepted the dedication of some of his books of which it defrayed the expenses; the Estates of Languedoe undertook his support while he preached in their province; Gregory XV sent his encouragement. He was invited to give lessons in controversy at the Collège de France and to teach his method at Saint-Lazaire under St. Vincent de Paul and at St. Sulpice under M. Olier.
This method Véron set forth in a theoretical treatise and illustrated by his other works. Since the Protestants reject Tradition and admit only Holy Scripture as the source and ground of faith they must be required to show all their dogmas in the Bible, and all the articles of their Confession of Faith which they cannot support with formal and explicit texts from the Sacred Books should be considered as untenable. On the other hand, it is of great importance to set forth the doctrine of the Church in all its purity; thus explained, it is entitled to the respect and the acceptance of heretics; hence it is important to separate authentic points of doctrine from what the heretics confuse with it, for example all the opinions of the schools, historical errors, popular legends, or private practices. By this matter of simplifying Catholic dogma and of showing consideration to Protestants, Véron sometimes aroused the protests of certain Catholics; his treatise on the primacy of the church wherein he refutes Blondel's work of the same name was even placed on the Index at Rome (Jan., 1643). He was also accused of sometimes using blustering language and excessive harshness against his adversaries, who used the same towards him. Véron next attacked the Jansenists, writing three books against them during the last years of his life.
Apart from his anti-Jansenistic works and some partial translations of the Bible all of Véron's writings have to do with controversy. They are about eighty in number. Several of them are only a few pages in length; some are successive redactions of the same work under different names. Three are worthy of mention because they summarize nearly all the others: (1) "La méthode nouvelle, acile et solide de convainere de nullité la religion prétendue reformée", published in 1615, re-edited in 1617, 1618, 1619, 1623, in several cities of France, translated into English, Dutch, and German, read and praised by Leibnitz, reprinted by Migne in his "Theologiae cursus completus" (Paris, 1860); (2) "L'epitome de toutes les controverses de religion en ce siècle" (1 vol., Paris, 1638; re-edited in 2 and 3 vols., translated into Latin, and abridged); (3) "Règle de la foi catholique" (Paris, 1649), approved by the general assembly of the French clergy, by the faculty of theology of Paris, translated into Latin, read and praised by Leibniz, reprinted several times abroad and three times in France in the nineteenth century.
LA BOUDERIE, Notice sur la vie de Fr. Véron et sur ses ouvrages; DE BACKER, Biblioth. des ecrivains de la Comp. de Jesus, III (Paris, 1876); FERET, Un cure de Charenton au XVII siecle (Paris, 1881); La Faculte de theologie de Paris, IV, Epoque moderne (Paris, 1906).