Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/229

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


MENSING


195


MENTAL


the balance of the property reserved for his own proper use (indominicatum) ; on the other hand the commu- nity gained, besides material security, a renovation of religious hfe, since material privation was inevitably a cause of relaxation of discipline. The Carlovingiau reforms, notably tliose of Louis the Pious, were chiefly responsible for the establishment of mens;e properly imposed and regulated in regard to monasteries ; as to cathedrals the niensa was more commonly a benevo- lent concession on the part of the bishop, who in this way fostered community life (vita canonica) among his clergy. This community life becoming more and more rare after the end of the ninth century, each canon received liis own share of the mensal revenues — his "prebend". Later on, indeed, the canons often had the separate atlniinistration of their respective properties, either as the result of partition or, more particularly, in pursuance of provisions made in the fouinlation. The mensa>, of whatever character, were legally capable of acquiring additions. It was through them that church property, intended, as be- fore the division, not only for the support of the clergy, but for all reUgious and charitable works, was re- established.

Lesne, L'origine des menses dans le temporel des t-glises et des monasteres de France au ix" sitcle (Paris, 1910); Poschl, Bisch- ofsgut und Mensa Episcopalis (2 vols., Bonn, 1908-1909); Thomassin, Vetus et nova disciplina, pars. III. lib. ii; Sagmi'l- Lp;n, Lehrbuch des kathol. Kirchenrecttis (Freiburg im Breisgau, 1909), 244. S74; Taunton, Law of the Church (London, 1906), 8. v.; see Benefice; Property, Ecclesiastical.

A. BOUDINHON.

Mensing (Mensingk), John, theologian and cele- brated opponent of Luther, b. according to some at Ziitphen, Holland, but more probably at Magdeburg, Saxony, date unknown; d. about 15-11. In 1495 he entered the Dominican Order and made part of his theological studies in the studium of his province. Matriculating at the university of Wittenberg in 1515, he received there in 1517 the licentiate in theology, and the following year received in Frankfort-on-the- Oder the doctorate in theology from the hands of the general of his order. According to the Dominican historian, Qu^tif, he taught theology in 1514 in the monastery at Ulm, but it is highly improbable that Mensing, belonging to the province of Saxony, should act as professor in another province which had no studium generale of its own. He lived at a time when controversy was rife, when men, abandoning beaten paths, began to set up systems of their own. The heretical teachings of the reformers spread rapidly throughout Germany. No province seemed exempt from the invasions of Luther's emissaries. To prevent these doctrinal innovations from gaining a foothold in his province, Mensing zealously entered into all the controversies with the sectaries. From 1522 to 1524 he occupied the pulpit in the cathedral of Magdeburg, where he also composed his first apologetic works on the Sacrifice of the Mass. Notwithstanding his efforts, the boldness of the enemy forced him to leave and seek other fields of labour. Upon the invitation of the Princess Margaretha von Anhalt, who ruled during the minority of her sons, he proceeded to Dessau to sup- port her in her efforts against heresy in her territory. In 1529 he was professor in the University of Frank- fort-on-the-Oder and preacher in the cathedral. The following year he attended, as theologian to the Elec- tor Joachim von Anhalt, the Diet of Augsljurg, and secured from Charles V a renewal of the letter of pro- tection for the Dominican Order in Germany wliich Charles IV had granted them in 1355 and 1359. In 1534 he was elected provincial of his own province, but before the termination of his office Paul III made him suffragan Bishop of Halberstadt. In 1540 and 1.541 he attended the theological conferences of Worms and Ratisbon, where with Eck, the vice-chancellor of the University of Ingolstadt, and Pelargus, he took a lead- ing part in the deliberations. His vast theological


knowledge and remarkable command of the German language made him one of the foremost controversial- ists of the first half of the sixteenth century. A com- plete list of his works, all of which V)car a polemical tinge, is given by Streber in the " Kirchenlexikon ".

QuETiF-EcHARD, Sfl. Ord. Prwd.. II. 84; Padlus. Die deut- schen Dominikaner im Kampfe gegen Luther (Freiburg, 1903), 16-15; Paulus, Katholik (1893), II, 21-36. 120-139.

Joseph Schroedeb.

Mental Reservation, the name applied to a doc- trine which has grown out of the common Catholic teaching about lying (q. v.) and which is its comple- ment. According to the common Cathohc teaching it is never allowable to tell a lie, not even to save human life. A he is something intrinsically evil, and as evil may not be done that good may come of it, we are never allowed to tell a lie. However, we are also under an obligation to keep secrets faithfully^ and sometimes the easiest way of fulfilling that duty is to say what is false, or to tell a lie. Writers of all creeds and of none, both ancient and modern, have frankly accepted this position. They admit the doctrine of the lie of neces- sity, and maintain that when there is a conflict be- tween justice and veracity it is justice that should prevail. The common Catholic teaching has formu- lated the theory of mental reservation as a means by which the claims of both justice and veracity can be satisfied. The doctrme was broached tentatively and with great diffidence by St. Raymund of Pennafort, the first writer on casuistry. In his " Summa" (1235) St. Raymund quotes the saying of St. Augustine that a man must not slay his own soul by lying in order to preserve the life of another, and that it would be a most perilous doctrine to admit that we may do a less evil to prevent another doing a greater. And most doctors teach this, he says, though he allows that others teach that a lie should be told when a man's life is at stake. Then he adds: "I believe, as at present advised, that when one is asked by murderers bent on taking the life of someone hiding in the house whether he is in, no answer should be given; and if this betrays him, his death will be imputable to the murderers, not to the other's silence. Or he may use an equivocal expression, and say ' He is not at home ', or something like that. And this can be defended by a great num- ber of instances found in the Old Testament. Or he may say simply that he is not there, and if his con- science tells him that he ought to say that, then he will not speak against his conscience, nor will he sin. Nor is St. Augustine really opposed to any of these methods." Such expressions as, " He is not at home ", were called equivocations, or amphibologies, and when there was good reason for using them their lawfulness was admitted by all. If the person inquired for was really at home, but did not wish to see the visitor, the meaning of the phrase, "He is not at home", was restricted by the mind of the speaker to this .sense, "He is not at home for you, or to see you". Hence, equivocations and amphibologies came to be called mental restrictions or reservations. It was commonly admitted that an equivocal expression need not neces- sarily be used when the words of the speaker receive a special meaning from the circumstances in which he is placed, or from the position whicli ho holds. Thus, if a confessor is asked about sins maile known to him in confession, he should an,swer: "I do not know", and such words as those when used by a priest mean: " I do not know apart from confession", or "I do not know as man ", or " I have no knowledge of the matter which I can communicate ". All Catholic writers were, and are, agreed that when there is good reason, such expressions as the above may be made use of, and that they are not lies. Tho.se who hear them may under- stand them in a sense which is not true, but their self- deception may be permitted by the speaker for a good reason. If there is no good reason to the contrary, veracity requires all to speak frankly and openly in