Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

A theologian, mathematician, and astronomer, born at Kampen, Overyssel, Holland, about 1490; died at Utrecht, 26 Dec., 1542. He studied philosophy and began the study of theology at Louvain, where Adrian of Utrecht, later Pope Adrian VI, was one of his teachers. Pighius completed his studies at Cologne and received in 1517 the degree of Doctor of Theology. He then followed his teacher Adrian to Spain, and, when the latter became pope, to Rome, where he also remained during the reigns of Clement VII and Paul III, and was repeatedly employed in ecclesiastico-political embassies. He had taught mathematics to Cardinal Alessandro Farnese , afterwards Paul III ; in 1535 Paul III appointed him provost of St. John's at Utrecht, where he had held a canonry since 1524. At the religious disputation of Ratisbon in 1541 he was on the Catholic side.

Among his writings the following belong to the sphere of his mathematico-astronomical studies: "Astrologiæ defensio adversus prognosticatorum vulgus, qui annuas prædictiones edunt et se astrologos mentiuntur" (Paris, 1518); also the treatise addressed to Leo X upon the reform of the calendar, "De æquinoctiarum solstitiorumque inventione et de ratione paschalis celebrationis deque restitutione ecclesiastici Calendarii (Paris, 1520); also "Apologia adversus novam Marci Beneventani astronomiam" (Paris, 1522); and "Defensio Apologiæ adversus Marci Beneventani astronomiam" (Paris, 1522). As a theologian he zealously defended the authority of the Church against the Reformers. His most important theological work is a rejoinder to Henry VIII of England and is entitled: "Hierarchiæ ecclesiasticæ assertio" (Cologne, 1538, dedicated to Paul III ; later editions, 1544, 1558, 1572). In reply John Leland wrote his "Antiphilarchia"; of. "Dict. Nat. Biog." (new ed., London, 1909), XI, 893. Pighius also wrote: "Apologia indicti a Paulo III. Concilii, adversus Lutheranas confederationes" (Cologne, 1537; Paris, 1538); "De libero hominis arbitrio et divina gratia libri X" (Cologne, 1542), against Luther and Calvin ; "Controversiarum præcipuarum in Comitiis Ratisponensibus tractatarum . . . explicatio (Cologne, 1542). To this were added the two treatises: "Quæstio de divortiatorum novis coniugiis et uxorum pluralitate sub lege evangelica" and "Diatriba de actis VI. et VII. Synodi". Other theological works were: "Ratio componendorum dissidiorum et sarciendæ in religione concordiæ" (Cologne, 1542), and his last work, "Apologia adversus Martini Buceri calumnias" (Mainz, 1543). A treatise "Adversus Græcorum errores", dedicated to Clement VII, is preserved in manuscript in the Vatican Library.

Pighius was in his convictions a faithful adherent of the Church and a man of the best intentions, but on some points he advanced teachings which are not in harmony with the Catholic position. One was his opinion that original sin was nothing more than the sin of Adam imputed to every child at birth, without any inherent taint of sinfulness being in the child itself. In the doctrine of justification also he made too many concessions to Protestants. He originated the doctrine of the double righteousness by which man is justified, that has justly been characterized as "semi-Lutheranism". According to this theory, the imputed righteousness of Christ is the formal cause of the justification of man before God, while the individual righteousness inherent in man is always imperfect and therefore insufficient. These opinions of Pighius were adopted by Johannes Gropper and Cardinal Contarini ; during the discussion at the Council of Trent of the "Decretum de Justificatione" they were maintained by Seripando, but the Council, with due regard for the ideas that were justifiable in themselves, rejected the untenable compromise theory itself.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online


Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 3:1-10
1 Once, when Peter and John were going up to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 24:13-35
13 Now that very same day, two of them were on their ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 23rd, 2014 Image

St. George
April 23: Pictures of St. George usually show him killing a dragon to ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter