Franz Heinrich Reusch - Encyclopedia


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FRANZ HEINRICH REUSCH (1823-1900), Old Catholic theologian, was born at Brilon, in Westphalia, on 4th December 1823. He studied general literature at Paderborn, and theology at Bonn, Tubingen and Munich. The friend and pupil of Ddllinger, he took his degree of Doctor in Theology at Munich, the university of which Dbllinger was so long an ornament.. He was ordained priest in 1849, and was immediately afterwards made chaplain at Cologne. In 1854 he became Privatdozent in the exegesis of the Old Testament in the Catholic Theological Faculty at Bonn; in 1858 he was made extraordinary, and in 1861 ordinary, professor of theology in the same university. From 1866 to 1877 he was editor of the Bonner Theologisches Literaturblatt. In the controversies on the Infallibility of the Pope, Reusch attached himself to Dollinger's party, and he and his colleagues Hilgers, Knoodt and Langen were interdicted by the archbishop of Cologne in 1871 from pursuing their courses of lectures. In 1872 he was. excommunicated. For many years after this he held the post of Old Catholic cure of Bonn, as well as the position of vicargeneral to the Old Catholic Bishop Reinkens, but resigned both in 1878, when, with Dollinger, he disapproved of the permission to marry granted by the Old Catholic Church in Germany to its clergy. From that time he retired into lay communion.

but continued to give lectures as usual in the Old Catholic Faculty of Theology in the university of Bonn, and to write on theological subjects. He was made rector of that university in 1873. In 1874 and 1875 he was the official reporter of the memorable Reunion Conferences held at Bonn in those years and attended by many distinguished theologians of the Oriental and Anglican communions.

Reusch was a profound scholar, an untiring worker and a man of lovable character. Among his voluminous works were contributions to the Revue internationale de theologie, a review started at Bern at the instance of the Old Catholic Congress at Lucerne. He wrote also works on the Old Testament; a pamphlet on Die Deutschen Bischofe and der Aberglaube; and another on the falsifications to be found in the treatise of Aquinas against the Greeks; as well as essays on the history of the Jesuit Order, and a book of prayers. But his fame will mainly rest on the works which he and Dellinger published jointly. These consisted of a work on the Autobiography of Cardinal Bellarmine, the Geschichte der Moralstreitigen in der Romisch-Katholischen Kirche seit dem XVI. Jahrhundert, and the Erorterungen fiber Leben and Schriften des hl. Liguori. During the last few years of his life he was smitten with paralysis. He died on the 3rd of March 1900, leaving behind him in manuscript a collection of letters to Bunsen about Roman cardinals and prelates, which has since been published. (J. J. L. *)

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