« Baird, Robert Bajus, Michael Baker, Daniel »

Bajus, Michael

BAJUS, bɑ̄´´yus, MICHAEL (MICHEL DE BAY) Theologian of Louvain; b. at Melin (arrondissement of Ath , 14 m. n.w. of Mons), Hainault, 1513; d. at Louvain Sept. 15, 1589. He was educated in the University of Louvain, where he became magister 1535; head of the Standonck college and member of the faculty of arts 1540, and doctor of theology 1550. When four Louvain professors were summoned to Trent at the reopening of the council there in 1551 Bajus and his like-minded colleague Johannes Hessels filled the vacancies by lecturing on the Holy Scriptures. Bajus was soon appointed professor in ordinary.

The Controversy Concerning Bajus’s Orthodoxy.

Being convinced that the questions of faith which were started by the Reformation could not be sufficiently answered by the scholastic method, Bajus endeavored to found the study of theology more upon the Scriptures and the Fathers, especially upon Augustine, whose works he is said to have read nine times. But soon a great controversy arose, and in 1560 his opponents secured the condemnation by the Sorbonne of eighteen propositions extracted from the lectures of Bajus. Bajus defended himself, complained of unfair treatment, and declared that he was ready to submit to the holy see and the council. After a few years the controversy began anew caused by a number of dogmatic tractates, the first of which (De libero arbitrio, De justitia, De justificatione, and others) were published in the beginning of 1563, others (De meritis operum, De prima hominis justitia, De virtutibus impiorum, etc.) in 1564, and a general collection (Opuscula omnia) in 1566. Bajus’s opponents induced the new pope, Pius V, in 1567 in the bull Ex omnibus affictionibus to condemn Bajus’s seventy-nine propositions from his writings as heretical, false, auspicious, bold, scandalous, and offensive to pious ears, without stating, however, which of the propositions deserved the one or the other epithet, and without mention of Bajus’s name. The bull, written in the usual form without punctuation, says: Quas quidem sententiœ stricto coram nobis examine ponderatas quanquam nonnullae aliquo pacto sustineri possent in rigore et proprio verbarum sensu ab assertoribus intento hæreticas erroneas . . . damnamus, etc. If a comma be inserted after intento, as was done by the Louvain theologians and afterward by the Jansenists, the bull contains the concession that some propositions in the strict sense intended by the authors are perhaps permissible; but if, with the Jesuits, the comma is put after sustineri possent, the contrary meaning is imparted, that some propositions which may perhaps be interpreted in an orthodox sense, are nevertheless condemned as meant by their authors. Hence arose the later controversy about the comma Pianum. A papal brief (May 13, 1569) sustained the condemnation, and Bajus submitted and was absolved. In his lectures (Apr. 17, 1570) he expressed himself 423 once more in the sense of his apology. The bull against him was now first made public. The Louvain faculty made explanations, which were satisfactory in form, but the majority still adhered to the Augustinian system. Bajus remained in his prominent position, and was made chancellor of the University and dean of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter in 1575. He founded in the University a Collegium Sancti Augustini, to which his nephew Jacob, who acted as his executor, gave the name of Collegium Baianum.

His Doubtful Teachings.

The propositions of Bajus which were attacked and condemned by the papal bull rest entirely on the fundamental Augustinian idea of the entire depravity of man through original sin, of the absolute moral inability of the fallen man to do good, and of utterly unconditional and irresistible grace. To retain and carry out the Augustinian idea, he believed it necessary to oppose the scholastic (and Tridentine) notion of the original state of man. He will not admit that the original nature of man consisted in the so-called pura natura, to which came as an additional gift (donum superadditum, supernaturalia dona) the justitia originalis, which lifts man above his nature and qualifies him for salvation. He thinks that the status puræ naturæ est impossibilis. According to Scripture, Christ first brought grace. From this point of view the state of fallen man appears as essential corruption of human nature according to the Augustinian presentation, which especially precludes free will in the sense of power of choice. Liberum arbitrium hominis non valet ad opposita. There exists indeed a certain freedom of choice with reference to things which are not under consideration, but no condition of religio-moral indifference. Finally Bajus follows Augustine as a matter of course in the assertion that in the justified person original sin does indeed not rule as concupiscence but still acts, and adopts the manet actu, præterit reatu. As the whole man is corrupted by sin, so also is all humanity.

Relation to the Reformers.

In all these points Bajus coincides very closely with the Augustinianism of the Reformers. and only in a few points does he make a not very successful effort to explain away certain harsh expressions (e.g., concerning determinism) and charge them to the Reformers only. But he stops far short of making the decided deviation which the Reformers made from Augustine with regard to the doctrine of justification. Grace justifies man. Since no man on earth can attain active perfection in this life, our righteousness will rest more upon the forgiveness of sins than upon our virtue. It is characteristic how the forgiveness of sins comes in here like a makeshift. Si proprie loqui velimus, remissio peccatorum justitia non erit, quia justitia proprie legis obedientia est sive intus in voluntate sive foris in opere. . . . Sed in scripturis sacris peccatorum remissio ideo etiam nomine justitiæ intelligitur, quia licet proprie non sit, tamen apud deum pro justitia reputatur. Justification means to make righteous and have forgiveness of sins; but it is the former above all.

The bull against Bajus is very instructive for the history of doctrinal theology, because the Augustinian theology is here censured with all plainness. Thus, condemnation is pronounced upon the following propositions: that every sin deserves everlasting punishment (20); that all works of the unbelievers are sin (25); that the will without the help of grace can only sin (27); that concupiscence, even where it acts unwillingly, is sin (51); that the sinner is not animated and moved by the absolving priest but only by God (58); that the merit of the redeemed is given to them freely (8); that temporal sins can not be atoned for by one’s own doings de condigno, but that their abolition, like the resurrection, must be ascribed in a proper sense to the merit of Christ (77, 10).

R. Seeberg.

Bibliography: Michael Baii opera: cum bullis pontificum et aliis ipsius causam spectantibus . . . collecta . . . studio A. P. theologi [G. Gerberon], Cologne, 1696; J. B. P. du Chesne, Histoire du Bajanisme, Douai, 1731; F. X. Linsenmann, Michael Bajus und die Grundlegung des Jansenismus, Tübingen, 1867; L. E. du Pin, Nouvelle bibliothèque, xvi; R. Seeberg, in Thomasius, Dogmengeschichte, vol. ii, part 2. 718 sqq., Leipsic, 1889; A. Harnack, Dogmengeschichte, iii, 628 sqq., Freiburg, 1890, Eng. transl., vii, 86-93.

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