Birthplace: Pitthem, Belgium
Location of death: Cologne, Germany
Cause of death: unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Worked towards Christian unity
George Cassander, or Casant, Flemish theologian, born at Pitthem near Bruges, went at an early age to Louvain and was teaching theology and literature in 1541 at Bruges and shortly afterwards at Ghent. About 1549 he removed to Cologne, where, after a profound study of the points of difference between the Catholic and reformed churches, he devoted himself to the project of reunion, thus anticipating the efforts of Gottfried Leibniz. In 1561 he published anonymously De Officiis pii ac publicae tranquillitatis vere amantis viri in hoc dissidio religionis (Basel), in which, while holding that no one, on account of abuses, has a right utterly to subvert the Church, he does not disguise his dislike of those who exaggerated the papal claims. He takes his standpoint on Scripture explained by tradition and the fathers of the first six centuries. At a time when controversy drowned the voice of reason, such a book pleased neither party; but as some of the German princes thought that he could heal the breach, the emperor Ferdinand asked him to publish his Consultatio de Articulis Fidei inter Catholicos et Protestantes Controversis (1565), in which, like John Henry Newman at a later date, he tried to put a Catholic interpretation upon Protestant formularies. While never attacking dogma, and even favoring the Roman church on the ground of authority, he criticizes the papal power and makes reflections on practices. The work, attacked violently by the Louvain theologians on one side, and by John Calvin and Theodore Beza on the other, was put on the Roman Index in 1617. He died at Cologne on the 3rd of February 1566. A collected edition of his works was published in 1616 at Paris.
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