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Charles de Noyelle

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Charles de Noyelle (28 July 1615, Bruxelles (Belgium) - 12 December 1686, Rome) was a Belgian Jesuit priest, elected the 12th Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

Early Formation

After secondary studies at Mons]] and Ypres, Charles de Noyelle joined the Jesuits at the early age of fifteen (in 1630). After following the usual spiritual training given to those newly entered into the Society, he did hiPhilosophy]] and [[Theology in Leuven, where he was ordained priest in 1644. He was destined to be professor of Theology, which he taught for some time in Antwerp. He had been Rector of the School of Kortrijk for three years when he was called to Rome as sub-secretary of the Society (1653)

In Rome

As soon as he was elected Superior General (in 1661) Gian Paolo Oliva appointed de Noyelle as his Assistant for the German provinces' affairs. He remained in that post for 20 years, being made Vicar General of the Society on several occasions too. At the General Congregation that followed the death of Father Oliva Charles de Noyelle was elected unanimously, at the first ballot, Superior General. This remains the only case (leaving aside St. Ignatius of Loyola) of a Superior General being elected unanimously.

Problems and Controversies

Just about the time of his election, the dispute between Louis XIV of France and Pope Innocent XI (over the Gallican Liberties, among other subjects) had culminated in the publication of the Declaration of the Clergy of France of 1682. This placed the Society in a difficult position in France, as its attachment to the Universal Church and the Pope prevented the Jesuits to teach the Gallicanism of the Declaration. It required all the ingenuity and ability of the influential Father François de La Chaise and Father de Noyelle to prevent a break. The middle of the road position adopted by the Society dissatisfied Innocent XI with whom the Jesuits had otherwise good relations.

Even more delicate was the question of the Chinese Rites. Reports of Jesuits (in China) ignoring or rejecting openly the papal decree forbiding the so-called Chinese rites reached the Congregation of the Propaganda Fide, resulted in much ill will towards the Society, and the first rumors to spread that the Society was no longer what St Ignatius wanted it to be.

Preceded by
Gian Paolo Oliva
Superior General of the Society of Jesus
1682 – 1686
Succeeded by
Thyrsus González de Santalla
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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Charles de Noyelle. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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