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Miguel de Molinos

Spanish quietist

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Miguel de Molinos (c. 1628–1697), Spanish divine, the chief apostle of the religious revival known as Quietism, was born about 1628 near Muniesa. He entered the priesthood and settled in Rome about 1670. There he became well known as a director of consciences, being on specially friendly terms with Cardinal Odescalchi, who in 1676 became Pope Innocent XI.

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Christian life, Early works, History, Inquisition, Italy
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Born of noble parents in Muniesa, Spain, Molinos studied at Valencia, where he was ordained and received a doctorate in theology. In 1663 he settled in Rome where he became a well-known priest and confessor. In 1675 he published A Spiritual Guide, which was immediately popular and translated into several languages.

According to Molinos, contemplation distinguishes the perfect from the imperfect Christian. The imperfect Christian lives an active life and uses the prayer of meditation. The contemplation of the perfect Christian consists in a total abandonment of the self to the will and operation of God in the soul. The soul has to rid itself of all efforts to act virtuously, to form thoughts and desires, or even to repel temptations. Hence, his view is sometime called Quietist.

The Jesuits attacked Molinos's work claiming it to be Jansenist in character, because it undercuts the role of the church. At first Molinos defended himself successfully and the books of his opponents were placed on the Index in 1681. However, in 1685 he was suddenly arrested and investigated by the Holy Office. In 1687 Molinos retracted a number of errors attributed to him and pleaded guilty to charges of moral misconduct. The Guide was susceptible to dangerous and even heretical interpretations; but this hardly seems reason enough for the sudden and drastic action taken against so respected a person. Non-Catholics have tended to think that political considerations caused Molinos's downfall, but Roman Catholic sources tend to attribute it to the charges of moral misconduct. Molinos's conviction caused a great stir. He was sentenced to a life of penitential imprisonment and died after living nine years of pious and exemplary behavior.


Works by Miguel de Molinos

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External Work.
9 editions published.

View on: WorldCat | Amazon

External Work.
6 editions published.

View on: WorldCat | Amazon

"My only scope was to teach the naked truth, with humility, sincerity, and perspicuity." Thus open Miguel Molinos' Spiritual Guide. Miguel Molinos was a pious, 17th century mystic and the founder of Quietism. Eventually his Quietist teachings were condemned, and he was jailed. Nevertheless, for a few years, his book Spiritual Guide was widely circulated. (It was even translated into every language in Europe at the time, within six years of its release.) In it, Molinos claims that true spirituality consists in passive reflection of God and withdrawal from the world. He interacts with many of the Church fathers, often citing their work. The overarching purpose of Spiritual Guide is to encourage believers to conform their will to that of God's. This version also includes a lesser-known work of Molinos: Brief Treatise Concerning Daily Communion. In that work, Molinos argues that believers should be allowed to take communion every day for their own spiritual benefit. Spiritual Guide is a controversial work, but many believers have found it spiritual food enlightening and helpful.

External Work.
2 editions published.

View on: WorldCat | Amazon

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