CASSETTA, cas-set'ta, FRANCESCO DI PAOLA: Italian cardinal; b. at Rome Aug. 12, 1841. He was educated at the Roman Seminary and was ordained to the priesthood in 1865. In 1884 he was consecrated titular bishop of Amiata and appointed canon of Santa Maria Maggiore, and three years later became titular archbishop of Nicomedia and grand almoner to Pope Leo XIII. As titular patriarch of Antioch he was nominated vicegerent of Rome, in which capacity he acted as the deputy of the cardinal vicar. He was created cardinal priest of Santi Vito, Modesto a Crescenzia in 1899, and is titular bishop of Sabina, perpetual abbot of Farfa, apostolic visitor of the Hospice of the Catechumens, commissioner for the apostolic visitation of the Italian dioceses, and a member of the Congregations of Bishops and Regulars, the Council, the Index, the Consistory, the Propaganda, the Propaganda for the Oriental Rite, and Indulgences.
CASSIAN: A martyr whose death is described by Prudentius in the ninth hymn of his Peristephanon. The poet says that he saw the martyr's grave at Forum Cornelii (Imola), with a picture of him, and that the custodian related that Cassian had been stabbed by his own pupils with their styli and otherwise cruelly handled. Gregory of Tours gives substantially the same account. The Martyrologium Hieronymianum names Aug. 11 as the day of his death. The fact of his martyrdom at Forum Cornelii need not be doubted, but the manner related by Prudentius is improbable, and it is impossible to fix the date.
CASSIANUS, cas"sî-a'nus, JOHANNES: Monk of the fifth century and the real founder of Semi-Pelagianism; b. probably in Provence c. 360; d. at Marseilles c. 435. He received a thorough education, and then visited the East with an
His earliest work, written before 426, was entitled De institutis cnobiorum et de octo principalium vitiorum remediis libri duodecim, and was composed at the request of Castor, bishop of Apta Julia, who wished to introduce the Oriental and especially the Egyptian rules into the monastery which he had founded. His second work was his Collationes viginti-quattuor, completed before 429. Both were widely spread throughout the Occident; Benedict of Nursia commanded that they be read to the monks in the refectory; Cassiodorus esteemed them highly, although he warned his monks against the heretical views of the author concerning the freedom of the will; and Gregory of Tours mentions them as used, together with other Oriental rules, in the monastery of St. Yririx. A brief compend was made by the friend of Cassianus, Eucherius, bishop of Lyons, which served as a source for the Concordia regularum of Benedict of Aniane.
The thirteenth collation of Cassianus is important in the controversy on Augustine's doctrine of grace. Against his enemies, who were centered in Marseilles, the latter addressed, shortly before his death, his De prdestinatione sanctorum and De dono perseveranti, his chief opponent being Cassianus, who in this collation had enunciated the doctrine called Semi-Pelagianism in the Middle Ages, although it might more properly be termed Semi-Augustinianism, since Cassianus separated himself sharply from Pelagius and branded him as a heretic, while he felt himself in complete harmony with Augustine. His Greek training, however, rendered it impossible for him to accept Augustine's doctrine of unconditional predestination, particular grace, and the absolute denial of the freedom of the will. Casaianus, on the other hand, recognized the necessity of divine grace throughout the process of salvation, while postulating the existence of free will as a necessary condition for the operation of grace, and asserting that God never destroys the freedom of the will, even in such an extraordinary case as the conversion of Paul. He regarded it as a religious axiom, therefore, that salvation through Christ is not restricted to a small number of the elect, but is intended for all. This non-Augustinian concept of the process of salvation conditions Cassianus's view of original sin. He believed that the fall of Adam had brought destruction on the whole human race, although it still retained the power to seek goodness in virtue of its original state of immortality, wisdom, and complete freedom of the will. After the victory of a modified Augustinianism at the Synod of Orange in 529, the doctrines of Cassianus were generally regarded as heterodox, although this did not injure his fame as a monastic author, and in southern Gaul he was officially honored as a saint. See SEMI-PELAGIANISM.
In the latter part of his life Cassianus became involved in the Nestorian controversy, and at the request of the archdeacon Leo (later Pope Leo I.) wrote his De incarnatione Domini contra Nestorium libri septem, the date being subsequent to the letters written by Nestorius to Pope Celestine in 430. The work lacks the importance which it would otherwise possess as the only extensive contribution of an Occidental to the Nestorian controversy, through its restriction to personal attacks on the opponent of its author and a complete omission of positive and independent Christological statements. Cassianus sought to prove that the divinity of Christ had existed from eternity and had never been renounced, so that Mary must be called not merely the mother of Christ, as Nestorius taught, but the mother of God. The work is especially valuable as showing the close sympathy of the interests and methods of Nestorianism and Pelagianism, while Cassianus, following the Gallic monk Leporius, who had renounced Pelagianism in 426, held that Christ possessed in a single person the two coexistent substances of God and man.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Opera, ed. A. Gazäus, were published at Douai, 1616, reprinted in MPL, xlix., l.; best ed. by M. Petschenig, in CSEL, 2 vols., 1886-88. An Eng. transl., with a well-written Life, is contained in NPNF, 2d series, xi. 183 sqq. Consult: G. F. Wiggers, Pragmatische Darstellung des Augustinismus und Pelagianismus, ii. 7-153, Berlin, 1833; A. Harnack, Dogmengeschichte, iii. 154, Tübingen, 1897, Eng. transl., v. 246 sqq., 253 sqq., Boston, 1899; A. Hoch, Die Lehre des J. Cassians von Natur and Gnade, Freiburg, 1895.
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