Full Text

Liguori, Alphonsus, St (1696–1787)

Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631198963.2005.x


Italian Roman Catholic moral theologian. The son of a Neapolitan nobleman, he studied then practised law in Naples, until a professional error in 1723 led him to renounce his career. In 1726 he became a priest and in 1732 he founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, or ‘Redemptorists’, at Scale, near Amalfi. Bishop of Sant’ Agata dei Croti from 1762 to 1777, he was canonized in 1839. Alphonsus's first ideas on moral theology are outlined in his Annotations of 1748 to the work of the Jesuit casuist Hermann Busenbaum. These he later developed into his own system, contained in Theologia moralis , first published in 1753 and 1755, with an eighth, definitive edition appearing in 1779. The method he developed is known as ‘equiprobabilism’ and concerns the legitimacy of adopting a ‘probable’ opinion in moral matters, an approach accepted by the Roman Catholic church but bitterly opposed by some at the time. Often called ‘the father of moral theology’ and much read in the nineteenth century (by, inter alia , John Henry Newman), his spiritual writings were also popular; they emphasized devotion to the Sacred Heart and to Mary as co-redemptrix. [ 1900 ] 1905 : St Alphonsus de Liguori , 2 vols , trans. H. Castle . Dublin . 1961 : article in Bibliotheca Sanctorum . Rome, cols 837–59 . 1940 : Saint Alphonsus . Brooklyn . ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top