Hontheim, Johann Nikolaus von

(1701–90)
   Bishop and Theologian.
   Hontheim was born in Trier, Germany, and was appointed Suffragan Bishop of Trier in 1748. He wrote his famous De Statu Ecclesiae et Legitima Potestate Romani Pontificis under the pseudonym Justinus Febronius. This was the classic statement of Febronianism, a German and Austrian movement to limit papal power. Hontheim argued that the ‘keys of the kingdom’ had been given to the whole Church, not just to the Apostle peter and his papal successors. This differed from the Gallican view since Hontheim maintained that ecclesiastical power should be held by the Bishops and not by a secular ruler. The book inspired much debate and Hontheim recanted in 1778. None the less his ideas were later used by the Emperor Joseph II to establish secular control over the Austrian Church.
   J. Kuntziger, Febronius et le Fébronianisme (1891) [no English translation available].

Who’s Who in Christianity . 2014.

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