Open main menu

Theologian; born 1490; died 1547; he occupied the first rank among the theologians of the sixteenth century. He was born at Medina de Pomar in the Province of Burgos, and not at Alcala as some writers state. Very little has been written about his life though he is repeatedly quoted and praised by several theologians of his time. He entered the College of St. Ildefonsus at Alcalá, 20 May, 1516, took doctor's degrees in philosophy and theology, and soon after was made canon and master of theology at the university. He was selected as primary professor of theology in the College of St. Ildefonsus in succession to Michael Carasco, whom Cardinal Ximenes wished to be made perpetual Rector of the College: "Ximenes perpetuum rectorem esse voluerit". From about 1526 and for the space of twenty years, Medina filled his position with the greatest distinction. Alvarez Gomez says that Medina had a wonderful power of presenting the most intricate questions in a simple and clear style so that his pupils had no difficulty in understanding him - "nihil esset tam perplexum aut obscurum quod vel tardissimus non assequeretur". His love of study impaired his health he died at the age of fifty-seven years. Medina's works are principally on moral theology and ethics. Some of his opinions were not in accordance with the doctrine propounded at the Council of Trent. The "Diccionario Enciclop. Hispano Americano" says that his treatise "de Poenitientia" was put on the Index published in 1707; the edition of the Index printed in 1711 does not give Medina's work, nor does any of the subsequent editions. The Council of Trent declares that at the hour of death there is no "reservatio" and that all priests can absolve "in articulo mortis". Medina says "that absolution given by an excommunicated priest is invalid"; and again, "at a time of necessity (arliculo necessitatis) any priest, not suspended or excommunicated can absolve any person". His opinions on the "materia" for sacramental absolution, and on the "Copia confessariorum" seem opposed to the teaching of the council on these points. Alvarez Gomez and Andrea Schott state that Media was buried in the church of St. Ildefonsus. The first lines of the epitaph on his tomb are:

Complutense decus jacet hic, attente viator

Ter tumultum lustra, ter pia thura crema

Hoc moriente silet vox, qua non clarior unquam

Compluti fulsit, nec fuit illa.

Many editions of Medina's works were printed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. His brother John de Medina brought out the theological books at Alcala in 1544 and sqq.; Salamanca, 1555; Ingoldstadt, 1581; Brescia, 1590–1606; Cologne, 1607 etc.