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MERICI


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MERIT


lished in 16S4, he was aided by Edmund Coleman, who was executed seven years later for alleged com- plicity in the Titus Gates plot. In 1682 Meredith wrote a reply to one Samuel Johnson, who had libelled the Duke of York in a work entitled "Julian the Apostle". On 7 September, UiS-l, he entered the Jesuit noNatiate at Watten, Flanders, under the name of Langford (or Langsford). He evidently returned in a few years to England, where he published several controversial pamphlets. On the fall of James II, he withdrew to Saint-Germain. He was resident in Rome during the years 1700 and 1701 ; the year of his death is uncertain, but his will, dated 1715, is said to be preserved in the archives of the English College, Rome. He translated from the Latin a devotional work under the title "A Journal of Meditations for every day of the year" (London, 16S7).

Foley, CoUedama Eng. Prov. S. J., pari I (London. 1882) . 502. A. A. MacErlean.

Merici, Angela. See Angela Merici, Saint.

Merida (Emeritensis in Indus), Diocese of, a suffragan see of Santiago of \'enezuela or Caracas, comprises the State of Los Andes, and part of Zulia and Zamora. It lies in the north-western portion of the republic, to the south of Lake Maracaibo. LTntil 17 Jan., 1905, it included the territory of the Goajira. Merida was first erected into a bishopric on 17 Feb., 1777. Its first bishop, Juan Ramos de Lora, a Fran- ciscan, b. at Palacios y Villafranca, Diocese of Seville, in 1722, was nominated in the consistory of 23 Sept., 1782, and was a suffragan of Santa Fe de Bogota. His immediate successors were Emanuelo Candido de Terrissos in 1791 ; and in 1795 Antonio E.spinosa, of Cor\'era in the Diocese of Saragossa. In 1801 Pius VII appointed Jaime Hemjindez Milanes of Nieza, in the Diocese of Salamanca. By a Bull of the same pontiff, "In L'niversalis Ecclesiie", 2-1 Oct., 1803, Merida became suffragan to Caracas, which had just been raised to the archiepiscopal rank. In 1.816 Rafael Laso de La Vega was elected bishop. Owing to the trouljles consequent on the rebellion against Spain, Leo XII nominated Bonaventura Arias in the consistory of 2 Oct., 1826, as auxiliary bishop. When Bishop Laso was transferred to Quito, 15 Dec, 1828, Mgr Arias continued to govern the diocese till Gregory XVI declared him a vicar Apostolic. His successor, Jos^ Vicente Unda of Guanara, was nominated in the consistory of 11 July, 1836. and on his death, 27 Jan., 1842, Juan Ilario Boset, of Puerto de Gueya, was elected.

The present occupant of the see is Mgr Antonio Raymondo Silva, b. at Caracas, 26 June, 1850, and elected 21 May, 1894. The diocese contains 15 vica- riates, 108 parishes, 150 churches and chapels, 100 priests, and a population of about 450,000, all Cath- olics except about 20,000 pagans, Timotes and Mucu- chic Indians, and 300 Protestants and Jews. There are only two religious congregations in the diocese at the present time (1910): (1) the Sisters of Saint Rosa of Lima, at Merida, San Cristobal, and Rubio, a diocesan order devoted to hospital and orphanage work ; (2) the Servants of the Holy Family, with houses at La Grita. San Cristobal, and Tdriba. The fine cathedral is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady. The city of Merida stands at an elevation of 5500 feet on the right bank of the Rio Chamo in a valley of the Sierra Nevada, which here ri.ses to about 15,000 feet. It is about 60 miles from Lake Maracaibo and 300 from Caracas. The city was founded by Juan Rodriguez Sudrez in 1558 under the name of Santiago de los Caballeros. It suffered severely from earthquakes, notably in 1644, 1812, and 1894, notwithstanding which it is a thriving business town with 12,000 inhabitants. The old seminary was changed into a university in 1810, and still flourishes, besides that of Caracas.

Boletin de Estadiatica de los Eatadot Vnidos de Venezuela (Cara- cas. 1905), 224-27. A. A. MacErLEAN.


Merit. — By merit (meritum) in general is under- stood that property of a good work which entitles the doer to receive a reward (prcpmium, merces) from him in whose service the work is done. By antonomasia, the word has come to designate also the good work it- self, in so far as it deserves a reward from the person in whose service it was performed. In the theological sense, a supernatural merit can only be a salutarj' act (actus salularis), to which God in consequence of his infallible promise owes a supernatural reward, con- sisting ultimately in eternal life, which is the beatific vision in heaven. As the main purpose of this article is to vindicate the Catholic doctrine of the meritorious- ness of good works, the subject is treated under the four following heads: I. Nature of Merit; II. Existence of Merit; III. Conditions of Merit, and IV. Objects of Merit.

I. Nature of Merit. — (a) If we analyse the defi- nition given above, it becomes evident that the prop- erty of merit can be found only in works that are positively good, whilst bad works, whether they bene- fit or injure a third party, contain nothing but demerit (demeritum) and consequently deserve punishment. Thus the good workman certainly deserves the reward of his labour, and the thief deserves the punishment of his crime. From this it naturally follows that merit and reward, demerit and punishment, bear to each other the relation of deed and return ; they are correla- tive terms of which one post ulat es the other. Reward is due to merit, and the reward is in proportion to the merit. This leads to the third condition, viz., that merit supposes two distinct persons, the one who ac- quires the merit and the other who rewards it; for the idea of self- re ward is just as contradictory as that of self- punishment. Lastly, the relation between merit and reward furnishes the intrinsic reason why in the matter of service and its remuneration the guiding norm can be only the virtue of justice, and not disinterested kind- ness or pure mercy ; for it would destroy the very notion of reward to conceive of it as a free gift of bounty (cf. Rom., xi, 6). If, however, salutary acts can in virtue of the Divine j ustice give the right to an eternal reward, this is possible only because they themselves have their root in gratuitous grace, and consequently are of their very nature dependent ult imately on grace, as the Council of Trent emphatically declares (Sess. VI, cap. xvi, in Denzinger, 10th ed., Freiburg, 1908, n. 810): "the Lord . . . whose bounty towards all men is so great, that He will have the things, which are His own gifts, be their merits."

Ethics and theology clearly distinguish two kinds of merit: (1) condign merit or merit in the strict sense of the word (meritum adteguatum sive de cotuligno), and (2) congruous or quasi-merit (meritum inadcequutum sive de congruo). Condign merit supposes an equality between service and return; it is measured by com- mutative justice (justitia commutativa) , and thus gives a real claim to a reward. Congruous merit, owing to its inadequacy and the lack of intrinsic proportion between the service and the recompense, claims a reward only on the ground of equity. This early-scho- lastic distinction and terminology, which is already recognized in concept and substance by the Fathers of the Church in their controversies with the Pelagians and Semipelagians, were again emphasized by Johann Eck, the famous adversary of Martin Luther (cf. Greving, "Joh. Eck als junger Gelehrter," Mtinster, 1906, pp. 153 sqq.). The essential difference between meritum de condigno and meritum de congruo is based on the fact that, besides those works which claim a remuneration under pain of violating strict justice (as in contracts between employer and employee, in buying and selling, etc.), there are also other merito- rious works which at most are entitled to reward or honour for reasons of equity (ex ocquitate) or mere distributive justice (ex iustilio distrihutiva) , as in the case of gratuities and military decorations. From