Auguste Joseph Alphonse Gratry

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Auguste Joseph Alphonse Gratry.

Auguste Joseph Alphonse Gratry (usually known as Joseph Gratry) (10 March 1805 − 6 February 1872) was a French author and theologian.

Gratry was born at Lille and educated at the École Polytechnique of Paris. After a period of mental struggle which he has described in Souvenirs de ma jeunesse, he was ordained priest in 1832. After a stay at Strasbourg as professor of the Petit Séminaire, he was appointed director of the Collège Stanislas in Paris in 1842 and, in 1847, chaplain of the École Normale Supérieure. He became vicar-general of Orleans in 1861, professor of ethics at the Sorbonne in 1862, and, on the death of Barante, a member of the Académie française in 1867, where he occupied the seat formerly held by Voltaire.

Together with others (Abbé Philippe pPétitot, pastor of Saint Roch, and Hyacinthe de Valroger) he reconstituted the French Oratory, a society of priests mainly dedicated to education. Gratry was one of the principal opponents of the definition of the dogma of papal infallibility, but in this matter he submitted to the declarations of the First Vatican Council.

Gratry developed throat cancer at the end of his life and went to Montreux, Switzerland, for treatment. It was there that he died. He was buried in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris by his sister.


  • De la connaissance de Dieu, opposing Positivism (1855)
  • La Logique (1856)
  • Les Sources, conseils pour la conduite de l'esprit (1861−1862)
  • La Philosophie du credo (1861)
  • Commentaire sur l'évangile de Saint Matthieu (1863)
  • Jésus-Christ: réponse à M. Renan (1864)
  • Les Sophistes et la critique (in controversy with E. Vacherot) (1864)
  • La Morale et la loi de l'histoire, setting forth his social views (1868)
  • Mgr. l'évêque d'Orléans et Mgr. l'archevêque de Malines (1869), containing a clear exposition of the historical arguments against the doctrine of papal infallibility.


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
  • Marias, Julian. La filosofia del Padre Gratry; 2nd ed. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudamericana, 1948 (in Spanish)

Further reading[edit]

  • Chauvin, Amédée (1911) Le père Gratry, 1805-1872: l'homme et l'oeuvre d'apres des documents inedits; Nouv. éd., rev. et augm. Paris: Bloud. (1st ed. 1901)

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