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Laurence Arthur Faunt (1554 – 28 February 1591) was an English Jesuit theologian and missionary to Poland.
After two years at Merton College, Oxford (1568–70) under the tuition of the philosopher John Potts, he went to the Jesuit college at the Catholic University of Leuven where he took his B.A. After some time spent in Paris he entered the University of Munich under the patronage of William V, Duke of Bavaria.
The date of his entrance into the Society of Jesus is disputed, some authorities giving 1570, others 1575, the year in which he went to the English College, Rome, to pursue his studies in theology. On the latter occasion he added Lawrence to his baptisal name, Arthur. He was made professor of divinity and attracted the attention of Pope Gregory XIII, who on the establishment of the Jesuit college at Posen in 1581, appointed him rector. He was also professor of Greek there for three years, of moral theology and controversy for nine more.
Faunt was the third son of William Faunt, esq., of Foston, Leicestershire, by his second wife, Jane, daughter of George Vincent, esq., of Peckleton, and widow of Nicholas Purefoy, esq., of Drayton. He was sent to Merton College, Oxford, in 1568, and placed under the tuition of John Potts, a noted philosopher, who had previously been his instructor in the country. Potts being a Roman Catholic afterwards took Faunt away from Oxford with the consent of his parents, who were Catholics also, and in the beginning of 1570 conducted him to Louvain and placed him in the jesuit college there. After graduating B.A. at Louvain he resided for some time in Paris, and then proceeded to Munich, where William, duke of Bavaria, chose him as his scholar, and maintained him in the university, where he commenced M.A. In 1575 he went to the English College at Rome, where he studied divinity, and changed his name to Laurence Arthur Faunt. Not long after he was constituted divinity reader in the college, and was in high favour with Pope Gregory XIII, who, in token of his affection, gave him license to make a seal, which, when appended to a document (drawn up by Faunt in favour of any of his countrymen), would enable the bearer to pass through foreign countries without fear of the Spanish inquisition or any other similar danger. It was supposed that if the pontiff's life had been prolonged he would have raised Faunt to the rank of cardinal.
When the king of Poland established a Jesuit college at Posen, Faunt was appointed by the pope to be its first rector, and he accordingly left Rome on 10 June 1581. Alegambe states that he was professor of Greek at Posen for three years, and of moral theology and controversy for nine years. He was highly esteemed by the spiritual and temporal estates of the Polish nation. A letter sent by him to his brother Anthony, dated Danzig, 1589, shows that he was sent for at the same time by three several princes. He died at Wilna, the capital of the province of Lithuania, in Poland, on 28 Feb. 1590–1.
His works are: 1. ‘Assertiones Theologicæ de Christi in terris Ecclesia,’ Posen, 1580, 4to. 2. ‘Assertiones Rhetoricæ ac Philosophicæ, quæ in Coll. Posnaniensi Soc. Jes. an. 1582 in solemni studiorum renovatione disputandæ proponuntur,’ Posen, 1582, 4to. 3. ‘Disputatio Theologica de D. Petri et Romani Pontificis successoris ejus in Ecclesia Christi principatu,’ Posen, 1583, 4to. 4. ‘Doctrina Catholica de Sanctorum invocatione et veneratione,’ Posen, 1584, 4to. 5. ‘De Christi in terris Ecclesia, quænam et penes quos existat, libri tres. In quibus Calvinianos, Lutheranos et cæteros, qui se Evangelicos nominant, alienos à Christi Ecclesia esse … demonstratur, et simul Apologia Assertionum ejusdem inscriptionis contra falsas Antonii Sadeelis criminationes continetur,’ Posen, 1584, 4to. 6. ‘Cœnæ Lutheranorum et Calvinianorum oppugnatio ac Catholicæ Eucharistiæ Defensio,’ 2 parts, Posen, 1586, 4to. The second part treats ‘De Augustissimo Missæ Sacrificio.’ 7. ‘De Controversiis inter Ordinem Ecclesiasticum et Secularem in Polonia, ex iure diuino, Regniq. Statutis, Priuilegijs, ac Præscriptione Tractatio’ [Cracow?], 1587, 4to; reprinted in 1632, and again in the ‘Opuscula,’ collected by Melchior Stephanidis, Cracow, 1632. 8. ‘Apologia libri sui de invocatione et veneratione Sanctorum, contra falsas Danielis Tossani, Theologiæ Calvinianæ Profess. Heidelbergen. Criminationes,’ Cologne, 1589, 8vo, Posen, 1590, 4to. 9. ‘Tractatus de controversiis inter ordinem ecclesiasticum & secularem in Polonia’ (anon.), 1592, 4to. 10. ‘De Ordinatione et Vocatione Ministrorum Lutheranorum et Calvinistarum, eorumque Sacramentis,’ Posen. 11. ‘Oratio habita in Synodo Petrocoviensi Provinciali. De causa et remediis Hereseῶn.’
His major theological works are:
- Assertiones theologicæ de Christi in terris Ecclesia, quaenam et penes quos existat [Theological assertions of Christ's Church on earth, what are they and who may make them]. (Posen, 1584).
- Tenenda est nobis Christiana religio, & eius Ecclesiæ communication, que Catholica est & Catholica nominator, non solùm à suis, verumentiam ab omnibus inimicis. Posnaniae: Joannem Wolrab, 1582.
- Libri tres: In quibus calvinianos, lutheranos, et cæteros, qui se evangelicos nominant, alienos à christi ecclesia esse, argumentis, signis, clarißimis demonstratur, & simul apologia assertionum eiusdem inscriptionis contra falsa Antonij Sadeelis criminationes continetur [Book Three: In which Calvinists, Lutherans, and the rest, who call themselves Evangelicals, are, from arguments and miracles, most clearly proved to be outside the Christian Church, & simultaneously a defense of the same assertion against false accusations contained in the writing of Anthony Sadeel]. Posnaniae: Joannem Wolrab, 1584.
- "Coenae Lutheranorum et Calvinistarum oppugnatio ac catholicae Eucharitiae defensio" (Posen, 1586);
- "Apologia libri sui de invocatione ac veneratione Sanctorum" (Cologne, 1589).
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.
- Bibl. Scriptorum Soc. Jesu, ed. Southwell, p. 538
- Wood, Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, i. 574