Johann Faber

1478-1541. Bishop of Vienna. German by birth, he became vicar general of the diocese of Constance in 1518, and chaplain and confessor to Ferdinand I in 1524. He conducted several important missions for Ferdinand, including one to engage the assistance of Henry VIII against the Turks. He was appointed to the see of Vienna in 1530. He belonged originally to the humanistic and liberal party, and his friendship with Erasmus* led to an initial sympathy with Reformation leaders, including Zwingli and Melanchthon. In 1521 he returned from a visit to Rome to become a zealous adversary of the Reformation and its leaders, earning the title “the Hammer of the Heretics.” He defended Catholic orthodoxy in conferences and disputations, and burned heretics in Austria and Hungary. He wrote against Luther and in defense of celibacy and papal infallibility.