Juan De Torquemada

1388-1468. Spanish theologian and cardinal. One of the leading defenders of papal authority against the conciliar theorists, he entered the Dominican Order in 1403 and attended the Council of Constance* in 1417. Afterward he finished his studies in Paris and taught in Spain, where he became prior of the Dominican house at Valladolid and Toledo. He attended the Council of Basle from 1432 to 1437 where he defended papal rights in a series of treatises. When the council deposed Eugenius IV, he led the faction which reconvened the council at Ferrara and was a leading figure in the negotiations with the Greek Orthodox Church which led to a short-lived decree of unity signed in 1439. He also wrote additional treatises defending papal primacy, and engaged in public debate with a leading conciliarist. For his services he was granted the title “Defender of the Faith” and was made cardinal in 1439. His major work, Summa de Ecclesia (1448), was a defense of the church both against heretics and conciliarists. In the last years of his life he was further rewarded by being appointed bishop of Palestrina in 1455 and of Sabina in 1463.