Stanislaus Hosius

1504-1579. Polish Counter-Reformation controversialist and cardinal. Born at Cracow, he received humanistic training there and, sponsored by Tomicki, bishop of Cracow and vice-chancellor of Poland, studied law at Padua and Bologna, earning a Bologna doctorate in canon and civil law. On his return home he served as secretary to Tomicki, eventually becoming royal secretary. He was invested with several benefices, ordained priest (1543), and became bishop first of Culm (1549), then of Ermland (1551). His burning desire was the extirpation of the Protestant heresy. His consummate polemical skill against reformers such as Johann Brenz* and Jan à Lasco,* his educational programs, and his violent repressive measures made him perhaps the greatest of the Polish counter- reformers, winning him both the sobriquet “hammer of the heretics” and the favor of Rome. His Confessio fidei catholicae christianiae (1553, 1557) was one of the most successful polemic pieces of the Catholic Reformation. In 1558 Paul IV called him to Rome, where he became a leading voice in the Curia, playing an important role in the final sessions of the Council of Trent.* His two-volume works were published at Cologne in 1584.

See also L. Bernacki, La Doctrine de l'église chez le Cardinal Hosius (1936); and F.J. Zdrodowski, The Concept of Heresy According to Cardinal Hosius (1947).