FONSECA: The name of three noted Roman Catholics.


1. Pedro da Fonseca, Portuguese Jesuit; b. at Cortizada, Portugal, 1528; d. at Coimbra (110 m. n. n. e. of Lisbon) Nov. 4, 1599. On Mar. 17, 1548 he entered the Society of Jesus as a novice, and three years later attended the University of Evora, where he soon became professor and won the title of the "Portuguese Aristotle." After obtaining his doctor's degree in 1580, he gained rapid promotion, being appointed successively assistant to the general of the order, provincial visitor, and head of the house of the professed. Philip II. of Portugal appointed him on a committee for the reform of Portugal, and Gregory XIII. entrusted him with affairs of the utmost importance, while Lisbon owes to him, among other things, the establishment of the Irish College and the convent of St. Martha. The chief works of Da Fonseca are his Institutions dialecticœ (Lisbon, 1564) and his Commentarii in libros metaphysicorum Aristotelis Stagiritœ (4 vols., Rome, 1577-89). He originated the theory of the "mediate knowledge of God," or the knowledge of the potential or what might have occurred either by itself or under certain conditions, but did not--a theory later developed by his fellow Jesuit, Luis Molina (q.v.).


2. Antonio da Fonseca Soares: Portuguese Franciscan, poet and devotional author; b. at Vidigueira, (13 m. n. e. of Beja) June 25,1631; d. Oct. 29, 1682, as rector of the theological seminary of Torres Vedras (25 m. n. w. of Lisbon).


3. José Maria da Fonseca: Portuguese Franciscan historian; b. at Evora (75 m. s. e. of Lisbon) Dec. 3, 1690, founded the library of the monastery of Ara Cœli, continued L. Wadding's Annales Minorum from 1731 to 1740, and died as bishop of Porto in 1752.

(O. Zöckler†.)