Miguel de MOLINOS, (1628–96), Spanish Quietist. Born at Muniesa in Aragon, he trained for the priesthood in Valencia and was ordained in 1652; he styled himself doctor, without justification. He was sent to Rome in 1663, and soon became a much-sought-after confessor and spiritual director, and had friends in the Curia. He founded a branch in Rome of the Valencian Escuela de Cristo (confraternity). In 1675 he published both an Italian translation of his Brief Treatise on Frequent Communion (Breue tractado de la comunión frecuente) (the Spanish appeared only in 1677) and the Guía espiritual que desembaraza al alma y la conduce por el interior camino para alcanzar la perfecta contemplación y la conduce al rico tesoro de la interior paz. In one he advocated daily communion, and in the other, a didactic, but impersonal work, he recommended the prayer of acquired or active contemplation. Unlike discursive meditation, the prayer of quietude requires no help from reason or imagination, but a total submission to the will of God and, once all obstacles have been overcome, temptations can be disregarded (Book I). This imperfect contemplation is open to all under the guidance of an expert spiritual director (Book II). Infused or passive (perfect) contemplation, which is entirely God’s gift, is described in a somewhat confused way in Book III. Molinos quotes mystical writers, notably St Teresa of Ávila, and draws upon the works of St John of the Cross.

In spite of his reputation and connections Molinos was arrested by the Holy Office in 1686, tried and condemned on propositions culled from his letters and from witnesses rather than from the Guide, and on perhaps doubtful accusations of immorality. He submitted in 1687, but remained in prison until his death.

Many of his followers gave up the usual practice of vocal prayer and the Sacraments and took disregard of temptations to immoral lengths. His teaching became influential in the Quietist movement in France (Fènlon and Mme. Guyon) and among the Pietists.

Crit. edn. of the Guía espiritual (the ‘Guide’) by J. I. Tellechea Idígoras (Madrid, 1976), with concordance (ibid., 1991). An Eng. tr. of both his works, made from an Ital. version, was pub., London, 1688; repr. Glasgow, 1885, and (Guide only), London, 1928. An extract from the 1688 tr. of the Guide, somewhat adapted, was incl. by J. Wesley in the Christian library, 38 (Bristol, 1754), pp. 247–93. Molinos’ letters and papers concerning his trial disappeared from the archives of the Holy Office during the French occupation of Rome in 1810–14; only a summary of the case and unreliable accounts, such as that of Card. C.d’Estrées, remain. The basis of the charges was a set of 263 ‘Theses Damnandae’, pr. in Analecta Juris Pontificii, 10 (1869), cols. 574–94; the 68 errors condemned on 28 Aug. 1687 and inserted by Innocent XI on 19 Nov. 1687 in the bull Coelestis Pastor, are repr. in Denzinger and Hünermann (37th edn., 1991), pp. 645–56 (nos. 2201–69). Molinos’ Defensa de la Contemplación, ed. F. Trinidad Solano (Biblioteca de Visionarios Heterdoxos y Marginados [1983]). J. Fernandez Alonso, ‘Una Bibliografía inédita de Miguel de Molinos’, Anthologica Annua, 12 (1964), pp. 293–321 [despite title, an early Life]. G. Burnet, Three Letters concerning the Present State of Italy (1688), pp. 1–95 (no. 1: ‘Relating to the Affair of Molinos and the Quietists’). Modern Life by P. Dubon, SJ (hostile; Paris, 1921). J. Ellacura Beascoechea, Reacción española contra las ideas de Miguel de Molinos (Procesos de la Inquisición y refutación de los teólogos) (1956). F. Sánchez-Castañer, Miguel de Molinos en Valencia y Roma (Nueuos Datos Biográficos) (Valencia, 1965). L.Kolakowski, Chrétiens sans Église (Fr. tr. from Polish, 1969), pp. 494–566 passim. J. I. Tellechea Idígoras, ‘Molinos e el Quietismo Español’, in R. García-Villoslada (ed.), Historia de la Iglesia en España (1979), pp. 475–521, repr. in id., Molinosiana: Investigaciones históricas sobre Miguel Molinos (1987), pp. 17–63. P. Moreno Rodriguez, El Pensamiento de Miguel de Molinos (1992). R. A. Knox, Enthusiasm (Oxford, 1950), pp. 295–318. E. Pacho in Dict. Sp. 10 (1980), cols. 1486–514, s.v.

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