I recently acquired a set of 16th and 17th century books from the now-closed Mount Saint Alphonsus Theological Seminary in Esopus, New York. Included is the Summae Theologiae Moralis by Enrique Henríquez (1536 – 28 January 1608) in the original binding. According to other stamps and signatures on the title page, this particular book was also owned by the Redemptorist seminary in Ilchester, Maryland since 1868 and before that, seems to have come from Rome.

Cover of Summae Theologiae Moralis Cover of Summae Theologiae Moralis


Enrique Henríquez1 was born in Porto, Portugal in 1536. In 1552, he joined the Society of Jesus (members are known as Jesuits), which itself was founded 12 years prior. He eventually taught Jesuit colleges in Cordova and Salamanca. His pupils included future notable theologians, philosophers, and humanists including Francisco Suárez and Gregory of Valencia. The former would inspire and influence many 17th century thinkers including Leibniz, Grotius, Pufendorf, Schopenhauer, and Heidegger.

Unfortunately, not much else is known about Henríquez. After a bad experience with censorship by the Jesuit leaders, most notably by Claudio Acquaviva in 1593, Henríquez briefly left the Jesuits and joined the Order of St. Dominic with permission from the Pope, but later rejoined the Society of Jesus.

He was admired by St. Alphonsus, whose followers are known as Redemptorists and the namesake of the Mount Saint Alphonsus Theological Seminary.

He died in Tivoli, Italy in 1608.

His Works

We know through the Catholic Encyclopedia that Henríquez published the first part of Theologiae Moralis Summa in Salamanca in 1591. The work was later published in Venice in 1596 (version I currently have). In 1603, this work was forbidden by decree, donec corrigatur, meaning “forbidden until corrected.”

If one controversial work wasn’t enough, he published a second work De pontificis romani clave, libri VI which focused on the power and election of the Roman pontiff, the authority of the councils, and the question of law. Apparently it was so controversial the Apostolic nuncio of Madrid ordered all copies burnt and allegdly only three or four survived. I am yet to confirm or find these, but if anyone finds this blog post, please contact me.

The version I have is extremely brittle, possibly from being eaten by pests over the centuries, and with old vellum binding that is hanging on by a literal thread. Even with book support systems, I cannot turn the pages with the spine of the book flaking. I believe this work should be translated and analyzed in more detail, but the the cover will need to first be restored.

Title page of Summae Theologiae Moralis Title page of Summae Theologiae Moralis