Fr. Adolphe Tanquerey, PSS
On 21 February 1932 the seminary world lost one of the great spiritual writers of the early twentieth century, Sulpician Father Adolph TANQUEREY. Born in Blainville-sur-Mer, France in 1854, Father Tanquerey was ordained a priest in 1878 and entered the Society of Saint Sulpice the following year. He was then sent to Rome to study Thomistic theology and canon law, after which he served on the faculty of the Sulpician seminary in Rodez for a time. In 1887 he was assigned to teach in the United States, as he was a Frenchman who was open to learning English and willing to adapt to the different orientation of seminarians and priests in the New World. Thus Father Tanquerey became a faculty member at St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, Maryland, the first seminary in the U.S. (1791). It was during these years (1887-1902) that he developed his theological acumen and composed numerous works in spiritual and ascetical theology, moral theology, and dogmatic theology. His numerous publications became stellar examples of the “manual tradition” of theology. These manuals, which were used widely in seminary formation in France, the United States and elsewhere until the dawn of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), were the primary compendia of Catholic truth at the time for priestly formation. Typical of the genre, they were known for their polemical and apologetic approach to the Catholic faith, but in their day, they were considered quite progressive.