Neercassel, John De

, a celebrated bishop of the catholics in Holland, known by the title of bishop of Castoria, was born at Gorcum in 1626. He entered the congregation of the oratory at Paris, and, having finished his plan of education there, went to be professor of philosophy at Saumur, then of divinity at Mechlin, and was afterwards archdeacon of Utrecht, and apostolical provincial. James de la Torre, archbishop of Utrecht, being dead, M. de Neercassel was elected in his place by the chapter of that city; but, Alexander VII. preferring M. Catz, dean of the chapter of Harlem, they agreed between them, as a means to preserve peace, that M. Catz should govern the diocese of Harlem under the title of archbishop of Philippi, and M. de Neercassel that of Utrecht, under that of bishop of Castoria. This agreement being approved by the nuncio of Brussels, they were both consecrated in the same day at Cologn, September 9, 1662; but, M. Catz dying a year after, M. de Neercassel remained sole bishop of all the catholics in Holland, of which there were above four hundred thousand. He governed them with great prudence, and, after having discharged the duties of his office in the most exemplary manner, died June 8, 1686, aged sixty, in consequence of the fatigues attending the visitation of his churches. This prelate left three tracts in Latin, the first “On reading of the Holy Scriptures;” to which he has added a dissertation “On the Interpretation of Scripture;” the second “On the worship of the Saints and the Holy Virgin;” the third, enticed “Amor Prerii tens.” This last is a treatise on the necessity of the love of God in the sacrament of penitence. The two first have been translated into French by M. le Roy, abbot of Haute- Fontaine, 2 vols. 8vo, and the third by Peter Gilbert, a Parisian, 1741, 3 vols. 12mo. The best Latin edition of “Amor Pcenitens” is that of 1684, 2 vols. 8vo; the second part of the Appendix, which is in this edition, was written by M. Arnauld, and only approved by M. de Neercassel. The above three tracts having some expressions which were thought to favour the errors of Jansenius, an attempt was made to get the “Amor Prenitens” condemned at Rome but pope Innocent XL to whom the application was addressed, declared that “the book contained sound doctrine, and the author was a holy man.1