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General name for any view of spiritual life that minimizes human activity and moral responsibility. But more properly it refers to the theories of Miguel de Molinos (c. 1640-97) and François Fénelon (1651-1715), Archbishop of Cambrai. Its basic position is that, to become perfect, one must be totally passive, annihilate one's will and so totally abandon oneself to God that one cares for neither heaven nor hell. In prayer, the perfect soul make no acts of love or petition, nor even of adoration. Such total passivity makes mortification or the sacaraments useless. Sin becomes impossible to perfect souls. Quietism was condemned in the person of Molinos by Pope Innocent XI in 1687, and Fénelon by Innocent XII in1691. (Etym. Latin quietus, quiet, at rest, peaceful.)
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.