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Definition of JANSENISM
: a system of doctrine based on moral determinism, defended by various reformist factions among 17th and 18th century western European Roman Catholic clergy, religious, and scholars, and condemned as heretical by papal authority
Roman Catholic reform movement inspired by the writings of Cornelius Jansen. Influenced by the works of St. Augustine and especially by Augustine's attacks on Pelagianism and the doctrine of free will, Jansen adopted Augustine's doctrines of predestination and the necessity of God's grace, a stance considered uncomfortably close to Calvinism by Roman Catholic authorities, who banned his book the Augustinus in 1642. After Jansen's death in 1638, his followers made their base at the abbey in Port-Royal, France. Blaise Pascal, the most famous Jansenist, defended their teachings in his Provincial Letters (1656–57). In 1709 Louis XIV ordered the Port Royal abbey demolished. Followers of Jansen started a Jansenist church in 1723, which endured into the late 20th century.