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Pulpit orator and controversialist, b. at Schwaz, in the Tyrol, 1540, according to Duhr; d. at Linz, 30 Nov., 1605; entered the Society of Jesus in 1559. Even before his ordination he was famed for his preaching powers. For over forty years he labored in the Archduchy of Austria. To Scherer, in part, it owes the retention of the Faith. In 1577 he was Court preacher to the Archduke Matthias; he retained the post until 1600. In 1590 he was appointed Rector of the Jesuit College at Vienna; the sternness of his character scarcely fitted him for the office, and he was transferred (1694) to Linz. He died of apoplexy. The story of his being struck blind in the pulpit, after having exclaimed: "If the Catholic Church is not the True Church, may I become blind," is a pure invention (cf. Guilhermy).
Scherer was a man of boundless energy and rugged strength of character, a strenuous controversialist, a genuinely popular orator and writer. He vigorously opposed the Tubingen professors who meditated a union with the Greek Schismatics, refuted Lutheran divines like Osiander and Heerbrand, and roused his countrymen against the Turks. Believing like his contemporaries that the State had the right to put witches to death, he maintained, however, that singe they were possessed, the principal weapons used against them should be spiritual ones, e.g. exorcisms, prayer. Scherer's severe attitude towards witchcraft did not meet the approval of his general, Acquaviva. His eloquence and zeal made many converts, amongst them the future Cardinal Khlesl. His works were collected and published by the Premonstratensians of Bruck, Moravia (1599-1600), and again issued at Munich (1613-1614). Noteworthy are his "29 Predigten von Notis, Merkund Kennzeichen der wahren und falschen Kirchen."
SOCHER, Historia Provinciae Austriae S.J. (Vienna, 1740); SCHMIDL, Historia Prorinciae Bohemia, t. II, (Prague, 1747); STOGER, Scriptores Prorinciae Austriae (Vienna, 1856), RAESS, Die Konvertiten, II (Freiburg, 1866); HURTER, Nomenclator Litterarius, III, 3rd ed.; DE GUILHERMY, Menologe de la C. de J., Assistance de Germanie, I ser., 2nd pt. (Paris, 1898); JANSSEN, Geschichte des deutschen Volkes, tr. VII, 160; IX, 119,121, 363, 379; X, 32, 36, 198, 202, 205, 332, 350; XII, 261, 336, 384; XIV, 334, 452, 455, 463, 483, XV, 42, 290, 418; XVI, 281, 463; SOMMERVOGEL, Bibl. de la C. de J., VII, SCHWICKERATH, Severe attitude of the Jesuits in the trials for witchcraft in Am. Cath. Quarterly Review, XXVII (Philadelphia, 1902); DUHR, Geschichte der Jesuiten in den Landern deutscher Zunge im XVI. Jahrhundert (Freiburg im Br., 1907); Stimmen aus Maria-Laach, XXXI, p. 556; XLVIII, p. 153; DUHR in Zeitschrift fur kath. Theol., XII.
John C. Reville.