In medieval ecclesiastical usage the term might be applied to almost any person having ecclesiastical authority; it was very commonly given to the more dignified clergy of a cathedral church, but often also to ordinary priests charged with the cure of souls and, in the early days of monasticism, to monastic superiors, even to superiors of convents of women.
His superiors, seeing his great aptitude for theological study, sent him to the Dominican school in Cologne, where Albertus Magnus was lecturing on philosophy and theology.
Over the members of these orders their superiors have jurisdiction and not the bishop. Otherwise if they live out of their monastery, or even within that enclosure so notoriously offend as to cause scandal.
His superiors, however, obliged him to take the priorship of the convent of Santa Cruz in Segovia, where he ruled for twenty-two years.
Undeterred by the offence which these works gave to his ecclesiastical superiors, he published in 1858 the Einleitung in die Philosophie and Grundriss der Metaphysik, in which he assailed the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas, that philosophy was the handmaid of theology.