Monday, September 17, 2007

St. Robert Bellarmine

Today marks the Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, Secondary Patron of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Admittedly, I do not know much about this revolutionary (as in Catholic Counter Reformation) 17th Century Jesuit, besides that he was a Cardinal Archbishop. I do know that he adorns a window and the central position in the Raredos at the Chapel of St. Gregory the Great at the seminary here in Cincinnati. But, through the magic of the internet, comes more details on his story from the Ignatius Insight blog:

Shortly after his defection from Rome, Johann Döllinger bitterly reproached the First Vatican Council with "doing nothing but defining the private opinions of a single man—Cardinal Robert Bellarmine." The accusation is false but suggestive, because it leads us to investigate the teaching of St. Robert on the organization of the Catholic Church as the Mystical Body of Christ. Most of the Council's business had to deal with the origin and nature of the one true Church. Moreover, Bellarmine's ecclesiology was the main source from which the Fathers of the Council drew their decrees and definitions. Consequently, with the current interest even among non-Catholics in the Church of Christ as the Mystical Body, we should not overlook what St. Robert Bellarmine has to say about a subject in which the Church herself considers him the outstanding authority.

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