Saturday 21st January 2017

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Robert Bellarmine

May 13, 2014 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

Two days a week I attend Mass in Flushing, Mich., at the Parish of St. Robert Bellarmine. The altar is beautiful, but nothing prepared me for the beauty of the decorations for Easter with an empty tomb on one side, the risen Christ on another, and across to the back side draped in white linen all surrounded with beautiful, fragrant flowers. There was much more with which the patron, St. Robert Bellarmine, must have been so pleased. St. Robert has not been as universally popular as the Little Flower, but he certainly offers much to write about since he is one of the few who have been designated as a doctor of the Church.
In 1542, the Protestant Reformation or Revolt was well on its way, drawing many of the Catholics in Europe away from the folds of Holy Mother Church. Into this controversial era Vincenzo Bellarmino and Cinzia Cervini — half-sister to Pope Marcellus II — welcomed their son, Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmino, known to us as St. Robert Bellarmine.
The Jesuit school recognized him as “the best of our school, and not far from the Kingdom of Heaven.” He was 17 at the time, being devout, brilliant, and articulate. Even at this young age he impressed his superiors with his debating skills.
Robert found his experiences at the Jesuit school very rewarding and decided he wanted to enter the Jesuit order. However, as happens with saints, his father was opposed to the idea since he had other plans for his promising son.
His mother, again like most saints, finally won over his father so that Robert left for Rome in 1560. So impressed was the father general of the order with Robert’s abilities that his novitiate was shortened so that he could enter more quickly into the studies for the priesthood.
After Robert spent three years studying philosophy, health reasons made it necessary for him to move back to Tuscany, where he began teaching. Not long afterward he went to Monrovia to teach Greek to the students — a subject that he had to teach himself since he knew no Greek. Similar to John Bosco, Robert Bellarmine did not approve of the flogging of young boys.
When he began preaching, crowds would flock to hear him. When his provincial superior heard his sermon, he promptly transferred the young man to Padua where he was to prepare for Ordination.
However, the father general, Francis Borgia — not one of the more infamous and corrupt Borgia family — sent him to the Louvain in Belgium to complete his studies. Borgia sent him there to counteract the many heresies and controversies propagated by the Protestants.
Bellarmine stayed there for seven years, once again drawing crowds despite his plain appearance and short stature. His heart burned within him during his sermons so that his face glowed with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
After his Ordination in 1570, he became a professor at the University of Louvain, lecturing on the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. These lectures on the Summa Theologiae became the channel by which the Truth of the Church was taught and errors refuted.
His zeal led him to teach himself Hebrew in order to better study Holy Scripture. Thus he also became an expert on the Bible as well as on the Fathers of the Church. A side benefit of this study was that Robert published a Hebrew grammar book, which became widely popular.
Again his health broke down. He traveled to Italy where St. Charles Borromeo sought to get him assigned to Milan, but to no avail. Robert ended up at the chair of controversial theology at the Roman College. While there, he wrote his unequaled Disputations on the Controversies, refuting the claims of the Protestants that they were the true Church established by Christ.
The four volumes were so thorough with such a grasp of Scripture, dogmatic teachings of the Church, and the writings of the Church Fathers that the Protestants insisted that not one man, but many Jesuits, cooperated to write them. Their demand, even in England where they were forbidden, continued for centuries and hold great importance even to this day.
In 1589, he went to France under obedience to arbitrate between Henry of Navarre and the Catholic League. The mission failed, but Robert learned much of suffering. He returned to Rome at the death of Pope Sixtus V. The new Pope, Clement VIII, assigned him to prepare the Latin Vulgate for publication as a follow-up to the Council of Trent.
While working in Rome he provided spiritual direction to the youthful St. Aloysius Gonzaga, requesting that when he died he wanted to lie at the feet of Aloysius, who died very young. Then, in 1592, he became rector of the Roman College. Two years later he was made provincial of Naples before returning to Rome to become a theological adviser to the Pope.
Under the authority of Pope Clement VIII he wrote his two catechisms, which became the most widely published catechisms ever written. In 1598, having been nominated cardinal, he tried to elude the office, but Pope Clement VIII raised him under order of obedience. Though Robert stayed in the cardinals’ palace, he lived simply, giving food to the poor and maintaining his previous austere lifestyle. He allowed no fires in winter and subsisted on bread and garlic. The luxurious hangings in his residence were taken down to make clothes for the poor.
In 1602, he left for Capua to become a pastor and leave the life of academia behind. He evangelized and tended his flock tirelessly. Catechizing, visiting the parishes, exhorting the priests to live holy lives now became his work. However, once again he was recalled to Rome, by Pope Paul V.
He entered the fray with those denying the authority of the Pope. His stinging retort to King James I of England demolished the king’s rationale for his stance. His booklet denying the divine right of kings was burned by the leaders in France, but he was also denounced by others when he said the papal jurisdiction over foreign rulers was indirect.
He was also an associate of Galileo, whom he admonished for his unproved theories. His last years in Rome were spent writing more spiritual commentaries than apologetics. The popularity of these volumes became evident when they were translated into several different languages, including English.
As Bellarmine’s health deteriorated, the Jesuits allowed him to return to the novitiate of St. Andrew. On September 17, 1621 he died — a date he requested be established as the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis. In 1930 he was canonized. The very next year, he was declared a doctor of the Church. Although his feast is now celebrated in September, in the old calendar his feast was celebrated on May 13.
Dear St. Robert, how we need champions of the faith to refute the errors of our day! Obtain for us the grace to study our faith, to learn our faith so that we too may lovingly proclaim the Truth which alone can bring joy to the world. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. Mrs. Breslin’s articles have appeared in Homiletic & Pastoral Review and in the Marian Catechist Newsletter. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

2016 The Wanderer Printing Co.

TRAD LIVES MATTER! US Bishop attacks “ad orientem” worship, overrides Summorum Pontificum

UPDATE: I’ll be a bit more restrictive with comments.  Some of you are… sheesh.  Think before even starting to write, please. ___ Originally Published on: Jan 19, 2017 @ 14:25 ___ I received a copy of a letter sent by the…Continue Reading

Pope: Luther’s intention was to renew the Church, not divide her

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Thursday said that “the intention of Martin Luther five hundred years ago was to renew the Church, not divide her”. Speaking to members of an Ecumenical Delegation from Finland who are in the Vatican to…Continue Reading

Priests for Life Banned From Orlando Diocese

All are welcome — except pro-life group ORLANDO (ChurchMilitant.com) – The bishop of Orlando is forbidding parishes from hosting speakers from Priests for Life or handing out their material. Priests for Life (PFL) was founded in 1991 with the canonical…Continue Reading

New York Times refuses to call the March for Life by its name. And pro-lifers are mad.

January 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life leaders are calling out The New York Times for its biased coverage of the March for Life after the newspaper steadfastly avoided identifying the event by its name in a recent article. In a story published…Continue Reading

The Maltese Disaster

The bishops of Malta, in a document that can only be called disastrous, repeatedly invoking Pope Francis’ Amoris laetitia, have directly approved divorced and remarried Catholics taking holy Communion provided they feel “at peace with God”. Unlike, say, the Argentine document on Amoris which, one could argue, left just…Continue Reading

Malta’s bishops allow civilly remarried divorcees to receive Communion

Update: In a move taken as a sign of approval, the Vatican’s semi-official newspaper published the Maltese bishops’ guidelines Friday morning in its print and online versions. MALTA, January 13, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The bishops of Malta have given the…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider Offers Hope Amidst Crisis Permitted by “Divine Providence”

As the ecclesiastical crisis continues to deepen in 2017, I have found myself facing a certain exhaustion; a feeling that, while knowing the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, that Christ will have the final victory, there…Continue Reading

Malta’s bishops tell the remarried: take Communion if you feel at peace with God

The bishops say that avoiding sex may be ‘humanly impossible’ Malta’s bishops have said that remarried people should receive Communion if they think they are at peace with God. In a new document, Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of…Continue Reading

Vatican invites pro-abortion ‘Population Bomb’ author to speak at Biological Extinction conference

VATICAN CITY, January 12, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Vatican has invited the undisputed father of the modern population control movement to present a paper at an upcoming Vatican-run conference. Dr. Paul Ehrlich, author of the 1968 bestseller The Population Bomb,…Continue Reading

Speaker Paul Ryan: We Will Defund Planned Parenthood Period, And Here’s Why

Last night, in an interview on CNN, pro-life Speaker Paul Ryan explained why the Republican Congress will defund the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Ryan said Congress has a long-standing pro-life principle that it will not force taxpayers to be involved…Continue Reading

REVEALED: The most pro-life and most pro-abortion U.S. states. Where does your state rank?

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 10, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Oklahoma stands at the top and Washington ranks at the bottom of the Americans United for Life’s annual “Life List” released Tuesday that ranks the most pro-life and pro-abortion states in the U.S.…Continue Reading

Bishop Schneider says Catholics must be subject to the Pope

In a recent interview, Bishop Schneider explained the importance of not losing a characteristic of the Catholic Church, which is being subject to the Pope. Bishop Schneider, who recently defended the Four Cardinals who submitted the dubia, made his comments in…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Enter Comments Below

This Weeks Comments And Letters . . .

Culture Of Life 101 . . . “An Introduction To The Problem Of Euthanasia”

By BRIAN CLOWES Part 2 (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 23 of The Facts of Life, a 150-page treatise on all of the aspects of euthanasia, e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + We have covered the definitions of the varieties of…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Maltese bishop threatens priests will be suspended a divinis for refusing communion to divorced/remarried

Bishop Mario Grech of Gozo, a Maltese island, has allegedly threatened priests that he will suspend them a divinis if they refuse Holy Communion to the divorced and civilly “remarried”. The German website Katholisches reports that Bishop Mario Grech announced his decision to impose this canonical punishment immediately on returning from Rome. Bishop Mario Grech is the co-signatory with  Archbishop Charles Scicluna of the document, “Criteria for the Application of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia“. Archbishop Charles Scicluna…Continue Reading

Bishop Athanasius Schneider . . . Appeal to prayer:

schneider

That Pope Francis may confirm the unchanging praxis of the Church with regard to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage. Following the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, in some particular churches there were published norms for its application and interpretations whereby the divorced who have attempted civil marriage with a new partner, notwithstanding the sacramental bond by which they are joined to their legitimate spouse, are admitted to the sacraments of Penance and…Continue Reading

A list of the most insane things uttered by the abortion activist speaking at the Vatican next month

January 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The leading population control activist speaking at the Vatican next month has compared human babies to garbage, said every sexually active woman needs “free access” to abortion and contraception, and said the Catholic Church’s moral teachings are “just as unethical” as a “terrorist act.” Dr. Paul Ehrlich is the undisputed father of the modern, pro-abortion population control movement. He has defended mass forced sterilization and even forced abortion. Ehrlich has made inflammatory statements…Continue Reading

The Bomb That Never Detonated

Back in the early 1970s, in the heyday of unceasing rancor over Humanae Vitae, a great number of books were published that prophesied disaster for the human race. Among the most famous was Paul Ehrlich’s widely read The Population Bomb. At that time, we were given various apocalyptic scenarios about the end of things caused by our own uncontrolled breeding. We were soon to starve to death. The world, then with a population of around three billion, was running…Continue Reading

Cardinal Carlo Caffarra Reverently Breaks His Silence on the Dubia

cardc

For the first time since the publication of the Four Cardinals’ dubia, Cardinal Caffarra has given an interview and explains the reasons and some of the deeper arguments underlying this recent initiative. Throughout the whole of this interview given to Matteo Matzuzzi of the Italian newspaper Il Foglio (see full text here), Caffarra preserves a calm and unmistakably charitable tone and thus politely distances himself from any polemical way of dealing with some very grave…Continue Reading

Should Old Aquinas Be Forgot?

By DONALD DeMARCO Thomas Aquinas was born in the year 1224 in Rocca Sicca, the hereditary castle of the counts of Aquino in the Neapolitan province. While he was residing in the womb, a holy man brought a prophecy to the unborn child’s mother, Theodora, countess of Aquino: “Rejoice, O lady, for thou art about…Continue Reading

A Book Review… A Culmination Of James Likoudis’ Pilgrimage

By ROBERT L. FASTIGGI A signed copy of Heralds of a Catholic Russia: Twelve Spiritual Pilgrims From Byzantium to Rome ($19.95) can be obtained by ordering directly from the author: James Likoudis, P.O. Box 852, Montour Falls, NY 14865. I first met James Likoudis during a visit to Rome in 1996 — though I had…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… “In-Vitro Fertilization And ‘Pregnancy Reduction’”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 15 of The Facts of Life, “Artificial Reproductive Technologies,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + IVF Procedure Efficiency: The probability of a single transplanted embryo surviving the entire…Continue Reading

Thinking Inside The Box

By DEACON JAMES H. TONER Praise, prizes, and promotions come to those who think innovatively and creatively; accolades come to those stalwart enough to think outside the box. That prepositional phrase means imaginative and progressive thinking — an attachment to and a love for novelty, as well as a yearning to listen to the tender…Continue Reading

The Shockwaves Of Abortion… Return To The Steps Of The Supreme Court

By KEVIN BURKE (Editor’s Note: LifeSiteNews published the following commentary on January 5. All rights reserved. For links to information about the Washington, D.C., and West Coast March for Life events, please see Kevin Burke’s article at LifeSiteNews.com.) + + + (LifeSiteNews) — As we prepare to come together again this month in Washington, D.C., something continues…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. I noticed people collecting for the Salvation Army at Christmastime. What can you tell me about them? — M.D., Arizona. A. The Salvation Army is known for its charitable works and its role in disaster relief. They spend more than $2 billion a year, and the group in the United States is made up of commissioned officers who proclaim…Continue Reading

Living The Beatitudes

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR A) Readings: Zeph. 2:3, 3:12-13 1 Cor. 1:26-31 Matt. 5:1-12a In the Gospel reading today we hear the beatitudes, all those whom the Lord pronounces blessed for their goodness. Most of us can look at one or two of these and think properly that we may fit into this or…Continue Reading

Reservation Of Hosts

By FR. EDWARD McNAMARA, LC (Editor’s Note: Below is a ZENIT column by Legionary of Christ Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy and dean of theology at the Regina Apostolorum University. ZENIT News Agency published the column. All rights reserved.) + + + Q. I’m a member of a religious community, and a question came up about reservation of the…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Boycott Hollywood

By KEVIN M. CUSICK It was not long ago that Hollywood paid more than lip service to the families who keep it in business. The stars’ mansions, jets, yachts, and private islands that provide great photo ops for gossip tabloids are paid for by the American families who watch Hollywood movies and buy its franchised merchandise — videos and many…Continue Reading

What Is Faith?… The Origin Of Life And Of Living Species

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 20 In these lessons we have been considering the bluff of the evolutionist theory. Those who love to uncover dead bones and present them as proof of their own ape ancestry have been sorely disappointed. They see that the sheer lack of fossil and biological evidence for evolution disproves their theories. Even Darwin admitted…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… Blessed Cyprian Michael Iwene Tansi

By CAROLE BRESLIN Beginning at the mouth of the Niger River in the Gulf of Guinea, you can reach some of the most remote areas of Africa. About 150 miles inland from the delta, the Anambra tributary branches to the northeast and if you travel another 15 miles up the river, you can disembark and travel another five miles to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. André Bessette

By CAROLE BRESLIN High on Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec, stands the largest Catholic church in Canada, the Basilica of St. Joseph’s Oratory. As the pilgrims climb the steps through the lovely grounds and statuary, they can turn and see the city of Montreal spread out below. Once inside they can visit the main statue of St. Joseph, surrounded by…Continue Reading