Friday 24th November 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

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Bannon Discusses Growing Up in ‘a Very Observant Catholic Family’ in the South Where the KKK ‘Tarred and Feathered’ Priests

In a freewheeling new interview with author Keith Koffler, Steve Bannon recounted his upbringing in a “very observant Catholic family” in the 1950s and 1960s and how that molded who he is now. Koffler, author of Bannon: Always the Rebel, asked Mr. Bannon—Breitbart…Continue Reading

Bishop McElroy decries extremism on religious freedom, calls for solidarity in American politics

WASHINGTON (RNS) — In an address at Georgetown University, Bishop Robert McElroy of San Diego criticized both extremes in the fight over religious freedom and called for public consensus based on solidarity to heal our nation in this hyper-partisan age. McElroy…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke makes ‘final plea’ for clarity to Pope Francis on dubia anniversary

ROME, November 14, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – One year to the day after the dubia were made public, Cardinal Raymond Burke today is turning again to Pope Francis and to the whole Church in an urgent and final plea for clarity.…Continue Reading

Giving bishops final word on Mass translations would ‘destroy’ Church unity: Cardinal Muller

November 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The unity of the Church would be “destroyed” if bishops’ conferences, not the Vatican, had the final word over translations of liturgical texts, said Cardinal Gerhard Müller in a recent interview. The former prefect of…Continue Reading

Notre Dame reverses decision to end coverage of birth control in university insurance plans

notredame

In a reversal of school policy, the University of Notre Dame announced this week that it would continue to cover contraceptives for its employees, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune. The news marked a departure from Notre Dame’s announcement…Continue Reading

House Tax Reform Bill “Unacceptable” As Written, Say U.S. Bishops Chairmen

WASHINGTON—In a letter of November 9, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Bishop Oscar Cantú of Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Bishop George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio called for amendments to the current draft of the House…Continue Reading

Truck honoring Dubia Cardinal stopped by police while circling Vatican

ROME, November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Today in Rome, a publicity truck carrying billboard-size images of Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, the dubia Cardinal who passed away three months ago, and Pope John Paul II made its way through the streets of…Continue Reading

Trump admin asks Supreme Court to ‘discipline’ lawyers for rushing teen’s abortion

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) is petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to punish the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for lying to the government about the timeline of an underage illegal immigrant’s abortion.…Continue Reading

Christian nurse sues hospital for requiring her to assist abortions

DURHAM, North Carolina, November 3, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic nurse is suing Duke University Hospital, claiming that the university discriminated against her religious and pro-life beliefs by requiring her to assist in abortions. Sara T. Pedro was told during her employee…Continue Reading

It’s ‘impossible’ to change Catholic teaching against contraception: Cardinal

ROME, October 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Church’s teaching against contraception as expressed in Humanae Vitae is an “extraordinary example” of how the “truth of faith” deepens and develops while “continuing to be identical to itself,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller stated at a…Continue Reading

Thousands sign online petition to remove Madison’s bishop

MADISON (WKOW) — There’s an online petition being circulated to remove the Bishop of the Diocese of Madison. Bishop Robert Morlino is being criticized for his attitude about the LGTBQ community.  Earlier this week, an email was sent to priests in the…Continue Reading

Pontifical Academy of Sciences welcomes leftist California Governor Jerry Brown to keynote

ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) – The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is again throwing open its doors to abortion and population control activists. From November 2–4, the Vatican’s scientific academy will host a conference on the environment that will feature, among others, far-left…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

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Today . . .

We give Thee thanks Almighty God.. .

thanksgiving

U.S. bishop defends pro-LGBT priest speaking at Catholic college as thousands protest

DALLAS, Pennsylvania, November 20, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – A U.S. bishop is defending a local Catholic university’s invitation to a pro-homosexual priest to have him speak at its winter commencement in the face of almost 20,000 Catholics having signed a petition asking that the invitation be cancelled. Scranton Bishop Joseph C. Bambera is defending Jesuit homosexualist Fr. James Martin’s speaking engagement at Misericordia University’s winter commencement on December 17, saying that the priest’s latest book condoning…Continue Reading

Progressives hate everything old, including the elderly

November 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Earlier this year, Maclean’s Magazinepublished an article asking a question that seemed to capture the prevailing mood on the Left: “Should older people lose the right to vote?” Because old people are practically dead, the author explained, there are some today who feel that they vote with only a short-term vision in mind, and thus should be barred from interfering with the Progress that would be brought about should young people be allowed…Continue Reading

Venerable Solanus Casey: the priest who answered the doorbell.

Vatican City, Nov 17, 2017 / 06:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Venerable Solanus Casey, a Capuchin priest from Wisconsin, was humble before all else, said the postulator of his cause for sainthood. The life of Venerable Solanus Casey is the story of his “humility, his simplicity, as well as his acceptance of whatever life gave him,” Franciscan-Capuchin Fr. Carlo Calloni told CNA Nov. 15. Fr. Solanus Casey is an American-born Capuchin priest who died in 1957.…Continue Reading

Swiss Planned Parenthood president invited to speak at Vatican

November 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life co-hosted a conference on the topic of end of life issues that included several speakers who oppose the Catholic Church’s teachings on the right to life, including the president the board of Switzerland’s Planned Parenthood affiliate, and the president of the pro-euthanasia Royal Dutch Medical Association. The conference, entitled the “WMA Europ

Advertisement(2)

Citizen Of The Year?

By DONALD DeMARCO The story surrounding Colin Kaepernick, the National Football League quarterback who defied tradition by refusing to stand during the national anthem, will not go away. In fact, it seems to be gaining steam. The controversial former Forty-Niner QB now graces the December cover of GQ magazine as the “Citizen of the Year.”…Continue Reading

An Underground Priest In China Tells His Story

MADRID (CNA) — Fr. Joseph of Jesus is a Chinese priest, faithful to the Catholic Church. Life is not easy for Catholics in China. Those who adhere to Rome are persecuted by the Chinese government, which only grants freedom of worship to those belonging to the state-controlled Patriotic Church. Fr. Joseph recently shared his story…Continue Reading

SCOTUS Will Hear California Forced Abortion Speech Law

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Supreme Court on November 13 agreed to review the California Reproductive FACT Act, which compels pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to post notices regarding the availability of free and low-cost abortions in their physical clinics, printed material and online. The court agreed to hear National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA)…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Sacred Heart Vs. Secularism

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, From Secularism and the New Age to Christendom Renewed, by Roger Buck (Angelico Press, 2016, 482 pages; $21.95 paperback, $10.12 Kindle). The Cor Jesu Sacratissimum of the title is the Latin for “Sacred Heart of Jesus,” and the premise of Roger Buck’s sizable volume is that the Sacred…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… Questions In The Aftermath Of The Las Vegas Tragedy

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Q. I have two questions: 1) The Jewish Talmud depicts Christ as the bastard offspring of Mary and a Roman soldier. Is there any truth to this? 2) Pope Francis has called upon the nations of the world to open their borders without reservation to refugees fleeing their own lands. Since the Vatican is a sovereign state, shouldn’t the Pope,…Continue Reading

Advent And The Time Of Testing

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER First Sunday Of Advent (YR B) Readings: Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b, 64:2-7 1 Cor. 1:3-9 Mark 13:33-37 As we begin a new Church year, we kick off with a question that burns in the hearts of many people: You are our Father, our Redeemer; why do you let us wander from your ways and harden our hearts…Continue Reading

Fr. Brian Harrison Says… It’s Not “Dissent” To Criticize “Confusing Cascade Of Papal Novelties”

By DIANE MONTAGNA ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Earlier this year, a group of over 60 scholars issued an almost unprecedented “filial correction” to Pope Francis, charging him with permitting the spread of seven heresies. This measure, unseen since the fourteenth century, has generated controversy around the world, while the number of signatories has risen to 250 professors and priests since it…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… The Kingmakers Reject A Papal Favorite

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The approval of one’s peers is a highly prized trophy in the complicated world of adult professional relationships. Many work for years in obscurity with little acknowledgment. The opportunity to be championed and appreciated is a blessing not to be taken askance when other forms of promotion are no longer possible for those already at…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… The Cisterns Of Grace

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 3 In the last article, I finished the text with a prayer for the bishops of Malta, who now allow people living in adultery to receive Holy Communion. May our Lady guide them to repentance, and to correct their wrong teaching, lest they answer before God our Lord for leading people into committing a…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Vicente Liem De La Paz

By CAROLE BRESLIN Vietnam received its first missionaries of the Catholic Church in the 1500s. These missionaries were predominantly Portuguese in the 16th century, with French Jesuits and the Dominicans coming in the 17th century. Throughout the following centuries the priests and missionaries suffered excruciating tortures and martyrdom. When the Communists captured northern Vietnam, Catholics fled to the south and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Margaret Of Scotland

By CAROLE BRESLIN Quite frequently saints have left their home country and died in another country, but most of them died in a foreign land because they left to serve as missionaries to Asia, Africa, or America. The land of Hungary, however, has seen a few saints depart because they were of royal families, including St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who…Continue Reading