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Posts Tagged ‘Doctor of the Church’

St. Joseph of Cupertino

Month of Our Lady of Sorrows

Sunday, September 12 – 16th Sunday after Pentecost (Traditional) / 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

The Most Holy Name of Mary (Traditional, New)

Monday, September 13

St. John Chrysostom (407), Bishop, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Orators (New)

Tuesday, September 14 – Exaltation of the Holy Cross (335, 629) (Traditional, New)

St. Maternus (1st c.), Bishop (Historical)

St. Notburga (1313), Virgin, Patroness of Peasants, Servants and the Poor (Historical)

Wednesday, September 15 – The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady (Traditional) / Our Lady of Sorrows (New)

St. Nicomedes (90), Martyr (Traditional)

St. Catherine of Genoa (1510), Widow (Historical)

Thursday, September 16

Sts. Cornelius (253), Patron, Martyr, & Cyprian (258), Bishop, Martyr (Traditional, New)

Sts. Euphemia, Lucy and Geminianus (4th c.), Martyrs (Tradiational)

Friday, September 17

(Obligatory Day of Abstinence from Meat or Substitution of Some Other Sacrifice)

St. Robert Bellarmine (1621), Jesuit, Bishop, Cardinal, Doctor of the Church (New)

The Imprinting of the Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi (1224) (Traditional)

St. Hildegarde (1179), Abbot (Historical)

Saturday, September 18

St. Joseph of Cupertino (1663), Priest, Religious, Patron of Aviators and Those Who Fly (Traditional)

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The Fathers: Vol II

The Fathers: Volume II.  By Pope Benedict XVI.  Our Sunday Visitor, 2010.  170 pages, hardcover.  $14.95

The Fathers: Volume II is a companion to Pope Benedict’s 2008 work, The Fathers, also published by Our Sunday Visitor.  These books cover a series of catechesis on the early Church fathers during his weekly general audiences.  The first volume comprises talks from March 2007 to January 2008 and covers the lives of twenty-six fathers during the third to fifth centuries.  Volume II picks up with talks from March 2008 to October 2009 and the lives of twenty-five fathers through the twelfth century.

Those who have not read Pope Benedict are in for a treat.  While possessing a highly developed intellect, the Pope never-the-less presents these teachings in an easy to understand manner.  Both books consist of a series of brief sketches on important fathers of the Church.

The Pope not only provides us interesting biographical sketches, but also works in an important theological concept with each brief.  For example, while learning about the life of St. Leo the Great, we also learn about his role in the Council of Chalcedon.  From this, we learn how the Council reacted against the heresy of Eutyches, who denied the true human nature of Jesus, to pronounce the orthodoxy of the person of Jesus as fully human and fully divine.

The short nature of these sketches encourages you to read them whenever you have time.  The book may be read cover-to-cover or you can read any chapter which catches your eye.  This makes it an excellent “nightstand book” or a book to carry with you whenever you might have few minutes to spare.

My criticisms of both books are very slight.  First, Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) provides no introduction to these audiences.  Instead, the books jumps right into the sketches.  I believe OSV could have produced an even better product by providing an introduction to help “set the stage” for these sketches and help set them in the fuller context of Pope Benedict’s teachings.  Also, OSV could have made the books even more useful by providing an index.  Finally, I wish OSV would have included some suggestions for further reading on the lives of the fathers covered.  Again, these are relatively minor concerns compared to the overall quality and content of these books.

Catholics who take the time to read even a small portion of the wonderful works our Church provides find great reward.  While offering us the opportunity to learn more about the fathers during the major formative centuries of the Church, these volumes also give us a wonderful introduction to the teachings and thought of Pope Benedict XVI.

This review was written as part of the Catholic books reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Fathers Volume II .

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Pope John Paul II

It is unfortunate so few Catholics read the Church’s own writings.  This is especially true in our age of great confusion and crisis of identity within the Church.  Far too many rely on what they think they know about the Church, which often comes from a childhood Catechism class, dimly remembered.  It is time to turn once again to the wealth of materials the Church presents us in order to truly know our faith and thereby come to love it even more.

Considering Pope Benedict XVI’s recent address on St. Thomas Aquinas and the harmony between faith and reason, it is particularly fitting to consider Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Fides et Ratio.  Released on September 14, 1998, this encyclical on the relationship between faith and reason was directed primarily toward the Bishops, philosophers, scientists and theologians, but is very profitable for any Catholic who desires to better understand his faith.

The fundamental theme of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical is the deep connection between faith and reason.  As the Pope puts it: “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth – in a word, to know himself – so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”

Throughout human history, we find all cultures share a fundamental desire to seek answers to ultimate questions about existence and purpose.  We also find the more people know reality and the world, the more they know themselves in their uniqueness with the question of the meaning of things and their very existence becoming ever more pressing.  In other words, we are “programmed” to seek the truth.  This innate desire to discover the truth of things is one of the greatest aspects which define us as human beings. (1)

In Pope John Paul II’s first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis, he told us: “We have become sharers in this mission of the prophet Christ, and in virtue of that mission we together with him are serving divine truth in the Church.  Being responsible for the truth also means loving it and seeking the most exact understanding of it, in order to bring it closer to ourselves and others in all its saving power, its splendor and its profundity joined with simplicity.”

Philosophy, as the love of wisdom, shares with theology the search for answers to the ultimate questions of human existence and purpose.  From the early Church fathers to the present day, the Church has held philosophy in high regard as a means of increasing our knowledge of God and aiding in our understanding of divine Revelation.  Indeed, the Pope tells us, “She [the Church] sees in philosophy the way to come to know fundamental truths of human life.  At the same time, the Church considers philosophy an indispensable help for a deeper understanding of faith and for communicating the truth of the Gospel to those who don’t yet know it” (5).

The reason the Church so strongly supports philosophy is because philosophy (rightly done) and theology are mutually supportive endeavors.  Since both arrive at the truth, they cannot contradict one another.  As the First Vatican Council tells us, the truth obtained by philosophy and the truth of revelation are neither identical nor mutually exclusive. (9)

The problem arises, the Pope tells us, due to the state of modern philosophy:  “Abandoning the investigation of being, modern philosophical research has concentrated instead upon human knowing” (5).  Modern philosophy no longer ponders people’s ability for knowing the truth and instead emphasizes ways this ability is limited and conditioned.  Modern philosophy makes the fundamental error of assuming all positions are equally valid, a position which leads to agnosticism and relativism.

As various schools of modern philosophy have rejected the meaningfulness of being, this has led to society to a general, and dangerous, attitude of nihilism (90).  Nihilism is both a denial of all foundations and a negation of all objective truth.  Not only does Nihilism conflict with the demands and content of God’s word, it also denies humanity and the very identity of what it means to be human.

The Pope warns us, “Is should never be forgotten that the neglect of being inevitably leads to losing touch with objective truth and therefore with the very ground of human dignity.  This in turn makes it possible to erases from countenance of man and woman the marks of their likeness to God, and thus to lead them little by little either to a destructive will to power or to a solitude without hope.  Once the truth is denied to human beings, it is pure illusion to try to set them free.  Truth and freedom either go together hand in hand or together they perish in misery.” (90)

We see signs of this illusionary freedom all around us, from abortion as a “right” to science gone mad, and even, quite fearfully, in modern democracy.  The “scientism” school of philosophical thought claims only knowledge derived from the positive sciences is acceptable and says all thought from religion, theology, ethics and aesthetics is mere fantasy (88).  This leads to the belief we see today that if something is technically possible, it’s morally acceptable.  Yet if technology is not ordered towards a higher good, but only utilitarian ends, it can quickly become inhuman and even a potential destroyer of the human race (81).  Similar pragmatic thinking infects modern democracy, which rejects any sort of reference to unchanging values, but instead believes any course of action is acceptable if determined so by majority vote (89).

In Redemptor Hominis, Pope John Paul II says that “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:32) is at once a fundamental requirement and a warning.  On one hand, the words define an honest relationship with truth as a condition for authentic freedom.  However, they are also a warning “to avoid every kind of illusory freedom, every superficial unilateral freedom, every freedom that fails to enter into the whole truth about man and the world.”

The solution, the Pope says, is for philosophy and theology to rediscover one another (101).  While the Church does not endorse any particular school of philosophy, the Magisterium does have the right and duty “to respond clearly and strongly when controversial philosophical opinions threaten right understanding of what has been revealed, and when false and partial theories which sow the seed of serious error, confusing the pure and simple faith of the People of God, begin to spread more widely” (49).  Therefore it becomes the Magisterium’s duty to discern and promote philosophy not at odds with the faith (63).

While reemphasizing that the study of philosophy is “fundamental and indispensable” to the study of theology (62) and that it must be carried out in light of valid philosophical tradition (106), the Pope lists three requirements of philosophy (81-83).  First, philosophy must recover as its primary purpose the search for “ultimate and overarching meaning of life.”  Second, philosophy must verify the human capacity to know the truth and the ability to arrive at objective truth by reasonable use of the intellect in the tradition of the Scholastic doctors.  Third, philosophy must regain its genuine metaphysical range “capable … of transcending empirical date in order something absolute, ultimate and foundational in its search for the truth” (83).

This reunion of philosophy and theology is vital, for as the Pope puts is: “Philosophical inquiry can help greatly to clarify the relationship between truth and life, between event and doctrinal truth, and above all between transcendent truth and humanly comprehensible language.  This involves a reciprocity between the theological disciplines and the insights drawn from the various strands of philosophy; and such a reciprocity can prove genuinely fruitful for the communication and deeper understanding of the faith.” (99)

Different philosophical systems have deceived man into believing he is his own master.  However, it is entering into true Wisdom that we find authentic freedom and full knowledge of God (107).  Consequently, we see much harmony between the vocation of the Blessed Virgin and the vocation of philosophy (108).

The early holy monks called Mary “the table at which faith sits in thought.”  Likewise, the Pope turns our final thoughts toward Mary: “May Mary, Seat of Wisdom, be a sure haven for all who devote their lives to the search for wisdom.  May their journey into wisdom, sure and final goal of all true knowledge, be freed of every hindrance by the intercession of the one who, in giving birth to the Truth and treasuring it in her heart, has shared it forever with all the world.” (108)

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St. Thomas Aquinas

VATICAN CITY, 2 JUN 2010 (VIS) – In today’s general audience held in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI continued with his catechesis dedicated to the great saints of the Middle Ages, speaking on St. Thomas Aquinas, called the “Angelic Doctor” for the elevated nature of his thought and the purity of his life”.

The Pope explained that Thomas was born around 1225 to a noble family in Roccasecca, Italy near the Abbey of Montecasino. He was sent to the University of Naples at a young age where he first became interested in Aristotelian thought and felt a call to the religious life.

In 1245 he went to Paris to study theology under the guidance of St. Albert the Great who held this student in such esteem that he was asked to accompany him to Cologne, Germany to open a centre for theological studies.

“Thomas Aquinas, at St. Albert the Great’s school, carried out a task of fundamental importance in the history of philosophy and theology as well as for history and culture”, the Pope said. “He studied Aristotle and his interpreters in depth” and “commented on a great part of Aristotle’s works, discerning what was valid in it from what was doubtful or refutable, demonstrating its consonance with the facts of Christian revelation, using Aristotelian thought with great breadth and intelligence in presenting the theological writings he composed. In short, Thomas Aquinas demonstrated that a natural harmony exists between reason and the Christian faith”.

“His great intellectual endowment brought him again to Paris to teach theology. That is where he began his monumental literary output: commentaries on the Sacred Scriptures and the works of Aristotle along with his masterpiece, the Summa Theologiae”.

“There were a few secretaries who assisted in drafting his works, among whom was Reginald of Piperno […] who was bound to him by a fraternal and sincere friendship characterized by great trust and reliance. This is a characteristic of the saints”, the pontiff observed. “They cultivate friendship because it is one of the most noble manifestations of the human heart and holds something of the divine within it”.

In 1259 Thomas Aquinas participated in the General Chapter of the Dominicans in Valenciennes, France to establish the order’s constitutions. On his return to Italy, Pope Urban IV charged him with composing the liturgical texts for the feast of Corpus Christi.

“St. Thomas has a profoundly Eucharistic soul”, the Pope affirmed. “The beautiful hymns that the liturgy of the Church sings to celebrate the mystery of the real presence of the Body and Blood of the Lord in the Eucharist are due to his faith and theological wisdom”.

In Paris, where he returned in 1269, a great number of students followed his courses, but the “Angelic Doctor” also dedicated himself to preaching to the people, who listened with attention. “It is a great gift that theologians know how to speak with simplicity and fervour to the faithful. The ministry of preaching, on the other hand, also helps those who are experts in theology to develop a healthy pastoral realism and enriches their research with stimulation”, the pontiff remarked.

In the final months of his life, St. Thomas — who died in 1274 at the Abbey of Fossanove, Italy when he was heading to Leon to participate in an ecumenical council — confessed to his friend Reginald of Piperno that, after a divine revelation, he considered his work as “so much straw”, writing nothing further afterwards.

“It is a mysterious episode that helps us understand not only Thomas’ personal humility but also the fact that all that we are able to think and say about the faith, as elevated and pure as it may be, is infinitely surpassed by the greatness and beauty of God who will reveal himself to us in the fullness of paradise,” Benedict XVI concluded.

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St. Philip Neri

Sunday, May 23 – Pentecost (Whitsunday) (Traditional, New)

St. John Baptist de Rossi (1764), Priest, Patron of the Abandoned (Historical)

St. Julia of Corsica (440), Virgin, Martyr, Patroness of Corsica (Historical)

Monday, May 24 – Monday after Pentecost (Traditional)

Our Lady, Help of Christians (Historical)

Saints Donatian and Rogatian (287), Martyrs (Historical)

Saint Joanna (1st Century) (Historical)

Tuesday, May 25 – Tuesday after Pentecost (Traditional)

St. Bede the Venerable (735), Priest, Doctor of the Church (New)

St. Gregory VII (1085), Pope (New, Traditional)

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (1607), Virgin (New)

St. Urban I (230), Pope, Martyr (Traditional)

St. Madeleine Sophie Barat (1865), Virgin, Foundress (Traditional/some places)

Wednesday, May 26 – Ember Wednesday after Pentecost (Traditional)

(Fasting and Partial Abstinence Formerly Required on this Day)

St. Philip Neri (1595), Priest, Founder, Patron and Apostle of Rome (Traditional, New)

St. Eleutherius (188), Priest, Martyr (Traditional)

Thursday, May 27 – Thursday after Pentecost (Traditional)

St. Augustine of Canterbury (604), Bishop, Apostle of England (New)

St. Bede the Venerable (735), Priest, Doctor of the Church (Traditional)

St. John I (526), Priest, Martyr (Traditional)

Friday, May 28 – Ember Friday after Pentecost (Traditional)

(Obligatory Day of Abstinence from Meat or Substitution of Some Other Sacrifice)

St. Augustine of Canterbury (604), Bishop, Apostle of England (Traditional)

St. Bernard of Montjoux (1081), Priest, Religious, Patron of Mountain Climbers (Historical)

St. Germanus (576), Abbot, Bishop (Historical)

Saturday, May 29 – Ember Saturday after Pentecost (Traditional)

(Fasting and Partial Abstinence Formerly Required on this Day)

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi (1607), Virgin (Traditional)

St. Maximius of Tiber (4th Century), Bishop (Historical)

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St. Valentine

Sunday, February 14 – Quinquagesima Sunday (Traditional)/6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

Sts. Cyril (869), Monk & Methodius (885), Bishop, Apostles of the Slaves (New)

St. Valentine (269), Priest, Martyr, Patron of Greetings & Lovers (Traditional)

Monday, February 15

St. Claude de la Colombiere (1682), Priest, Spiritual Director of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (New/some places)

Sts. Faustinus & Jovita (121), Brothers, Martyrs (Traditional)

Tuesday, February 16 – Shrove Tuesday (Historical)/Holy Face of Jesus (Shrove Tuesday; Historical/some places)

St. Onesimus (95), Bishop, Martyr (Historical)

St. Juliana (305), Virgin, Martyr (Historical)

Wednesday, February 17 – Ash Wednesday – Day of Fast and Abstinence (Traditional, New)

Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites (1233) (New)

Thursday, February 18

St. Simeon (107), Bishop, Martyr, Patriarch of Jerusalem, First Cousin of Jesus (Traditional)

St. Bernadette Soubirous (1879), Virgin, Religious, Saint of Lourdes (Traditional/some places; New/some places)

Friday, February 19

St. Conrad of Piacenza (1351), Hermit, Invoked for Cure of Hernias (Historical)

St. Gabinus (296), Priest, Martyr, Brother of Pope St. Caius, Father of St. Susanna; Ordained in Old Age (Historical)

Saturday, February 20

Bls. Francisco Marto (1919) & Jacinta Marto (1920), Seers of Fatima (New/some places)

St. Eucherius (743), Bishop (Historical)

St. Amata (Amy) (1250), Religious, Niece of St. Clare of Assisi (Historical)

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Our Lady of Lourdes

Sunday, February 7 – Sexagesima Sunday (Traditional)/5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Romuald (1027), Abbot, Founder of the Camaldolese Order (Traditional)

St. Richard of Lucca (722), King, Father of Sts. Walburga, Willibald and Winnebald (Historical)

Monday, February 8

St. Jerome Emiliani (1537), Priest, Founder, Patron of Orphans & Abandoned Children (New)

St. Josephine Bakhita (1947), Virgin, Religious (New)

St. John of Matha (1213), Priest, Founder of the Trinitarians (Traditional)

Tuesday, February 9

St. Cyril of Alexandria (444), Bishop, Doctor of the Church (Traditional)

St. Apollonia (249), Virgin, Martyr, Patroness of Dentists (Traditional)

St. Nicephorus (260), Martyr (Historical)

Wednesday, February 10

St. Scholastica (543), Virgin, Religious, Founder, Twin of St. Benedict, Patron of Convulsive Children (Traditional, New)

Thursday, February 11

Our Lady of Lourdes (1858) (Traditional, New)

St. Saturninus, (304), Priest and Companion, Martyr (Historical)

Friday, February 12

Seven Holy Founders of the Order of Servites (1233) (Traditional)

St. Eulalia (304), Virgin, Martyr (Historical)

Saturday, February 13

St. Catherine de Ricci (1589), Virgin, Florentine Dominican & Visionary (Historical)

St. Polyeucte (259), Roman Officer (Historical)

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St. John Bosco

Sunday, January 31 – Septuagesima Sunday (Traditional)/4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. John Bosco, (1888), Priest, Founder of the Salesian Order, Patron of Editors, Apprentices & Young Boys (New, Traditional)

February – Month of the Passion of Our Lord

Monday, February 1

St. Ignatius of Antioch (107), Bishop, Martyr (Traditional)

St. Brigid (Bride) of Ireland (525), Virgin, Abbess, Foundress, Patroness of Ireland (Historical)

Tuesday, February 2 – Presentation of Our Lord (Traditional, New)

Also known as the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and as Candlemas Day (Traditional)

Wednesday, February 3 – Blessing of the Throats (Traditional, New)

St. Blaise (316), Bishop, Martyr, Patron of Those with Throat Disease (Traditional, New)

St. Ansgar (865), Bishop, Patron of Scandinavia (New)

Thursday, February 4

St. Andrew Corsini (1373), Bishop (Traditional)

Friday, February 5 – First Friday

St. Agatha (250), Virgin, Martyr, Patron of Nurses (Traditional, New)

Saturday, February 6 – First Saturday

St. Paul Miki, (1597), Priest and Companion, Japanese Martyrs, crucified (New)

St. Dorothy (303), Virgin, Martyr, Patron of Florists (Traditional)

St. Titus (96), Bishop (Traditional)

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St Francis de Sales

Sunday, January 24 – 3rd Sunday after Epiphany (Traditional)/3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Francis de Sales (1622), Bishop, Founder, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Writers (New)

St. Timothy (97), Bishop, Martyr, Patron Against Stomach Disorders (Traditional)

Monday, January 25

Conversion of St. Paul (36), Apostle, (Traditional, New)

Tuesday, January 26

Sts. Timothy (97), Martyr, Patron Against Stomach Disorders & Titus (96), Bishops (New)

St. Polycarp (166), Bishop, Martyr, Invoked Against Earaches (Traditional)

St. Paula (404), Widow, Assistant of St Jerome (Historical)

Wednesday, January 27

St. Angela Merici (1540), Virgin, Foundress of the Ursulines (New/Traditional – some places)

St. John Chrysostom (407), Bishop, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Orators (Traditional)

Thursday, January 28

St. Thomas Aquinas (1247), Priest, Religious, Doctor of the Church, The Angelic Doctor, Parton of Catholic Schools, Scholars, Theologians and Booksellers (New)

St. Peter Nolasco (1256), Priest, Religious, Founder of the Order of Our Lady of Ransom (Traditional)

Second Feast of St. Agnes (304), Virgin, Martyr (Traditional)

Friday, January 29

St. Francis de Sales (1622), Bishop, Doctor of the Church, Patron of Writers (Traditional)

St. Gildas the Wise (570), Abbot (Historical)

Saturday, January 30

St. Martina (228), Virgin, Martyr (Traditional)

St. Bathildis (680), Widow (Historical)

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St Vincent of Saragossa

Sunday, January 17 – 2nd Sunday after Epiphany (Trad)/2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (New)

St. Anthony the Abbot (356), Founder of Monasticism, Patron of Gravediggers (New, Traditional)

Monday, January 18

St. Prisca (270), Virgin, Martyr (Traditional)

Feast of the Chair of St. Peter at Rome (Historical)

St. Volusian (496), Bishop (Historical)

Tuesday, January 19

Sts. Marius, Martha, Audifax & Abachum (270), parents and two sons, Martyrs (Traditional)

St. Canute (1086), King of Denmark, Martyr (Traditional)

St. Wulstan (1095), Bishop (Historical)

Wednesday, January 20

St. Fabian (250), Priest, Martyr (New, Traditional)

St. Sebastian (288), Martyr, Patron of Soldiers, Archers & Athletes (New, Traditional)

Thursday, January 21

St. Agnes (304), Virgin, Martyr, Patroness of the Children of Mary (New, Traditional)

Friday, January 22 – Day of Penance for the Sin of Abortion

St. Vincent of Saragossa (304), Deacon, Martyr, Patron of Sailors & Winegrowers (New, Traditional)

St. Anastasius (628), Religious, Martyr (Traditional)

Saturday, January 23

St. Raymond of Penafort (1275), Priest, Religious, Patron of Canon Lawyers (Traditional)

St. Emerentiana (304), Virgin, Martyr, Foster-sister of St. Agnes (Traditional)

Espousals of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1 BC) (Historical)

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