Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sanctus Robertus Bellarminus, Confessor et Ecclesiae Doctor (Duplex)


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Sanctus Robértus Bellarmínus, Confessor et Ecclesiæ Doctor (Duplex)

The Thirteenth Day of May.
Saint Robert Bellarmine, Confessor and Doctor of the Church (Double)


Ex Martyrologio
From the Martyrology

Sancti Robérti Bellarmíno, e Societáte Jesu, Cardinális atque olim Epíscopi Capuáni, Confessóris et Ecclésiæ Doctóris, cujus dies natális décimo quinto Kaléndas Octóbris recensétur.

St. Robert Bellarmine, of the Society of Jesus, cardinal and one time bishop of Capua, confessor and doctor of the Church, whose birthday is kept on the 17th of September.


Ex II Nocturno.
From the 2nd Nocturn.

Robertus, Politianus, e patrícia Bellarminórum gente, matrem pientíssimam hábuit Cynthiam Cervini, Marcelli Papæ secúndi sorórem. Eximia pietáte et castíssimis móribus quamprimum enituit, id unum exoptans, ut Deo soli placeret et ánimas Christo lucrifáceret. Patrium Societátis Jesu collegium summa cum ingenii et modéstiæ laude frequentávit ; ac duodeviginti annos natus, Romæ eamdem Societátem ingréssus, religiosárum virtútum ómnibus exemplo fuit. Emenso in Romano Collegio philosophíæ curriculo, missus est primum Floréntiam, tum Montem Regalem ; deinde Patavium ad sacram theologíam addiscéndam, ac póstea Lovanium, ubi concionatoris munere, nondum sacérdos, mirifice functus est. Lovanii præterea, sacerdotio auctus, theologíam ita dócuit, ut plurimos hæreticos ad Ecclésiæ unitátem reduxerit, ac theologus per Europam claríssimus haberétur, eumque Sanctus Cárolus Mediolanénsis epíscopus aliique veheménter sibi expéterent.

Robert, a native of Montepulciano and of the noble family of Bellarmine, had for his mother the most pious Cynthia Cervini, sister of Pope Marcellus II. From the first he was conspicuous for exemplary piety and most chaste manners, earnestly desiring this one thing, to please God alone and to win souls to Christ. He attended the college of the Society of Jesus in his native town where he was highly commended for his intelligence and modesty. At the age of eighteen he entered the same Society at Rome, and was a model of all religious virtues. Having passed through the course of philosophy at the Roman College, he was sent first to Florence, then to Monreale, later to Padua to teach sacred theology, and afterwards to Louvain where, not yet a priest, he ably discharged the office of preacher. After ordination at Louvain, he taught theology with such success that he brought back many heretics to the unity of the Church, and was regarded throughout Europe as a most brilliant theologian ; and St. Charles, Bishop of Milan, and others keenly sought after him.


Romam ex desidério Gregórii Papæ décimi tertii revocatus, theologicam controversiárum disciplínam trádidit in Collegio Romano : ibique vitæ spiritualis magister constitútus, angelicum juvenem Aloísium per sanctitátis sémitas moderátus est. Ipse Collegium Romanum ac deinde Neapolitanam Societátis Jesu Provinciam ad Sancti Ignatii mentem gubernávit. In Urbem íterum accersítus, a Cleménte octavo ad summa Ecclésiæ negotia, máximo cum christianæ rei emolumento, est adhibitus : tum invitus et frustra reluctans, in Cardinalium númerum cooptátus quia, ut palam asseruit ipse Póntifex, tunc non habebat parem Ecclésia Dei quod ad doctrínam. Ab eodem Pontifice consecrátus Epíscopus, Capuanam Archidiœcésim triennium sanctíssime administrávit : quo munere deposito, Romæ ad mortem usque degit, integérrimus ac fidelíssimus Summi Pontificis consiliarius. Multa præcláre scripsit, illud meritum adeptus in primis quod, sanctum Thomam ducem et magistrum secutus, de suórum necessitate témporum próvide cónscius, invicto doctrinæ róbore et amplíssima testimoniórum copia e Sacris Litteris et e Sanctórum Patrum ditíssimo fonte apte deprompta novos erróres debellávit, traditiónis catholicæ et Romani Pontificátus jurium strenuus præprimis adsertor. Complúribus étiam ad pietátem fovéndam libellis exstat insígnis ac præsertim aureo catechismo, quem licet aliis gravíssimis negotiis distentus, tum Capuæ tum Romæ púeros ac rudes docére non prætermittebat. Robertum æquævus Cardinalis a Deo missum judicávit, qui catholicos erudíret, pios cóleret, hæreticos profligaret ; Sanctus Franciscus Salesius doctrinæ fontem hábuit ; Summus Póntifex Benedíctus décimus quartus hæreticórum malleum dixit, ac Benedíctus décimus quintus catholicam religiónem propagántibus et tuéntibus exemplar indicávit.

Recalled to Rome at the wish of Pope Gregory XIII, he taught the science of controversial theology at the Roman College, and there, as spiritual diréctor he guided the angelic youth Aloysius in the paths of holiness. He governed the Roman College and then the Neapolitan province of the Society of Jesus in accordance with the spirit of St. Ignatius. Again summoned to Rome, he was employed by Clement VIII in the most important affairs of the Church, with the greatest advantage to the Christian state ; then against his will and in spite of opposition, he was admitted among the number of the cardinals, because, as the Pontiff publicly declared, he did not have his equal among theologians in the Church of God at the time. He was consecrated bishop by the same Pope, and administered the archdiocese of Capua in a most saintly manner for three years : having resigned this office, he lived in Rome until his death, as a most impartial and trusty counsellor to the Supreme Pontiff. He wrote much, and in an admirable manner. His principal merit lieth in his complete victory in the struggle against the new errors, during which he distinguished himself as a strenuous and outstanding víndicator of Catholic tradition and the rights of the Roman See. He gained this victory by following St. Thomas as his guide and teacher, by a prudent consideration of the needs of his times, by his irrefragable teaching, and by a most abundant wealth of testimony well-chosen from the sacred writings and from the very rich fountain of the Fathers of the Church. He is eminently noted for very numerous short works for fostering piety, and especially for that golden Catechism, which he never failed to explain to the young and ignorant both at Capua and at Rome, although preoccupied with other very important affairs. A contemporary cardinal declared that Robert was sent by God the instruction of Catholics, for the guidance of the good, and for the confusion of heretics ; St. Francis de Sales regarded him as a fountain of learning ; the Supreme Pontiff Benedict XIV called him the hammer of heretics ; and Benedict XV proclaimed him the model of promoters and defenders of the Catholic religion.


Vitæ religiosæ studiosíssimus, eam, inter purpuratos Patres adlectus, in exemplum servávit. Opes ultra necessarias nóluit ; módico famulatu, ténui cultu habituque contentus : suórum non studuit opuléntiæ, ac vix adduci pótuit ut inópiam idéntidem levaret. De se humillime sensit, et mira fuit animi simplicitate. Deíparam diléxit unice : plures horas quotídie oratióni tríbuebat. Parcíssime víctitans, ter in hebdomada jejunábat : in se constanter austérus, caritáte in próximum flagrávit, vocátus sæpenúmero Pater páuperum. E baptismate innocéntiam ne vel levi quidem culpa macularet strenue contendit. Prope octogenarius, ad Sancti Andréæ in Colle Quirinali, extremem in morbum íncidit, quem sólito virtútum fulgóre illustrávit. Moribundo Gregórius Papa décimus quintus et plures Cardinales adstitérunt, tantum Ecclésiæ cólumen éripi complorantes. Die sacrórum Stígmatum sancti Francisci, quorum memóriæ ubíque celebrandæ auctor fuerat, obdormívit in Dómino, anno millésimo sexcentésimo vigésimo primo. Mortuo tota cívitas parentávit, Sanctum uno ore conclámans. Eum vero Pius undecimus, Póntifex maximus, Beatórum primum ac deinde Sanctórum número adscripsit, et paulo post, ex Sacrórum Rituum Congregatiónis consulto, universalis Ecclésiæ Doctórem declarávit. Ejus corpus Romæ in templo Sancti Ignatii, apud sepúlcrum Sancti Aloísii, ut ipse optarat, pia veneratióne cólitur.

He was most zealous in the religious life and he maintained that manner of life after having been chosen as one of the empurpled cardinals. He did not want to any wealth beyond what was necessary ; he was satisfied with a móderate household, and scanty fare and clothing. He did not strive to enrich his relatives, and he could scarcely be induced to relieve their poverty even occasionally. He had the lowest opinion of himself, and was of wonderful simplicity of soul. He had an extraordinary love for the Mother of God ; he spent many hours daily in prayer. He ate very sparingly, and fasted three times a week. Uniformly austere with himself, he burned with charity towards his neighbour, and was often called the father of the poor. He earnestly strove that he might not stain his baptismal innocence to even the slightest fault. Almost eighty years old, he fell into his last illness at St. Andrew's on the Quirinal hill, and in it he shewed his usual radiant virtue. Pope Gregory XV and many cardinals visited him on his deathbed, lamenting the loss of such a great pillar of the Church. He fell asleep in the Lord in the year 1621, on the day of the sacred Stigmata of St. Francis, the memory of which he had been instrumental in having celebrated everywhere. The whole city mourned his death, unanimously proclaiming him a Saint. The Supreme Pontiff Pius XI inscribed his name, first, in the number of the Blessed, and then in that of the Saints, and shortly afterwards, by a decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, he declared him a Doctor of the universal Church. His body is honoured with pious veneration at Rome in the church of St. Ignatius, near the tomb of St. Aloysius, as he himself had desired.


Sancte Robérte Bellarmíne, ora pro nobis.
Saint Robert Bellarmine, pray for us.

O, Sancte Doctor Ecclesiæ, ora pro nobis.
O, Holy Doctor of the Church, pray for us.

O, Fons Doctrinæ, ora pro nobis.
O, Fount of Doctrine, pray for us.

O, Catholicam Religiónem Propagántibus et Tuéntibus Exemplar, ora pro nobis.
O, Model of Promoters and Defenders of the Catholic religion, pray for us.

O, Hæreticórum Malleus, ora pro nobis.
O, Hammer of Heretics, pray for us.
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