Saint Robert Bellarmine


Saint Robert Bellarmine Famous memorial

Montepulciano, Provincia di Siena, Toscana, Italy
Death 17 Sep 1621 (aged 78)
Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Burial Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy
Memorial ID 11118314 View Source

Roman Catholic Saint. He is described as a modest and very kind man, which reflected in his writings. His mother was a sister of Pope Marcellus II. and an enthusiastic follower of the Society of Jesus. He first visited the Jesuit college in his hometown and went to Rome in 1560, where joined the Jesuits. He also began his studies about philosophy there, to which he later added theology. In 1569 St. Francis Borgia, then general of the order, sent him to Loewen (Louvain) to finish his studies there. One year later he was ordained priest in Ghent. He earned his reputation as preacher there and was soon known all over Europe. In the seven years he stayed in the Netherlands he also taught at the University about Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologica" and learned much about the controversy with the Protestants. In 1576 he was called to the papal University in Rome, the "Gregoriana", where he was the first to teach on "Controversial Theology". He also was appointed spiritual director at the roman Jesuit college to educate the orders new students. The most famous of these was Luigi Gonzaga. During the eleven years he held his post at the University he wrote "Disputations on the Controversies of the Christian Faith" (7 volumes), a work that, today, is considered one of the most important texts of catholic theology ever written. In one of the books he criticized the pope's secular power and rejected the opinion that the pope had unlimited power over the world. As a result his books were banned in 1588 and he was sent away from Rome, but four years later the newly elected Pope Clement VIII called him back. Because of his reputation he was appointed to lead the Tribunal of the Inquisition against Giordano Bruno that was started in February 1593 and lasted for seven years. He read everything Bruno had ever written and discussed it with him. Neither of the two was able to convince the other of his points of views and Bruno was burned at the stake in February 1600. Bellarmin was created Cardinal in March 1599, despite his own resistance to the idea. He gave his benefices from his post as Curia Cardinal to the poor and continued his austere life, following his vow of poverty. He didn't heat his rooms in the winter and fasted three times a week. He was commissioned to write a catechisms of catholic doctrine as an answer to the one Luther had published. His catechisms was translated into 62 languages, reached 400 editions and was in use until the early 1990's. He again fell out of favor with the pope and was sent as Archbishop to Capua, where he devoted himself to his episcopal duties and introduced reforms. In 1605 the pope called him back to Rome. He encouraged his friend Galileo Galilei to publish his heliocentric theory. Soon Galilei's teachings were called heretic by the Inquisition and Bellarmin was appointed to demand him to stop his teaching. He advised him to hold still, be patient and continue his research. The files prove that he banned the theory as heretical, but allowed this ban to be lifted. After Bellarmin's death Galilei published his thesis again, was put before a tribunal and had to renounce the heliocentric theory. In August 1620 he banned the teaching of Raymond Lullus, but the verdict wasn't published because Lullus was already venerated as a Saint in Spain. Pius IX revised the judgement and called Lullus blessed. He died surrounded by several cardinals and the pope in Rome, it's said, that the whole city mourned him. He was laid to rest at the feet of Luigi Gonzaga, like he had stated in his last will. In the 1660's Benedict XIV. tried to revise the verdict against Galilee and start the canonization of his idol Bellarmin, but this and most of his reforms failed because of the scheming of his enemies inside the church. Bellarmin was finally beatified in 1923 and seven years later canonized. He was named Doctor of the Church in September 1931. May 13 was declared his feast day and he became patron saint of catechists.

Bio by: Lutetia


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Lutetia
  • Added: 6 Jun 2005
  • Find a Grave Memorial 11118314
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Saint Robert Bellarmine (4 Oct 1542–17 Sep 1621), Find a Grave Memorial ID 11118314, citing Chiesa di Sant' Ignazio di Loyola a Campo Marzio, Rome, Città Metropolitana di Roma Capitale, Lazio, Italy ; Maintained by Find a Grave .