Bellarmine, 1542-1621. Doctor of Church State Relations, Feast Sept
Diplomats, ambassadors, heads of state, government
officials and top church decision-makers and ministers can learn
much from Robert. He had major responsibilities and used it properly
for the development and growth of the church, states and countries.
The more authority one exercises, the more divine guidance one needs
to serve others in a Christian manner. Plead with St Bellarmine to
gain wisdom and discernment leading others and supporting your
country. You will definitely receive strength and insight to handle
sensitive issues that could affect your church, state and
Patriotism is a virtue. It is not only a virtue that
displays love for country but also supports the authority and
interest of country. Many have died defending our independence,
liberty and freedom. We can defend and honor our country and its
citizens by upholding everything that makes us free. However, in
God's work of salvation, which means freedom from sin, a Christian
patriot is one who stands up for any cause which promotes justice,
equality and human dignity. That is what St Robert Bellarmine
advocated and defended. Saints tell us that there are other battles
going on in life. We are Christian protectors and defenders fighting
for spiritual values as well as in the armed forces defending our
country against oppressors and war. Hopefully, as humankind grows in
spiritual perspectives, our struggles are going to be more socially,
educationally and mentally rather then physically with forces and
arms for war. However, we must be prepared to go to war and fight to
defend freedom and destroyers of humanity and offenders of life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Vitally important in this manner is
the ghastly topic of abortion and the vivid pictures and disfigurement of infants in women's wombs through abortions, clearly witnessed.
ABORTION KILLS MORE THAN 46,000,000 BABIES EVERY YEAR WORLDWIDE? That is a sheer horror to the Christian psyche. No educated person
can impugn that all human life, no matter the stage, is a gift of God, unequivocally and indisputably, and any laws to the contrary can and must be subject to change.
Teachers, and anyone who
assist others in any social or instructional manner, Saint Robert is
a model for you too. He started his career in this manner and he
guided children through the church's catechism of his day. In fact
he is a patron of catechetical studies along with St Cyril of Jerusalem, the Doctor of Catechesis, and St Peter Canisius,
another Jesuit, who is the Doctor of the Catechism. Both doctors are etched in stone on the exterior east side of
the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception Basilica in Washington
DC. The only other Jesuit Doctor of the Church beside Robert is listed below.
St. Peter Canisius 12/21
Those who help the poor can also learn from the kind
hearted Robert and Peter who always had time for the unfortunates
despite their busy schedules. Their first priority was always the
people of God especially the poor, broken and unknown. Their high
office did not prevent them from serving the lower class or poorest of the
Robert was a diminutive Jesuit who was unafraid of
anyone and demonstrated it by unintentionally incurring the wrath
and indignation of the Pope. But he didn't stop there. Countries,
England and France, were furious at him. How could such a small
statured man stand so tall towards the highest authority in the
church and other countries? Our doctor was a spiritual pioneer in
breaking new ground in the areas of powers of the Pope and the
state. No cleric ever attempted this to the degree that Robert did.
He perceived its injustice and acted out his conviction. The Spirit
of the Lord guided him in this vital reform for the church, state
There have been thousands of saints and holy
people who have introduced reforms and exhibited quality leadership
for church, countries and states. St Ladislas, a Hungarian king, is
but one among many kings whose sanctity is exemplary. It takes
courage and wisdom to differentiate the powers of country and church
and many have losed their lives defending their position. St Thomas
More, living out his belief in the church and defending his
conscience, is a classical example. He could have returned to his
wife and children but chose principle over
Absolute power in religion and nation tends to
corrupt absolutely. History and the scriptures are pack with
examples as Herod the "Great", King of Judea, killing the Holy
Innocents immediately following the birth of Jesus to insure that
his power remained intact. St Robert teaches us that the best way to
retain one's power is to detach yourself from it. That requires
Catholics, Protestants, clergy and laity read his
books with eagerness because of his wondrous virtues, common sense
and genius contained in his writings. Robert had a penchant to
systematize the church's doctrine against the attacks of the
reformers. In this particular manner it can be said that the system was the solution. This happened during a most intense rival era in church
history. The study of Church History and the Fathers of the Church
were in a deplorable state of disarray before he assumed office.
Thanks to Robert's clear writings in explaining the catholic faith,
he is called the Prince of Apologists by a document from Vatican I.
His tremendous love and defense of the catholic religion and
extensive writings in making clear church's teaching enabled him to
wield great power and he served on most of the Roman Congregations
at the Vatican.
Desire, ambition and intelligence are three
driving forces that many Jesuits are endowed with in various degrees.
They found their mark abundantly in Bellarmine. God had a plan for
him. He shook-up matters for the church, state and countries.
He was from Tuscany in Italy and he directed his first energy to
become a professor. He was the first Jesuit professor at Louvain in
Frequently, God's plans are not our own and Robert
had to put away his books and studies. His love for learning became
secondary when he was appointed archbishop. He began preaching,
writing and teaching catechism to children, visiting the sick, and
helping the poor. He was known to have ransomed a soldier who had
deserted from the army and used the hangings (curtains) of his room
to clothe poor people, remarking: "The walls won't catch cold."
St Bellarmine was a traditionalist and yet acted and lived
untraditionally when it came to ministering to others and extending
himself far beyond the norm. The love of God penetrated him
profoundly. His heart was with the poor and broken, yet, he was
unafraid to live with the powerful and had an apartment at the
Vatican. However, living there did not prevent him from relaxing any
of his former austerities. This was in addition to his poor health
that plagued him all his life. It was perhaps his heaviest
Our Jesuit scholar knew scriptures thoroughly. He
believed that living out the "Good News" was more than knowing it.
Robert knew that the source of divine revelation was a living
Christ. The content of faith is one matter but the source is what
defines the content. It was vital to our saint to get across the
meaning of being a Christian. His aim was to be a good example and
pass along the love of God. In this manner he would imitate Jesus
and show his virtues. That for him was very important and necessary
to be a Christian. He was humble and never allowed himself to become
too attached to anything passionately. To love God ardently in all
things, and remain detached, is an art which only the "Artisan of
Souls," the Holy Spirit, can lead and direct.
doctor, detachment from others is best made by attachment to the
people and things of God. He always had the service of the church
foremost in mind. The more he stepped down the more God raised him
up with honors and responsibilities. One becomes responsible not by
give up things which the word detachment means but by taking on more
things and becoming more responsible.
The Pope made him a
cardinal and insisted on having him by his side as his personal
theologian. He was head of the Vatican Library, a member of nearly
every congregation and played an important role in the affairs of
the Holy See.
Robert developed the theory of the indirect
power of the pope in temporal affairs. This was a very big first
step that had not happened in the history of the Popes. Popes wield
temporal and spiritual powers. St Bellarmine wanted popes to focus
primarily on the spiritual powers than the temporal
He played a significant role working with the laity.
His catechisms, his writings, his example with children, young
adults, and older Christians all reveal his Christ-like works and
He all but eliminated the divine-rights-of-kings
untenable principle that had been in existence many years.
Disputations on the Controversy is his most famous book which
highlights the power issue. His explanation on this issue was
crystal-clear and became the benchmark in textbooks for centuries.
Robert was always obedient even when he didn't want to be.
He admonished his friend Galileo, whom he admired, because of the
Copernicus theory more perhaps out of obedience than his own
convictions. He defended Galileo's right to publish his writings on
the solar system. Robert placed virtue above everything and placed
great emphases on collegiality in order to keep everyone a little
more in check. He had seen firsthand the abuses and devastating
results with civil and kingly authority. Robert allowed the Holy
Spirit to take over his mind and heart by keeping at bay his own
preferences and serving the poor with charity and
The Saint wrote "that virtues like patience is not
only one of the greatest virtues but is positively the most
necessary for us. True patience has the property of increasing and
preserving all other virtues. On account of the difficulties we meet
with in the practice of virtue, none can flourish without patience,
but when other virtues are accompanied by this one, all difficulties
vanish, for patience renders crooked paths straight and rough paths
Our saint also served in the highest office of his
religious Order, the Jesuits. He is the patron of catechists and
students. He tackled any problem and was unafraid to speak on issues
of justice and the rights of God's children. He brought up topics
that most people wanted to ignore. His sermon booklet to college
students entitled, Hell and Its Torments is a classic. He let it be
known that certain subjects, although often ignored, were pertinent
and important, such as the four last things-death, judgment, heaven
and hell. His fire and brimstone talks were balanced with kindness
The church and tradition do not skimp or
minimize the actuality of Hell. The saints and others have shared
their own horror and visions of Hell that can devastate one's mental
moorings. We have only to read of Sts Teresa and Faustina to vicariously experience hell and it
is dreadful and unimaginable horrors. Sister Menendez and St Anthony Mary Claret described or wrote of hell
from their interior experiences and wisdom for our edification and explanation. Hell fires are also a part of
Purgatory on a non-lasting basis but the excruciation and horror can be the same and as painful.
The great Apostle of Purgatory, St Catherine of Genoa, and St Nicholas of Tolentino, whose info is in the
doctoral sources, will make you realize, to some degree, the reality of the intolerable suffering
and dying in hell is not the torments of body and soul but the lost of God's, permanent or temporary presence.
We do not have the capacity to imagine Hell because it is
too impossible to imagine. If Jesus Christ Himself had not mentioned
it in the gospels, some might want not to accept it, albeit, scripture can not be denied. It is so
lethal, destructive and despairing that we would find it unbearable
to even surmise let alone accept. However, God did not create hell, God permitted it because of his divine justice and the more despicable reality of unpardonable sin when it exceeds God's judgment and his lovableness.
The first woman Doctor of the Church, Saint Teresa of Avila, penned hell perfectly when she described Hell as the
absence of love. That may not sound terribly painful. However, after
one experiences the thrill of loving and who it is that is Love, the
pain becomes indescribable and unbearable not to be engaged in it. Love is stronger
than death, pain, dying, or martyrdom. For lovers not to be engaged in it, is excruciating
suffering and painstaking.
It is to those who love tremendously "in
the spirit" who are able to grasp this tremendous mystery and
actuality of Hell. It is horror galore and impossible to acknowledge
with reason alone. Spiritual writers affirm that no one arrives in
Hell surprised. Each chooses it deliberately and intentionally. The
mercy of God is so infinite but those in Hell hate mercy and want no
part of it. They have exhausted the infinite kindness of God. The
question arises: how can one ever get to this state of rejection of
God's mercy. No one will ever know except the damned. See the website below, look up Church Doctrine, then scan down to "the reality of hell" and "the cry of a soul in hell."
Our Lady of Sorrows
Hell really starts on
earth through the practice of hating, killing and murdering and any of the capital sins. Robert's writings will explain those infernal vices clearly. Saints
have been murderers but they were sorry and were transformed by God's
grace and mercy. For example, Moses and David committed at least one killing.
Certainly Saints Paul and Vladimir killed before their conversion.
To be a murderer one does not have to actually do the killing but
have complicity with it. In other words, a person does not have to
actually commit murder to be guilty of murder in the spiritual
realm. Jesus told us the same with adultery.
Strange as it might sound, once a person kills
someone, a person might actually find pleasure in the action. How is
this possible? They fall from virtue and their mind and heart live
in a lie and they deceive themselves. The Devil is "The Father of
Lies". He is also a murderer from the beginning. The human mind can justify anything even though it is not a
just act. Enough research will tend to support your theory.
Many may wish that hell didn't exit but we have Christ, the
scriptures and evidence of very bad and evil people who do
deplorable actions. Our faith and our conscience, if formed correctly,
convince us of the truth of hell and its everlasting torments.
Robert's writings assures us of this truth. He said: "Charity is that
with which no one is lost, and without which no one is saved". What
we can not understand, we can accept with appreciation and delight
when we have virtue. We must keep our eyes focused on Jesus Christ
and remember that Jesus spoke about hell and our Creed states it
Sister Faustina's vision of Hell and the 7 major tortures are listed on the link below and elsewhere.
Jesus Christ the Redeemer was born for each of us
and came to redeem fallen creatures because he wants our love and wants to know that he is most lovable. The God of sinners has a merciful love for all creatures he died for. For each of us, God is ever ready to forgive and embrace us. However, first we must believe in our Redeemer and accept him and his invitation.
We on our part have been given every opportunity to trust and believe in God and Jesus his beloved Son. Those who reject God's mercy obviously reject God's love because both are one and the same. God doesn't force his love on us and we are free to choose.
He came to make us free and he will not violate our
Most of us are challenged by vices such as pride, envy, anger
and sins most of our lives. Job says that our life is often a
temptation. In the Our Father and other prayers, we always ask God to
deliver us from temptation.
We have seen wars. Some say that
war is a form of Hell. However, wars end. Hell is constantly
beginning. Most of us have experienced death in some form such as
depression, disappointment and oppression. These are all a part of
the horror of Hell except that the real Hell continues. Our life's
trials and test will one day come to an end but Hell is always
beginning and never ends.
Scripture and St Robert informs and confirms us that Satan
or Lucifer, the Prince of Darkness, is the Head of Hell. The Evil
One is deathly afraid of virtue for virtue and vice are directly
opposite and diametrically and intrinsically opposite as light
and darkness or life and death. With God's grace and virtue, which
God always supplies when we earnestly ask, we need not be afraid of Satan for
we are then armed to defeat him. However, if we embrace vice, we
will be invaded, trapped and seduced. Before we know it, we might be
attracted by the power of darkness. The name Lucifer means light but
Satan was blinded by his own power and pride and forever lost the
clear light of love and rules with the darkness of hate, horror and
terror. He became the "Prince of Darkness". He is the terror, the
tempter and the torch of Hell. Christ came to defeat death, sin and Hell
by giving us redemption, life and love when we believe and live
virtuous. He also gave us Saint Robert, the "Prince of Apologists"
to empower us to defend our faith.
The degrees of real
hatred contain vast shades of spite and jealousy. It includes
contemptuous thoughts of pride, envy, assaults of rape, rage and
murderous acts. All disunity, separation, isolation and lack of
concern for others are to be avoided unless we want to become a
slave of Satan. Terrorists are certainly slaves of Satan because
they have no regard for life. This is a classic example of the blind
leading the blind.
Our doctor, Robert, sounded a bell, like a
wake-up call, to awaken many leaving the church in his day. Like today, there are many scandals, and all are subject to temptation especially who stop prayer or do not continue to pray daily. That aspect is so very important.
All religions have good and God permits them to continue, otherwise they would cease to exit. Nothing on earth stays in existence unless it has potential for growth and development.
Much corruption abounded in Bellarmine's day both within and outside the church. However, our saint pulled the alarm to "shape up or ship out". His reforms
and efforts gave the church a new identity and it gained greater
respect. We might ask him for strength when we are afraid. Or, if we
have to say things in the line of duty that might "rock the boat",
Robert is a friend to call upon. He was a little man with a big
heart and the courage of a lion. Courage, fortitude and spiritual
strength can not be gained unless we are honest with ourselves. We
also need to be open, pray daily and obey authority. When necessary,
as our duties oblige us, we can perform public service to the church, state and country
as Robert did.
His surrender to God and God's
representatives, especially the Sovereign of the Vatican City State,
was remarkable. His intrepid stance toward all in humble service
reveals unusual bravery and heroism. St Robert Bellarmine was
greatly influenced by the spirit of fortitude, tenacity and
submissiveness to God's all-powerful will.
Jesuit knew that charity is the hallmark of Christian living. It is
activated through the guidance of the Spirit. When we totally
cooperate, the Spirit has the power to move all God's children. When
one surrenders and abandons one's will to God, the Holy Spirit takes
over one's operation, attention and movement. God actually breathes,
moves and speaks in perfect accord with those who live in union with
God. Moreover, one can be acutely aware and conscious of this close
union and intimacy in a marvelous manner. This is the summit of
God's life, imitation and perfection on earth.
The unity of
the catholic church has been highlighted many times by the church and
saints. It says that God is one and Christ is one. The Church is
one, one is the faith and one is the people cemented together into a
strong unity of a spiritual and physical body. Robert attempted to help nations and church
to be one in justice for a light to the people.
is the consoling and advocating Spirit that is God's personal
promise for each of us. This powerful and intricate Spirit
identifies with those who love. God's almighty Spirit give us total
assurances of the holy One's presence when we fully cooperate with
Robert, a lover of his church, state and country
relations, revealed the true power of God. He also showed the abuse
of this power in the wrong hands. He demonstrated his spiritual
power by living and dying "poor in spirit." He gave all of his money
to the poor and died broke.
The message that the Doctor of
Church, State and Country Relations gave us is in his life. In his
living and dying, Robert stayed attached to God and detached from
things and persons that were not godly. His mentor, St Ignatius of
Loyola, taught him well. In fact, he informs everyone that God
created a world of grace. Only faith sees and understands it. God
will speak to us in a most direct and personal manner if we turn to
God in prayer and sincerity. One way to do this is through The
Spiritual Exercises. It is a powerful and inspirational book, method and path of meditation
One prayer attributed to Ignatius is the Body of
Christ and it is overwhelming. Exam it and let your senses be moved
and your heart cry out:
the physical body of Christ in the picture and the many articles in
St Robert allowed God's Spirit to remind us that
the four last things: death, judgment Heaven and Hell is what
living and dying is all about. Judgment is ultimately the love that
we show or the love that we keep. If we can identify with a loving
Judge our eternity will be one of eternal bliss. If we identify with
a hateful Judge we will be judge according to the hate we have
afflicted on ourself or others. His message is the same year after
year. Robert, the scripture scholar shouts from heaven "I have loved
you with an everlasting love". Imitate him.
issue today, its separations, divisions and its united aspects, will
always be debatable. However, the catholic church's statements by
recent Popes and Vatican II, are crystal clear. There need not be a
wall of separation between church and state. Debate is healthy in
any democracy and it can strengthen the bond between church and
state regardless of the creed. It need not cause problems or harm.
On the contrary it is an opportunity to meet the challenges for
unity, goodwill and strong alliance.
We need tolerance and
goodwill toward all denominations and beliefs. This will reduce or
eliminate any wall of separation and hostility. The Constitution is
clear and its intent is that the writers of the Constitution wanted
no single denomination in the new American republic. They wanted
anyone to have the right to free exercise of religion. That was the
What Robert Bellarmine started was a spiritual
revolution to keep the church and the state from dominating
individuals in spiritual and temporal affairs. All of us should not
try to separate spiritual values from political values for they are
interwoven. We need to respect the rights and the beliefs of all and
the rights of respecting the Constitution and our religious freedom
in a spirit of unity, accord and cooperation for the common good.
Christians and all people have a duty, as Robert had, to
bring religious issues to bear in the public life and in politics
for everyone's good and for their freedom. Robert had to face
immense challenges from the Pope and Presidents and he did in an
honest and sincere manner. That took courage, virtue and solid trust in
None of us will be tested as Robert. But, all of us
need to look at situations according to how the Holy Spirit leads
and guide us in virtue, patience and forbearance for all concerned.
Only a deep prayer life, obedience, hard work and absolute trust in
God will give us victory over many hostile forces.
doctors including, St Robert, had an amazing devotion to the Blessed
Mother. I draw upon The 33 Doctors of the Church by Fr. Christopher
Rengers. O.F.M. Cap., found in the sources to highlight a few
examples. He writes on what Robert said of Mary:
"The Head of
the Catholic Church is Christ, and Mary is the neck which joins the
Head to its Body...God has promised that all the gifts, all the
graces, and all the heavenly blessings which proceed from Christ as
the Head, should pass through Mary to the Body of the
Robert was very strong in his statements on the
place of Mary in distributing graces.
"The Blessed Virgin", St
Robert says, "suffered extremely when she beheld her Son hanging on
that gruesome gibbet on Calvary; but she loved the honor and glory of God
more than the human flesh of her Son...Thus did she blend her own
affections with those of Christ, who also preferred his Father's
glory and our salvation to the temporal safety and security of His
Robert's sermons on the various feasts of the
Blessed Virgin thoroughly cover the field of Mariology according to
Father Christopher. Father goes on to say that in Robert's own life,
the greatest evidence of his love for Mary can be found. Every day
after finishing the Divine Office, he recited the Office of the
Blessed Virgin. Every day he used to recite a rosary after dinner,
and again in the evening after Compline. He usually said the Rosary
while walking back and forth. This was his daily exercise and
recreation. Every Saturday he fasted in honor of the Blessed
Because of the power, prestige and privileges
afforded the Mother of God, God refuses her nothing, even today. She
obtains everything she asks. By praying to God, through our spiritual mother,Mary,
nothing will be denied us to achieve God's holy will, and draw us more closely to her
sisterly, concern, love, and care for us, as another personal human being, when we implore her assistance with
Sharing Robert's feast day are many other saints
including St Hildegard who was an extraordinary and talented woman
with remarkable gifts for the Church and humankind. Go to Butler in
Subject: ECCLESIOLOGY: Communion of Saints: St. Robert Bellarmine on the Mystical Body of Christ
by John A. Hardon, S.J.
Literature, Catholic Magazines and Diocesan Newspapers can be found on the link at the Catholic Information Center on the Internet. Go to the above link and go to the very end.
Another Jesuit experience that is relaxing and meditative:
Jesuits and other women saints that Canada is proud of:
of Jesuits saints:
We know that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ because it alone has the marks of the true Church. By the marks of the Church we mean certain clear signs by which all men can recognize it as the true Church founded by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ willed that the true Church should have these marks, which would distinguish it from all false religions. The chief marks of the Church are four: It is one, holy, catholic or universal, and apostolic. Sacred Scripture teaches that the one true Church of Christ must have these marks. The marks of the Church are themselves an indication that God guides the Church.
15 Marks of the Catholic Church developed
by St. Robert Bellarmine, 1542-1621, Doctor of the Church and
<1>The Church's Name, Catholic, universal, and world
wide, and not confined to any particular nation or people. <2>
Antiquity, in tracing her ancestry directly to Jesus Christ. <3>
Constant Duration, in lasting substantially unchanged for so many
centuries. <4>Extensiveness, in the number of her loyal members.<5>
Episcopal Succession, of her Bishops from the first Apostles at the
Last Supper to the present hierarchy. <6>Doctrinal Agreement, of her
doctrine with the teaching of the ancient Church. <7>Union, of her
members among themselves, and with their visible head, the Roman
Pontiff. <8>Holiness, of doctrine in reflecting the sanctity of GOD.
<9>Efficacy, of doctrine in its power to sanctify believers, and
inspire them to great moral achievement. <10>Holiness of Life, of
the Church's representative writers and defenders. <11>The glory of
Miracles, worked in the Church and under the Church's auspices. <12>
The gift of Prophesy found among the Church's saints and spokesmen.
<13>The Opposition that the Church arouses among those who attack
her on the very grounds that Christ was opposed by His enemies.
The Unhappy End, of those who fight against her. <15>The Temporal
Peace and Earthly Happiness of those who live by the Church's
teaching and defend her interests.
A Catholic page for Protestants and Eastern Orthodox:
Catholic Apologetics Network:
The ABC of Faith:
Theotokos Catholic Books Home Page:
The Seven Words of Jesus on the Cross by St Robert.
Saint Robert Bellarmine: Biography and Online Writings by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio listed on the link below.
Saint Robert Bellarmine
The below web site contains comprehensive resources on our church, faith, the bible, saints, writings, apologetics, evangelization, family issues, links, and many pertinent services. This superior and highly organized web site (see Table of Content) is a most fascinating site with beautiful prayers, devotions, and really too much to enumerate. A truly universal catholic site.