St. Robert Bellarmine showed path to reform in Church, Pope tells audience
February 23, 2011
At his weekly public audience on February 23, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the contributions of St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), and especially his work defending the integrity of the Church.
A highly influential figure in the Church during the time of the Reformation, St. Robert Bellarmine defended Catholicism against attacks and encouraged genuine reform, the Pope said. “With great clarity and the example of his own life, he clearly teaches that there can be no true reform of the Church unless this is first preceded by personal reform and conversion of heart on our part.”
The great theological works of St. Robert Bellarmine—who was named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI—examined the nature of the institutional Church, the Pope observed. His work illustrated “the relationship between the interior richness of the Church and her visible exterior features.”
While serving as a Vatican official, diplomat, and teacher, the Jesuit scholar did not neglect his own interior life, the Pope said. “His burden of office did not, in fact, prevent him from striving daily after sanctity through faithfulness to the requirements of his condition as religious, priest and bishop.”
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