DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     September 16, 1998     vol. 9, no. 181


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Wednesday, September 16, 1998

      First Reading: 1 Corinthians 12: 31; 13: 1-13
      Psalms: Psalm 33: 1-5, 12, 22
      Gospel Reading: Luke 7: 31-35

Feast of Saint Cornelius, Pope, and Saint Cyprian, Bishop, - Martyrs

          This feast recognizes two martyrs of the Church in the 3rd Century - Pope Saint Cornelius and Saint Cyprian. The former was the 21st in the line of Peter, being elevated to the papacy in March 251 during the height of the Roman persecutions under the wicked Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus, better known as the terrible terror - Roman Emperor Valerian. Though his rule lasted only two years, he is remembered for defending the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) against the heretic Novatian who bitterly opposed Cornelius, claiming opposite poles in respect to how public sinners and apostates should be reconciled with Holy Mother Church. In 253 Valerian exiled Cornelius to Civitavecchia, which was then the port of Rome, and where he died for his faith in June of the same year.

         St. Cyprian was a rhetorician and lawyer prior to his conversion at the age of 25. In 249 he was appointed bishop by Pope Saint Fabian, Cornelius' predecessor who had been martyred by the Roman Emperor Decius. Decius was murdered by Valerian shortly after killing Fabian. Cyprian had been placed in charge of about 150 other bishops as the Metropolitan of Northern Africa by Cornelius and joined with the Pope in his stance that baptism performed by heretics was invalid. After Cornelius' martyrdom Cyprian continued to uphold this viewpoint through the time of two more pontiffs Pope Saint Lucius I and Saint Stephen I; the latter ruling against the thinking of Cornelius and Cyprian. Because Cyprian was so influential with the Christians from his position as Metropolitan Bishop, Valerian targeted him for execution, first exiling him and then ordering that the saint be beheaded on September 14, 258. Rather than discouraging Christians everywhere by this action, it backfired on Valerian for indeed the blood of the martyrs replenished a flourishing Church. Cornelius and Cyprian are listed together in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

Thursday, September 17, 1998

    Thursday September 17: 24th Thursday in Ordinary Time and
    Feast of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop, Religious and Doctor of the Church

    Green or white vestments

      First Reading: 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
      Psalms: Psalm 118: 1-2, 16-17, 28
      Gospel Reading: Luke 7: 36-50

Feast of Saint Robert Bellarmine, Bishop, Religious and Doctor of the Church

          Born into a noble family in 1542 in the village of Montepulciano, Italy shortly after the Protestant Revolt through Europe, Saint Robert Bellarmine joined the Jesuit seminary at the age of 18, studing at the Roman College in Padua and at Louvain until being ordained in 1570 with his first assignment being professor at Louvain until 1577. Because of poor health, which became his cross througout his life, he transfered to the Pontifical Gregorian University where he taught theology for another eleven years. During this time he not only wrote four volumes of his work Controversies which came under heavy attack from Protestant sympathizers who had infiltrated the Vatican. Because of this assault on his writings they were almost placed on the Index of Forbidden Books but Pope Sixtus V intervened because of his loyalty to Robert and Robert's close association and invaluable assistance to the Vatican. In 1588 Robert was chosen spiritual director for the University which was then called the Roman College. One of his charges who he guided was a young seminarian named Saint Aloysius Gonzaga who died during his deaconate in 1591 shortly before being ordained. Three years later Robert became head of the University and subsequently provincial for the Jesuits' in Naples. In 1599 Pope Clement VIII elevated him to Cardinal, much to his objections for Robert did not feel worthy, but Clement knew he would make a great cardinal and enlisted him to help solve the dispute between the Jesuits and Dominicans regarding predestination. Three years later Clement appointed Cardinal Bellarmine Archbishop of Capua. Three years later Pope Paul V recalled him to Rome where was appointed the official theologian for the Holy See and became a constant companion to the pontiff, being positioned as a member of almost every Congregation of the Holy Office. Ironically it was Robert who called on to silence Galileo in 1616. In 1621 at age 79 Robert retired to St. Andrew's Novitiate, the Jesuit house near the Quirinale where he was visited and blessed by Pope Gregory XV just before Robert breathed his last breath reciting the Creed on September 17, 1621. In 1930 he was canonized by Pope Pius XI and declared a Doctor of the Church a year later. Throughout his life he was a staunch defender of the truths in refuting Protestant heresy and reconverting thousands who had fallen prey to the Protestant Reformation.

September 16, 1998       volume 9, no. 181


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