Bellarmine, Saint Robert

Bellarmine, Saint Robert bĕlärˈmĭn [key], 1542–1621, Italian theologian, cardinal, Doctor of the Church, and a principal influence in the Counter Reformation. His full name was Roberto Francesco Romolo Bellarmino. He joined the Jesuits (1560) and taught at Louvain (1569–76) and at the Roman College (1576). In 1599 he was made cardinal and from 1601 to 1605 he was archbishop of Capua. His theological works (in Latin) were polemical and widely noticed. His three-volume Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae Fidei (1586–93), the most lucid modern exposition of Catholic doctrine, called forth many Protestant replies. As Jesuits nearly always were, Cardinal Bellarmine was uncompromisingly ultramontane (see ultramontanism). He was an admirer of Galileo and a moderating influence at his trial. His devotional works have been translated frequently into English. Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1930 and declared him a Doctor of the Church the following year. Feast: May 13.

See biography by J. Brodrick (rev. ed. 1966).

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