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Biased Interpretation of St. Robert Bellarmine

Mark Stabinski

I have a fervent devotion to all of Holy Mother Church's Doctors and strive to revive their timeless teachings in modernist times.

Incredibly, in the last several weeks, Pope Benedict XVI has found public occasion to modernize, contemporize and conciliarize no fewer than five of the Bride of Christ's holiest and most traditional of Doctors: St. Robert Bellarmine; St. Francis de Sales, St. John of the Cross, St. Augustine and St. Lawrence of Brindisi.

Benedict's penchant for engaging in historical revisionism seems boundless. Unfortunately, his efforts generally succeed owing to Conciliar Catholics' spiritual blindness and to their overwhelming ignorance of their Faith and the authentic and glorious history of our Holy Church. Here I chose to defend only one of these five Doctors, St. Robert Bellarmine, due to the number and weightiness of the papal inaccuracies spun around him.

St. Robert Bellarmine

St. Robert Bellarmine, defender of the Faith against Protestantism
In a general audience February 23, 2011 in Paul VI Hall, Benedict XVI downplayed the polemical nature of St. Robert’s Bellarmine preaching. (Zenit, “On St. Robert Bellarmine," Feb. 23, 2011).

Trying to give a new look to the Saint’s famous work Controversiae, which firmly responded to Protestant errors, the Pope called its style “historical,” “an attempt to confirm the Church’s identity in face of the Protestant Reformation,” rather than a theological refutation of error. This work, he said, “attempts to synthesize the various theological controversies of the time, avoiding every controversial and aggressive style in confronting the ideas of the Reformation.”

Quite the contrary, St. Robert Bellarmine was a heroic and brilliant Defender of the Faith and enemy of all heresies and all those heretics responsible for spreading the dissent that swept through Europe in the wake of Protestantism's great revolt against God.

It was not only the “ideas” of the Reformation but its errors that he categorically refuted. In fact, he affirmed the opposite of what now Benedict XVI attributes to him. Indeed, judging the heretics St. Robert stated in his work on Christian Doctrine, "Amongst Catholics, there are good and bad, but among heretics not one can be good," the Saint affirmed in another (Cf. Doctrina Christiana, Paris: 1870).

A militant defender of the Faith

I labored to have St. Robert speak in his own defense and to indisputably prove that at no time in his long and illustrious ecclesiastical life was he ever a 'synthesizer of theological controversies,’ as presented by Pope Ratzinger. What follows are but a few texts of this Great Saint and Doctor of the Church in which he defends the Faith and attacks the heretics. They present a quite different picture of the Saint than the non-controversial and non-aggressive preacher described by the present Pontiff in his audience.

Benedict XVI at the Lutheran temple in Rome

Benedict preaching at the Protestant temple in Rome

He is clear when he condemns heretics and schismatics and declares they should not be called Christian:

• "Heretics and schismatics place an obstacle to God's grace by their sins of infidelity and schism in which they actually persevere." (On the Sacrament of Baptism, Book I Chapter 6).

• "A manifest heretic is not a Christian, as is clearly taught by St. Cyprian, St. Athanasius, St. Augustine, St. Jerome and others." (On the Church Militant)

• "For men are not bound, or able to read hearts; but when they see that someone is a heretic by his external works, they judge him to be a heretic pure and simple, and condemn him as a heretic." (De Romano Pontifice, II, 30)

In conflict with Benedict’s promotion of ecumenism and respect for the false religions, St. Robert Bellarmine boldly proclaims that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church:

• "The knowledge of the dogmas of the Faith of Christ is necessary for everyone who earnestly desires the salvation of his soul." (Christian Doctrine, Introduction)

• "Our [present day] heretics, more audacious than Pelagians, deny that Baptism is necessary, not only for the remission of sin, but also for the attainment of Heaven. However, those who imagine that there is another remedy besides Baptism openly contradict the Gospels, the Councils, the Fathers, and the consensus of the Universal Church." (On Baptism, Book I, Chapter 4)

Contradicting once again the teaching of Benedict XVI, St. Robert Bellarmine echoes the constant teaching of the Church, affirming that all those who do not accept Christ and His Gospel will be condemned to Hell for all eternity:

• "If the Son of God will have all men to be saved, how is it that so many suffer the torments of Hell? I answer in one word: they wish it. He sends preachers of His Gospel to all parts of the world to proclaim: "He who believes, and is baptized, shall be saved. "And if any are unwilling to enter on this way, they perish by their own fault and not by the lack of will on the part of the Redeemer. For an hour the perfidious Jews exulted over Christ in His sufferings; for an hour Judas enjoyed the price of his avarice; for an hour Pilate gloried that he had regained the friendship of Herod and not lost the friendship of Caesar. But for nearly two thousand years they have all been suffering the torments of Hell, and their cries of despair will be heard for ever and ever." (The Seven Words Spoken by Christ on the Cross, Westminster, MD: Carroll Press, Thomas Baker, 1933)

These are just some texts I can present of the Great Doctor of the Church to show that he can never be presented as an ecumenical saint, as Benedict XVI tried to do..

One could perhaps say that the papal “historical reinterpretation” of St. Robert Bellarmine is not so different from a falsification.

Posted April 6, 2011

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