Friday, August 7, 2020

St. Cajetan, God's Champion Against the Lutheran Heresy

After a brilliant course of study and taking the title of doctor at the university of Padua, St. Cajetan went to Rome: when he was twenty-five years of age. His intention was to lead a hidden life. But his virtues and talents were not slow to raise the veil under which he wished to lie concealed. Pope Julius II. desired to see him. Observing in him the marks of an eminent sanctity, he kept him at his court; and, in order to attach him thereto, appointed him protonotary--an important post. But the Lord had other views over His servant: these views were indicated by the very date of Cajetan's birth. As we have said, it took place in 1480, three years before that of Luther. To the champion of error, the Lord had opposed a defender of truth. 

That such was the mission of St. Cajetan, we find authentic testimony in the decree of his canonization. "His birth demonstrates the sovereign goodness of God, who prepares a remedy for evils, even before they appear. Thus, to check the unbridled fury of Luther, He sent to the Church a powerful auxiliary in the Order of Regular Clerks, founded by St. Cajetan at the very moment when the German monk was laying aside his habit and renouncing the practices of his state." As a matter of fact, it was in the year 1524, the same in which Luther threw off his habit, that St. Cajetan founded his institute. Such a coincidence, and many others besides, made St. Cajetan be regarded, not only by Pope Innocent XII., but by the various princes of Europe and by all the historians of his life, as a providential antagonist to the apostate of Wittemberg. St. Cajetan, says the learned Boverio, a Capuchin, was the scourge of the Lutheran heresy, and the Jesuit Father, Rallestieri, declares him born to make war on Luther.

His French historian, Mgr. Carpy, a counsellor of state, bears the same testimony of him. "Scarcely had Luther raised the standard of rebellion in Germany, when the blessed Cajetan founded his Order in Rome, chiefly with a view to combat the heresiarch by a reformation of the clergy, whose conduct was in Luther's eyes a rock of scandal. "Whence it follows that the other orders of regular clerks, established after his example, were so many auxiliary forces to the grand army raised by St Cajetan, without any other heads than Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Hence, the Tribunal of the Rota delivered this beautiful panegyric in regard to him: Zeal in defence of the Faith made him institute, for the confusion of heretics, the Order of Regular Clerks, which the all-good and all-powerful God has favoured with such happy increase, even to our own days.

This increase was not confined solely to the Order of St. Cajetan: it also and more particularly extended to Orders of the same kind, the offshoots of this fruitful tree. Sixteen years after St. Cajetan, behold St. Ignatius with his Clerks of the Society of Jesus--religio clericorum societatis Jesu, as the Council of Trent says; St. John of God, with his Good Brothers; St. Camillus of Lellis, with his Clerks to attend the Sick; St. Jerome Emiliani, with his Somasco Fathers; St. Joseph Calasanctius, with his Fathers of the Pious Schools; Antony, with the Barnabites; Adorno, with his Minor Clerks! As it is meet to attribute to the founder of an Order the glory of the good done by the different congregations born thereof, or formed on its model and animated by its spirit, we ought to say that all the good done during the last three centuries by the different congregations of Regular Clerks is referable to St. Cajetan, justly called the father of these congregations.

A proof, still more evident if possible, of the Providential mission of this great Saint, is found in his life, which was an appropriate counterpart to Luther's, and in his works, which were the bulwark of the Faith against heresy. We have seen that pride and a spirit of rebellion in regard to the Holy See, a love of riches, and a passion for pleasure were the beginnings of Protestantism. To these diabolical evils, St. Cajetan opposed in his congregation a filial obedience towards the Holy See, chastity, absolute poverty, and the most exemplary regularity.


To combat the heresy of Calvinism, Saint  Cajetan promoted the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for 40 hours.

St. Cajetan, Founder of the Theatine Order
by Father Francis Xavier Weninger, 1876

From Rome, the holy founder went to Venice, where he again nursed those stricken down with pestilence. He was then ordered by the Pope to Naples, to found a new house for his Order. This city had to thank the vigilance of this Saint, under God, for its preservation from heresy; for, several disciples of Luther, who at that time disseminated his poisonous doctrines in Germany, had come to Naples and begun privately, as well as publicly, to maintain, under the name of "Evangelical liberty," the teachings of Luther. They had also brought with them several books which contained the Lutheran doctrines, designing to give them to the people, and thus contaminate the city with the doctrines they contained. When St. Cajetan was informed of this, and had, moreover, seen the Evil One standing in the pulpit beside Bernardin Ochino, one of Luther's disciples, whispering into his ear every word that he preached, he notified the ecclesiastical authorities of these facts, and preached so zealously against the new heresy, that the heretical books were all given up and burnt, and the inhabitants of the city were preserved in the true faith. The Saint rendered the same service to several other cities in Italy. 

from the Liturgical Year, 1901

Cajetan began and carried forward his reform chiefly by means of detachment from riches, the love of which had caused many evils in the Church. The Theatines offered to the world a spectacle unknown since the days of the Apostles; pushing their zeal for renouncement so far as not to allow themselves even to beg, but to rely on the spontaneous charity of the faithful. While Luther was denying the very existence of God's Providence, their heroic trust in It was often rewarded by prodigies.

In Argentina Bergoglio seized the Shrine of St. Cajetan in Liniers stripping the Little Sisters of the Divine Savior

1 comment:

  1. St. Cajetan (Cayetano in Spain) is much loved here. Celebrated his Anniversary Mass yesterday but procession was only allowed around the Church's precincts.


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