Category Archives: Patrology
In this area of our web site, readers will find offerings by and about the Fathers of the Church.
Patrology is the study of the lives and writings of the Fathers of the Church. Although the opinion is far from uncontested, most theologians put an end to the patristic period with the death of Saint Anselm (+1109). Some, however, extend it a little further and count Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (+1153), a father. This doctor had his own dissenting view and was fond of calling Saint Augustine (430) the last of the Church Fathers. Others cut the period off with the death of Saint John Damascene in 749, who was an eastern father and doctor. Because we are dealing with the “early Church” it would seem logical, and more consistent with the title “father” not to extend the patristic period into the Age of Scholasticism (mid-eleventh to early fifteenth century). Brother Francis used to call Saint Gregory the Great (+604) the last western father and John Damscene, the last eastern father.
Not all the Fathers of the Church are doctors, or even saints. A Doctor of the Church is a much higher title and it has its own rank in the Roman Missal, along with Martyrs, Confessors, and Virgins. To qualify as a Father of the Church one would have had to have written or given homilies in some abundance as a witness to the Faith of the early Church. The greatest collection of the works of the eastern and western Fathers is that of Father Jacques Paul Migne, whose Patrologia Latina and Graeca, are standard texts in studying Patrology. His Latin Patrology ends with the homilies of Pope Innocent III (+1216) and his Greek Patrology continues up to the time of the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453.
Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, eighty-six years-old, Archbishop of Bologna from 1984 to 2003, has just had published a series of twenty-two meditations that he composed for Lenten exercises in 1989 for Pope John Paul II and members of the Roman Curia. The volume is titled, The Manifold Wisdom of God. The title is taken from Saint Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 3, vs 10: “That … More →
This paper was written in preparation for a talk at the 2006 Saint Benedict Center Conference. My talk — which was not a mere reading of the paper — is available on CD and MP3. The conference’s theme was “Catholic Friends and Family: Christening Society.” The conference was intended to be “A frank series of practical and doctrinal talks touching upon the proper Catholic living … More →
Editor’s Introduction: The “Golden Stream’s” eloquent defense of sacred images is one result of his total view of the Incarnational nature of the True Faith. Here, we present another: his Mariology. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Saint Augustine wrote this document to provide a guide for his community of priests. It is remarkably simple, reasonable and evangelical. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
For those who would say that the early Chruch was silent on the question of abortion, the following selections from the Fathers will give ample witness to the contrary: The Didache circa AD 120 : “Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” – 2:2 “The Way of Death is filled with people who are . . . murderers of children and abortionists of God’s … More →
I. The Coming of the Holy Ghost with the Gift of Tongues foretells the Unity of the Church throughout all peoples. This is a solemn day for us, because of the Coming of the Holy Ghost; the fiftieth day from the Lord’s Resurrection, seven days multiplied by seven. But multiplying seven by seven we have forty-nine. One is then added: that we may be reminded … More →
Peace Be To You, The Mystical Body Jesus stood in the midst of them, and saith to them: Peace be to you I. The Heresy of the Manicheans. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
In Mary we praise that which places her above all others, that is, fruitfulness of offspring together with virginity. For never has it been known in this world that anyone was at the same time mother and virgin. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Given to the People in the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the Holy Day of the Resurrection 1. It has been my custom, beloved brethren, to speak to you on many of the Gospel readings, by means of a sermon I had already dictated for you. But since I have been unable, because of the weakness of my throat, to read to you … More →
Given to the People in the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the day of the Nativity of Our Lord. 1. Because by the Divine Bounty we are on this day thrice to celebrate the sacred mysteries of the Mass, we cannot therefore speak at length on the Gospel lesson. But the Birth of Our Redeemer Himself demands of us that we say something … More →
Our Saviour, dearly Beloved, was born this day. Let us rejoice. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Those who have only read the Fathers of the Church in the brief extracts from their works, which are so often cited, can have no idea of the amplitude and magnificence with which they extol the praises of the Mother of God. I propose, therefore, in this chapter, to give more satisfactory examples of the mode in which they speak of her. Share, Bookmark, Like: … More →
I behold a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
In his first letter to Simplicianus, St. Augustine wrote against the Semi-Pelagians of his day: The grace of faith precedes good works. The grace of faith is less in catechumens, more in the baptized. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
I. The Coming of the Holy Ghost with the Gift of Tongues foretells the Unity of the Church throughout all peoples. This is a solemn day for us, because of the Coming of the Holy Ghost; the fiftieth day from the Lord’s Resurrection, seven days multiplied by seven. But multiplying seven by seven we have forty-nine. Share, Bookmark, Like: Facebook, Twitter, etc.