Category: 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.

A Culture of Contempt

Pro-Life Heroes — The valiant, pro-life heroes of Operation Rescue, who keep a lonely vigil in front of the killing centers, where children are slaughtered on an industrial scale, practice a kind of Benedictine spirituality, where some pray and some labor. Although … Continue reading

O Happy Fault!

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. … Continue reading

True Mother of God

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.

The Fathers on Abortion

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 … Continue reading