Thursday, September 21, 2017

Cardinal Bellarmine warns Pope Clement VIII in 1602 that he is no theologian

From the autobiography of 1613:

"Nevertheless [Bellarmine] himself often warned [(admonuit)] the Pope that he should beware of self-delusions [(fraudes)]; and that he should not think himself capable, by personal study (since he was not a theologian), of arriving at an understanding of the most obscure matters; and openly predicted to him that that question was not to be defined by His Holiness; and when [His Holiness] reiterated [that it] would be self-defined [(replicaret se definiturum)], [Bellarmine] responded:  ‘Your Holiness will not define it,’ and he predicted this same thing to Cardinal del Monte, who later reminded [Bellarmine] himself [of this]."

"Ipse tamen N. saepe admonuit Pontificem, ut caveret fraudes, et ut non putaret, se studio proprio, cum theologus non esset, posse ad intelligentiam rei obscurissimae pervenire, et aperte illi praedixit, a Sanctitate sua quaestionem illam non esse definiendam, et cum ille replicaret se definiturum, respondit N.:  Sanctitas vestra non eam definiet, et hoc idem praedixit Cardinali de Monte, qui postea ipsi N. in memoriam revocavit."

From the letter of 1602, as translated into German, with the original Italian (which I do not really read) inserted:

"the way [of self-study that] you have taken [will] turn out to be too long and too hard for Your Holiness."

"la via che ha preso riesce molto lunga e molto laboriosa a V. Beatitudine."

"such a great effort on the part of Your Holiness is not necessary, and you have already seen and read enough."

"tanta fatica della Sta Vra non è necessaria, e già ha visto e letto assai."

"many popes have, without struggling away at studying, happily condemned many errors with the help of councils and universities, and others have by much studying brought themselves and the Church into great suffering."

"molti Pontefici senza faticarsi in studiare hanno felicemente dannati molti errori con ajuto di concilii ed accademie, ed altri con molto studiare hanno messo in gran travaglio se stessi e l chiesa."

"Most Holy Father!  I do not mention these things to prevent you from studying, but to encourage you to consider that the way is too long, and that on this way the Church suffers the greatest harm."

"Bmo. Padre non dico queste cose per divertirla dallo studio ma per metterle in considerazione che questa via è troppo lunga, et in questo mezzo la Chiesa riceve grandissimo danno."

"commend the matter to God and then . . . decide to put this fire out quickly."

"raccommandi il negozio a Dio, e poi si risolva di estinguere presto fuoco."

     For the sources, go here.  Bellarmine was profoundly opposed to Pope Clement VIII's determination to master the intricacies of the de auxiliis controversy because he didn't think him capable of grasping and then deciding correctly on his own a matter that the Jesuit Bellarmine himself had been studying professionally (in opposition to the Dominicans) for thirty years.

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