Friday, September 17, 2010

Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, SJ

Today's saint has connections to England and the aftermath of the English Reformation. First, his book addressing Protestant teaching and doctrine, The Controversies, based on lectures he gave at the Roman College, proved so effective that Queen Elizabeth I banned its publication and distribution in England.

Robert Bellarmine conducted disputations with James I of England and one of the king's favorite Anglican bishops, Lancelot Andrewes. Bellarmine did not support James I's doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings, arguing that the true source of political power was indeed from God, but that the power of the king or magistrate depended on the consent of the people and that, indeed, the people may withdraw their consent and change the form of government. This scholar even argues that Bellarmine's disputations with King James I provided Thomas Jefferson with some of the terminology of the Declaration of Independence.

The late great Fr. Hardon provides this overview of Bellarmine's life and works. He died on September 17, 1621 and was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on the same date in 1931.


  1. I would like to know if the image of Bellarmine is copyrighted and if so to whom we need to ask permission.

    Thank you for your time and any information you can provide.

    Best regards

  2. mpg, I found that portrait in the wikipedia commons; they indicate is is no longer copyrighted