Disputationes de Controversiis

Last updated
Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae Fidei adversus hujus temporis Haereticos
Bellarmine's Disputationes, volume 1, 1586.jpg
Title page of the first volume, 1586
AuthorRobert Bellarmine
CountryIngolstadt, Duchy of Bavaria, Holy Roman Empire
LanguageLatin

Disputationes (full title: Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae Fidei adversus hujus temporis Haereticos), also referred to as De Controversiis or the Controversiae, is a work on dogmatics in three volumes by Robert Bellarmine.

Contents

The Disputationes has been described as "the definitive defence of papal power". [1] After its publication, Bellarmine's Disputationes was regarded as the Catholic Church's foremost defence of its doctrine, and especially the papal power. [2]

It was written while Bellarmine was lecturing at the Roman College, and was first published at Ingolstadt in three volumes (1586, 1588, 1593 [3] [4] ). [1] This work was the earliest attempt to systematize the various controversies of the time, and made an immense impression throughout Europe, the strength of its arguments against Protestantism so acutely felt in Germany and England that special chairs were founded in order to provide replies to it. [5] Thomas Hobbes, [1] Theodore Beza and John Rainolds [6] were among those who wrote counter-arguments against the work.

"The complete edition, reviewed and corrected by the author, which became the standard for all further editions, appeared in Venice in 1596." [7]

Content

The final edition of 1596 of the Controversiae contains a total of 17 controversies: [7]

  1. The Word of God
  2. Christ
  3. The Pope
  4. Councils
  5. The Members of the Church
  6. The Church Suffering
  7. The Church Triumphant
  8. The Sacraments in General
  9. Baptism and Confirmation
  10. The Sacrament of Eucharist
  11. Penance
  12. Extreme Unction, Orders,and Matrimony
  13. The Grace of the First Man
  14. The Loss of Grace
  15. Grace and Free Choice
  16. Justification
  17. Good Works

Content of the original three volumes

Volume I

The first volume treats of the Holy Scriptures, of Christ, and of the pope.

The third section discusses the Antichrist. Bellarmine gives in full the theory set forth by the Church Fathers, of a personal Antichrist to come just before the end of the world and to be accepted by the Jews and enthroned in the temple at Jerusalem—thus endeavoring to dispose of the Protestant exposition which saw in the pope the Antichrist.

The most important part of the work is contained in the five books regarding the pope. In these, after a speculative introduction on forms of government in general, holding monarchy to be relatively the best, Bellarmine says that a monarchical government and the related temporal power are necessary for the Church, to preserve unity and order in it.

Such power Bellarmine considers to have been established by the commission of Christ to Saint Peter. He then proceeds to demonstrate that this power has been transmitted to the successors of Peter, admitting that a heretical pope may be freely judged and deposed by the Church since by the very fact of his heresy he would cease to be pope, or even a member of the Church. The fourth section sets forth the pope as the supreme judge in matters of faith and morals, though making the concessions that the pope may err in questions of fact which may be known by ordinary human knowledge, and also when he speaks as a mere unofficial theologian. Bellarmine took in particular the example of Pope Honorius I, who had been anathemized by the Third Council of Constantinople as holding to monothelitism. He claimed that although monothelitism had been rightly condemned, Honorius was however orthodox as he had not really held these views, and that papal authority did not extend itself to the factual interpretation of what was to be found in Honorius or not." [8]

Volume II

This volume treats of the sacraments: sacraments in general, baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, Holy Mass, Penitence, Extreme unction, Order, Marriage.

Volume III

This volume is about divine grace, free will, justification, and good works.

Almost in the Index

As much as Protestants disliked Bellarmine's theories, he was in fact moderate in his defence of papal power.

In 1590, Pope Sixtus V had, of his own initiative, placed the first volume on a new edition of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum for denying that the pope had direct temporal authority over the whole world. The entry concerning Bellarmine reads: "Roberti Bellarmini Disputationes de Controversiis Christianae fidei adversus huius temporis haereticos. Nisi prius ex superioribus regulis recognitae fuerint." However, Sixtus V died before he could promulgate the bull which would have made this new edition of the Index enter into force. The successor of Sixtus V, Urban VII, asked for an examination and after it was done Bellarmine was exonerated and the book removed from the Index. [9] [10] Bellarmine's reasoning was that though the pope is the vicar of Christ, since Christ did not exercise his temporal power, nor may the pope. [11]

Translation into English

Though several books of this work have been translated into English in the past, only recently is it seeing its first complete translation project in full, in an English translation made by Ryan Grant. Several parts of the work have been translated, and the whole project will be resumed after the translation project of Theologia Moralis by Saint Alphonsus Liguori is completed. [12]

In 2016, Kenneth Baker's translation of the first three controversies was published as Controversies of the Christian Faith.

Related Research Articles

Robert Bellarmine Catholic cardinal, saint, and Doctor of the Church

Robert Bellarmine was an Italian Jesuit and a cardinal of the Catholic Church. He was canonized a saint in 1930 and named Doctor of the Church, one of only 36. He was one of the most important figures in the Counter-Reformation.

Pope Gelasius I was the bishop of Rome from 1 March AD 492 to his death on 19 November 496. He was probably the third and final bishop of Rome of Berber descent. Gelasius was a prolific author whose style placed him on the cusp between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. His predecessor Felix III employed him especially in drafting papal documents. During his pontificate he called for strict Catholic orthodoxy, more assertively demanded obedience to papal authority, and, consequently, increased the tension between the Western and Eastern Churches.

Monothelitism Doctrine in Christian theology

Monothelitism, or monotheletism, is the view that Jesus Christ has two natures but only one will. The doctrine is contrary to dyothelitism, the Christological doctrine that Jesus Christ has two wills, which correspond to his two natures.

Temporal power of the Holy See Political and secular governmental activity of the popes of the Roman Catholic Church

The temporal powerof the Holy See designates the political and secular influence of the Holy See, the leading of a State by the pope of the Catholic Church, as distinguished from its spiritual and pastoral activity.

A pontiff was, in Roman antiquity, a member of the most illustrious of the colleges of priests of the Roman religion, the College of Pontiffs. The term "pontiff" was later applied to any high or chief priest and, in Roman Catholic ecclesiastical usage, to a bishop and more particularly to the Bishop of Rome, the Pope or "Roman Pontiff".

<i>Ninety-five Theses</i> Disputation by Martin Luther on indulgences

The Ninety-five Theses or Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences is a list of propositions for an academic disputation written in 1517 by Martin Luther, professor of moral theology at the University of Wittenberg, Germany. They advance Luther's positions against what he saw as the abuse of the practice of clergy selling plenary indulgences, which were certificates believed to reduce the temporal punishment in purgatory for sins committed by the purchasers or their loved ones. In the Theses, Luther claimed that the repentance required by Christ in order for sins to be forgiven involves inner spiritual repentance rather than merely external sacramental confession. He argued that indulgences led Christians to avoid true repentance and sorrow for sin, believing that they could forgo it by purchasing an indulgence. These indulgences, according to Luther, discouraged Christians from giving to the poor and performing other acts of mercy, believing that indulgence certificates were more spiritually valuable. Though Luther claimed that his positions on indulgences accorded with those of the Pope, the Theses challenge a 14th-century papal bull stating that the pope could use the treasury of merit and the good deeds of past saints to forgive temporal punishment for sins. The Theses are framed as propositions to be argued in debate rather than necessarily representing Luther's opinions, but Luther later clarified his views in the Explanations of the Disputation Concerning the Value of Indulgences.

Magisterium

The magisterium of the Catholic Church is the church's authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God, "whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition." According to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the task of interpretation is vested uniquely in the Pope and the bishops, though the concept has a complex history of development. Scripture and Tradition "make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church", and the magisterium is not independent of this, since "all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is derived from this single deposit of faith."

Unam sanctam is a papal bull that was issued by Pope Boniface VIII on 18 November 1302. It laid down dogmatic propositions on the unity of the Catholic Church, the necessity of belonging to it for eternal salvation, the position of the Pope as supreme head of the Church and the duty thence arising of submission to the Pope to belong to the Church and thus to attain salvation. The Pope further emphasised the higher position of the spiritual in comparison with the secular order. The historian Brian Tierney calls it "probably the most famous of all the documents on church and state that has [come] down to us from the Middle Ages". The original document is lost, but a version of the text can be found in the registers of Boniface VIII in the Vatican Archives.

In the Roman Curia, a congregation is a type of department of the Curia. They are second-highest-ranking departments, ranking below the two Secretariats, and above the pontifical councils, pontifical commissions, tribunals and offices.

Papal supremacy Doctrine of the Catholic Church that the Pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ and as pastor of the entire Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church

Papal supremacy is the doctrine of the Catholic Church that the Pope, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, the visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful, and as pastor of the entire Catholic Church, has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered: that, in brief, "the Pope enjoys, by divine institution, supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls."

The Apostolic Chancery was a dicastery of the Roman Curia at the service of the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. The principal and presiding official was the Cardinal Chancellor of Holy Roman Church who was always Cardinal-Priest of the Basilica di San Lorenzo in Damaso. The original, principal function of the office was to collect money to maintain the Papal Army. Pope Pius VII reformed the office when Emperor Napoleon I of France obviated the need for Papal armies. In the early 20th century the office collected money for missionary work. Pope Paul VI abrogated the Cancellaria Apostolica on 27 February 1973. Its obligations were transferred to the Secretariat of State.

<i>Disputation of the Holy Sacrament</i>

The Disputation of the Sacrament, or Disputa, is a painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1510 as the first part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. At the time, this room was known as the Stanza della Segnatura, and was the private papal library where the supreme papal tribunal met.

Mediatrix of all graces

Mediatrix of all graces is a title that the Roman Catholic Church gives to the Blessed Virgin Mary; as the Mother of God, it includes the understanding that she mediates the Divine Grace. In addition to Mediatrix, other titles are given to her in the Church: Advocate, Helper, Benefactress. In a papal encyclical of 8 September 1894, Pope Leo XIII said: "The recourse we have to Mary in prayer follows upon the office she continuously fills by the side of the throne of God as Mediatrix of Divine grace."

Antichrist antagonist figure at the end times prophesied by the Bible

In Christian eschatology, the Antichrist, or anti-Christ, is a person prophesied by the Bible to oppose Christ and substitute himself in Christ's place before the Second Coming. The term is found five times in the New Testament, solely in the First and Second Epistle of John. The Antichrist is announced as the one "who denies the Father and the Son."

History of the Roman Curia

The history of the Roman Curia, the administrative apparatus responsible for managing the affairs of the Holy See and the Catholic Church, can be traced to the 11th century when informal methods of administration began to take on a more organized structure and eventual a bureaucratic form. The Curia has undergone a series of renewals and reforms, including a major overhaul following the loss of the Papal States, which fundamentally altered the range and nature of the Curia's responsibilities, removing many of an entirely secular nature.

Santa Lucia in Selci Ancient Roman Catholic church in Rome, Italy

The Church of Saint Lucy in Selci is an ancient Roman Catholic church, located in Rome, dedicated to Saint Lucy, a 4th-century virgin and martyr.

Reformation Papacy

The papacy underwent important changes from 1517 to 1585 during the Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation.

Sixto-Clementine Vulgate Official edition of Latin Vulgate promulgated in 1592 by Pope Clement VIII

The Sixto-Clementine Vulgate or Clementine Vulgate is the edition promulgated in 1592 by Pope Clement VIII of the Vulgate—a 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible that was written largely by Jerome. It was the second edition of the Vulgate to be authorised by the Catholic Church, the first being the Sixtine Vulgate. The Sixto-Clementine Vulgate was used officially in the Catholic Church until 1979, when the Nova Vulgata was promulgated by Pope John Paul II.

Oath of Allegiance of James I of England

The Oath of Allegiance of 1606 was an oath requiring English Catholics to swear allegiance to James I over the Pope. It was adopted by Parliament the year after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The oath was proclaimed law on 22 June, 1606; it was also called the Oath of Obedience. Whatever effect it had on the loyalty of his subjects, it caused an international controversy lasting a decade and more.

Marco Vigerio della Rovere

Marco Vigerio della Rovere was an Italian bishop and cardinal of the Catholic Church.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Springborg, Patricia. "Thomas Hobbes and Cardinal Bellarmine: Leviathan and 'the ghost of the Roman empire' ". History of Political Thought. XVI:4 (January 1995), pp. 503-531: 506.
  2. Springborg, Patricia. "Thomas Hobbes and Cardinal Bellarmine: Leviathan and 'the ghost of the Roman empire' ". History of Political Thought. XVI:4 (January 1995), pp. 503-531: 515-516.
  3. "Robert Bellarmine | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
  4. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bellarmine, Roberto Francesco Romolo, Duc de"  . Encyclopædia Britannica . Volume 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 695.
  5. "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: St. Robert Bellarmine". www.newadvent.org. Retrieved 2020-02-13.
  6. Springborg, Patricia. "Thomas Hobbes and Cardinal Bellarmine: Leviathan and 'the ghost of the Roman empire' ". History of Political Thought. XVI:4 (January 1995), pp. 503-531: 516.
  7. 1 2 Richgels, Robert W. (1980). "The Pattern of Controversy in a Counter-Reformation Classic: The Controversies of Robert Bellarmine". The Sixteenth Century Journal. 11 (2): 3–15. doi:10.2307/2540028. ISSN   0361-0160. JSTOR   2540028.
  8. "Robert Bellarmine". masterliness.com. Archived from the original on 2008-07-26. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
  9. Vacant, Alfred; Mangenot, Eugene; Amann, Emile (1908). "Bellarmin". Dictionnaire de théologie catholique : contenant l'exposé des doctrines de la théologie catholique, leurs preuves et leur histoire (in French). 2. University of Ottawa (2nd ed.). Paris: Letouzey et Ané. p.  563-564.
  10. Blackwell, Richard J. (1991-01-31). "Chapter 2: Bellarmine's Views Before the Galileo Affair". Galileo, Bellarmine, and the Bible. University of Notre Dame Press. p. 30. doi:10.2307/j.ctvpg847x. ISBN   978-0-268-15893-4. Bellarmine himself was not a stranger to theological condemnation. In August 1590 Pope Sixtus V decided to place the first volume of the Controversies on the Index because Bellarmine had argued that the pope is not the temporal ruler of the whole world and that temporal rulers do not derive their authority to rule from God through the pope but through the consent of the people governed. However Sixtus died before the revised Index was published, and the next pope, Urban VII, who reigned for only twelve days before his own death, removed Bellarmine’s book from the list during that brief period. The times were precarious.
  11. Springborg, Patricia. "Thomas Hobbes and Cardinal Bellarmine: Leviathan and 'the ghost of the Roman empire' ". History of Political Thought. XVI:4 (January 1995), pp. 503-531: 516-517.
  12. "Saint Robert Bellarmine Translation Project". Mediatrix Press.

Sources

Editions

In Latin