This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

December 21 -- Feast of Saint Peter Canisius

Hammer of the Protestants, sort of...
Saints, like most of us, don't get to pick their nicknames.  If he could have chosen, I am not sure either would suit his taste.  He is called the Second Apostle to the Germans (the first was Saint Boniface).  That's not a bad thing, of course, but who would choose to be the second anything.  I mean, John Adams definitely wanted to be president, but being sandwiched between Washington and Jefferson is damn near a witness protection program. 

His other nickname is Hammer of the Protestants.  Not only does this sound rougher than he was, but it seems contrary to the spirit of his work.  He asked for flexibility from the Pope in dealing with Reformation ideas, believing that more could be gained from honest debate than from suppression and persecution. He even contended that hard-shell Catholic arguments were making the patients incurable rather than curing them. 

In spite of his itinerant preaching, he was influential among the highest circles.  When the Holy Roman Emperor's son wavered in Catholicism, Peter's advice to disinherit helped to shore up the faith.  He hit several big synods, councils, and diets.  Eventually, when it was time to settle down, no less a saint than Saint Nicholas of Myra communicated the message to him -- plant it in Fribourg, Switzerland. 

Since Peter is considered one of the Doctors of the Church, it is worth mentioning that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will recognize Saint Hildegard von Bingen as a Doctor.  Only three women (out of thirty-three saints) have been recognized with this honor.  It is, to paraphrase Vice President Biden, a big f....... deal.  Watch for a Hildegard post non pariel next September 17. 

1 comment:

  1. On Sunday, October 7, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed Hildegard von Bingen and John of Avila to be Doctors of the Church. The total list (for the Roman Church) is thirty-five saints long. As noted elsewhere, this inclusive list for the one holy catholic and apostolic church is somewhat longer.