The 17th century Jesuit, Saint Robert Bellarmine (+1642) is liturgically recalled today. He was a very competent theologian and who took on Protestant heresy. One aspect of Bellarmine’s teaching was his insistence on obedience to the Church and her teachings. These were days in which a Jesuit’s obedience was clear and decisive. You can say that Bellarmine was in medio ecclesiae—in the midst of the Church, right where Christ placed us. One’s obedience to the Church was in contradistinction to the Protestant method. The obedience Bellarmine advocated was not blind; he fostered study, scrutiny and understanding the Church’s “difficult teachings.” Study, scrutiny and understand keeps the head and body together: it’s impossible to sever Christ from the Church.

Robert Bellarmine: Jesuit, priest, bishop, cardinal, Doctor of the Church, pray for us.