Pope Praises Peter Canisius at Public Audience
Tags: Jesuit, jesuits, Peter Canisius, Pope Benedict XVI, Society of Jesus
Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Jesuit Peter Canisius (1521- 1597) at his weekly public audience on Feb. 9, remarking that in the time of the Reformation, it seemed as if the light of the Catholic faith was extinguished in German speaking countries, and the task of revitalizing the faith given to Canisius seemed almost impossible.
The Dutch-born Jesuit and saint was known as the “second apostle to Germany” and named a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XI in 1925. Canisius entered the Society of Jesus in 1543 and was ordained a priest in 1546. In 1566 he founded the College of Prague and was the first superior of the Upper Germany Province.
Canisius “took part in many civic and theological disputes,” the pope pointed out. He was remarkable, Pope Benedict added, for his ability “to harmonize fidelity to dogmatic principles with the respect due to each individual.
“In the works destined for the spiritual education of the masses, our saint insists on the importance of the liturgy … the rites of Mass and the other Sacraments. However, at the same time, he is careful to show the faithful the importance and beauty of individual daily prayer to accompany and permeate participation in the Church’s public worship,” said the pope.
Pope Benedict said Canisius “clearly teaches that apostolic ministry is incisive and produces fruits of salvation in people’s hearts only if the preacher is a personal witness of Jesus and knows how to become his instrument, closely bound to him through faith in his Gospel and in his Church, through a morally coherent life and incessant prayer.” [Spero News]