San Bonaventura Doctor of the Church. The bubble of Sixtus V

(from – Although Pope Sixtus IV when he canonized s. Bonaventure, had declared him Doctor of the Church, it was nevertheless this title, although glorious in itself, common to others, revered with this cult. Now wanting Sixtus V to distinguish its merits, destined to give him a more singular cult. Four were the main Doctors of the Church, that is s. Ambrogio, s. Agostino, s. Jerome and s. Gregorio. Since the Pope s. Pius V had raised the angelic s to the honor of the fifth Doctor. Tommaso d'Aquino, so the same Sixtus judged the seraphic s worthy of being ranked sixth among the primary Doctors. Bonaventure, both already peers and fellow students at the University of Paris. Having been this Pontiff assumed by the Order of s. Francesco, he was very sure for the studies made of the Works of s. Bonaventure, that the many merits of his doctrine deserved him such an honor. Now he wanted this declaration to be made with ecclesiastical magnificence, solemnity, chosen for this function the Basilica of the Holy Twelve Apostles, he went there in person on the morning of the 14 of March of 1588, day when we celebrated the anniversary of the translation of the sacred body of s. Bonaventure, accompanied by many Cardinals and a large number of Prelates. Made that there was adoration to the Blessed Sacrament, dressed in sacred papal robes in white, adorned with the precious machine gun, he ascended the papal throne, surrounded by cardinals, dressed in purple-colored cape, to be the time of Lent. Then in the presence of the large people, rushed to the noble and solemn function, Tommaso Gualtieruzzi secretary of the Short Pontiffs, in a prelate habit he read from the pulpit placed beside the Gospel, the constitution described here, with which s. Bonaventura was declared by supreme pontifical authority and counted among the primary Doctors of the Church.

servant of the servants of God

The Holy Mother Church still militant on earth, but eager to achieve the crown of justice, kept in the triumphant Jerusalem, admiring with pleasure the eternal glory and the unmistakable crowns, who adorn the head of those holy souls, who happily reign in the company of Jesus Christ, he does not cease to praise admirable God and his servants. Not only does it exalt with praise the illustrious victories and the illustrious merits of the saints, but he still venerates and piously worships the same saints, honored by God in a unique way; and venerates them because instructed by their preaching and salutary teachings, founded on the shedding of their blood, educated by the lustres their examples and charity actions, it comes with fervent prayers, that they daily have an advantage in her before God. Whenever possible in the exile of this passing world, greatly endeavors to give each saint in particular also the due and congruent honors, like that heavenly hierarchy, where everything is ordered in perfect charity. For since in that great house of the divine father of the family, rich in all good, there are many houses and those blessed souls enjoy the bliss of the same glory with a certain admirable variety, thus the Catholic Church which has the similarities of the celestial, placed in order as the teams that make up a well-disposed army, and knows and distinguishes by means of a celestial light that illuminates it, that sacred disposition, that must be held in the veneration to be given to the saints. Wherefore while she glorifies the glorious choir of the Apostles, the honorable assembly of prophets and the army of very strong martyrs, all proportionately honoring with well-deserved worship, he exults in various ways with the same spirit of charity and with the same affection of religious devotion. Among all then those most blessed choirs of the saints, whose right mind memory is celebrated with religious worship by every believer, the order of the holy doctors shines with singular splendor, distinctly indicated by the apostle s. Paolo, when speaking of Jesus Christ he said that he some destined apostles, other prophets, other evangelists and then other pastors and doctors, he was made up of diligent cultivators and faithful workers of his vineyard, to form saints in the work of the ministry and to build up his body. These are those, of which speaking in high voice thunder the Wisdom says: Those who will make me shine, they will have eternal life. The angel says of these same in the sacred book of Daniel: Those who will be learned, they will shine like the light of the firmament; and those who teach many, why be fair, they will be like stars, which will shine perpetually for all eternity. And these are finally those, that the same Redeemer Christ the Lord honored with that worthy praise: Who will operate and teach, will have the great name in the kingdom of heaven. Having then been at all times the doctrine of the sacred Doctors useful and salutary in the Church of God, then mainly the experience proved fruitful and necessary, when the horrible fury of the persecutors of the Christian name was curbed, they raised themselves up with more ardor within the Church, while she was at peace, the cruel wars of heresies. Then it was that the tricks and falsehoods of the heretics, who by instigation of the devil do not cease to over-seed the tares in the field of the Lord, they were discovered by the solicitude and diligence of the Doctors; then the pestiferous and detestable errors were cut off by their work with the sword of the spirit, and bring down its lie with the force of Catholic truth. Hence the holy Doctors are deservedly indicated by the name of the stars called Hyades, because precisely after the harsh winter and the long nights of infidelity, and the storm of persecution has subsided, then arose more resplendent Aglines in the holy Church, when the sun of truth shone above bright and clear in the hearts of the faithful, beginning to appear as new the most resplendent year of true faith.
Among those, that the great God wanted to fill with the spirit of intelligence, and that they spread their eloquent wisdom in the Church of God like rain, rightly counts s. Bonaventura confessor, and Pontiff and distinguished Doctor of the same Catholic Church, already ascribed for the admirable holiness of his life and for his excellent doctrine from our predecessor Sixtus IV to the role of saints. Because he was born in Bagnorea, a city in Tuscany, in fulfillment of the vow made by his pious parent, he entered his youthful age in the seraphic Religion of s. Francesco, whose fresh footsteps following what new soldier from the beginning, with equal humility and constancy he undertook the regular observance of his institute with much fervor of spirit and with such great anxiety of heart, who from then on saw in him a great holiness; become for the illibacy and purity of life, for holy humility, for the patience, La gentle;, out of contempt for earthly things, for the desire of the celestial, the example and admiration of all. He was also raptured in God with such sweetness of spirit, and he was thus in flaming with holy divine love, that already introduced into the cellarer of the mystical groom, and intoxicated with the precious wine of charity, He seemed to see Jesus Christ crucified and grieved all over the place, and who lived in his sacred wounds. To this exemplary holiness of life he added, become all man of God, the merit of an excellent doctrine, thus disposing God, succeeded in his glory and the advantage of the highly profitable Church not only by example, but with word and erudition again. Therefore applied to the study of sacred letters, to the reading of the Holy Fathers and to the much needed science of scholastic theology, under the discipline and teaching of Alexander of Ales, distinguished theologian of that age, he made such progress in a short space of time, and he came to such great perfection of doctrine by the rarity of his good talent, for the assiduity of the study and particularly for the singular grace of the Holy Spirit, who solemnly decorated doctoral and master's insignia in the famous Academy of Paris, there he was a public professor of sacred theology. He then brought back so much praise in interpreting and in the science of all theology, that the most famous writers admired his doctrine and erudition. How excellent he had been in theology enough the treaties declare, the Works and writings, which for the sake of not mediocre benefit of God, however, are preserved to the great advantage of the Church; and that scholars of the present age and past times have always read with great fruit, and they approved and greatly commended them. He left in their posterity many monuments of his truly divine genius, by means of which the most abstruse and obscure difficulties are clearly developed and neatly brought to light; with an abundance of convincing reasons, the truth of the Catholic faith is illustrated, pernicious errors and profane heresies remain defeated, and the mind of the faithful remains admirably inflamed in the love of God and in the desire for the heavenly homeland. Because it was singular and proper to itself. Bonaventura moves minds not only with the subtlety of the arguments, with ease of teaching, with the exactness of defining things, but also with a certain strength that is divine, joining in such a way to write a supreme erudition and an equal ardor of pity, waves in the act of teaching moves, penetrating the most intimate breasts of the soul, to the point of still composing the heart with certain seraphic spines, and pour into it a prodigious sweetness of devotion; which grace spread on his lips and in his pen admiring our predecessor Sixtus IV supreme Pontiff, he did not doubt that the Holy Spirit seemed to have spoken in him.
Having therefore been granted by the Lord to this faithful servant of his so great and so rare talents, so that with the good use and traffic of the same he would amplify the treasures of heavenly grace for the benefit of his brothers, he was elected by divine disposition in Rome with full consent of the whole Order, seventh Minister General after the patriarch s. Francesco. In exercising such a job he showed not only prudence, vigilance and supreme concern, but he still burned with such ardor of fraternal charity, and he served his brothers and sisters with such Christian humility, that in him the teaching of Jesus Christ was fulfilled, who said to his disciples: Who among you is greater, be your minister. Indeed, that our Pontiff our predecessor Clement IV of pious remembrance who loved him very much, and also very pleased with the reading of his Works, seeing it for its excellent virtue and prudence adapted to be in a wider field useful to many, the distinguished archbishopric of York showed him. However, it does not suffer from detaching itself so easily from the dear embraces of seraphic poverty, he humbly and modestly refused this dignity offered to him. But at another time, having the Supreme Pontiff Gregory X intimated for important affairs of the Christian republic, the General Council in Lyon, and looking for men well-endowed with holiness, of doctrine and wisdom, to make use of their firmness and loyalty in operating, in treating you very thoughtful shops, he chose from the two flourishing Orders of Preachers and of Minors mainly s. Tommaso and s. Bonaventure, both very clear lights of that age, by commanding them to bring themselves into his presence. But the first on the journey became infirm, he happily passed to heaven to receive the crown of glory; and party s. Bonaventura for Lyon, he was most welcomed by the Roman Pontiff Gregory, who lived so entrusted to him virtue and wisdom, who decided to give it mainly the task of directing and administering the affairs of that Council. Laonde so that not only was there, but he also presided over the Council's interests as principal director with dignity and authority, he decided to place it as a fiery and luminous lamp on the exalted candlestick, to shine more and more in the house of God. So he added it to the sacred College of Cardinals, and at the same time I will count him to the Order of Bishops, declaring him bishop of Albano, bestowing an honor to dispense the oldest cardinals to one, who had never coveted any honor, indeed they had fled them, and who then did not refuse to intuition to obey the command of the vicar of Jesus Christ, and in order not to escape the effort for the benefit of the Church.
Adorned with that vast dignity, it greatly benefited the glory of God, and to the common utility of the Church; because he used his work in the rough affairs of the Council, manly defended the Catholic faith, he heatedly refuted the prave opinions, and from him prudence, doctrine, holiness and prayers the pastoral concern of Pope Gregory was so sustained, that the dissension of the schism is sedated by divine mercy, Michele, Paleologo imperator de ’Greci, and the eastern nations returned to the union, to communion and obedience from the Apostolic See; finally considered worthy of being condecured by the Greeks with the name of Eutichio.
So rightly past that was the very strong champion of G. Christ from the pilgrimage of this life to the heavenly homeland, everyone regretted his death, they all did common harm, everyone commended him with tears in his eyes in the act of competing for his funeral. One of the others published with distinguished eloquence, but with sincere praise the integrity of the life led by this most holy man, the freedom of his customs, the multiplicity of labors incurred for the benefit of the Church, and the sublimity of the doctrine he showed in the face of that whole Council. This was Pietro Cardinal of Tarantaise, man for erudition and for Christian eloquence insigne, raised afterwards to the sublimity of the Pontificate with the name of Innocent V. The same Supreme Pontiff Gregory X then, penetrated by intimate pain for having lost a brother, a coadjutor, a loyal advisor, he testified with heavy words in the presence of the Council fathers, than the Catholic Church, which had brought back from the pity and doctrine of such a great man copious advantages, he had made a great loss with his death.
But with more truth it was said by the Holy Spirit: Of eternal memory will be the righteous; aware that he, how illustrious he had been in life, most illustrious was after death, proving God, who is admirable and glorious in his saints, with more prodigies and with amazing miracles the sanctity of his servant. The fame of which prodigies by increasing all, the same Sixtus our predecessor observing them from the height of the Apostolic See, fully understood that you were the finger of God, who only works admirable things. Spontaneously therefore, and at the petition of Emperor Federigo again, of kings, of the republics, of the dukes and more cities, and almost all the faithful, who ardently unanimously required the canonization of the distinguished Cardinal and Bishop Bonaventura, he undertook the thought, worthy of a Roman Pontiff. Therefore examined with the utmost care and diligence, and the sanctity of his life was found great, joined to the truth of miracles, come to the fulfillment of the legitimate and necessary acts, with his highest power conferred by God in his person. Peter, through the advice of the cardinal brothers of the holy Roman Church, and with the consent of all Prelates, ascribed to the glory of God and to the exaltation of the Catholic Church in the catalog of saints the same blessed Bonaventura, and added it to the role of the holy confessors, Pontiffs and Doctors, ordering that the feast be celebrated annually on the second Sunday of July, with reciting throughout the Church the office in the manner of a confessor Pontiff Doctor.
And although this glorious doctor s. Bonaventura is most famous in the Catholic Church, and shine brightly in heaven, where it is crowned with that wreath, that God promised to his lovers, nor does he need anything human who enjoys these goods with Jesus Christ, that neither eye saw, nor did they ascend into the human heart; nevertheless the charity of Jesus Christ, and a certain ardent desire for devotion, that since almost our adolescence we have always nurtured towards him, it stimulates us to think, as far as we can with the help of the Lord, to propagate and make holiness and doctrine ever more luminous. We certainly moved, as it is right, from the holy communication we have with it, by report to our Seraphic Religion, in which we were educated and lived for many years, and to whom, as a worthy mother, we are indebted to show all the certificates of piety and gratitude. But the glory of God moves us much more, the pastoral office we exercise, and the hardships sustained for the Church of God by such a holy man, and many illustrious merits, and its close conjunction with the Roman Church, to whose very wide Order and Senate admitted, he occupied it with supreme praise. We are finally moved by the usefulness of the universal Church, which for the erudition of such a great Doctor can always be greater and more abundant, especially because the dangers of heretics and their diabolical machines, with which they try to completely demolish sacred school theology, make us warned to have to consider with all the effort, to illustrate and propagate the aforementioned theology, of which there is no more advantageous thing to the Church of God. Consciously by the grace of Him, which only gives the spirit of science, of wisdom and intellect, and that increases from age to age, according to need, his Church of new benefits, and provides it with new subsidies, was found by our majors, Wise uomini, school theology, which was mainly cultivated for a long time, flattened, excellently arranged, and in various ways excellently explained, it was left to posterity by the glorious Doctors, angelico s. Thomas and seraphic s. Bonaventure, very clear professors of this faculty, and the first of those that have been inscribed in the catalog of saints. Cognition and the use of this so salutary science, which derives from the abundant sources of the Holy Scriptures, de 'Supreme Pontiffs, of the Holy Fathers and de'Concili, in truth, he has always been able to bring great benefit to the Church, or both to understand and to interpret in its true and healthy sense the sacred Scriptures themselves, or to read and explain the Holy Fathers with greater security and usefulness, or both to discover and refute errors and heresies.
In recent times then, when those dangerous days described by the Apostle have already come, neither as men blasphemers, bold and seductive go from bad to worse, wandering them, and others still drawing from them, it is certainly this science which is very necessary to refute heresies, and to confirm the domes of the Catholic faith. And certainly that is the case, their enemies of truth are judges, which more than anything else frightens school theology, because they understand well that for that right connection of things and of causes united among themselves; for that order and disposition similar to the military discipline marked for soldiers to fight, for those clear definitions and distinctions, for that robustness of arguments and for that subtlety of dispute, light is distinguished from darkness, the truth is discerned from the false, and their lies wrapped in an infinity of prestige and falsehoods remain uncovered and unknown, just as happens to those who are taken off their clothes. How much more eglino therefore endeavor to oppose and to land this immensely stronghold of scholastic theology, the more we must defend this invictive proponent of faith, uphold and preserve the legacy of our fathers, and decorate, as far as we can, with deserved honors the bitter defenders of the truth.
For this reason so that the erudition of the Seraphic Doctor spreads wider, and scholarly and scholarly men bring more and more works of sweet fruit from him, to glory of the same saint, although he is most blissful in heaven, we first established a College in this Basilica of the Saints Twelve Apostles of our city of Rome under the name of s. Bonaventure, where the sacred theology is publicly explained according to the Works and Commentaries of this distinguished and devoted holy Doctor. It is our second concern, than in a decent impression, His works are well corrected together in this Vatican printing house, that they can meet again, in part never printed so far, and to our authority and expenses sought everywhere, and in part already printed and published.
For which we have determined effectively from the beginning of our pontificate, so inspired by God, as piously we believe, to make famous, as far as possible, all the name and glorious merits of this s. Doctor, and increase the worship of the faithful towards him, certainly we are still excited to do this by the example of Pope Pius V, of holy memory, our predecessor, meritorious of the Christian republic, and that we still recognize and venerate as our father. Since he moved by religious piety and by the singular devotion that he nurtured towards himself. Tommaso d'Aquino, decorum of his Order and ornament of the Catholic Church, yearning likewise to decorate him with decent honors to guess his excellent merits at the Catholic Church, established among other things and ordered that the party be perpetually celebrated annually with a double office rite, similar to the other four main holy doctors; we also considered it right to do the same as we did. Bonaventure, Exemplary doctor, for between these two saints passes a close conjunction and a perfect resemblance of virtue, of holiness, of doctrine and merits. I am indeed the two olive trees and the two candlesticks that make light in the house of God, and that for the pinguedine of charity, and for the splendor of wisdom they illustrate the whole Church. These by the singular providence of God like two stars that have sprung up at the same time, they came out of two very clear families of Regular Orders, extremely useful to the holy Church to defend the Catholic Religion, and always prepare to undertake labors and meet dangers for the zeal of the Orthodox faith, and from which, as from a fertile and well-cultivated field, they are born daily, by the grace of the lord, fruitful and fruitful plants, that is, men who are excellent in holiness and doctrine, who with fidelity and fortitude take care hard to Peter's ship shaken by so many waves, to whose government the Roman Pontiff presides with supreme vigilance.
Being these two saints peers, exercised in the same studies, co-disciples and teachers together, equally honored by Pope Gregory X in having called them both to the Council, and in the pilgrimage of this life closely united in bond of brotherly love, of spiritual amity, and companions in the holy labors, and finally walking with equal steps towards the heavenly homeland; an everlasting bliss enjoy you equally happy and glorious, from where with the same affection of charity, since we must piously believe, they pray for us, fatigued in this valley of tears, begging for divine help.
For what therefore he requires from us and love for the Seraphic Order, and the greatness of the merits of s. Bonaventure, and the usefulness and building of the Catholic Church, whose government was committed by God to us, although undeserving, after having conferred with maturity all these things with our venerable cardinal brothers of the Holy Roman Church, with their advice and unanimous consent, with our certain science and with the fullness of the apostolic power conferred on us, we still approve and commend the doctrine of the same s. Bonaventure, already praised by our predecessors Clement IV, Gregory X and Sixtus IV, admired greatly in the Council of Lyon, also used in that of Florence to explain difficult things, praised and approved by the authoritative testimonies of conspicuous men, and worthy of a distinguished Doctor of the Church, we are still in the process of approving and renewing this constitution of Sixtus IV in force of this constitution, which we want as expressed in this place, except for the order to have to celebrate the feast of s. Bonaventura on the second Sunday of July, we decree and declare that we have been the same s. Bonaventura with great reason ascribed and counted by the Consortium of Doctors, and that by virtue of our constitution he must by apostolic authority be considered and venerated among the principal and primary who were excellent in the magisterium of the theological faculty. […] And so that the glorious remembrance of this wise Doctor is celebrated for his great merits with more fervent worship, moved by the example of our predecessors Bonifazio VIII, who commanded the same for the four main Doctors and Pius V, who did the same thing for himself. Tommaso, we order that the feast of the same be celebrated in all parts of the Christian world. Bonaventure in double rite by all ecclesiastical people, both secular and regular of any Order, both publicly and privately ai 14 of July, despite the aforementioned ordination of Sixtus IV, who stared at her on the second Sunday of the same month. However, we command that in the impression of the calendars the title of Doctor must be added to the name of it holy and the double rite of the feast should be indicated, although in the reform of the recent Breviary and Roman Missal it is ordered otherwise, so that it cannot be judged or interpreted differently from what it has been by anyone of any authority provided, like above, ordered. […] Therefore, it is not lawful for anyone to tear this sheet apart or contradict our decree of approval, innovation, of declaration, of precept and concession, under pain of incurring the indignation of God and the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

Completed the publication of this decree, the large chorus of singers rang out, who sang the Antiphon in joyful and happy voices: An optimal Doctor, after which Pope Sixtus recited the prayer of the Doctors of the Church. The solemn Mass was then celebrated by the Cardinal Ascolano, after which, Maurizio Bressi, French by nation and highly learned man recited an eloquent prayer in praise of the seraphic Doctor s. Bonaventure. Rejoicing the most devoted Sisto for the contentment of having conferred this excellent and deserved honor to the Seraphic Doctor, he also wanted to give another mark of the very partial devotion that he had towards him. It had made some galleys work to make them run in the shores of the Mediterranean. To the principal of those woods, to be delivered to the fleet commander, he wanted to put the name of s. Bonaventure, hence for the many and illustrious merits of a saint so powerful in his patronage, he would remain victorious in making his prey the enemies of the cross of the Savior of the world.

(Gaspare da Monte Santo O.F.M. Obs., Gesture and doctrine of the Seraphic Doctor San Bonaventura, Florence, 1874, pp. 330-343).
Text collected by Giuliano Zoroddu.

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