As a part of the openning Mass, Papa Benedetto officially proclaimed St. John of Avila & St. Hildegard of Bintgen as the 34th & 45th Doctors of the Church. St Hildegard also becomes the 4th woman to be named a Doctor of the Church.
The title is awarded to certain saints whom the Catholic Church recognizing as having made a particularly important contribution to theology or doctrine. The title comes from the Latin word docere, to teach, which is where the English word for doctor came from. While we thing of it as primarily applied to physicans of various sorts, it is the highest degree available for most forms of study from theology to history.
With some Church Doctotrs, like, Ss. Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross & Thérèse of Lisieux, the recognition was for how they enabled people to understand & live out the Catholic faith. For others, like Thomas Aquinas, their writings have laid the foundations for the theological & doctrinal developments that followed.
During the homily
, Papa Benedetto explained why he cose to add these 2 to the list of Doctors of the Church.
"At this point, let us pause for a moment to appreciate the two
saints who today have been added to the elect number of Doctors of the Church.
Saint John of Avila lived in the sixteenth century. A profound expert on the
sacred Scriptures, he was gifted with an ardent missionary spirit. He knew how
to penetrate in a uniquely profound way the mysteries of the redemption worked
by Christ for humanity. A man of God, he united constant prayer to apostolic
action. He dedicated himself to preaching and to the more frequent practice of
the sacraments, concentrating his commitment on improving the formation of
candidates for the priesthood, of religious and of lay people, with a view to a
fruitful reform of the Church.
Saint Hildegard of Bingen, an important female figure of the
twelfth century, offered her precious contribution to the growth of the Church
of her time, employing the gifts received from God and showing herself to be a
woman of brilliant intelligence, deep sensitivity and recognized spiritual
authority. The Lord granted her a prophetic spirit and fervent capacity to
discern the signs of the times. Hildegard nurtured an evident love of creation,
and was learned in medicine, poetry and music. Above all, she maintained a great
and faithful love for Christ and his Church."
You can read more about both saints here
Note: As the article I link to points out, some caution must be used is selecting books to read about St. Hildegard & her teachings. Many New Agers have tried to turn her into a earlier teacher of what they promote by taking what she wrote & twisting it to suit their interpretation instead of how she really meant it. St Hildegard was a faithful daughter of the Church, like many saints she did have her times of struggle with Church authorities who misunderstood her. But, unlike what many radical feminists claim, she was not rebelious & trying to undermine Church authority in any of her actions. She would be horrified by any attempts to use her or her writings to justify New Age, paganism or Wicca.
Also, many others have tried to undermine her mystical experiences by claiming she was suffering from migraines & that they weren't actually from God. This is a part of the whole attempt to demythologize Christianity & undermine anything miraculous. This is done in order to turn God into something less than He really is so they can justify their refusing to obey Him.
What we have with these 2 new Doctors (along with the rest) is God working through these 35 men & women to help us to better understand how we are to live out the faith so that we can grow in holiness as well as conversion from sin. & as we experience this, we will then go on to want to share the good news with others. In sort we will answer God's call to evangelize.
Or as Papa Benedetto said in the homily: "
"This summary of the ideal in Christian life, expressed in the call
to holiness, draws us to look with humility at the fragility, even sin, of many
Christians, as individuals and communities, which is a great obstacle to
evangelization and to recognizing the force of God that, in faith, meets human
weakness. Thus, we cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere
desire for conversion. The best path to the new evangelization is to let
ourselves be reconciled with God and with each other (cf. 2 Cor 5:20).
Solemnly purified, Christians can regain a legitimate pride in their dignity as
children of God, created in his image and redeemed by the precious blood of
Jesus Christ, and they can experience his joy in order to share it with
everyone, both near and far."
This Thursday, 11 October, marks the beginning of the Year of Faith
that Papa Benedetto has called for. He summons us "to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the One Savior of the world
” (Porta Fidei 6
).Part of the call includes us learning what the Church teaches as well as living it out. Our 2 new doctors are sure guides to enable tu to do so & then go out the evangelize the world with the truth that is found in Jesus Christ.