Rorate Caeli

Father Felice Cappello, an example for Traditional Catholics

The dangers that we must avoid are basically two: on the one hand, modernism and spiritual slackening, on the other, rigourism, rigidity, bitterness and excessive severity.  This is why Father Felice Cappello (1879-1962) could become a model to imitate for traditional militants(both the consecrated and the faithful). This ardent follower of St. Ignatius of Loyola was one of the most sought after confessors in Rome. He was not a “lax” priest but attracted droves of penitents with his sweetness, affability, courtesy and goodness (like St. Francis of Sales and St. Leopoldo Mandic). Father Felice Maria Cappello was also very learned, as he knew how to resolve efficaciously the most tangled up moral situations, imparting serenity to the consciences of his penitents. He always made the effort to be a “just” confessor, but never severe. The following are some thoughts from his writings:

In your counsels and decisions never use severity: Our Lord doesn’t want it.  Be just always, never severe. Always give the solution that allows souls to breath. Never tire in insisting about trust. Be persuaded that above all, souls need to be encouraged and believe increasingly in God’s love, which is immense.” 

 “Principles are principles. They are to remain firm and should always be defended. In applying principles to the consciences of penitents, a lot of prudence, common sense and goodness is required.”

 “When we are dealing with the immediate and direct good for a soul, it is better to follow what the Saints have said and done, not the writings of the learned.”

“I will pray every day for those who have offended and hurt me, generously forgiving every wrong for the love of Jesus.”

“I sense that the Lord is asking a lot from you, He expects a lot from your heart. I sense that good Jesus wants to detach you from everything and everyone; that he wants to draw you closer to Himself in a ineffable bond; that He wants to lead you to the highest perfection, to an intimate union with Him, by the means of difficulties and humiliations. These are the safe and infallible ways that lead to sanctity; this is the way Jesus used with the Saints, the sign of predilection by the Divine Spouse towards His beloved souls.  Humiliations and difficulties, like physical and moral sufferings in general, are precious gems. So I urge you to stay calm, and accept everything willingly from the hands of Jesus, offering all of it generously to Him, for your sanctification and mine, as well as for the conversion of sinners. Seek, desire and carry out the will of the Lord alone. In this, true and genuine sanctity consists.” (14th August 1903) 

 “Loving the Lord in words is easy, but true love is found in suffering accepted with resignation; even we ourselves, if we want to make reparation in the best way, must offer up our physical and moral, external and internal tribulations, offering the Lord our crosses accepted with patience. We must live with this Christian spirit: everything is permitted or willed by God, nothing happens in this world without His Divine will: it is God Himself that is offering us that suffering. In any circumstance of our lives, we must be able to say: “You suffered for me, I also want to suffer for You.”

“Regarding charity, I will endeavor to make myself distinguished in the practice of it, by always being affable, sweet, polite, delicate, full of courtesy and delicacy with everyone and in every single circumstance.” (Intention made during spiritual retreat exercises in 1939).”

 “ I must be a victim of love. Loving Jesus: this is the purpose of my life. Every word, every step, every thought, every sentiment, every breath, must be an act of the purest love. To live and die of love for Jesus: this is my ideal.”

[Original publication in Italian: Cordialiter blog, May 4, 2015. Rorate translation by Contributor Francesca Romana.]

Biographical note: Father Cappello was born on October 9th 1879 in Caviolo, Belluno, Italy. He was a Jesuit priest and Canon Lawyer. He was known for his personal piety and was a much sought after confessor and spiritual director. There are reports that he levitated and glided from place to place while celebrating Mass. His cause for canonization has been opened. He died in Rome in 1962 and is interred in a marble tomb in St. Ignatius’s church. His confessional has been preserved. (Source)
See also here  for details on his cause for canonization.