Rorate Caeli

New Doctor of the Church?

According to Andrea Tornielli in this Thursday's La Stampa, all documentation is being readied up in order for Pope Benedict XVI to proclaim Blessed Hildegard the new Doctor of the Church in October 2012, that is, during the "Year of the Faith".

Since she is still, at least officially and for the Universal Church, considered a Blessed, it is possible that there be something similar to what happened to Saint Albert the Great in 1931: a nearly simultaneous instant-canonization and proclamation as Doctor of the Church.


  1. Joe B3:29 PM

    Go ahead. And when I'm elected pope, I'll just revoke her license.

  2. Bernonensis3:35 PM

    O doctrix optima, Ecclesiae sanctae lumen, beata Hildegarde, divinae legis amatrix, deprecare pro nobis Filium Dei.

    Yeah, that sounds right.

  3. Maybe Scotus will be next

  4. Jim52755:12 PM

    However Hildegard has been manipulated by her modern interpreters, in her time she was a visionary, a saint, and a fierce defender of the Holy See against local corrupt bishops. Her writings are....weird; however, they are not so odd when compared both with other such writings of the 12th century and, moreover, with the imagery and language of scripture, in which she had been immersed from her youth as an assistant to an older woman anchorite.

  5. John McFarland5:24 PM

    It would be interesting to make a list of those things that John Paul II was wont to do that his predecessor has not done.

    It likely would be a very short list.

  6. The Vatican is no longer just saint-factory but has proved itself the same coming to doctors. Neither of the last three deserved to enter that esteemed list, however much I love them. Is the Vatican just trying to force women onto the list or something? I love the Little Flower as much as anybody, and she was a saint. But a doctor - a doctor of the Church? It's like they think canonization and proclamation are just toys to play with to make people think stuff are happening over there, to look better etc.

  7. Great news. I am glad to hear it. She is a great saint.

  8. I too love her; she is a Saint--I believe--composed beautiful music, and wrote books on a variety of topics (including herbs). But a Doctor of the Church??


  9. Staurofilax8:00 PM

    I'm glad to hear it as well, I think is great!!!

  10. Is this Hildegard of Bingen? I'm doing a Church History paper on her. I'm covering some of her life and liturgical morality play the Ordo Virtutum.

  11. Jenna8:01 PM

    Is this Hildegard of Bingen? I'm doing a Church History paper on her liturgical morality play the Ordo Virtutum.

  12. Anonymous8:59 PM

    Well, much as I love Hildegard, if we've got to have another Doctor and a female one at that, my vote is for G.E.M. (Elizabeth) Anscombe: an extraordinary advocate of philosophic truth, a defender of human life imperiled in our day by the mass destruction of war and abortion, a teacher of the Moral Law, a model of faithful marriage and generous maotherhood, and an outstanding exemplar of the Faith.

    In my very humble opinion.

  13. Cranky Old Man9:08 PM

    ...Neither of the last three deserved to enter that esteemed list, however much I love them. Is the Vatican just trying to force women onto the list or something?

    CMI, I think that you answered your own question. Obviously, the answer is "yes." The modern Vatican is simply catering to the feminist element in the Church. Even though St. Teresa of Avila was considered by many pre-Vatican II churchmen a doctor of the Church for her theological writings, she was not "formally given" that title until very recent times. The reason being, (I would assume) because of the nature of teaching authority of the Catholic Church. One only has to read the counsel of St. Paul (which is ignored today) to women... On the other hand I still do have a great devotion to her and even cherish the beautiful statue of her wearing a doctor's biretta!

  14. Why not St. Louis De Montfort or Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen or Rev. Garrigou-Lagrange. (Though I don't mind Hildegard at all)

  15. Run over tradition again, put it in reverse, back up.

    The church had reasons for not naming women as doctors of the church for almost 2,000 years, including scriptural, and those have just been steamrolled again. And yes, another woman. No qualified men to do the job, I guess.

    These ... have absolutely no respect at all for the sacred giants of the past. I don't care what her qualifications are, until they start giving a full accounting for past testimonies (say, prior to VII) on a consistent basis, nothing coming out of this crew gets any support from me.

    You hear me, Vatican?

    (Their probably giving pause now.)

  16. Wise Guy10:40 PM

    Let's be grateful, folks. At least it isn't Adrienne von Speyr.

  17. You may want to watch the Germn Video: Visions. It has English subtitles. Excellent!

  18. Thomas Putnam12:30 AM

    I share all the other stated objections, but I also thank the Lord that the pope isn't naming Sister Faustina a doctor!

  19. Hildegard was an ecological activist - BINGO!!!

  20. Tonight at my Parish we had 'Taize Prayer' which some also identified as Vespers. I recall that both John Paul II and Benedict XVI were fascinated by its Founder and its ecumenical manifestations. Any takers? What would Hildegarde think of Taize?

    Michael F Brennan
    St Petersburg FLorida

  21. Hildegard understood the subtle physiology of the body and by extension, the spiritual process. As a trad fan of the medieval, I think this is a great move. Pope BXVI has said God will send us a new Hildegard and I can't wait. She was a doctor in many senses of the word.

  22. Ol' Pete4:46 AM

    Hildegard also produced on one of the most profound and theological arguments against the ordination of women. See the article here:

    Much better than Thomas Aquinas (women are naturally subordinate and so cannot exercise authority) or Bonaventure (Mary wasn't a priest, so women can't).

    This article on Hildegard's attack on women's ordination is a fascinating read.

  23. Gratias6:00 AM

    To restore women to their place of pride what the Vatican could do is to prescribe three Hail Marys after every Novus Ordo Mass, like Leo XIII did so effectively. The Virgin Mary was removed to please Protestants, but they have not joined.

  24. btsea6:02 AM

    I hope she becomes a Doctor. It will give our world a chance to look back in the past and view history throgh a different lens.

  25. If Therese of Lisieux can be considered a Doctor, Hildegard has it over her in spades. I'm for it. She was a brilliant light in the church, and was declared a "prophetess" by Innocent III. She has been venerated for a thousand years. Make her universal. She's not going away.

  26. OK, make her doctor, but do not forget to make St. Thomas Aq. Professor of the Church first. ;-)

  27. Edith Stein7:10 AM

    Cranky Old Man, I don't think one has to be a "feminist" (however you might define that term) to say the Church has, for nearly a thousand years (?) had some issues with some of St. Paul's writing on women: “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence.”

  28. Anyone know if any of her works are online?

  29. CMI,

    If you read some works from each and all of the Doctors of the Church, I'm not sure how you can say St. Teresa of Avila cannot not be one--her writings on prayer are probably the most preeminent there are. Apart from the mystical Dialogue, St. Catherine's writings are more "practical" but measure up with the likes of St. Peter Damian, St. Anthony of Padua, and St. Peter Chrysologus. Her "extraordinary doctrine" was praised by her biographer, confessor, and contemporary, Bl. Raymond of Capua--and that is the test for a Doctor. She also had during her life many, many disciples across Europe, both men and women, clergy, religious, and lay.

    I can see your argument better with St. Therese, since she does not have the library of writings some others do. However, I don't know how much of a stretch it would be to give this honor to the "Greatest Saint of modern times" in the words of St. Pius X.

    In regards to the "Saint factory" most are from the large number of mass martyrdoms that have happened in recent centuries. I have ever seen this argument used to discredit a single saint, St. Josemaria Escriva--and even then, not on his merits but on the "fast-tracking" he received from alleged Opus Dei politicking. Even if this is true, its nothing new. The quick canonization of St. Celestine V was at the time a well-known bone thrown by Clement V to his boyhood friend Phillip the Fair as a sign of Clement's repudiation of Boniface VIII's "persecution" of Phillip (he quickly annulled Boniface's Bulls--those that were reformable--and canonized the predecessor Boniface had persecuted and pressured to resign).

    Likewise, Pius XI did away with the proof of miracles requirement for the canonizations of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher.

    Can you make an argument against any Saints canonized in the 'factory' days?

  30. Do people here doubt papal infallibility? Isn't the canonization of saints part of our FAITH, therefore under papal infallibility? None of the early martyrs were "canonized" in the same scrutinous way they are now.

  31. "But a Doctor of the Church??"

    Yes. I think this is good.

    And who believes that a German Pope does not know that this German saint is worthy?

    In any event, once it is declared, will the poo-poo'ers continue the whining? Or will they recognize this gift?

  32. Bernonensis6:21 PM

    Is the sanctity of, say, Joan of Arc or Padre Pio a truth contained in the Deposit of Faith revealed to the Apostles or necessarily derived from it?

  33. Petrus Radii9:59 PM

    Hildegard von Bingen, who actually was from Eibingen, close by, and where her relics repose, has been venerated as a Saint for hundreds of years in the German countries. Most likely, the Pope would just ratify this cult.

    Personally, I am not sure of the benefit of declaring her a "doctress" of the Church. Many of her writings are pretty obscure and easily subject to misinterpretation in many cases, as witnessed by their abuse by New Age wackos. One of the hallmarks of a Doctor of the Church is clarity of thought. I doubt that can really be said sufficiently of Hildegard's writings.

    Besides, isn't there some *man* who could more fittingly be named a Doctor of the Church? Naming a woman is just a sop to feminists. "Oportet mulieres tacere in Ecclesia," as St. Paul wrote.

    Duns Scotus is also not a good choice. I believe he was a voluntarist; and while that erroneous philosophy has not yet been condemned by the Church, it is the root of many errors and heresies, from Lutheranism to Legal Positivism and Papolatry.

    My vote goes to St. Vincent of Lerins, whose teachings are of much more value to the Church Universal and are a strong antidote to the false theology of the last fifty or so years.

  34. btsea2:40 AM

    Doctors of the Church are like doctors in medicine. They help heal the Church. St. Thomas and St. Therese both had a mission to help the Church, but in different ways. Who is to say who is greater? It is like the apostles arguing over who would sit next to Jesus in Heaven. And in the end, didn't St. Thomas say his writings were all "straw"? It wasn't that they were not important, but perhaps that the glory of his experience of God overshadowed them. In the end, each Doctor has a different way their mission is lived out. It was important that St. Therese lived when she did and made known here "Little Way". And I hear people talk of her way of life today. She is still influencing us (as is St. Thomas and his writings) The way of living a Christian life which she showed us is still important.

    I find it interesting the timing of when these saints play their role on Earth, and also the timing of when they are ultimately declared doctors. I'm sure even the latter time frame, even if centuries later, occurs for a special reason.

  35. "Doctors of the Church are like doctors in medicine'

    That's not the original meaning of doctor in Latin.

  36. Wonderful news. Deo gratias.

    Bl. Hildegard of Bingen is an excellent complement to left-brained thinking, given her visions, art and music.

  37. For all those who are saying, "Isn't there a MAN who could more fittingly be named," I think you're forgetting that Pope Benedict announced back in August that he intended to declare St. John of Avila a Doctor of the Church sometime soon.

    I do get the feeling that those who object have never actually read anything by Hildegard. I think this is a wonderful way to steal her back from the New Agers who appropriated her.

  38. Edmund7:10 PM

    How about Saint Louis de Montfort? Or Dom Prosper Gueranger? Or Thomas a Kempis?

  39. Staurofilax7:16 PM

    Jane well said!!!

  40. Yes, Jane. Well said.

  41. Is it me or do men seem to be threatened by a woman becoming a doctor of the Church? Why is this?

    Why not bring in more femininity? This does not mean accepting any sort of radical feminism. Maybe we, as a Church, are beginning to see the value of women in ways we never did before.

    Pope John Paul II wrote about-and to-women several times. We have received so much understanding about men and women from him. In this light, I think the Church is beginning to see the gift that woman is to the Church.

    Leave the "feminist" baggage out of this. Can't you simply see this as a beautiful addition to the Church?

    I pity you, if you cannot.

  42. Ivan K4:05 PM

    It is hard for me to read what this remarkable woman has written, and to read about her life, without concluding that she was a Saint, and that she ought to be a Doctor of the Church.

    If she has been embraced by the feminists, the environmentalists, or by other neopagans and secularists, that can only be because they have been very selective in citing her work. But even the Angelic Doctor has been misused, so she would be in good company.

  43. Scotus would be a great choice. Unlike certain doctors, he actually wrote systematic theology and covers a wide range of topics all with his distinctive 'flavor'. He would help open up 'pluralism'in the church which has been all the rage since vatican II and free us all from the cold dead hand of 19th. cen. Thomism.

    Voluntarism isn't bad or false, depending on what one means by it. Scotus thinks that the intellect and will are essentially co ordered to acts of volition. AS he puts it, God is a "most ordered willer".


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