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Sermons of St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, S.J. Part III



Sermons 56 to 87: Twelve Sermons on the Catholic Faith; Eight Sermons on Tribulation; Twelve Sermons on Psalm 90 (91)


By SJ Robert Cardinal Bellarmine
SJ Kenneth Baker (Trans)

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St. Robert Cardinal Bellarmine, S.J., preached this series of sermons to the students and faculty of the University of Louvain, Belgium, in the 1570s. They follow the liturgical year, beginning with Advent. There is not a sermon for every Sunday of the year, but there are also some for the major feasts, like Christmas, the Annunciation and Ascension, and others on special themes. There are eighty-seven sermons in all,and they are being published in three parts. The first part contains sermons 1 to 29, covering the feasts from Advent to Passion Sunday. The second part contains sermons 30 to 55, Easter Sunday to the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, plus five sermons on the Four Last Things and five on the Blessed Virgin Mary. This third part contains sermons 56 to 87 – twelve sermons on the Catholic faith, eight on tribulation, and twelve on Psalm 91. When Bellarmine delivered these sermons he was still a young priest in his thirties, since he was born in 1542 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1560. The sermons are on a high intellectual level, since they were meant for university students and professors. They contain a great deal of Christian wisdom. The sermons contain a lot of Catholic doctrine, but since they are sermons and not lectures, the preacher’s purpose is to move the wills of his hearers to repentance for sin and the practice of virtue in order to attain eternal life. Some of these sermons are very long, running to ten thousand words – lasting up to an hour and a half. Of course in those days there was not much entertainment and apparently long sermons, for many listeners, were like a substitute for entertainment, since there is some resemblance between a good preacher and an actor.

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