Author Topic: "most popular author who ever lived was St. Alphonsus Liguori"  (Read 1146 times)

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  • Commentaries and Facts about St. Alponsus de Liguori

    Contributed by an Anonymous Author

    Permission to post this collection has been given by its author, who desires to remain anonymous. Many of the quotations are given to prove that (i) St. Alphonsus was a Thomist (which some people seem to deny) and (ii) St. Alphonsus was not a rigorist (as some claim).

    (Best-selling author of all time) “In 1933 a Flemish Redemptorist, Fr. Maurice De Meulemeester, published a folio volume of 370 pages listing all the printed works of St. Alphonsus and naming his translators and publishers. According to this, there had been 4,110 editions of St. Alphonsus in the original language, which was either Italian or Latin. Altogether there had been 17,125 traceable editions in 63 languages. Besides his books and booklets, 1,451 letters of St. Alphonsus have been published. In figures given in 1961 for Shakespeare, the number of languages into which he had been translated was 77. But in editions of his works, Shakespeare, with a head start of 150 years, trails St. Alphonsus by some 7,000 editions. (An edition here means a publication containing one or more of his works) In August, 1962, an article by R. J. Miller C.SS.R. in ‘The Liguorian’ estimated that there had been some 21,000 editions of the various works of St. Alphonsus. This would mean that, as of that time, one or other of his works had been put out in a new edition somewhere in the world every three or four days for the previous 200 years! Fr. Miller says that St. Alphonsus Liguori, as a published author, has no competitors: «The most popular author, who ever lived, was St. Alphonsus Liguori, and he never wrote a novel. No other writer, sacred or profane (we are not speaking of the Holy Bible, which is a class by itself), ancient or modern, has had so many different editions of his works published as St. Alphonsus.»” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 623-624)

    (in 1961)



    St. Alphonsus (+1787)



    Shakespeare (17th c)







    Any language


    Way of the Cross


    63 editions


    890 editions

    De Meulemeester

    Visits to the Bl. Sacrament


    54 editions


    2,009 editions

    De Meulemeester

    Glories of Mary


    32 editions


    736 editions

    De Meulemeester

    Theologia Moralis

    82 editions



    21,000 editions


    (Doctor of the Church) “The Catholic Church recognized the wide influence of St. Alphonsus Liguori by declaring him a Doctor of the Church on July 7, 1871, as proclaimed in the Apostolic Letter of Pius IX. This was done 32 years after St. Alphonsus’ canonization, which took place on May 26, 1839, and less than a century after his death. «St. Thomas Aquinas had to wait for three centuries, St. Robert Bellarmine and St. Peter Canisius for more than three centuries. St. Albert the Great was not declared Doctor of the Church until seven centuries had passed. St. Alphonsus, however, received the title in less than a century after his death.»The earlier Doctors that were closest to him chronologically, but still more than a century and a half earlier, were St. Francis de Sales (+1622) and St. Lawrence of Brindisi (+1619).” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 624)

    (Way of the Cross & Visits to the Bl. Sacrament) “St. Alphonsus’ Way of the Cross and Visits to the Blessed Sacrament give familiar testimony to his devotion to the sacred humanity of Christ. These are his works most published in English, and in fact all languages. According to a count made in 1933, the Way of the Cross had at that time been published 63 times in English and 890 times in all; the Visits had been published 54 times in English and 2,009 times in all.” (Source: Thirthy-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 616)

    (Pius IX) “One can in fact assert that there has not been one error even in our times which Alphonsus, at least in great measure, did not fight against.” (Source: Qui Ecclesiae Suae, Apostolic Letter, Pius IX, Rome, 1871)

    (Glories of Mary) “The Glories of Mary «is probably the most widely read book on the Blessed Virgin in the world.» [F. J. Connell in ‘Thought’, Fordham U. Press, 7:279-287]. As of 1933, The Glories of Mary had been published 32 times in English and 736 times in all.” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 617)

    (General information) “The first book published by St. Alphonsus was the ‘Visits to the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Blessed Virgin Mary’. This was in about 1745, when he was already 49 years old. His last work came out in 1777, and concerned the fidelity of vassals. For about 30 years he poured out his literary work, to the total of 111 distinct titles. Some of these were of pamphlet size. But many also were sizeable books. His ‘Moral Theology’ alone was 4,000 pages, and the above-mentioned volumes run 400 to 900 pages each (usually including more than one work in a volume). For a man who started writing rather late in his life, St. Alphonsus’ output was tremendous.” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 624)

    (Msgr. Jean-Joseph Gaume on the ‘Selva’) “Its merits are well told by Msgr. Gaume in the preface to his French translation. «This book,» he says, «is a sacred tribune, from which speak in turn the prophets, the apostles, the apostolic men, the martyrs, the solitaries, the most illustrious pontiffs of the East and the West, the most famous doctors, the masters best skilled in the science of the Saints, the successors of St. Peter and the Councils, the organs of the Holy Ghost; in a word, antiquity, the middle ages, modern times, the entire Church. In the midst of this august assembly, what does the holy Bishop do? Nearly always he limits his task to the modest role of a narrator. There are no long reasonings, inductions, special interpretations. (…) The world and the clergy, who are to save the world, stand in need of Catholic thought, and the Saint gives it pure and entire; he fears to weaken it by mingling it with his own.»”(Source: American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 1, April 1889, p. 158-159)

    (Book ‘Praxi Confessarii’) “He established at this time a little work which had the greatest success in Italy, entitled «Method for the Confessor to exercise his ministry well.» This work was so much admired that the most learned men went the length of saying that he could not have composed it without the special assistance of his guardian angel.” (Source: LIFE OF S. ALPHONSO MARIA DE LIGUORI, ch. XXXII, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 89)

    (Book ‘Praxi Confessarii’) “The author of Dictionary of Illustrious Men, says of this work, «It breathes a divine unction; all is charity, gentleness, and moderation.» Three years before Orchi had published at Venice something of the same sort, but according to the critic just quoted they were instructions undigested and full of fanaticism, which the work of Alphonso would soon cast into oblivion.” (Source: LIFE OF S. ALPHONSO MARIA DE LIGUORI, ch. XXXII, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 89)

    (Not a rigorist) “There were many whom other confessors had rejected because of their want of good dispositions, who yet were received by Alphonso, and who persevered in their good resolutions to live and die good Christians.” (Source: LIFE OF S. ALPHONSO MARIA DE LIGUORI, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 137)

    (Book ‘Praxi Confessarii’) “Francis Zaccharie, a learned Jesuit, eulogized the work in the twelfth volume of his History of Literature where he says, «What a precious book! It is an antidote which destroys the poison contained in the ‘Instructions to Confessors and Penitents,’ published by Orchi; what a difference between these two books! The practice of Father Liguori breathes a divine unction, we see in it but charity, gentleness, and moderation; the instructions of the other are full of harshness, arrogance, and fanaticism. In the first, we see the wise man who seeks the salvation of souls; the other is a haughty character who precipitates the faithful into despair. The one follows a method just and wisely reasonable, which smoothes the way for penitence; the other, on the contrary, creates but a confusion of extravagant opinions, which inspire an aversion to sacramental confession.»” (Source: LIFE OF S. ALPHONSO MARIA DE LIGUORI, ch. XXXII, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 90)

    (Benedict XIV) “Benedict had such a high esteem for his wisdom, that on one occasion, when a celebrated Neapolitan missionary came to consult him on a difficult case, this great Pope would not give a decision, but contended himself with replying, «You have the Father Liguori at Naples, consult him.»” [Remark: This is all the more remarkable as the Catholic Encyclopedia speaks about Benedict XIV in the following terms: «one of the most erudite men of his time . . . perhaps the greatest scholar among the popes» (Catholic Encyclopedia: Benedict XIV, Healy P. J., 1907)] (Source: Life of S. Alphonso Maria de Liguori, ch. XXXII, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 56

    (Thomistic) “If we examine this work, we shall find that it is but an extract from the ecclesiastical and civil laws; where these foundations were wanting, he adopted the doctrine of St. Thomas, and supplied the remainder by the authority of theologians generally approved.” [Remark: This comment comes from Fr. Tannoia. Father Antonio Tannoia C.SS.R. was a contemporary of St. Alphonsus and became the first biographer of the saint.] (Source: Life of S. Alphonso Maria de Liguori, ch. XXXII, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 53)

    (Thomistic) “In 1747 the most important general meeting was held in regard to the rules. . . . The original rule and constitutions . . . were read and approved. Then twenty-five statutes were added among which the following are of particular interest: . . . VIII. In scholastic theology, St. Thomas must be chiefly followed.” (Source: ST. ALPHONSUS MARY DE LIGUORI, Miller D. F. C.SS.R., London, 1940, p. 168)

    (Solidness of his research) “Whenever he had a difficult case to consider, besides meditation and prayer, he passed entire months in examining different opinions, and when he was not convinced with consulting the Fathers of his own Congregation, he sent to Rome and Naples for the opinion of the best theologians; and principally to the Sacred Congregations which are at Rome as the organs of the Sovereign Pontiff.” [Remark: This comment comes from Fr. Tannoia. Father Antonio Tannoia C.SS.R. was a contemporary of St. Alphonsus and became the first biographer of the saint.] (Source: Life of S. Alphonso Maria de Liguori, ch. XXXII, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 55-56)

    (Neutrality of his work) “Alphonso as we have seen, attached himself to no party; he respected all, but above all he revered reason, and made the authority of the Church his law.” [Remark: This comment comes from Fr. Tannoia. Father Antonio Tannoia C.SS.R. was a contemporary of St. Alphonsus and became the first biographer of the saint.] (Source: Life of S. Alphonso Maria de Liguori, ch. XXXII, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 53)

    (Spirit behind the work) “This work was the fruit of a pure zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, and while he laboured at it, he never embraced or rejected any opinion without having this double object in view, nor did he ever take up his pen without recommending himself to Jesus Christ and the Blessed Virgin, whose images he had always before him.” [Remark: This comment comes from Fr. Tannoia. Father Antonio Tannoia C.SS.R. was a contemporary of St. Alphonsus and became the first biographer of the saint.] (Source: Life of S. Alphonso Maria de Liguori, ch. XXXII, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 52)

    (Not a rigorist) “In this work he has been extremely careful to avoid the extremes of a relaxed probabilism or a rigid austerity, both of which are pernicious to the soul; but he followed throughout the line of an exact equity. He did not seek to release souls from the bonds imposed upon them by Jesus Christ and His Church, but neither would he have them laden with what neither Christ nor His Church had intended they should bear. His was not a rigidity to frighten or disturb consciences, neither was it an indulgence to flatter the passions or derogate from the Gospel. Where the law was clear, he took advantage of the liberty; and when it was not clear, if he favoured liberty, it was without giving in to relaxation; in a word, his was not that rigid spirit which turn into precept that which is not, wishing to make everything sinful, nor that easy and accommodating spirit which gives liberty where there is precept.” [Remark: This comment comes from Fr. Tannoia. Father Antonio Tannoia C.SS.R. was a contemporary of St. Alphonsus and became the first biographer of the saint.] (Source: Life of S. Alphonso Maria de Liguori, ch. XXXII, Tannoia Antonio Maria C.SS.R., vol. II, Birmingham, 1847, p. 52)

    (Method of St. Alphonsus) “In reference to the method of St. Alphonsus, we may say that his theology is simply a commentary to the Medulla of Herman Busenbaum. Such the author himself shows it to be not only by making use of this title, but also in retaining the arrangement and disposition of parts as found in the original. Nevertheless, as a commentary it is entirely his own work, inasmuch as he follows the original in the same way as St. Thomas follows Aristotle, correcting, explaining, and adding to the text according to his own judgement. The holy Doctor himself expresses this in his preface to the reader when he says: «Ut justa methodus servaretur, medullam Hermanni Busenbaum praemittendam censui, non jam ut omnes ipsius Auctoris opiniones approbarem, sed tantum ut ejusdem methodum sequerer, quae inter aliorum auctorum methodos ad res morales exponenedas valde accommodata mihi visa fuit.» – As to the doctrine of St. Alphonsus, it is derived from the casuists who preceded him, principally the Salmanticenses, as the Saint himself declares in the preface of his first edition: «Alia explicanda, alia addenda censui (ad Busenbaum) ex diversis probatorum doctorum auctoritatibus, nimirum S. Thomae, Lessii, Sanchez, Castropalai, Lugo, Laymann, Bonacina, Viva, Croix, Roncaglia et aliorum, praesertim Salmanticensium, qui communi aestimatione moralem hanc scientiam diffuse et egregie pertractant; quosque ipse inter caeteros frequentius familiaris habui, ita ut fere omnia quae iidem tot libris latiore calamo in examen revocant, breviter concinnata hic invenias.» Anyone who compares the text of St. Alphonsus with that of the Salmanticenses will find that both works in most cases treat the same questions in the same order, giving the same solutions, the same arguments and authorities. If we enquire what was the special aim of St. Alphonsus in writing his work, we learn from the preface of it, and also from a letter addressed by him to Benedict XIV, that it was his purpose to publish a book on moral theology, which, whilst maintaining a middle course, would bring together in one, the best founded and most necessary teachings for the guidance of consciences. That he actually attained this end has been attested more than once by the Holy See. – And as regards, in fine, the merit of St. Alphonsus as a writer on moral theology, he excels rather in the wise choice among different opinions, and a deeply Christian instinct, than in depth of erudition or superiority of system; we may say, in one word, that in the matter of prudence (which he had mainly at heart) he outranks most others, whilst in the matter of strictly scientific exposition (to which portion of his work he could not, owing to the multitude of his duties, devote his full attention), many are superior to him.” (Source: Theologia moralis fundamentalis, Bouquillon Thoma Jos., Brugis, 1890, p. 113, as quoted in: American Ecclesiastical Review, Vol. 3, July 1890, . p. 53)

    (Confessional) “He treated his penitents as souls to be saved rather than as criminals to be punished or frightened into better ways; he is said never to have refused absolution to a penitent.” (Source: Butler’s Lives of the Saints: St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Butler)

    (General information) “One hundred and three different books streamed from his tireless pen – books on asceticism, on dogmatic theology, on moral theology, even a treatise on mathematics, and yes … even poetry! But his books on moral theology provide perhaps the principal reason why he is Patron of confessors. They have run through at least 465 editions to date, are printed even in Arabic, Annamite and Armenian, and can be found in every Catholic seminary in the world. His large ‘Moral Theology,’ the ninth edition of which came from his hands at the age of eighty-nine, comprised 4,000 pages in quarto. This, his final edition, in which he sifts and synthesizes the opinions of 800 authors and cites them seven thousand times, has to date run through eighty-two editions. Since the first edition in 1749, who can say the thousands of priests who have been trained for the confessional through the study of his pages, and are still being trained today! The recently canonized St. Vincent Strambi C.P., was one, as was also the sainted Curé of Ars. Canon Sheehan goes so far as to say: «If a priest were to leave these shores (Ireland) in the morning, and go off in the Scriptural sense without scrip or staff or shoe, he must at least, in his most abject poverty, take three books with him – his Breviary, his Missal, an the ‘Moral Theology’ of St. Alphonsus.»” (Source: Homoletic and pastoral review: New Patron of Confessors, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Vol. LI, No. 6, March 1951, Fr. Galvin J. J. C.SS.R., 1951, p. 510-511)

    (Papal approval) “No ecclesiastical writer has ever received more direct, positive and formal approbation than that accorded by the Holy See to the moral writings of this Doctor of the Church. While still alive, four Popes expressed their admiration of his prudent doctrine. (…) In 1831, Pope Gregory XVI enhanced this approbation when he decreed that professors of theology could safely teach any opinion of St. Alphonsus, and that confessors, without weighting reasons, could safely follow him – simply on the fact that St. Alphonsus said so. Each of the thirteen predecessors of Pius XII in the chair of Peter has in some way or another recommended, approved or exalted the ‘Moral Theology’ of the Patron of confessors. In his Apostolic Brief of April 26, 1950, Pope Pius XII alludes to some of them. «By his learned writings, especially his ‘Moral Theology,’ he dissipated the darkness of error with which Jansenists and unbelievers have cloaked the world» (Pius IX). He was «the most illustrious and benign of moralists» (Leo XIII). «He illumined obscurity, made doubts plain and clear, and in the maze of over-strict and over-lax theological opinions, he hewed a path which directors of souls can tread in safety» (Pius IX). To this chorus of pontifical voices, Pope Pius XII felt, he said, constrained to add his own, declaring St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori the celestial Patron of both confessors and moral theologians. For, as the Cardinals and bishops of Spain and Austria declared in their petition for his Doctorate, «the Moral Theology of St. Alphonsus has given back to the Sacred Tribunal of Penance the mercy and the kindness of the Sacred Heart.» We priests therefore, when hearing confessions, will do well to imitate the example and practice the teachings of this great Patron of Confessors. In particular, we should avoid severity, impatience, unkindness, and haste. Let us give the people time enough to make their confession and say their act of contrition, and be kind to them; and let us never fail in that sympathy which should be the outstanding characteristic of an ‘alter Christus’.” (Source: Homoletic and Pastoral Review: New Patron of Confessors, St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Vol. LI, No. 6, March 1951, Fr. Galvin J. J. C.SS.R., 1951, p. 511)

    (Pius IX) “During his exile in Naples, Pope Pius IX, in his veneration for St. Alphonsus, determined to make a pilgrimage to the Saint’s tomb. On 8 October, 1849 he celebrated Mass at the altar beneath which lie Alphonsus’ venerated remains; after which he knelt down and exchanged his pastoral ring for that which encircled the Saint’s finger.” (Source: Catholic, 2005, p. 10)

    (John-Paul I) “Alphonsus is a theologian for the practical problems which need to be solved quickly, following his own living experience.” (Source: S. Alfonso cent'anni fa era proclamato Dottore della Chiesa, John-Paul I, Vernice, 1972, p. 41)

    (John-Paul II) “The bicentenary of Alphonsus comes as a suitable occasion to dedicate ourselves anew to this task of study, in which we seek to possess (…) the great human balance and high sense of the faith which Saint Alphonsus possessed throughout his whole life as a scholar and a pastor.” (Source: Spiritus Domini, John-Paul II, Rome, 1987)

    (Last Doctor of the Church) St. Alphonsus is the closest (male) Doctor of the Church to our times.

    (Relic St. Alphonsus) “When the tomb of St. Alphonsus Liguori was opened years after his death, Pope Pius VII asked that the three fingers of his right hand be sent to Rome. «Let these three fingers that have written so well for the honour of God, of the Blessed Virgin, and of religion, be carefully preserved and sent to Rome.» by the editor, ‘The Glories of Mary’, Grimm ed., p. 20)” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 620)

    (Practicality St. Alphonsus) “Canon Sheehan said that St. Alphonsus was outstanding in the practical guidance of souls. «What St. Thomas Aquinas is to Christian philosophy, what St. Bellarmine is in controversy, that St. Alphonsus is in the practical department of ethical science and the guidance of souls.» (Quoted in the ‘Irish Ecclesiastical Record’, 56).” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 621)

    (Incarnation) “It has been said that St. Alphonsus Liguori was the St. Frances de Sales of Italy in meekness and spirit, but that unlike St. Francis he followed the Thomist view of the motive for the Incarnation. St. Thomas considered the coming of Christ as altogether remedial. Christ would not have come otherwise, «so far as God’s present decrees are concerned,» in the phrase of Fr. Faber. St. Alphonsus does speak plainly of holding the Thomistic view: «Christ came on earth only to suffer and, by His death on the cross for us, to draw us to His love.» (Reflections on the Truth of Divine Revelation, 1773). St. Alphonsus considered that in the decree of Providence, the Incarnation was due to mercy of God. Had man not sinned, Christ in the present decree would not have come.” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 616)

    (Divine Maternity B.V.M) “Mary’s mercy, this viewpoint had a determining effect on St. Alphonsus’ basic thinking about the Blessed Virgin. Her divine maternity was decreed dependently on God’s pre-vision of man’s sin, since Christ, in the same present decree, came only after this prevision. Therefore, Mary’s children can turn to her with unbounded confidence, since he holds her greatest privilege because of God’s mercy in giving us a Redeemer.” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 616)

    (Unique quality) St. Alphonsus is the only canonized saint in the Catholic Church who was a Bishop, the founder of his own order and a Doctor of the Church.

    (Immaculate Conception and St. Alphonsus) «Due to the effort of this popular Mariologist [St. Alphonsus], -the most influential in the history of modern Catholicism- the way was made easy for the ultimate triumph of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.» (Albert Hauck in ‘Realencyclopedie’, Vol. XII, p. 326, quoted in ‘Irish Ecclesiastical Record’ 82:391). St. Alphonsus entered the lists against Louis Muratori, Father of Italian History, who denied the Immaculate Conception, and defended it vigorously.” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 618)

    (Immaculate Conception and St. Alphonsus) “Pope Pius IX asks: «Are not the things we have solemnly approved concerning the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Mother of God and the infallibility of the Roman Pontiff when teaching ex cathedra … found and most clearly explained, and demonstrated with the strongest arguments, in the works of St. Alphonsus (Decree conferring the title of Doctor of the Church).” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 618)

    the Moral theology of St. Alphonsus

    (Garrigou-Lagrange) “(The) casuistic method, inefficacious in urging men to lead good lives, tends to laxism. (…) But during this period, there appeared a man, sent by God to remedy the evils of casuistry. This man was St. Alphonsus Liguori, doctor of the Church, founder of the Redemptorists, renowned author of many works, ascetic and moral, highly praised by various popes. He is rather practical than speculative. As founder of aequiprobabilism, he cleansed casuistry from the defects of probabilism and laxism.” (Source: Beatitude, Garrigou-Lagrange R. O.P., c. II, London, 1956, p. 13)

    (Aequiprobabilism and St. Thomas) “This system (aequiprobabilism) (…) is really in harmony with the views of St Thomas, and is supported by the great authority of St. Alphonsus, who is a doctor of the Church.” (Source: Beatitude, Garrigou-Lagrange R. O.P., c. xxi, London, 1956, p. 322)

    (Probabilism) “This system (probabilism) offends, not only perfection, but the very essence of prudence, which is not a mere counsel, but a strict obligation. The prudent man, since he is bound to act licitly, is likewise bound to seek and follow the truth, or then to stay as closely as he can to the truth. To act otherwise is to favour laxism. Against probabilism stands the great authority of St. Alphonsus, who, beginning as a probabilist, ended by confuting probabilism. Liberty, against a law in possession, is not a liberty which liberates. While we are free to choose a lesser good, we are not free to look upon a probable obligation as no obligation.” (Source: Beatitude, Garrigou-Lagrange R. O.P., c. xxi, London, 1956, p. 322-323)

    (List of ‘Eminent Thomists’ in the Catholic Encyclopedia) “Eighteenth Century: …De Rubeis (1775); Touron (1775); Thomas de Burgo (1776); Gener* (1781); Roselli (1783); St. Alphonsus Liguori (1787); Mamachi (1792) … ” (Source: Catholic Encyclopedia, Section ‘Thomism’, Kennedy D. J., N.Y., 1911)

    (St. Alphonsus was a Thomist) “Le système de saint Alphonse doit être appelé aussi le système de saint Thomas. Saint Thomas a jeté le semence. Saint Alphonse a fait mûrir le fruit.” [Translation: The system of St. Alphonsus should also be called the system of St. Thomas. St. Thomas has planted the seed. St. Alphonsus let the fruit grow.] The footnote belonging to “le système de saint Thomas” quotes the following:

    Haec est sententia D. Thomae, quam ego sequor... Theologorum princeps D. Thomas sic docet... S. Thomas sibi objicit... et sic respondet... D. Thomas docet... Ipse sibi objicit... et ita respondet... Evidenter appareret moralis certitudo sententiae nostrae, vel potius sententiae D. Thomae... Similitudo a D. Thoma hic allata nequit esse magis lucida et convincens... Doctor Angelicus subdit... Hanc suam sententiam D. Thomas valde confirmat... S. Doctor hoc sibi objicit et respondet... Docet S. Thomas... Eamdem sententiam D. Thomas fortius confirmat... S. Doctor affirmat... Attendamus hic quomodo S. Doctor fuerit semper firmus et uniformis in hac sua sententia... Posito igitur principio a D. Thoma tradito... S. Thomas docet... Docet S. Thomas... Id quidem agnovit D. Thomas... Hoc maxime confirmatur a S. Thoma... Ex hac autem doctrina S. Thomae... duo corollaria descendunt... Ex principio tam firmiter et multipticiter a D. Thoma probato... Principium a S. Thoma superius jam probatum est... Sed deveniamus nunc ad rationes intrinsecas: pro quibus rem ex suis principiis, Angelico Doctore semper duce, sumamus... S. Thomas sic definit... docet... quaesitum proponit... respondet... A S. Thoma alibi ita definitur... Idem S. Doctor tradit... sibi objicit... respondet... Id clare docet S. Thomas... Sicque asseveranter aio a S. Thoma doceri... Docet ipse S. Thomas... subdit... declarat... et objiciens sibi... respondet... Tradit S. Thomas... Docet Angelicus Doctor... Ad mentem S. Thomae indagandum... Nec obest quod dicit S. Thomas... Nam ipsemet S. Doctor ibidem ait... Hoc idem docet D. Thomas... S. Doctor sibi objicit... et respondet... Hoc clarius et firmius in alio loco statuit Magister Angelicus... (Quid) S. Thomas... intenderit... constat a contextu... Idem S. Thomas in alio loco aperte declaravit... Haec doctrina utique non est mea: est D. Thomas qui ponit quaesitum... et sibi objicit... et respondet... Idem docuit S. Thomas... Idem tradidit alibi S. Thomas... Itaque, secundum D. Thomam... Quod in hoc puncto S. Thomas docet, id solum sufficit ad nostram sententiam omnino firmandam... Idque confirmat D. Thomas... Hinc patet quod S. Thomas semper conformis fuit, nos instruens... Dixit... Dixit... Dixit... Dixit... Dixit... Itaque juxta has omnes D. Thomae doctrinas concludendum... Firmiter confirmatur principium a S. Thoma nobis traditum...” (Source: Système Moral de Saint Alphonse de Liguori, Delerue F. C.SS.R., Saint-Étienne, 1929, p. 138)

    (St. Alphonsus was a Thomist) “L’une et l’autre de ces deux règles, saint Alphonse les a empruntées à la doctrine de saint Thomas.” [Translation: Both one and the other of these two rules (i.e. the rules that constitute his aequiprobabilism) did St. Alphonsus borrow from the doctrine of St. Thomas.] (Source: Système Moral de Saint Alphonse de Liguori, Delerue F. C.SS.R., Saint-Étienne, 1929, p. 168)

    (Innocent XI) “Let it be enjoined upon the Father General of the Society of Jesus, as by order of His Holiness, not only to permit the Fathers of the Society to write in favour of the more probable opinion and to attack the opinion of those who assert that in a conflict of a less probable opinion with a more probable, known and estimated as such, it is allowed to follow the less probable; but also to write to all the Universities of the Society [informing them] that it is the mind of His Holiness that whosoever chooses may freely write in favour of the more probable opinion, and may attack the aforesaid contrary [opinion]; and to order them to submit entirely to the command of His Holiness.” (Source: Catholic Encyclopedia, Section ‘Probabilism’, Harty J.M., N.Y., 1911)

    (Pruemmer O.P) “Maximam authoritatem S. Alphonsi in theologia morali nedum omnes theologi, verum etiam S. Poenitentiaria proclamant. – Not only all theologians, but also the Sacred Penitentiary proclaims the highest authority of St. Alphonsus in moral theology. ” (Source: Manuale Theologiae Moralis, Prümmer M. O.P., Freiburg, 1958, p. XVI)

    (Approval of probabilism) “That the Church has given positive approval to Probabilism in the person of St. Alphonsus is proved from the fact that his works including his treatises in favour of Probabilism, received official sanction from the Decree of 18 May, 1803, the reply of the Sacred Penitentiary of 5 July, 1831 the Bull of Canonization of 26 May, 1839 and the Apostolic Letters of 7 July, 1871 (cf. Lehmkuhl, "Theologia Moralis", I, nn. 165-75). Æquiprobabilists reply that this argument proves too much for Probabilists, since the Church has also tolerated Æquiprobabilism, and has given it positive approval in the person of St. Alphonsus, whose works in favour of Æquiprobabilism received the sanction of the Holy See in the official documents of 1803, 1831, 1839, and 1871.” (Source: Catholic Encyclopedia, Section ‘Probabilism’, Harty J.M., N.Y., 1911)

    (Answer Sacred Penitentiary A.D. 1831) “The Apostolic See itself, or rather the Sacred Penitentiary, when asked, "Whether a professor of moral theology may quietly follow and teach the opinions which St. Alphonsus Liguori teaches in his Moral Theology", gave indeed an affirmative answer on 5 July, 1831; it added, however, "but those must not be reprehended who defend other opinions supported by the authority of reliable doctors".” (Source: Catholic Encyclopedia, Section ‘Moral Theology’, Lehmkuhl A., N.Y., 1911)

    (Effort) “He found it hard to be satisfied. «My original manuscripts,» St. Alphonsus said, «are entirely covered with marginal notes and erasures, as I am never contented, not even with myself.» When he had a feverish, throbbing headache, he held a piece of cold marble to his head and continued to write. «God knows how much effort and fatigue I have experienced in that work,» St. Alphonsus said of his ‘Moral Theology’, on which he labored for 30 years through eight editions.” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 621)

    (Authors consulted) “St. Alphonsus did his basic work on the Moral Theology from 1743 to 1748, digging through some 800 authors in finding opinions on various questions. He used the 300-page work of Herman Busembaum, S.J. as a handy guide, building his commentary on its subject matter and outline. His final revision of Moral Theology (the 8th) culminated in a 4,000-page work.” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 621-622)

    (Effort) “In a letter of September 21, 1748, St. Alphonsus describes the book, and also the labor it cost: «… The Book itself, I believe, should come to be most useful. Not very voluminous, but full of matter most substantial, it covers the whole moral field, especially with regard to matters of practice. I have included a brief ‘Practice for Confessing the Ignorant’… But enough. These are but trifling though bothersome matters in respect to a book which has cost me years and years of labor –especially these last, when for practically five years continuously, I have been at it for 8, 9, and 10 hours a day, until I really have become disgusted with it.»” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 622)

    (Unique position) “In 1831, Pope Gregory XVI had «decreed it safe to follow St. Alphonsus’ opinion, even if you do not know the reason behind it a badge of honour Rome has given no other saint” (Joseph Maier C.SS.R. in ‘The Priest’, Vol. 19, Sept., 1963).” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 623)

    (Patron of Confessors) “The 13 Popes preceding Pius XII had all in some way especially recommended St. Alphonsus’ Moral Theology. Pope Pius XII, on the occasion of the second centenary of the first edition of this great work of St. Alphonsus, designated him as the ‘Patron of Moralists and Confessors’. Pope Pius XII referred in his declaration on April 26, 1950 to the hearing of Confessions as the principal work committed to the Redemptorists by their founder. «Indeed, he committed to his companions, gathered into the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, as its principal duty, the hearing of Confessions.» The Redemptorist constitutions declare: «Nothing shall be dearer to the members than the hearing of Confessions, for there is no work better calculated to procure the glory of God and the salvation of souls.»” (Source: Thirty-Three Doctors of the Church, Rengers C. O.F.M. Cap., Washington, 1993, p. 625)

    (History of the Theologia Moralis) See LIFE OF ST. ALPHONSUS DE LIGUORI, Berthe A. C.SS.R., Dublin, 1905, p. 445-461.

    (Quotations) “The work may be described as a theological library in itself, for it contains about 80,000 quotations from 800 authors.” (Source: Life of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Berthe A. C.SS.R., Dublin, 1905, p. 453)

    (Corrections by St. Alphonsus himself) “«Certain opinions,» St. Alphonsus says at the beginning of the preface, «after subjecting them in the process of time to a more careful weighing in the balance, being only human, I have corrected. Nor have I been ashamed to do this, since St. Augustine was not ashamed to retract many things; so also St. Thomas” (Source: Life of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Berthe A. C.SS.R., Dublin, 1905, p. 456)

    (Benedict XIV) “The learned Benedict XIV, declared in a letter dated July 15, 1755, that the work would prove to be of the greatest utility and would win the favour of all.” (Source: Life of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Berthe A. C.SS.R., Dublin, 1905, p. 461)

    (The ecclesiastical censor) “The ecclesiastical censor gave his approval in terms of the highest praise: «This work,» he says, «contains nothing against good morals or Christian piety; none of those rigid propositions which the Church abhors, much less of those relaxed opinions which destroy souls. Everything in it bears the stamp of sound teaching; everything is based upon principles best able to secure the reformation of morals. The teaching it contains –the fruit of profound wisdom and persevering labour- has been drawn by the author from the Sacred Canons and Civil Law, the writings of the Angelical Doctor, the decisions of great moralists, and the decrees of the Pope now happily reigning. This work will be a treasure for priests, and especially for confessors, for they will find in it all the doctrine necessary for the instruction and direction of souls.»” (Source: Life of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Berthe A. C.SS.R., Dublin, 1905, p. 461)

    (Popes on St. Alphonsus) “«The easier he [the confessor] is, the more cruel he will be to their souls (Selva) It is remarkable that this last sentence of St. Alphonsus is cited with approval of Pope Pius XI, in the Encyclical on the Priesthood, and by Pope Pius XII in the Brief of 26 April 1950, appointing St. Alphonsus Patron of confessors and teachers of Moral Theology.” (Source: Notes on Moral Theology, Cleary J. A. C.SS.R., Dundalk, 1953, p. 112)

    (Editions) “Eight editions of the work were printed during the author’s lifetime, to say nothing of the numerous editions of the different abridgements composed by him in Italian or Latin (The ‘Istruzione e Practica’, the ‘Homo Apostolicus’, and the ‘Confessore Diretto’, the editions of which are innumerable) St. Alphonsus’ Moral Theology now placed by the Holy See beyond the reach of condemnation, is today in the hands of all, and has not a little contributed, as everyone knows, to merit for our Saint the title of Doctor of the Church.” (Source: Life of St. Alphonsus de Liguori, Berthe A. C.SS.R., Dublin, 1905, p. 461)

    (Authors consulted) The exact number of authors mentioned in the ‘Theologia Moralis’ is 749 in total.

    St. eugene de Mazenod and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate

    (St. Eugene de Mazenod) “For dogmatic theology, they resorted to Bailly, Bouvier and Liebermann successively. It was not until 1851 that the principal tracts were studied from an abridged edition of the Summa of St. Thomas. In moral theology, the doctrines of St. Alphonsus were to be taught by order of Bishop de Mazenod [founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate]. (…) New teachings in moral theology, therefore, were limited to the introduction of Liguorian principles.” (Source: Eugene de Mazenod, Vol. IV, Leflon J., New York, 1970, p. 17-18)

    (Rule of Oblates of Mary Immaculate) “Originally, he planned that the Rule should derive its components parts from «the Statutes of St. Ignatius, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Philip Neri, St. Vincent de Paul and the Blessed Liguori (Fr. de Mazenod to Tempier, October 9, 1815; Circulaires administratives de la Congrégation des Oblats de Marie Immaculée, I, 133) In 1818, however, everything or practically everything was limited to the Constitutions which St. Alphonsus gave to his Redemptorists. In fact, a comparison of texts reveals that Fr. de Mazenod adopted in their entirety and in many cases simply translated them word for word. [G. Cosentino, Histoire de nos Règles, I, Rédactions et Sources (1816-1818), p. 73-130]

    It is easy enough to establish this manifest plagiarism and use it to explain the exceptional rapidity of the Founder’s redaction, which Jeancard and Rambert incorrectly prolonged. On the other hand, it is far from clear why Fr. de Mazenod changed his initial order of choices. Why did Liguori who, in 1815, ranked lowest among the five models from which the components of the Rule were borrowed climb to the highest place in 1818? Why did Liguori eclipse St. Ignatius, St. Charles, St. Philip Neri and St. Vincent de Paul, even to the extent of becoming the source utilized almost exclusively at Saint Laurent? No statement of the Founder sheds any light on this point. Perhaps even he would have been hard put to give a clear explanation of the stages leading to this reversal, which resulted from a slow and more or less conscious formulation.

    It does not seem impossible, however, to pick out certain elements of the progressive movement which brought about his preference and restricted his choice: for one thing, his increasing devotion to the great bishop of Saint-Agatha of the Goths who was beatified in 1816. [Footnote: Not satisfied with adopting and teaching in his sermons the theological principles of the moral theologian, Father de Mazenod had placed his community under the protection of the missionary bishop. As soon as Liguori was beatified, the Founder dedicated an altar to him in the church of the Carmelites. On August 2, 1818, the newly-beatified’s feast day was solemnly observed for the first time. This devotion was even rewarded by a miraculous cure, shortly after that date, in favor of Madame Felix, wife of the chief clerk of the Aix Commercial Court. During that year of 1818, President de Mazenod devoted his leisure time at Marseilles, at his son’s request, to translating an abridged life of Liguori, published at Rome at the time of the beatification. His death in 1820 prevented him from finishing this work, and Father Jeancard, who originally was assigned merely to put the finishing touches on the manuscript, published in 1828 the first biography in French of the Founder of the Redemptorists, adapted from Tannoia’s three volumes in-quarto published at Naples (1799-1802) and from the acts of the canonical process. Cf. Vie de B. Alphonse-Marie de Liguori, évêque de Sainte-Agatha des Goths par Monsieur Jeancard, Missionaire de Provence (Paris-Marseille, 1828); 2 ed. in 1834. In addition, Fr. de Mazenod wrote to Monsieur Reinaud, a well-known engraver of Aix, and had him make engraved pictures of the future saint in order to spread that devotion among the faithful. Father Jeancard relates three cures obtained in Aix and Marseilles in 1827, through the intercession of the Blessed Alphonsus. The account of one of them was even sent to Rome to be used in the canonization process.] For another, the perfect similarity between the aims which Liguori set down for his Society and those which the Superior of the Missionaries of Provence was pursuing, using the exact same means. No religious congregation came closer to de Mazenod’s ideal; more and more, the Redemptorists’ Constitutions, a copy of which he had tried to obtain beginning with 1816, and which Fortuné brought with him on his return from Sicily around the beginning of 1818, seemed superlatively suited to his own small diocesan Society. [Footnote: On November 11, 1816, the President wrote back to his son who, on May 1 of that same year, had asked him to «visit the Redemptorist missionaries»established in Palermo, «to ask them for their Constitutions and Rules»(Rey, I, 197): «It was not without difficulty and delay that we finally succeeded in procuring what you had asked for, in the way of relics, pictures, constitutions and an abridged life of the Blessed Liguori(Aix, Méjanes, B 69). But the package did not reach its destination, and Canon Fortuné had to new steps with the Liguorians, who disliked the idea of giving their Rules to outsiders. Before leaving Sicily, Monsieur de Mazenod was able to assure Eugene once again by informing him on October 30, 1817: «Your uncle finally succeeded, not too easily, in procuring Bishop Liguori’s Constitutions.»(Ibid) Fortuné must have delivered this precious work personally to his nephew on disembarking at Marseilles.] It, too, was dedicated to the rural apostolate and to the practice of Christian perfection. Thus, instead of presuming to innovate, it seemed far better to hold to that rule which was hallowed by the authority of a newly beatified, and whose twofold aim matched the aims of the Aix Society so perfectly: The evangelization of country parishes and the personal sanctification of its members.


    In spite of the abundance and literalism of the excerpts he took from Liguori’s statutes, the Founder, nevertheless, added certain modifications and complements, since those statutes had been drafted in the eighteenth century, and the French Revolution, to which de Mazenod devoted several strongly-worded pages of his own, had achieved its «iniquitous work» since then. «To remedy all this evil and correct all this disorder»which made the «infernal operations» of the preceding era still more heinous, the activities of his institute would therefore have to become more diversified due to the changed order of things. Its primary aim, of course, would still be the same as that of the Redemptorists: «To form a group of secular priests who would live together in a community and strive to imitate the virtues and examples of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, principally by devoting themselves to evangelizing the poor… under the authority of the Ordinaries to whom they will always be subject.» Added to this aim was the determination to supply for the «lack of so many fine religious institutes»which once existed and the loss of which has left «a frightful void»; this would be done by cultivating the piety and fervor which flourished in religious orders, prior to their dissolution in 1791, and by reforming the clergy concerning whose state the Founder expressed himself in such harsh language that he would later soften the extreme severity of that particular part of his text. This broadened field of activity also included the spiritual direction of youth, chaplaincies in prisons, ministry the dying, and the salvation of the most abandoned souls, all inspired by his own past experience.


    As with the first part of the Rule relative to the claims of the Institute, the second part follows, step by step, the Rule of the Redemptorists, or, as it is termed, their ‘Statuti Capitolari’ of 1802. Here again, Father de Mazenod took circumstances into account and, instead of imposing the four vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and perseverance as exacted by Liguori’s Constitutions, he temporarily excluded the vow of poverty. «Reasons of circumstances,» he wrote. (…) However, although he renounced closely copying the Redemptorist Rule on this point, he borrowed from St. Alphonsus, who was a skilled jurist, a supplementary vow that would make the ties binding the Missionaries of Provence to their Institute more indissoluble. Paragraph 4 of Part II of the Rule stipulates: «In addition to the vows just mentioned, the members of the Society will take the vow of perseverance. By this vow, they will bind themselves to live until death in the Society and will be dispensed from it only by the Sovereign Pontiff or the Superior-General.» (…)

    The final section of Part II of the Rule treats of the other principal observances: charity, humility, unworldliness, frequent reception of the Sacraments, dress, care of sick members, suffrages for the dead, silence, recollection, mortification, community conferences. Some of the foregoing imitated the Rule of St. Alphonsus while others complemented it.

    Part III deals entirely with the government of the Society, modeled exactly upon that of the Redemptorists; an essentially monarchical form of governmentin which the only elective offices are those of the Superior-General, his assistants and the Bursar-General. The authority of the Superior-General is counterpoised only by the General Chapter.

    The two Rules, therefore, are very closely related. But, altogether Liguori’s sober and concise Constitutions seem rather juridicial, those of Father de Mazenod are copious in certain places with ascetical considerations. For example, he was influenced by Rodriguez, even to the point of repeating some of the latter’s inexact patristic questions in his introduction to what concerned poverty and obedience. Likewise, St. Ignatius furnished him with an entire passage on the demands of obedience and on the qualifications of a Superior-General. It might also be noted that opening one’s conscience to the Superior was obligatory for the Missionaries of Provence just as it is for the Jesuits.

    Obviously, then, the Rule as a whole lacked originality and since it had been redacted so hastily, it needed revising before it could be considered definitive. However, most founders of religious orders borrowed from rules of older orders, as prescribed by the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215. Their religious families nonetheless bear the distinguishing impress of their personalities. That of Father de Mazenod was forceful enough to give his Society such an individualizing mark that no one today would be likely to mistake an Oblate for a Redemptorist. Each of the two congregations has its own style of observing the same Rule.” (Source: Eugene de Mazenod, Vol. II, Leflon J., New York, 1970, p. 160-165)

    St. John Bosco and St. Alphonsus

    (Don Bosco’s priestly formation) “Among other errors, Jansenism taught that a penitent, guilty of sins not even particularly grave, could not be given absolution before months and even years of severe penance; Holy Communion demanded an angelic life and no Christian could ever be properly disposed to receive it worthily.

    To combat these pernicious errors there arose, in the middle of the 18th century, the Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Liguori, whose works provided a powerful antidote. Father Guala was very active in spreading the writings of this saint throughout Piedmont. Printed in France, they could be brought into Piedmont only clandestinely, because of government opposition. In this undertaking Father Guala found an able assistant in a penitent of his, a certain Giani, a sculptor from Cerano in Vall’Intelvi above Lake Como. Using Marietti’s bookstore [as his distribution center] he sold at low cost and sometimes donated to customers: The Way To Love Jesus Christ, The Glories Of Mary, The Great Means Of Prayer and Visits To The Blessed Sacrament. In a short time these precious books were in the hands of many religious and especially of young students. Besides these ascetical works, Father Guala distributed to priests St. Alphonsus’ two volumes on moral theology, and an bridged edition of Homo Apostolicus [The Apostolic Man]. He personally presented them to the many priests he knew, while his friend Giani offered them to pastors and other priests when they came to Marietti’s bookstore. Sometimes Giani would include free copies of St. Alphonsus’ works with books that had been ordered.

    Thus a start was made in correcting false ideas and many were rought back to the right path. Such holy and heroic labours induced many priests to study the moral principles taught by St. Alphonsus. In those days a great controversy was raging among theologians concerning the moral systems of probabilism and probabiliorism. The supporters of the former followed St. Alphonsus Liguori’s teaching which had been commended by the Church and declared free of censure. The supporters of the latter, instead, followed the opinions of some rigid authors, which, if not applied with prudence, could lead to the practice of an unreasonable rigorism, spiritually harmful.

    Father Guala’s aim in founding the ‘Convitto Ecclesiastico’ was to put an end to this controversy. With the charity and meekness of our Lord as a basis for all discussions, he was able in great part to quiet the dissension, and he succeeded in having St. Alphonsus accepted as the Master of moral and pastoral theology. This re- stored tranquillity of conscience to the faithful and was of great spiritual advantage to them.

    In the beginning, though, Father Guala had to make use of the official textbook of moral theology by Alasia; but he never failed to bring in St. Alphonsus, whom he habitually called «our saint». In those days it was dangerous to oppose Alasia’s teachings and Father Guala had to lecture with the greatest circumspection, for if news of this new trend in teaching had reached the diocesan board of education, it would certainly have created difficulties for this most worthy undertaking.

    Father Guala’s right-hand man was Father Joseph Cafasso, his substitute in the chair of moral and pastoral theology, and later his successor. Endowed with virtues capable of withstanding all adversities -a prodigious serenity, an admirable discernment and prudence, an exemplary, and at the same time, unassuming and sincere piety -Father Cafasso banished from Piedmont all traces of that acrimony which still lingered among some of the probabiliorists against the followers of St. Alphonsus. He also played an important part in the formation of a learned and exemplary clergy. (…) It was to this school, run by model priests and exceptional teachers that Don Bosco was invited. Father Cafasso’s advise was excellent. (…) Don Bosco looked upon Father Cafasso’s advice as a command and a heavenly inspiration.” (Source: BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS OF ST. JOHN BOSCO, Vol. II, Lemoyne Giovanni Battista, New Rochelle, 1966, p. 32-35)

    (Main Salesian Church of St. John the Evangelist in Turin) “Two other medallions are set above the two side doors opening into the vestibule . . . St. Alphonsus Liguori on the right and St. Francis de Sales on the left.” (Source: BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS OF ST. JOHN BOSCO, Vol. XV, Ceria Eugenio, New Rochelle, 1988, p. 309)

    St. Gabriel of the Seven Sorrows and St. Alphonsus

    (The ‘Song of Mary’) “During his novitiate or shortly afterwards Gabriel had compiled an anthology in praise of Mary. Usually called his ‘Marian Creed,’ it might with better reason be called his ‘Song of Mary.’ (…) In selecting material, Gabriel employed but one criterion. If the statement glorified the power of Mary, he accepted it, no matter how debatable the implications might seem to an exacting theologian. (…) If the original came from Fr. Norbert C.P., whence did Gabriel select his material? A careful scrutiny of the ‘Song of Mary’ elicits the interesting fact that every single item can be found and identified in the well-known work of St. Alphonsus Liguori, ‘The Glories of Mary.’ «The precision of the references is so complete,» observes Fr. Ntale Cavatassi C.P., «that it is not too difficult to trace the 148 quotations and to complete the two articles in the Marian Creed which the saint left unfinished» (Il Maestro e il Discepolo, Cavatassi, C.P., p. 23). In fact, apart from the insertion of the words, «I believe that besides a few conjunctive particles here and there, the entire text is taken bodily from the book of St. Alphonsus Liguori.»” (Source: Happy was my youth, Burk Edmund C.P., Westminster, 1962, 174-175)

    (Glories of Mary) “For spiritual reading he preferred books on Our Blessed Lady almost to the exclusion of all others. The two he particularly favoured were both well-known classics: ‘The Glories of Mary’ by St. Alphonsus Liguori, and ‘The Love of Mary’ by Dom Robert, a Camaldolese monk. [Footnote: These were amongst the first books given to him in the novitiate for spiritual reading. He frequently recommended both books in letters to his family.]” (Source: Happy was my youth, Burk Edmund C.P., Westminster, 1962, 182)

    St. Anthony Mary Claret and St. Alphonsus

    (Instructions by St. Anthony Mary Claret on preaching in a letter) “Explaining points of doctrine serves to instruct the people; sermons serve to move them. Sermons should be chosen with the listener in mind. St. Alphonsus calls some sermon topics, such as the last things, necessary, while he calls others optional.” (Source: Autobiography, St. Anthony Mary Claret, Chicago, 1976, § 294, p. 103)

    (Preferred authors of St. Anthony Mary Claret for sermons) “I have always been an avid reader of works by authors of sermons, especially of materials useful for preaching missions. I have read St. John Chrysostom, St. Alphonsus Liguori, Siniscalcqui, Barcia, and the Venerable John of Avilla.” (Source: Autobiography, St. Anthony Mary Claret, Chicago, 1976, § 300, p. 104)

    St. John Mary Vianney

    (Left rigorism thanks to St. Alphonsus) “Until 1840, he certainly followed the rigorism which at that time prevailed in most of the confessionals in France. . . . From 1840 onwards, thanks to some conversations with M. Tailhades, a pious priest, and one inclined to leniency; thanks to a study of the theology of St. Alphonsus, which had just been published in Frnech by Cardinal Gousset, the Curé d’Ars showed himself sensibly less strict: [Footnote: The interpretation of St. Alphonsus must have come to his knowledge by word of mouth or, maybe, someone lent him the works of that eminent moralist. The edition of Gousset (Théologie morale à l’usage des cures et des confesseurs, 2 vols. in 8, Paris, Lecoffre), which the Curé d’Ars had on his bookshelves, bears the date 1845.] Barring quite extraordinary cases, it never again happened, as it had in former days, that the same sinner was compelled to return to his confessional as often as five, six, or seven times.” (Source: THE CURÉ D’ARS, c. 14, Trochu F., London, 1927, p. 314)

    St. Frances Xavier Cabrini (Foundress of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart)

    (Inspiration for writing the rule of her institute) “Before she drafted this most important document [the Rule], she went into a profound study of the great Neapolitan, St. Alphonsus Liguori. Her library was pitifully small, but contained the essential. It is no wonder she selected this special Life to study, for, an Italian, St. Alphonsus was proclaime
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    Offline PereJoseph

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    "most popular author who ever lived was St. Alphonsus Liguori"
    « Reply #1 on: June 06, 2014, 04:04:49 PM »
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    Offline PerEvangelicaDicta

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    "most popular author who ever lived was St. Alphonsus Liguori"
    « Reply #2 on: June 08, 2014, 12:49:21 PM »
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  • Reading St. Alphonsus Maria de' Liguori and St. Louis de Montfort  directly influenced my transformation of  "duty" to honor Our Holy Mother into a true devotion and love for her.  


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