Monday, December 21, 2009

St. Petrus Canisius (Peter Kanis) - A Saint For Our Times

I just read from Whosoeverdesires that it was St. Peter Canisius/Peter Kanis/Petrus Canisius feast day today. I'm good at reading about the saints (especially the early Jesuits) but bad at remembering their feast days.

I was studying for Reformation history and I read about him and St. Charles Borromeo, and other Cardinals of the era (Reginald Pole and Contrarini), and was fascinated by what I read about Canisius.

I read some of his work, and he doesn't seem like that great an author, but his actual preaching apparently drew crowds of even Protestants. I found it interesting how he seemed to say that Germans were open to Catholicism, it just wasn't being preached there. St. Peter said on anti-Lutheran and anti-Reformed polemics: "With words like these, we don’t cure patients, we make them incurable".

His method was much less reactionary, he emphasized devotion to Mary to the point that the Germans of Bavaria became so enamoured with the cultus of Our Lady that Lutheran apologists began to write tracts on Mary and how one could remain Lutheran and still have great respect, etc for her.

He was a great man, and his emphasis on the positives of Catholicism rather than the negatives of the Reformers seems to make him an ideal saint for our times. His missionary work is after all why Germany is half Roman Catholic rather than completely Lutheran.

Sanctus Petrus Canisius, Ora Pro Nobis

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