Holy spirit

The Holy Spirit Reforms the Church through the Saints | National Catholic Registry

During an audience with the religious order founded by Saint Cajetan, the Pope emphasized that “reform must begin with oneself”.

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said Saturday that it takes saints to reform the Church, and for that, every Catholic is called to a deeper “second conversion.”

“It is the Holy Spirit who forms and reforms the Church and does so through the Word of God and through the saints, who put the Word into practice in their lives,” Pope Francis said Jan. 15.

During an audience with the religious order founded by Saint Cajetan, the Pope emphasized that “reform must begin with oneself”.

A contemporary of Martin Luther in the 16th century, Cajetan sought to reform the Catholic Church, particularly the clergy, but from within the Church itself.

Pope Francis said that when Saint Cajetan “came to Rome to work in the papal curia, he noticed the sadly widespread spiritual and moral degradation.”

“And while he did his office work, he frequented the oratory of Divine Love, cultivating prayer and spiritual formation; then he went to the hospital to help the sick. This is the way: to begin with oneself to live the Gospel in a deeper and more coherent way,” the Pope said.

“All the saints show us like this. They are the true reformers of the Church,” he said.

Pope Francis stressed that each saint is “a project of the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, an aspect of the Gospel.”

Cajetan and a small group of like-minded priests founded the Congregation of Clerics Regular, known as Theatines, in 1524.

The community of priests sought to save souls primarily by living a moral life, by sacred studies, by preaching, and by ministering to the sick and poor.

Like many saints, Cajetan had a “vocation without a vocation,” or what could also be called “a second conversion,” the Pope said.

“It is about moving from an already good and esteemed life to a holy life, full of that ‘more’ that comes from the Holy Spirit,” Pope Francis said.

“This breakthrough is what grows not only the personal life of that man or woman, but also the life of the Church. This is what, in a certain sense, reforms it, purifying it and bringing out its evangelical beauty.

The Theatine order became known as powerful Catholic reformers even before the Protestant Reformation was fully implemented.

“Saint Cajetan evangelized Rome, Venice, Naples, and he did it above all by the testimony of life and the works of mercy, by practicing the great “protocol” that Jesus left us with the parable of the last judgment, Matthew 25 “, says Francois.

In 1527, the house of the Theatine Order in Rome was sacked by the troops of Emperor Charles V and the members fled to Venice.

At the age of 42, Cajetan founded a hospital for “incurables” in Venice, and worked to comfort and heal the sick during times of plague.

In 1533, the pope sent Cajetan to Naples, where he founded another oratory. The corresponding church, San Paolo Maggiore, became an important center of Catholic reform.

While in Naples, Cajetan also founded a non-profit charity bank designed to protect the poor from usury – or lend money at exorbitant rates of interest. Eventually, the bank became the Bank of Naples.

Cajetan fell dangerously ill and offered his sufferings for the conversion of the inhabitants of Naples. He died on August 6, 1547, feast of the Transfiguration, and was buried in the Basilica of San Paolo Maggiore in Naples.

Today, Theatines are present in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, the United States, Mexico, Spain and Italy. The order met the Pope at the Apostolic Palace as he leads his 164th General Chapter.

“I encourage you to go forward… with docility to the Holy Spirit, without rigid patterns… but firmly anchored in the essentials: prayer, adoration, community life, fraternal charity, poverty and the service of the poor,” said Pope Francis. .

“All this with an apostolic heart, with the good evangelical ardor to seek above all the Kingdom of God.