June 2, 2009

Catholic Q & A: What is a Doctor of the Church?

The Catholic Church bestows the title “Doctor of the Church,” to persons of "eminent learning" and "great sanctity," whose writings have benefited the whole Church as affirmed by a papal proclamation or an ecumenical council. This honor is given posthumously, after canonization. No ecumenical council has proclaimed a Doctor of the Church, only popes.

The original Doctors of the Church; Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome, and Pope Gregory I. were named in 1298. They are known as the Great Doctors of the Western Church. In 1568 Pope St. Pius V recognized the four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Athanasius of Alexandria. To date, thirty-three men and women have been designated doctors of the Church.

St. Theresa of Lisieux (1873-1897), pictured right, is a Doctor of the Church.

1 comment :

Michelle said...

Love this blog!