Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Doctor of the Church: San Juan de Ávila

This is really amazing news. It's a very rare occurrence that a new Doctor of the Church is named. "Doctor" comes from Latin and actually means "teacher". In the Catholic Church, a person is assigned the title "doctor" if their contributions in writing have been vast and influential.

The title first started to be used in 1298 when the original four doctors were named, Sts. Gregory the Great, Ambrose, Augstine, and Jerome. Their writings on doctrine and teaching were very influential and are often quoted today by churchmen.

Until 1970, the title belonged exclusively to men, but in that year two women, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Teresa of Avila were given that title. In 1997, St. Térèse de Lisieux became the third woman so honored.

Now, fourteen years later, St. John of Avila will become the 34th such individual. Some reports have stated that the designation is not yet official but that Pope Benedict is simply intending it.

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