Doctors of the Church, writers who received this title from the Church, owing to their eminence in theology and holiness. They are extolled by the Church not primarily as witnesses of her faith (as are the Fathers), but on account of their brilliant exposition and skillful defense of Catholic doctrine. Unlike the titles of Doctor subtilis, or, Doctor resolutissimus, Doctor irrefragabilis, which enthusiastic scholars of the Middle Ages bestowed on renowned professors, this title is official.
The first to confer it was Pope Boniface VIII, who in the thirteenth century declared four Fathers the great Doctors of the Latin Church: St. Ambrose, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Gregory the Great. The next to be declared to be a doctor was St. Thomas Aquinas in 1567. Since then more than 20 renown theologians, all of them canonized saints, have received the same seal of approval, either from some pope or from the Sacred Congregation of Rites; the latest are St. Peter Canisius and St. John of the Cross, who received this honor from Pope Pius XI.
Owing to their title, the Doctors of the Church enjoy a special authority in the Church, thou not all in the same degree or in the same manner. As a rule, the range and degree of their authority are set forth in the degree by which the title is deferred. Thus St. Alphonsus of Liguori is recommended to theologians as master of moral theology, St. Jerome as biblical scholar, St. Bonaventure as eminent and scholastic theology. Still, their writings are not thereby pronounced infallible throughout, but they are proposed as safe guides, so that their doctrines are to be preferred unless solid reasons favor the opposite.
For a person to be proclaimed Doctor of the Church, three requisites are necessary, according to Pope Benedict XIV’s well-known definition:
1) An eminent doctrine,—— Benedict XVI [Checked]
2) A remarkable holiness of life——Benedict XVI [Checked]
3) The declaration by the Supreme Pontiff or by a General Council which has met legitimately—–[To Be Announced?]
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