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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Books, Old and New

Scipione Rebiba - A Biography

Thanks to two priests of the Diocese of Patti, we finally have a biography of Scipione Rebiba.  Father Basilio Rinaudo, Rector of the Seminary of the Diocese of Patti and a native of San Marco d'Alunzio - the birthplace of Scipione Rebiba - and Father Salvatore Miracola, parish priest of San Marco d'Alunzio, have published an excellent biography of the bishop to whom more than 95 percent of the current world-wide hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church trace their episcopal lineages.

Il Cardinale Scipione Rebiba (1504 - 1577), Vita e azione pastorale di un vescovo riformatore (L'Ascesa, 2007; ISBN 978-88-903039-0-6) is a meticulously documented account of the life and pastoral activity of Cardinal Rebiba.  The authors have provided extensive footnotes in this two hundred page book which includes an eleven page bibliography as well as documentary and photographic appendices. 

While the book contains no new information on the episcopal ordination of Scipione Rebiba, it provides its readers with a wealth of information on his life and works. We learn that his family's origins are French and that he was born in San Marco (today called San Marco d'Alunzio).  As a young priest, he quickly became a preferred member of the ecclesiastical family of Gian Pietro Cardinal Carafa, the future Pope Paul IV.  As a priest and bishop, he provided loyal and valuable service to Carafa both before and after Carafa's election to the See of Peter. Rebiba's fidelity and dedication to the Church never faltered.  He died at Rome on 23 July 1577 and is buried in the Church of San Silvestro al Quirinale.

This biography makes Scipione Rebiba more than just a name at the end of an episcopal lineage.  It tells the story of a good, faithful, zealous successor of the apostles.  

I thank the authors for providing us with this excellent work.  Molte grazie !!!

Ordering information may be obtained by contacting Father Rinaudo at:

Seminario Vescovile
via Magretti, 147
98066 Patti (Me)
Fax: (39) 0941 21591

Some new “old” books
In 1881, Dr Julian Pelesz, a priest of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Lviv of the Ukrainians, rector of the Greek Catholic Central Seminary in Vienna, and future Eparch of Stanislaviv (1885-1891) and of Przemysl (1891-1896) published Geschichte der Union der ruthenischen Kirche mit Rom,  a history of the union of the Ruthenian and Ukrainian Churches with the Holy See.
This important historical work contains, among other data, the episcopal ordinations of Ukrainian, Ruthenian,  Romanian, and Croatian Byzantine bishops . 
Concerning the use of the name Ruthenian in the title of the book, it should be noted that both Ukrainian and Ruthenian eparchs and eparchies were regularly called Ruthenian in Roman documents prior to the twentieth century. 
This excellent work is available free on Google books:
Another new old book is Les Syriens catholiques et leur Patriarche Mgr Ant Samhiri published in 1855 by l'abbé Jean Mamarbaschi, the secretary of the Patriarchate of Antioch.  This small (24 page) book recounts the entry of the future Patriarch of Antioch of the Syrians into full communion with the Holy See, as well as that of other Syrian Orthodox (then called Jacobite) bishops and faithful.   This book is also available for free download at:
Finally, we have a book written in 1852 by the Rev. George Percy Badger, an Anglican priest: The Nestorians and their Rituals (with the narrative of a mission to Mesopotamia and Coordistan in 1842-1844). This book describes the profession of faith of Archbishop Mar Youhannan VIII Hormizd, a future Patriarch of Babylon of the Chaldeans, who was ordained bishop on May 22, 1776 by his uncle Patriarch Eliya XII Denha.  This book is available at:
 I wish to thank Father Glen J. Pothier, DTh, JCL, Adjutant Judicial Vicar of the Diocese of Palm Beach, for bringing these valuable works to my attention.  Father Pothier is tri-ritual (Latin, Ruthenian, and Melkite rites).  
 Recommended reading

Since the middle of the twentieth century, there have been many works on the episcopates of various nations and on the members of religious orders and congregations who have been raised to the episcopal dignity. 

Among the more recent additions to these works is a book on the College of Cardinals by Father Jean Le Blanc: Dictionnaire biographique des cardinaux du XIXe siècle. Contribution à l`histoire du Sacré-Collège sous les pontificats du Pie VII, Léon XII, Pie VIII, Grégoire XVI, Pie IX et Léon XIII. 1800 - 1903. (Wilson & Lafleur. Montréal. 2007. ISBN 978-2-89127-801-0).

This book contains a wealth of information on the cardinals of the nineteenth century. It is meticulously documented and is another example of the author`s superb works on the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. 

It is in the same style as his Dictionnaire biographique des évêques catholiques du Canada.  Les diocèses catholiques canadiens des Églises latine et orientales et leurs évêques; repères chronologiques et biographiques, 1658-2012 2e édition  (Wilson & Lafleur. Montréal.  2012.  ISBN 978-2-89689-006-4). 

Father LeBlanc`s Dictionnaire is the finest work on the Catholic bishops of Canada to date and it would be difficult for anyone to surpass his excellent work.  He has brought together in one place a wealth of information on the Canadian Catholic bishops. I highly recommend both of Father LeBlanc's books.

Monsignor Francis J. Weber, Archivist of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, has gifted historians, both ecclesiastical and secular, and those who have an interest in the history of the Roman Catholic Church in California with numerous books, monographs, and articles on this area of church history. His published works are too numerous to list in this brief space, but his biographies of James Francis Cardinal McIntyre - His Eminence of Los Angeles. James Francis Cardinal McIntyre. 2 vols  St. Francis Historical Society.  Mission Hills, California.  1997 - and Timothy Cardinal Manning - Magnificat: The Life and Times of Timothy Cardinal Manning. Kimberly Press, Inc. Santa Barbara, California.  1999 - are among the finest biographies of twentieth century U. S. cardinals.  They would be excellent additions to the library of anyone interested in the College of Cardinals and the episcopate of the United States.

The late Cardinal Carlos Oviedo Cavada, O. de M., Archbishop of Santiago de Chile (1990-1998) was an historian of the Chilean episcopate and of his religious order, the Mercedarians.  He was the author of Los Obispos de Chile  1561-1978 (Santiago de Chile, 1979); Los Obispos de Chile (2d ed  Editorial Andrés Bello. Santiago de Chile. 1996); and Los Obispos Mercedarios (Santiago de Chile, 1981). His collaborative work Episcopologio Chileno 1561-1815 (4t. Santiago de Chile, 1992) provides an in-depth look at the Catholic Church in Chile and its bishops for that period. These are the seminal works on the Catholic bishops of Chile and on the Mercedarian bishops. 

Two late Spanish priests have provided us with three episcopologios of the Church in Spain for the years 1500 to 1985. Monsignor Lamberto de Echeverría published his Episcopologio Español Contemporáneo (1868-1985) in Salamanca in 1986. Father Vidal Guitarte Izquierdo, a former student of Lamberto de Echeverría, gave us Episcopologio Español (1700-1867) (Castellón, 1992) and Episcopologio Español (1500-1699) (Castellón, 1994). These three works chronicle the episcopal ordinations of the bishops of and from Spain for a period of almost five centuries.

A book on Colombian bishops

Recently I was privileged to receive a copy of a book dedicated to Colombian bishops associated with the Department of Antioquia, Colombia.  Doctor Ricardo Zuluaga Gil is the author of Antioquia y el Episcopado, published in 2011 by the Centro de Historia del Municipio de San Vicente Ferrer. 

Doctor Zuluaga Gil is a lawyer, Doctor of Law from the University of Salamanca, Titular Professor of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Cali, a corresponding member of the Academia Antiqueña de Historia, and of the Academia Colombiana de Historia Eclesiástica.   His outstanding gifts of intellect are apparent as one peruses this interesting work.

The author has gathered together in one volume a wealth of documentation on the development of the Catholic Church in Antioquia as well as key biographical information on the bishops who have been responsible for the evangelization of this region.

I thank Doctor Zuluaga Gil for authoring this important work on the bishops of Colombia..

Zuluaga Gil, Ricardo
Antioquia y el Episcopado
San Vicente, Colombia

ISBN: 978-958-44-9516-7

An impressive work on Augustinian bishops

The year 2014 has seen the publication of a monumental, three volume work on the bishops and cardinals of the several Augustinian orders.  Professor Rafael Lazcano has given church historians a well-documented biographical and bibliographical study of Augustinian bishops. Episcopologio Agustiniano brings together the bishops of the Order of Saint Augustine (O.S.A.), the Recollect Augustinian Order (O.A.R.), the Discalced Augustinian Order (O.A.D.), the Discalced Augustinian Order of Portugal (A.D.P.), which became extinct in 1834, and the Augustinians of the Assumption (A.A.), also known as the Assumptionists. 

Professor Lazcano includes cardinals, bishops, bishops-elect (those who refused the episcopate and those who died before they could receive episcopal ordination), and priests who were presented for the episcopate but who were not preconized by the Roman Pontiff.  He also includes papal sacristans, most of whom were named bishops.  The office of papal sacristan was confided to members of the Order of Saint Augustine (O.S.A.).  Others included in this work are priests who exercised jurisdiction as local ordinaries withoIut the episcopal character: apostolic prefects territorial prelates (also known as prelates nullius), and apostolic administrators. 

Episcopologio Agustiniano is as impressive as is its author. Professor Lazcano is known for his extensive knowledge of the Augustinians and for the quality of his published works. He is the editor of the new edition of España Sagrada and is the author of important biographies of Martin Luther, Gregor Mendel, and Blessed Anna Katharina Emmerick.  Professor Lazcano served as director of the Colegio Mayor Universitario San Agustín of Madrid (1997 to 2001); founder and director of Editorial Agustiniana (1988 to 2001); and director of Revista Agustiniana (1993 to 2001).  His Wikipedia entry is long and impressive:

Each volume contains dozens of color plates with portraits and maps.  This work is arranged in alphabetical order by dioceses (residential and titular) and other territorial jurisdictions. The author clearly explains the scope and the limits of the work. Each entry presents the name of the bishop and information on his life before and after elevation to the episcopate. A bibliography completes each entry. 

Each volume costs 73 euro. Information on ordering these volumes can be found at the following site:

This beautiful work would be a welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in the episcopate.   

I also recommend a visit to Professor Lazcano's blog where one can peruse many interesting posts and other fine articles he has written.      Rafael Lazcano