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Staupitz & Cardinal Cajetan QUESTION from Rev. H. Wallace Hudson, Jr October 27, 2000 How does Staupitz fit in to the Reformation? What is the biographical information on Cardinal Cajetan?
ANSWER by Mrs. Suzanne Fortin, B.A. on November 2, 2000 Dear Reverend Hudson,
Johann von Staupitz was the Vicar-general of the German congregation of Augustinians. He was influential in that his spiritual advice indirectly led to the conception of Luther's Protestant theology. Luther had a serious problem with scruples, and in order to help him along, Staupitz would tell Luther to focus on Christ, to keep his mind constantly on him and his saving sacrifice, and how His blood won for Him the gift of Redemption. You can see where all of this is going. Martin Luther had a low opinion of man's capabilities, and his total focus on Faith made him lose sight of other elements that are necessary for salvation, such as works, and grace.
Staupitz also ordered Luther to study for his doctorate in Scripture studies. He had hoped that Luther's constant focus on the work of Our Lord would make him see how much our Lord loves us and does not wish to lose us. I think it worked a little too well :).
Staupitz was called upon to try to persuade Luther to recant, but to no avail. Although he held some views that were similar to Luther's, he always remained faithful to the Church. Luther esteemed Staupitz right up to his death and kept in contact with him in spite of the fact that his former superior would never forsake the Church.
Cardinal Cajetan's religious name was Thomas de Vio. He was known as Cajetan after his place of birth, Gaeta. He was an excellent student and became head of the Dominican order at the age of thirty-nine. He built up a reputation as a scholar of Aquinas and was very well versed in issues regarding the papacy so he was amply prepared to answer the charges of Luther. For more information on Cajetan, check out the Catholic Encyclopedia.. There is also an article on Johan von Staupitz.
Thank you for your question.
God Bless, Suzanne Fortin
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