Blessed James of Viterbo

June 4, 2018 all-day
Blessed James of Viterbo

James (1255?-1307?) wrote several works that reflected the teachings of Saint Augustine and his love for the Christian Church. In his way of life, he followed Augustine’s ideals.

Born in Viterbo, Italy, around 1255, James Cappoci entered the Augustinian Order around 1270. He studied philosophy and theology under the famous Augustinian scholar Giles of Rome. Later he taught in Naples and in Paris.

James earned a Doctorate in Theology in 1293. He was considered one of the best Scholastic Theologians. In recognition of his sharpness and intellectual capacity, he was nicknamed “the Speculative Doctor”.

His well-known book, Christian Government, published in 1303, describes the role of the Church in society.

While participating in the General Chapter of the Order in 1300, he was involved in a disagreement with Blessed Augustine of Tarano, who was Prior General (world leader) at that time. It seems that a German Friar, whose name is not known, was unjustly accused of some sort of misconduct. James defended the Friar. The Prior General publically denounced any Friar who supported the accused.

James, realizing that this reproach was directed against himself, rose to speak. He declared the sincerity of his belief that the accused Friar was not guilty of the charges, but said that he would humbly accept the judgment of his superiors in the matter. The entire assembly was edified by the humble tone of this reply.

He was named Bishop of Benevento in 1302. Towards the end of that same year, he was transferred to Naples as Archbishop.

James died in Naples either in 1307 or in 1308. Immediately after his death, he was venerated as a holy man. Pope Pius X proclaimed him Blessed in 1911.

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