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  • SJSP Pastoral Staff

St. Anselm: pray for us

Here is our April edition of "Life of the Saints":

At fifteen years of age Anselm, born 1033 in Aosta, Italy, wanted to enter the monastery but his father disapproved because of Anselm’s worldly ways. After leaving home at 23 years to study in Burgundy, he met and befriended Lanfranc at Bec in Normandy, who at the time was a monk, then Prior and who later became Archbishop of Canterbury. Anselm, a devout disciple became a monk, eventually succeeding Lanfranc as Prior when be rose in stature. After Lanfranc’s death Anselm was named Archbishop of Canterbury in 1092, but King William II did not approve the position because Anselm did not resign the church’ spiritual independence to the King. Remaining in Bec, Anselm continued to clash with the King who, among other demands, sought excessive payments from him for placement in the see, which Anselm refused to pay. Some obstinate bishops sided with King William but barons sided with Anselm, who eventually took his fight to Rome where he gained the support of Pope Urban. Returning to England after King William II died conflicts between the authority of the Church and that of the King continued as Anselm found disfavor by Henry II, William’s successor. Compromise eventually did occur, however, and Anselm became Regent in Normandy. In 1102, attending a council in Westminster, Anselm strongly condemned the slave trade and just as rigorously continued to defend the Church. Anselm a gifted writer and theologian, influenced many of the great thinkers like Hegel, Descartes, and Duns Scotus. Among his writings are: Monologium, a treatise on the existence of God , Proslogium, on the attributes of God, and Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became a Man), the Incarnation in the Middle Ages. Saint Anselm, named a Doctor of the Church in 1720 by Clement XI, died on April 21 at Canterbury.

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