A Benedictine savant, born at Syracuse, Sicily, in 1560; died at Rome, 17 September, 1650. While his brothers, Ottavio and Alfonso, joined the Society of Jesus, Constantino became a Benedictine (29 October, 1586) at San Nicolò d'Arena in Catania, and was soon called to Rome by Clement VIII , who confided to the promising young scholar an edition of the works of St. Peter Damian, which he executed in four folio volumes (Rome, 1606 et saep. ). His constant and successful reasearches in Roman archives won him the friendship of Cardinal Baronius, through whom he was made titular Abbot of San Baronzio in the Diocese of Pistoia, and Custodian of the Vatican Library ; the latter important office he held under four popes until his death. Baronius was much indebted to him in the composition of his "Annales Ecclesiastici", and more than once praises Cajetan's thorough knowledge of the Roman archives (e.g. ad an. 1002, n. 10). He was a tireless worker in the field of ecclesiastical history ; the long list of his writings may be seen in Ziegelbauer, "Hist. rei lit. O. S. B." (Augsburg, 1754, III, 360 sqq.). Among them are a life of the liturgist, St. Amalarius of Trier (Rome, 1612), annotated lives of St. Isadore of Seville, St. Ildephoses of Toledo, Cardinal Gregory of Ostia, notes on the life of St. Anselm, an annotated edition of the "Vita Gelasii II" by Pandolfo of Pisa (Murat., Script. Rer. It., III, 367), treatises on the primacy and the Roman episcopate of St. Peter (Roccaberti, Bibl. max. pontif., VII). He was persuaded that St. Gregory the Great was a genuine disciple of St. Benedict, and wrote in defiance of this thesis "De S. Gregorii monachatu benedictino libri duo" (Salzburg, 1620). The authorship of the "Imitation of Christ" interested him also, and he several times broke a lance for the Benedictine Jean Gersen [Joannes Gersen, De Imit. Xti, acced. Defensio pro Gersen et methodo practicâ IV librorum" (Rome, 1616); "Concertatio, Apologetica responsio" (Rome, 1618); "Libellus apologeticus pro Gersen" (Rome, 1644), the latter two against Rosweyde]. His ardour for the glory of the Benedictine Order troubled his judgment occasionally, says Father Hurter, e.g. when he claimed for it such persons as St. Columbanus of Bobbio, St. Thomas Aquinas , St. Francis of Assisi , St. Ignatius Loyola. He inaugurated the controversy concerning the authorship of the work known as the "Spiritual Excercises of St. Ignatius" by his book "De religiosâ S. Ignatii, sive S. Enneconis fundatoris soc. Jesu per Benedictinos institutione, deque libello exercitiorum ejusdem ab Exercitatorio Cisnerii desumpto" (Venice, 1641), in which he claimed priority for the "Exercitatorium Spirituale" of Garcias de Cisneros, Benedictine Abbot of Montferrat (1455-1510). (See SPIRITUAL EXCERCISES.) Both this work and the "Achates, or reply of Giovanni Rho, S.J., were placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1646. Cajetan was an intelligent and munificent collector of books, and at his death left his fortune to the "Bibliotheca Aniciana", founded by him in honour of the family of St. Gregory the Great ( Gens Anicia ); the books have since been divided between the Propoganda Library and that of the Sapienza, or Roman University. To many his chief title to fame will seem to rest on his claim to be considered the first promoter, if not the founder, of the Propoganda College at Rome. He had long hoped to found at Rome a Collegium Gregorianum de propogandâ fide , in which young Benedictines might be trained for foreign missions, after the spirit and teachings of St. Gregory the Great, Apostle of the Anglo-Saxons. He really opened a house of studies for this purpose in the monastery of San Benedetto in Piscinula at Rome, and this may be looked on as historically the germ of Propaganda. (Cf. his "De erectione collegii Gregoriani in Urbe epistola encyclica", Rome, 1622.) His idea was taken up seriously by Gregory XV (1621-23), and by him enlarged and modified until it took shape as the " Collegium [later Urbanum ] de propagandâ fide ". However, the enlightened zeal and pioneer labours of Dom Cajetan received due recognition by his nomination of first consultor of the new college. (See PROPAGANDA, COLLEGE OF).
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online