Skip to content

'The Guiding Light of the Council of Trent'


by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Whenever the Holy Father invokes his apostolic authority to canonize or beatify someone, he does so not only for the honor and glory of God (which is the primary reason) but also for the edification of the Christian faithful throughout the world. The Church recognizes in this new saint or blessed--who has become an outstanding example of holiness--a remarkable receptivity to the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit.

Even though Saint Charles Borromeo (1538-1584), whose liturgical commemoration is celebrated annually on November 4, was canonized in 1610, this brilliant, unassuming and saintly cardinal of the Church still remains--nearly 400 years later--a stellar example of Christian perfection.

Monsignor Achille Ratti, once Doctor of the Ambrosian Library in Milan, Italy and later known to the world as Pope Pius XI (1922-1939), acknowledging in the early 1900s the utter greatness of the one-time Bishop of Milan and noting his fervent desire for authentic reform among his clergy and laity, hailed Saint Charles: "Indeed he was a living temple of the Holy Spirit and the unspotted purity of his life made him the minister and the irrefutable model of the salutary general reform."

Saint Charles knew well that to be a "living temple of the Holy Spirit" is the simple but challenging command of Christ in His Gospel. The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is to find a sure home in the soul of each disciple of Jesus. Pope John Paul II, in his 1994 Apostolic Letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente ("As the Third Millennium Draws Near"), wrote that the theological virtue of hope, which is inspired by the same Paraclete, "encourages the Christian not to lose sight of the final goal which gives meaning and value to life, and . . . offers solid and profound reasons for a daily commitment to transform reality in order to make it correspond to God's plan." (#46)

It is clear that the Holy Spirit bestowed in abundance upon Cardinal Borromeo the supernatural virtue of hope. He turned often to prayer; he did not fail to communicate daily with the Creator, humbly imploring Him to grant him the necessary grace so that he would become a saint. Then, after having been nourished in prayer, Saint Charles went forward to serve his priests and people. He had a predilection for the poor and continually sought to alleviate their distress.

The extraordinary life of Saint Charles Borromeo is evidence of the overriding influence of the Consoler. With the utmost concern, he cheerfully yielded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. He realized that his task was quite straightforward: to allow the Counselor to work through him so that others would come to the Good Shepherd and be saved.

Instead of worrying about his status as a prince of the Church and nephew of Pope Pius IV (1559-1565) and attending to his own needs, Cardinal Borromeo freely spent himself in ensuring that the deficiencies--both spiritual and temporal--of those under his charge were overcome. He diligently applied himself to caring for the spiritual and material welfare of his flock.

Living during a period which saw much turmoil emanating from the Protestant Reformation, Saint Charles did not lose his profound sense of inner peace. So convinced was he that the Sanctifier would not abandon him that he proceeded to condemn fearlessly the myriad abuses masquerading as "real progress": doctrinal errors, liturgical faults, etc. Together with such giants of the Catholic Counter-Reformation as Pope Saint Pius V (1565-1572), Saint Philip Neri (1515-1595), Saint Ignatius Loyola (c. 1491-1556) and Saint Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), Cardinal Borromeo--"the guiding light of the Council of Trent"--contributed to the Church's understanding of herself.

Saint Charles Borromeo is fittingly cited as a special friend of the Holy Spirit. His unfeigned love of God and neighbor is proof positive that the Advocate stirred up within him the thirst for Paradise. May the efficacious prayers of this faithful man of God, loyal son of Mary and intrepid ambassador of the Church help us open ourselves to the intimations of the Holy Spirit and one day enjoy the unfathomable reward which he now experiences.

Originally published in "The Catholic Servant." Used with permission.


Mary's Field , VA
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan - Official, 390 66616-1125



Saint Charles Borromeo

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.