Vatican City, May 27, 2012 / 09:34 am America/Denver (CNA).
Pope Benedict XVI has announced that he will declare St. Hildegard of Bingen and St. John of Avila as Doctors of the Church on Oct. 7 2012 at the beginning of this year’s Synod of Bishops in Rome.
“These two great witnesses of the faith lived in very different historical periods and came from different cultural backgrounds,” said the Pope in his Regina Coeli address May 27.
“But the sanctity of life and depth of teaching makes them perpetually present: the grace of the Holy Spirit, in fact, projected them into that experience of penetrating understanding of divine revelation and intelligent dialogue with the world that constitutes the horizon of permanent life and action of the Church.”
The title of "Doctor of the Church" is bestowed upon a saint whose writings are deemed to be of universal importance to the Church. The Pope must also declare the individual to be of “eminent learning” and “great sanctity.” Other Doctors of the Church include St. Augustine, St. John Chryosostom, St. Francis de Sales, and St. Catherine of Siena.
St. John of Avila was a 16th century Spanish priest, mystic, preacher and scholar. Pope Benedict announced his intention to name him a Doctor of the Church at World Youth Day in Madrid last August but had not set a specific date for doing so.