Our Illustrious Patron and Inspiration
The Defence of the Catholic Faith
St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597)
Doctor of the Church
As Pope Leo XIII noted in his encyclical on St. Peter Canisius, in our times “the rapid progress in all branches of study often furnishes the enemies of the Christian faith with an occasion for attacking it. We must therefore commit the same forces to repel their attack. We must occupy the position first and snatch from their hands the weapons with which they are trying to destroy all links between God and man.” It is necessary, in other words, he said, to have “abundant knowledge” with which to defend the Catholic faith.
The model for all who would save the Church, noted Pope Leo, is St. Peter Canisius, because he lived in a time very similar to the modern age: “a period when the spirit of revolution and looseness of doctrine resulted in a great loss of faith and decline in morals.” Like this great saint, if “all who fight for Christ in the Church's army,” “ally the weapons of knowledge with the weapons of justice, they will be able to defend the faith more vigorously and effectively.”
St. Peter Canisius was born in a Dutch town that was then part of Germany on May 8, 1521. He was endowed with God with holiness and learning for the defence of the Church. At the age of 22 he became the first German Jesuit. Through his preachings and writings he shone as a leader of the Counter-Reformation. Having saved his country from Protestantism, he was called the Second Apostle of Germany (St. Boniface being the first), but he was also responsible for the restoration of Catholic life in many cities throughout Europe.
He saw that in order to combat the errors of the Protestant Revolt, the true teachings of the Church had to be spread widely. He devoted himself with untiring zeal to this goal, writing, preaching and giving missions all over the continent.
He wrote both for the learned and for the common man. His main objective was to enable all Catholics to defend the Faith, and his prodigious writings included two highly popular Catechisms written for the less educated. One was one for the religious instruction of children, the other for young men in higher studies. These Catechisms were also explained publicly in the churches for the benefit of all. Being very concerned with protecting the faith and morals of youth, St. Peter Canisius also undertook the instruction of children, even composing elementary writing books and grammars for them. He was also instrumental in the founding of several universities and seminaries in Europe.
“In popular speech, ‘knowing Canisius’ was synonymous with ‘preserving the Faith’,” said Pope Leo.
St. Peter Canisius died on December 21, 1597. Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1925, and proclaimed him a Doctor of the Church. He is considered one of the creators of a Catholic press, and the model for Catholic writers.
This is the age of the Catholic Revolt, which is inspired by the Protestant Revolt and the New Age Movement, and which is involved in the corruption of youth. Its chief modus operandi is to keep Catholics in ignorance of their religion. The goal of Canisius Books is to expose and counter its errors with the truths of the Catholic Faith, and to enable other Catholics to do the same in the spirit of St. Peter Canisius, model of “all who fight for Christ in the Church's army” with the weapons of knowledge and justice.