Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Bl. Angelo Carletti di Chivasso

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 1
Bl. Angelo Carletti di Chivasso

by Stephen Donovan


Moral theologian of the order of Friars Minor; born at Chivasso in Piedmont, in 1411; and died at Coni, in Piedmont, in 1495. From his tenderest years the Blessed Angelo was remarkable for the holiness and purity of his life. He attended the University of Bologna, where he received the degree of Doctor of Civil and Cannon Law. It was probably at the age of thirty that he entered the Order of Friars Minor. His virtues and learning soon gained the confidence of his brethren in religion, and he was four times chosen to fill the office of vicar-general of that branch of the order then known as the Cismontane Observance. In 1480 the Turks under Mahout II took possession of Otranto, and threatened to overrun and lay waste the "bel paese". Blessed Angelo was appointed Apostolic Nuncio by Pope Sixtus IV, and commissioned to preach the holy war against the invaders. The death of Mahomet and the ultimate retirement of the Turkish forces from the Italian peninsula were evidences that God favoured his mission. Again, in 1491, he was appointed Apostolic Nuncio and Commissary by Innocent VIII, conjointly with the Bishop of Mauriana, the purpose of their mission being to take active steps to prevent the spread of the heretical doctrines of the Waldenses.

But it was perhaps by this writings that Blessed Angelo rendered the greatest service to religion. His works are given by Wadding in the latter's "Scriptores Ordinis Minorum". By far the most noted of these is the "Summa de Casibus Conscientiae", called after him the "Summa Angelica". The first edition of the "Summa Angelica" appeared in the year 1476, and from that year to the year 1520 it went through thirty-one editions, twenty-five of which are preserved in the Royal Library at Munich. The "Summa" is divided into six hundred and fifty-nine articles arranged in alphabetical order and forming what would now be called a dictionary of moral theology. The most valuable and most important of these articles is the one entitled "Interrogationes in Confessione". It serves, in a way, as an index to the whole work. Judging the character of the work of Bl. Angelo as a theologian from this, his most important contribution to moral theology, one is impressed with the gravity and fairness that characterized his opinions throughout. Besides, the "Summa", being written "pro utilitate confessariorum et eorum qui cupiunt laudabiliter vivere", is a most valuable guide in matters of conscience and approaches closely, in the treatment of the various articles, to casuistic theology as this science is now understood, hence the title of the work, "Summa de Casibus Conscientiae". Benedict XIII approved the cult that had for long been paid to Bl. Angelo, especially by the people of Chivasso and Coni. The latter chose him as their special patron, while his feast is kept on 12 April throughout the order of Friars Minor.

Leo, Lives of the Saints and Blessed of the three Orders of St. Francis (tr. Taunton, 1886); Scherer s.v. in Kirchenlex. See also Wadding, Annales Minorum, 1472, n. viii, 1478, n. viii, 1479, n. xiv, 1481, n. ix, 1484, n. xliv, 1495, n. ii.

STEPHEN M. DONOVAN