Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The doctor will see you now

With the saturation of media coverage on health insurance legislation, one of my pet peeves is frequently catching my attention--the use of the word "doctor." The word, of course, means "teacher" so I find it somewhat annoying when it is so often used exclusively as a term for physician or surgeon or other medical specialist.

You might say that the first doctors were lawyers or philosophers, so they would most naturally deserve the term doctor in everyday use. The first academic degrees were all law degrees, either canon (church) law or Roman common law. The doctorate was originally applied to those who were revered for their learning or research and thus their ability to share their knowledge with others. The church has recognized some saints on the calendar whose special charism was to be a teacher of the faith or who made a significant contribution to the development of Christian theology. They are honored with the title of "Doctor of the Church." One of them, St. Anselm of Canterbury, was an Anglican. Perhaps some day John Henry Cardinal Newman will be recognized as such as well.

Doctors of the Western Church
St. Albert 11/15
St. Alphonsus Liguori 8/1
St. Ambrose 12/7
St. Anselm 4/21
St. Anthony of Padua 6/13
St. Athanasius 5/2
St. Augustine 8/28
St. Basil 1/2
St. Bede, the Venerable 5/25
St. Bernard of Clairvaux 8/20
St. Bonaventure 7/15
St. Catherine of Siena 4/29
St. Cyril of Alexandria 6/27
St. Cyril of Jerusalem 3/18
St. Ephraem of Syria 6/9
St. Francis de Sales 1/24
St. Gregory Nazianzus 1/2
St. Gregory the Great 9/3
St. Hilary of Poitiers 1/13
St. Isidore 4/4
St. Jerome 9/30
St. John Chrysostom 9/13
St. John Damascene 12/4
St. John of the Cross 12/14
St. Lawrence of Brindisi 7/21
St. Leo the Great 11/10
St. Peter Canisius 12/21
St. Peter Chrysologus 7/30
St. Peter Damian 2/21
St. Robert Bellarmine 9/17
St. Teresa of Avila 10/15
St. Therese of Lisieux 10/1
St. Thomas Aquinas 1/28


Jakian Thomist said...

I suspect we won't have to wait too long for Newman to be declared a Doctor of the Church. Pope John Paul II will also probably receive the honour eventually.

St. Anselm, the Italian cum archbishop of Canterbury is certainly most worthy of the title.

dopel said...

And let's not forget the Doctor of Physical Therapy that your sister will soon be!!