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Dr. Edward Peters 

To work for the proper implementation of canon law is to play an extraordinarily

constructive role in continuing the redemptive mission of Christ. Pope John Paul II

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1983 Code

 

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1917 Code

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1152 x 864

Updated

22 apr 2014

Servant of God, Felix Maria Cappello, sj, Confessor and Canonist


Overview

 

 

Long before I knew anything about the reputation for holiness enjoyed by Felice Cappello the priest, I was reading Felix Cappello the canonist, especially his five-volume masterpiece, the Tractatus Canonico-Moralis de Sacramentis, and wondering to myself whence sprang the legal erudition, the pastoral insights, and the simplicity of exposition that only true masters of the field show. I sensed, even then, that Cappello's commentaries drew on something, or Someone, much deeper than the text of law  (which he famously had memorized) or the works of his confreres (who gleaned more from him than he learned from them).

 

Turns out, my hunch about Cappello's uniqueness was, and is, shared by many others. Cappello's causa was introduced in 1987 and is under the supervision of the Rector of the St. Ignatius Church in Rome.

 


Biographical Sketch

 

From a biographical sketch of Felix Cappello by the Singapore Jesuits

 

 

 

 

 

Felice Maria Cappello was born 9 October 1879 in the small village of Caviola di Falcade in Italy’s Dolomites. Following ordination to the diocesan priesthood in 1902, Cappello ministered in two small towns while continuing his studies, quickly earning doctorates in theology from the University of Bologna, philosophy from the Angelicum in Rome, and canon and civil law from Rome’s Apollinare. Cappello taught canon law at the Belluno seminary for three years and soon published his first book on selected canonical questions. After being rejected for two Vatican positions that he had applied for, Cappello spent a few days at Lourdes and, after time alone in prayer one night in the deserted grotto, decided to become a Jesuit.

 

During his Jesuit novitiate Cappello taught moral theology and canon law at the Leonine College in Anagni, remaining there until 1920 when he was transferred to the Gregorian University. Cappello’s teaching career at the Gregorian lasted 39 years until his retirement in 1959 during which time he taught moral theology and canon law. He wrote numerous highly regarded books and articles and served as a consultor to several Roman dicasteries.

 

Cappello's students remembered him fondly for instructing them to be humane in their application of law: “Principles are principles, and they remain firm and are always to be defended. But all consciences are not the same. In applying principles to consciences, we must do it with great prudence, much common sense, and much goodness. In your opinions and decisions never be severe. The Lord does not want that. Be always just, but never severe. Give the solution that offers the soul some room in which to breathe.”

 

 

Besides fulfilling his teaching duties, Cappello was greatly sought after as a spiritual director, hearing the confessions of his Jesuit brethren, secular priests, bishops, and cardinals at St Ignatius church, just a stone’s throw away from his residence at the Gregorian. St Ignatius church came to be known as “Fr Cappello’s church” and he in turn became “the Confessor of Rome.” Even after his retirement from teaching at the age of 80, Cappello continued his confessional apostolate and served on several commissions preparing materials for the Second Vatican Council.

 

Cappello fell ill on March 22, 1962. The next morning he celebrated Mass with great effort and that evening received Anointing. During his last days he frequently prayed: “Sweet Heart of Jesus!”

 

Cappello died 25 March 1962. His funeral Mass, celebrated at St Ignatius Church, was attended by his students from the Gregorian as well as Rome’s faithful, clergy, religious, bishops, and cardinals. They came not only to bid Cappello goodbye but to ask for his intercession. His remains were brought back to St Ignatius Church and placed near the spot where his confessional had been.

 

 


Additional Materials on Cappello

 

For more information

on Cappello's Cause or

 to report possible favors

obtained through his

his intercession, contact

(in any language):

 

Rettore

Chiesa di S. Ignazio

via del Caravita 8A 00186 Roma

 

 

Image from a holy card

for private use to obtain graces through

the intercession of

Rev. Felix Cappello

 

 

 

 

 

P. FELICE M CAPPELLO S.J.

(1879-1962)

 

La Vergine SS.ma protegga

te e i tuoi cari; il Signore ti conceda le Sue grazie e

la Sua speciale assistenza.

 

Felice M. Cappello S.J.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May the Most Blessed Virgin protect you and your dear ones;

may the Lord grant you his grace and special assistance.

 

 

Preghiera (privata) per ottenere grazie con l'intercessione

del Rev. Felice Maria Cappello, S.J

 

O Gesù che per il bene della Chiea e il conforto dei fedeli, ricolmasti dei doni del tuo Spirito il tuo servo Felice Maria Cappello e ne facesti un sacerdote pio e zelante, un religioso esemplare, un luminare di sapienza, un consigliere sicuro, un lavoratore indefesso, concedici la grazia di sperimentare l'efficacia della sua intercessione e di imitarne la pietá, l'umilitá, la pazienza e la benignitá verso il tuo Divin Cuore e il Cuore Immaculato della tua Santissima Madre. Amen.

 

Pater, Ave, Gloria. O Signore, glorifica anche in terra il tuo servo fedele.

 

 

Prayer (private) to obtain graces through the intercession

of Rev Felix Maria Cappello, S.J.

 

O Jesus, for the welfare of the Church and the comfort of the faithful, you filled your servant Felice Maria Cappello with the gifts of your Spirit and made of him a pious and zealous priest, an exemplary religious, a luminary of learning, a reliable advisor, and an untiring worker, now grant the grace hoped for in evidence of his intercession and let us imitate his piety, humility, patience, and kindness before your Divine Heart and the Immaculate Heart of your Most Holy Mother

 

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be. O Lord, glorify your faithful servant on earth!

 


Ed Peters at the tomb of Rev Cappello (Oct 2012)