Scoreboard for the Doctors of the Church

 The Doctors of the Church are Christ’s special gifts to the Catholic Church. These men and women are regarded as the most holy and illumined teachers of the Catholic Faith. Notably, none were martyrs. I once heard a friar jokingly say, “If you want to avoid martyrdom, become a Doctor of the Church.” I guess that you could also say, “If you want to become a martyr, don’t become a Doctor of the Church!”

Anyway here is how the Doctors of the Church break down by category. There are likely other ways to slice and dice the list, but I went with Eastern and Western Fathers, and then the later Doctors categorized by religious orders. If I made any mistakes, please let me know.

Doctors of the Church Scoreboard
Eastern Fathers: 8
Western Fathers: 8
Benedictines/Cistercians: 4
Franciscans: 4
Dominicans: 3
Carmelites: 3
Jesuits: 2
Redemptorists: 1

All I have to say is that I’m glad there’s a tie between the Eastern Fathers and Western Fathers or we’d never hear the end of it from our Eastern brethren.

I once mentioned the Franciscan vs. Dominican rivalry to my friend Dr. Jared Staudt at the Augustine Institute. I said, “I hate to say it, but the Franciscans have 4 doctors, whereas the Dominicans have 3 doctors.” Without missing a beat, Jared replied, “It’s about quality, not quantity! The Dominicans have Saint Thomas – the Universal Doctor of the Church.” 

Touché. Put that in your thurible and smoke it.

(By the way, Jared has subsequently side-stepped Franciscan/Dominican rivalry and has become a Benedictine Oblate via Clear Creek – a commitment that I greatly admire.)

In response, a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal friend of mine, Father Pio Maria Hoffman, once said to some Domicians: “Look we love Saint Thomas Aquinas, too. However, we just don’t believe that he should be revered with the cult of hyperdulia…”

I’m a Thomist at heart. Nevertheless, I love all this playful “scoreboarding.” If you want to have some fun, get some good-natured Franciscans Friars of the Renewal and some witty Dominicans together in the same room.

Also, of notable mention, there are three women Doctors of the Church.

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

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