Posts Tagged ‘The Art of Dying Well’

Because I can’t leave well enough alone, here’s a bonus chapter for you. This is the last chapter of Volume I of The Art of Dying Well, missing from the Dalton translation (which is only Volume I). It was translated from Latin into Spanish by Fr. Andrade, S.J., (Madrid, 1881 edition) and then translated from Spanish into English by me.

This is not good scholarly procedure; but Bellarmine appears to have written his book to be translated, and Andrade and Dalton seem to have come out pretty similar in previous chapters. (According to my cursory skim, anyway.) So it should be fairly accurate.

Chapter 17: On devotion to Our Lady, and of her patronage in the hour of death.


If you’re interested, you might want to read an interesting history paper on the various books on dying well. Apparently some academic guy was blaming all the depressing and guilt-ridden bits of certain centuries’ culture on these books, as causing a “guilt culture” to arise through “culpabilization”. This is a lot easier to push on history majors who don’t actually bother to read said books, as this history guy who did read the books soon discovered. 🙂


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The Art of Dying Well concludes, at least in the 1847 Dalton translation, with a discourse on ways to protect the senses from being used by sin.

Chapter 16B


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The Art of Dying Well continues, with the first part of its final chapter. I should warn you that, although it’s supposedly about Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick), it’s really more stuff about avoiding sin. Which is of course handy, but makes for a bit of an abrupt ending.

It turns out that the English translation of this book doesn’t actually translate the whole book. There’s a very substantial second part of the book which covers topics like making your will and so forth, which Dalton either never got around to translating or which appears in some other volume which archive.org doesn’t have. Sigh. Also, there’s at least one more chapter to Dalton’s version, which likewise does not appear in the archive.org copy. Sigh. You can read this stuff in the Spanish translation, Arte de Bien Morir.

I apologize profoundly for not finding this out earlier. I did not exercise due diligence.

Chapter 16: On Extreme Unction.


UPDATE: Link fixed. Sorry!

It seems that Dalton’s translation comprises all but one chapter of Volume I, “Precepts for When We Are Healthy”. Chapter 17 is on devotion to Our Lady. Volume II, “Precepts for When Death Is Near”, is about the same length as Volume I. Possibly Dalton’s publishers only wanted to market books toward return customers. 😉

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The Art of Dying Well continues, as we reach its penultimate chapter!

Chapter 15: On Matrimony.


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The Art of Dying Well continues.

Chapter 13: On the Sacrament of Penance.


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The Art of Dying Well continues with a chapter on Communion.  This is all pretty timeless stuff, including admonishing people to do more than just their Easter duty, and worrying about priests who say Mass so that “….neither they themselves seem to know what they are doing, nor do they allow others to fix their attention on the sacred service.”

Chapter 12: On the Holy Eucharist.


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The Art of Dying Well continues with a chapter on Confirmation. And yeah, the good Cardinal Bellarmine’s view of the sacrament is radically affected by the very different way it was generally administered in his time — which is neither the same way as it was administered in living memory either before or after Vatican II. Interesting!

Chapter 11: Eleventh Precept — On Confirmation.


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The Art of Dying Well continues to teach the art of living well. The next seven chapters discuss the Seven Sacraments, and their place and purpose in a Christian’s life.

Chapter 10: Tenth Precept — Baptism.


I neglected the podcast over the Thanksgiving holiday here. Sorry! But I will try and catch up today in some fashion. (The next few weeks are going to be busy, so expect some spottiness of service.)

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The Art of Dying Well continues, as we finish up the set of three with almsdeeds, aka helping others get their material needs either with gifts or helpful acts, and for God’s sake.

Chapter 9: Ninth precept — almsdeeds.


There will be a little delay with the Gavin book segments for this week. I recorded them earlier, but then I didn’t upload them till Friday evening — and sure enough, archive.org got overloaded and gacked. So it won’t be till Monday that I can put those up. Sorry for my lack of forethought!

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The Art of Dying Well continues, with a look at the importance of fasting to a Christian life.

Chapter 8: Seventh precept — On fasting.


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The Art of Dying Well continues, with some notes on how to get the most out of prayer.

Chapter 7: Seventh Precept — On prayer.


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The Art of Dying Well continues to look suspiciously like a basic life manual!

Chapter 6: Sixth Precept — The three moral virtues: piety, justice, and sobriety.


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The Art of Dying Well continues, with more instructions on how to live a good life first! This chapter is all about stewardship. Yes, I know, ye olde snoozer topick. But this time, we hear the scary side! Yeah, this’ll keep you awake….

Chapter 5: The fifth precept, in which the deceitful error of the rich in this world is exposed.


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The Art of Dying Well continues, as St. Robert Bellarmine interprets that thing about how Christians should be like servants waiting for their lord to return from the wedding, in relation to preparation for death.

Chapter 4: The fourth precept, containing three evangelical counsels.


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The Art of Dying Well continues, with a look at the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity/love.

Chapter 3: Third Precept: Faith and hope and charity.


“Heretic” isn’t a term that gets used much these days, which is just as well, since it’s so misunderstood of a term and applies to very few people. But I should probably note, in connection to comments that Bellarmine makes, that you’re not considered a heretic unless you know for sure that something is true that is taught by Jesus’ Church, and you turn away from that truth on purpose. (Especially if you do it just to be different. Haeresis = difference, IIRC.) If you purposefully deny something that you do know is true, of course your faith must be feigned. And logically, one wouldn’t expect that you’d get any help in learning how to live or die well from playing make-believe games about religion.

But if you don’t know that something is true and therefore don’t believe the true thing, you’re not a heretic; you’re just unlucky and ill-informed. So Bellarmine isn’t saying that you have to be Catholic to have any chance of going to heaven.

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